If I had to choose my absolute favourite annual flowers for pots these would be it. All these flowers are perfect for pots in the summer and will give you maximum colour impact for minimal effort.
Annual Flowers For Pots
Sow a pinch of seeds of 'Antiquity' cosmos straight into ornamental pots. Protect against the frost (bring them inside to a bright, cool place, or enclose the top of the pot in a single layer of fleece tied with string around the sides of the pot).
Thin the seedlings to 10in apart, keep them well watered and they'll be in flower by early July and – deadheaded – flower reliably until October.
If you like intense colour, and want to get away from the usual calmness of white, blues and purples, fill one or two with small plugs of the flame-coloured zappiness of 'Orange' (Million Bells Crackling Fire). They are long-flowering and easy to grow.
Select very long-flowering and minimal TLC geraniums (or pelargoniums) for your low-maintenance pots. Try scented-leaved, pink geranium 'Pink Capricorn' for bright and cheery pink, or ivy leaf geranium 'April Hamilton' for trailing crimson.
Both will flower until Christmas on almost total neglect. Scatter a slow-release fertiliser in the pot as you plant them and keep them well watered.
Plant rooted cuttings of Arctotis 'Holly', Arctotis 'Flame' or Arctotis 'Wine' 20in apart into any pot, with a depth of at least 1ft and - in a sheltered spot - they will flower from May until November.
The new form, Holly, has been bred for stronger, healthier-looking foliage than the other two, which have slightly finer flowers and scrawnier leaves. It was one of my best-performing plants last year.
This scented gladiolus looks good in leaf and in flower and the flowers - with the browning blooms removed - last a good six or even eight weeks. Space the bulbs 4-5in apart, just pushing them into any deep pot, to 3-4in below the compost surface.