Four Very Different Annuals You Should Try

Plectranthus 'Velvet Elvis'

Plectranthus ‘Velvet Elvis’

I asked three regional horticulturists to identify an under-planted drought tolerant annual. Here are four (4) that they recommended:

Drumstick flower or “Billy Buttons” (Craspedia globosa) produces a golden-yellow display of spherical flowers that often reach the size of golf balls (USDA plant hardiness zones 8-11). The silvery-gray foliage reaches about 2 feet tall and wide, and blooms almost all year long where winters are mild. They’re nearly carefree, tolerate most types of soil, and ask for an occasional watering. Drumstick flower aren’t susceptible to disease or pest problems. (suggested by June Jolly @ NC Arboretum in Asheville, NC.)

Evolvulus Blue My Mind™  (Evolvulus spp.) is a heat and sun loving, a drought tolerant ground cover with the silvery-green foliage; it is covered with petite, true blue flowers from spring to fall. With a mounding/trailing habit, it grows 6-12 inches high and 12-18 inches spread. It is also an excellent addition to containers.  (suggested by Kaylee Decker @ Dallas Arboretum in Dallas, TX)

Plectranthus ‘Velvet Elvis’ has larger deep lavender blue flowers, a more compact habit (compared to most other varieties), and dark green leaves. It is an excellent addition to combination containers or a color spot in front of the border (zones 9-11). Blooming is most prolific from late summer to frost when daylength is shorter. Plant grows 2 feet tall and 2-3 feet wide. (suggested by Susan C. Morgan @

Salvia ‘Amistad’ is a strong growing variety with stunningly beautiful deep purple flowers. This floriferous Salvia guaranitica hybrid grows 3 ½ feet tall x 7 feet wide clump in long season gardens in the Southern U.S. (zones 8-11). Otherwise, it grows 2 feet tall and 3-4 feet wide annual in northern gardens. Deadheading enhances repeat blooming. Ideal for pots or summer borders. Deep purple tubular flowers attract lots of bees, butterflies and an occasional hummingbird or two. (suggested by Susan C. Morgan @

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