Ron Wilson

Ron Wilson

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Cincinnati Zoo Best of Annuals

Annuals are a popular, wonderful, and adaptable way to bring color and texture to the garden. For many annuals that contribute bloom, they also attract and support pollinating insects such as butterflies, honeybees, and other beneficial insects.  This list is designed to help you identify beautiful, sustainable, strong-growing annuals for your garden. All the suggested plants emerged as consistently high performers over a decade of trialing at the Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden. Our trialing program is generously supported by breeding companies, growers, and others throughout the green industry. Rating of the plants is completed with the help of the Cincinnati Flower Growers Association, OSU Hamilton County Extension, Master Gardeners, and Zoo sta & volunteers.  To succeed with annuals, till or cultivate your soil deeply, adding enough compost or pine fines to create a rich soil. Know your site’s conditions. Is it wet, dry, sunny, or shady? Then choose the appropriate plants. Once planted, be sure to mulch, water as needed, and consider the occasional boost of a quality fertilizer.  The Best of the Zoo series of brochures are products of our Plant Trials. It is our hope that they raise the level of Horticulture in the region, which improves the quality of life for the entire community. You can find our other brochures at:

Annuals Full Sun (under 15") 

Angelonia Serena® Purple 

Angelonia Serena®White 

Bidens Goldilocks Rocks® 

Chrysocephalum ‘Silver Fox’ 

Dahlia ‘XXL Chiapas’ 

Dahlia 'XXL Durango' PP 

Dichondra Silver Falls™ 

Euphorbia Diamond Frost® 

Evolvulus Blue My Mind™ PP 

Helychrysum ‘Licorice’ 

Impatiens Bounce® White 

Lantana ‘New Gold’ PP, HF

 Lantana Little Lucky™ Pot of Gold PP 

Lobularia Frosty Knight® PP 

Marigold ‘Aurora Yellow’ 

Pelargonium Caliente® Orange 

Pelargonium Calliope® 

Lavender Rose Pentas ‘Northern Lights Lavender’ PP 

Pepper ‘Black Pearl’ PP 

Petunia Supertunia® Vista Bubblegum HF 

Petunia Supertunia® Vista Silverberry HF 

Petunia Tidal Wave® Silver 

Plectranthus ‘Nicoletta’ 

Plectranthus 'Nicodemus' 

Plectranthus 'Silver Crest' 

Plectranthus ‘Silver Shield’ HF 

Scaevola 'Brilliant' 

Scaevola New Wonder® PP 

Sedum ‘Lemon Coral’ 

Sweet Potato ‘FloraMia Rosso’ 

Sweet Potato ‘Marguerite’ HF 

Sweet Potato ‘Sweet Caroline Sweetheart Red’ HF 

Sweet Potato 'Black Heart' 

Sweet Potato Illusion® Garnet Lace HF 

Sweet Potato Solar Power™ Black 

Sweet Potato 'Sweet Caroline Sweetheart Purple' 

Verbena Superbena® Royale Chambray PP 

Vinca ‘Mediterranean XP Strawberry’

Vinca Titan® Series HF 

Vinca Valiant™ Punch PP 

Zinnia ‘Star Gold’ PP, HF 

Zinnia Double Zahara™ Yellow PP, HF

 Zinnia Double Zahara™ Fire, PP, HF 

Begonia ‘Gryphon’ 

Begonia ‘Nightlife Deep Rose’ 

Begonia Dragonwing® Series HF 

Begonia Megawatt™ Pink Bronze Leaf 

Begonia Megawatt™ Red Green Leaf 

Coleus Kong® Rose 

Coleus Kong® Scarlet 

Hypoestes Splash ‘Select White’ 

Impatiens Celebration Series 

Impatiens Celebrette Hot Pink 

Torenia Catalina® Gilded Grape PP 

Torenia Summer Wave® Blue PP 

Begonia Big™ Series 

Begonia Whopper® Series HF 

Coleus ‘Alabama Sunset’ 

Coleus ‘Apple Brandy’ 

Coleus ‘Dark Star’ HF 

Coleus ‘Dipt n Wine’ HF 

Coleus ‘Electric Lime’ 

Coleus ‘Kingswood Torch’ 

Coleus ‘Life Lime’ HF 

Coleus ‘Pineapple’ 

Coleus ‘Premium Sun Crimson’ 

Coleus ‘Redhead’ HF 

Coleus ‘Sedona’ HF 

Coleus ‘Sky Fire’ 

Coleus Signature™ Gnash Rambler 

Coleus Splish Splash® 

Coleus ‘Trusty Rusty’ 

Colocasia ‘Black Coral’ 

Cyperus ‘Baby Tut’ HF 

Impatiens Bounce® White

Impatiens SunPatiens® Series 

Impatiens SunStanding Series 

Iresine ‘Blazin’ Rose’ 

Pennisetum ‘Jade Princess’ 

Salvia ‘Golden Delicious’ PP 

Salvia ‘Mystic Spires’ PP 

Strobilanthes dyerianus (Persian Shield) 

Colocasia ‘Blue Hawaii’ 

Colocasia ‘Coffee Cups’ 

Colocasia ‘Diamond Head’ 

Colocasia ‘Red-Eyed Gecko’ 

Alternanthera ‘Purple Knight’ 

Angelonia Angelface® Blue 

Angelonia Applique™ Pink 

Angelonia Archangel™ Dark Rose 

Angelonia Archangel™ Raspberry 

Coleus ‘Alabama Sunset’ 

Coleus ‘Dark Star’ 

Coleus ‘Pineapple’ 

Coleus ‘Sedona’ 

Dahlia ‘Mystic Illusion’ PP, HF 

Gomphrena ‘Fireworks’ PP 

Dahlia Dahlightful® Sultry Scarlet PP 

Lantana Landmark™ Citrus PP 

Lantana Landmark™ Gold PP 

Lantana Landmark™ Sunrise Rose PP 

Lantana Lucky™ Yellow PP, HF

 Lantana Luscious® Citrus Blend PP, HF 

Lantana Luscious® Marmalade PP 

Melinus ‘Pink Champagne’ 

Pennisetum 'Fireworks' 

Pennisetum 'Sky Rocket' 

Verbena bonariensis PP 

Canna ‘Australia’ 

Canna ‘Bengal Tiger’ 

Canna Cannova® Mango 

Canna Cannova® Orange Shades PP 

Hibiscus ‘Mahogany Splendor’ 

Pennisetum ‘Black Stockings’ 

Pennisetum 'Rubrum' HF 

Pennisetum Vertigo® HF 

Zinnia ‘Uproar Rose

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