Step by Step: How to quickly install annuals

March 25, 2016 -  By

Spring is approaching, which means it’s time to spruce up clients’ properties with colorful annuals. But instead of having your crews spend hours hunched over miles of empty beds, use this method from Cartwright Landscaping, a full-service design, installation and maintenance company in Richmond, Va., to install annuals quickly and efficiently using only the plastic cells they’re purchased in.

Begin by clearing old mulch and debris from the bed. Fill the bed with 1 inch of fresh topsoil compost. Separate the plants in their individual plastic cells from the flat. Carefully remove the plastic cell from the roots of the plant and set aside. Place the plants in the desired areas within the bed. Note that most cell-pack and container-grown annuals will have roots that are very well developed and dense, so it’s a good idea to loosen the roots slightly before planting.

Arrange the plants in offset rows and space them as recommended by the individual plant listing or by the nursery. A general rule of thumb is to space annuals a distance apart that equals one-half of their mature height. From here, follow steps one through three to quickly finish the job and fill the bed with colorful blooms—no digging required.

Step 1:


Gently place the plastic cells over the plants, tucking all the flowers and leaves inside.

Step 2:


Add a 2-in. layer of loose topsoil compost around the plants, followed by a more compact layer of mulch.

Step 3:


Remove the plastic containers to reveal the newly planted annuals.

Sources: Cartwright Landscaping; University of Illinois Extension

Download a PDF of this page to use as a training tool for your team, here.

This article is tagged with , , and posted in Featured, How-To, March 2016

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