growing annuals

One of a series of 100 hour "short" courses from the Garden Design Academy suitable for garden enthusiasts and all those dealing with plants on a professional level.

You will be working with Colin Elliott, award winning garden designer, landscaper, horticulturist and ex-Royal Gardener. He is the author of The Bedding Plant Guide. Earlier in his career Colin owned and ran a state-of-the-art nursery producing millions of bedding plants and seedlings.

An annual is any plant which completes its full lifecycle in one year.  Generally annuals are grown in the garden for a period of less than one year, with the expressed purpose of providing flowers and colour.

Annuals are a valuable horticultural crop grown commercially as cut flowers, as seedlings or as advanced pots of colour. 

With careful choice,  versatile annuals can deliver year round colour in the home garden. They work to fill gaps between perennials, they can be used to disguise the messy foliage of bulbs as they seasonally die-off,  and they can help to keep gardens or parks in the peak of perfection.

This eight lesson course reveals the secrets of how to identify annual species,  what to grow and when to grow each variety. It covers soil improvement,  pest control, irrigation, propagation, greenhouse growing, hydroponics and much more. It is equally as useful to the home gardener and to the professional gardener as to those intending to grow annuals commercially.

1.  Introduction

  • Scope and Nature
  • Naming Plants
  • Species, hybrids, cultivars.
  • Plant Families
  • Pronouncing plant names
  • Flower structure and basic botany
  • Information sources
  • Caring for Cut Flowers

2.  Culture

  • selection of plants suited to the situation
  • preparing a site (soils, cultivation etc)
  • propagation
  • planting
  • mulching
  • protecting and caring for establishing plants
  • control of problems (eg. pests, diseases, weeds)

3.  Propagation

  • Methods of propagating annuals.
  • Seed sowing
  • Pricking out seedlings
  • Propagation of selected varieties of annuals.

4.  Hydroponics.

  • Annuals in hydroponics
  • How plants grow
  • Diffeerent Hydroponic systems explained
  • When and why to choose hydroponics
  • Hydroponic techniques for selected annuals
    • Snapdragon
    • Aster
    • Carnation
    • Chrysanthemum
    • Gerbera
    • Stock

5.  Pest and Disease

  • Identifying problems (disease, pest, environmental, nutritional)
  • Treating problems

6.  Irrigation

  • Irrigation objectives
  • Soil Moisture
  • Maintaining water levels
  • Watering
  • When to irrigate
  • Identifying over or under watering

7.  Greenhouse Management and Bedding

  • Greenhouse design and construction
  • Growing in a greenhouse
  • Environmental factors that affect growth
  • Controlling flower production
  • Heating and coolling
  • Flower Bed Layouts -pure and impure
  • Types of plantings
  • Bedding schemes
  • Annuals with scent
  • Annuals with colourful foliage
  • Selecting annuals according to height
  • Flower judging

8.  Harvest, Post Harvest & Quality.

  • Harvesting flowers
  • Flower deterioration
  • Post harvest
  • Shelf life
  • Factors affecting post harvest life
  • Post harvest treatments
  • Grading standards
  • Conditioning for market
  • Packaging
  • Harvesting specific annuals (snapdragon, Bellis, Carnation, Calendula, Carnation, Chrysanthemum, Larkspur, Delphinium, Cosmos, Gypsophila, Iberis, Marigold, Poppy, Statice, Stock, Sweet Pea, Violet)

Course Duration:  100 hours


Each of the lessons in this course culminates in an assignment which is submitted to the Academy, marked by the Academy's tutors and returned to you with any relevant suggestions, comments and if necessary, extra reading.

This is a course for amateurs and professionals; plant collectors and breeders, flower enthusiasts, nurserymen, landscapers, gardeners and horticulturists.

The course will stimulate your interest and set you on the path to becoming an expert with this group of well-loved plants.


Growing annuals - Course cost: £ 345

OR two payments of £ 195

Book your course NOW!

Payment Method


  • BellisBellis
  • annual beddingannual bedding
  • CalendulaCalendula