When planting a flower garden, plant the varieties of flowers that will start blooming in the spring and continue to bloom until the fall frost takes them away. Finding the right flowers that will continue to provide a colorful show in your garden is not impossible. With the right conditions and a little care, they will give you a long blooming season.
Cuphea - Cuphea (Lythraceae family Cuphea ignea), also called cigar flower or cigarette plant, is a frost-tender bushy annual that originated in Mexico and Jamaica. The USDA zones for the cuphea are 10 through 12, but can survive in zones 8 and 9 until the frost takes them out. The height of this plant is about 3 feet with a spread of 3 feet. The small lance-shaped leaves are a lush dark green while the flowers are orange with white tips. The flowers are about an inch long and shaped like a cigar. Plant the cuphea in a sunny area. To maintain a dense compact shape, pinch the stem tips back. Cuphea tolerates a short drought, but prefers a moist soil. This fast-growing plant is maintenance free, although the stems tend to be weak and brittle. Butterflies and hummingbirds love to feed on the flowers of the cuphea.
Fan Flower - The fan flower (Scaevola aemula) is a tender evergreen perennial when grown in zones 10 through 11. In zones 9 or below, the fan flower is grown as an annual, but you can dig up the plant and pot it indoors before the first frost where it will continue to flower. Grow the fan flower in full sun to partial shade. What this fan flower lacks in its 6- to 12-inch height, it makes up for in the 4 to 5 feet of space it spreads out. The fan-shaped flowers are bluish purple, and the bloom time begins in the spring and lasts into the fall. To encourage the fan flower plant to branch out, pinch back the tips on the stems. Fertilize the fan flower every month with an all-purpose fertilizer. Plant the fan flower in containers, hanging baskets, borders or use as a small-scale ground cover. The fan flower is a low maintenance plant rarely bothered by pests.
Verbena - Technically, verbena (Verbena x hybrida) is a perennial in zones 8 through 10, but are grown as an annual in zones 4 through 9. The 1-inch wide tubular flowers are fragrant and come in the colors of red, purple, white or pink. Verbena flowers are 5-lobed and tubular, blooming in clusters measuring 2 to 3 inches across. Verbenas are the perfect accent for containers, beds, borders or hanging baskets. Preferring to grow in full sun, they like a well-draining soil. To keep the verbena bushy, pinch out young shoots. Remove the spent flowers to extend the flowering season.
Impatiens - Impatiens (Impatiens wallerana) are native to Tanzania and Mozambique in Africa. Hardy in zones 9 through 12, they are a frost -tender annual. Impatiens have succulent stems and the plant grows in a compact mound. The flowers are single with one row of petals, or double with more than two rows of petals. The non-hybrid impatiens are red in color, but the hybrids come in an array of many different colors.