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Northern California Regional Reports

Spectacular Self-Sowing Annuals for Northern California

These lesser-known flowers will pop up in your garden for years to come

Contrasting shades of bright orange and muted purple make ‘Solar Fire’ ursinia an eye-catching standout. Photo: courtesy of Annie’s Annuals and Perennials

Annual flowering plants grow vigorously and bloom profusely during their growing season. They fill in the gaps between your perennials, adding color, texture, and lush beauty. They may also provide frequent armloads of blooms for indoor displays. Many old-fashioned favorites can enthusiastically self-seed, volunteering new growth season after season, creating colorful bloom flushes and a natural, informal appearance in your garden. Without any assistance from the usually delighted gardener, seedlings of these self-sowers often appear in surprising locations, providing drama, excitement, and sometimes new and fabulous, never-before-considered plant combinations. Some of these classic favorites include:

  • Borage (Borago officinalis, annual)
  • Poppies (Papaver rhoeas, annual)
  • Love-in-a-mist (Nigella damascena, annual)
  • Nasturtiums (Tropaeolum and cvs.,annual)
  • Four o’clocks (Mirabilis jalapa, Zones 9–11)
  • Sweet peas (Lathyrus odoratus, annual)
  • Sunflowers (Helianthus annuus, annual)

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