Gardening tip sheet: 5 annuals you can plant right now that will bloom all summer long

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      Late June is when your spring flowers start to fade. And given how much time you're going to be spending in your yard or on your balcony this summer, you're going to want lasting colour.

      With that in mind, here are some dependable annuals you can plant now (live plants from the nursery, not from seed) to supercharge your containers and beds through to the fall.


      Easy-care geraniums thrive in both flowerbeds and containers, providing a burst of colour well into Vancouver's mild fall. You can stick them in full-sun or partial shade; just make sure to give them well-drained soil and don't overwater them, clipping any fading flower heads to supercharge new growth. Forego the red your granny planted for a blast of vivid magenta, or go subtler with bicoloured varieties in shades of pink; crisp white can look positively contemporary.

      Cosmos look great grouped in vibrant hues.


      These hardy, drought-tolerant tall flowers with feathery leaves attract birds, bees, and butterflies. They're just as happy in containers as beds; give them lots of sun and be ready to stake them for extra support if they start to zoom up. We love the old-fashioned farmhouse feel of Cosmos in mixed colours, but you can make a bold impact with all-fuchsia or stay neutral with "Purity" white. Deadhead them to spur more blooms, and collect them to reseed them next year.

      Impatiens Walleriana can handle the shade.


      Bring colour to even shady areas with these hard-working annuals, rocking vibrant hues of purple-pink or orange-coral; for a picket-fence-tidy look that brings added light to a dark corner of the deck or yard, opt for New Guinea impatiens in "Divine White". Deadhead to try to keep them blooming till the frost hits.

      Jasmine tobacco, or Nicotania


      Star-shaped, fragrant blooms on this dependable summer flower come in gorgeous shades of crimson, burgundy, pink, and lime green, as well as pure white. Bunch them together in planters or fill the holes in your garden beds with them; they like warm sun, especially in the late afternoon, when they almost seem to raise their heads.

      Victoria Blue salvia adds spiky height right through the summer.


      Easy-care annual salvia brings a brilliant blue-violet to beds--often as a nice spiky presence behind lower border plants. (Apply your complementary-colour theory and pair them with equally-easy-care orangey-yellow marigolds). Salvia just needs well-drained soil and a sunny spot. Hummingbirds and butterflies love them, too.