Sufficient water is always important for growing plants, but even more so for productive annuals; consider it fuel for the ongoing show. Moisture hydrates the roots, plumps up the leaves, makes buds swell and open, and sustains the flowers. Don't allow your annuals to wilt before being revived or they'll be stressed out and unable to perform their best. Regular watering is ideal. Keep the following in mind when setting up a watering schedule for your annuals:

i Spring watering: If your area gets normal, drenching spring rainfall, your newly transplanted-into-the-garden annuals may not need supplemental water from you. But remember how important early watering is — it encourages the roots to gain a foothold in their new home before the plant can properly turn its attention to growth and flowering. So water on day one and keep an eye on things in the ensuing days and weeks.

i Summer watering: Established annuals tend to be pretty tough and often forgive your watering lapses. But they'll certainly be healthier and look much better if you give them water at regular intervals and nurture them through periods of drought.

i Fall watering: In some areas, rainfall may take care of your annuals at this time of year. But if not, continue to water as needed so your annuals look terrific right up to the finish line (the first frost).

Your best watering methods depend on how many annuals you have and how close together they are. Options range from a gentle spray from a watering can to soaker hoses to a sprinkler. Watering in the morning hours is best so the water can soak in and hydrate the annuals through the hot midday.

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