31 Annual Flowers for a Bright and Cheerful Garden

If you are looking to add a ton of color to your garden this year, annuals are perfect for the task. In this article, gardening expert Melissa Strauss shares 31 flowering annuals to spruce up the garden this year.

Vibrant red wild poppies sway gracefully, their delicate petals catching the soft sunlight. Amidst them, clusters of purple forking larkspur reach towards the sky, adding depth to the picturesque meadow scene.


If you want to add some bright and quick color to your garden, annual flowers are nearly always the way to go. While perennial plants are reliable, they tend to have shorter flowering times.  They don’t always have the blooming power of annuals. 

The biological explanation for why annual plants bloom so well is easy to grasp. These plants survive and reproduce by self-seeding. The more flowers they produce, the better the chances of the plant producing plenty of seeds. This means your plants return year after year. 

Not every annual will self-seed in your climate, but many will. They are fast growers that produce a lot of beautiful flowers in a single season. Although it may mean a bit more effort in spring, planting these 31 annual flowers in your garden can also mean a ton of long-lasting color in your flower beds

Fairy Bouquet Linaria

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Fairy Bouquet Linaria Seeds

Scarlet Flax Heirloom

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Scarlet Flax Heirloom Seeds

Bells of Ireland

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Bells of Ireland Seeds


Red zinnias display their intricate petals, vibrant against the backdrop. The blurred background reveals a tapestry of zinnias in yellow, red, and purple, accentuated by the lush green leaves surrounding them, adding depth to the composition.
Sow zinnia seeds directly into the garden after frost risk.
botanical-name botanical name Zinnia elegans
sun-requirements sun requirements Full sun
height height up to 3’
hardiness-zones hardiness zones 2-11

This annual flower adds an amazing amount of bright color to the garden in a surprisingly short amount of time. With a seed-to-flower time of only 60 days, succession planting zinnias will keep your garden flush with flowers from spring through fall until the first frost. Zinnias are easy to grow and require little care once the seeds are sown.

Direct sow your zinnia seeds as soon as the threat of frost has passed and the soil warms up. Broadcast sow your seeds directly into the garden and then thin them out once the seedlings are three inches tall. Zinnias are drought and heat-tolerant and come in a wide variety of sizes and petal forms.


Clusters of marigold blossoms, their petals ablaze with fiery red and golden tones. They flourish amidst a sea of verdant green foliage, adding warmth and vibrancy to the landscape.
These flowers serve as both edible delights and culinary garnish.
botanical-name botanical name Tagetes
sun-requirements sun requirements Full sun
height height up to 4’
hardiness-zones hardiness zones 2-11

I love to pop these annual flowers into my container arrangements to add bright color. These tough little flowers end up providing more color in my garden than almost any other flower. They have an extra-long blooming period. The flowers are edible, in addition to being beautiful, and look wonderful as culinary garnish.

Give your marigolds plenty of sunlight. They can take direct sun all day. These are incredibly heat and drought-tolerant little plants. As Mexican natives, marigolds are well adapted to hot and dry weather. Add these to your vegetable garden to attract beneficial insects and repel some of the harmful ones. 


Sunflowers rise gracefully, their sturdy stems reaching towards the sky, symbolizing resilience and vitality. The yellow petals encircle large brown centers, radiating warmth and cheerfulness in a picturesque display of nature's beauty.
The sunflowers take up to six months from seed to bloom.
botanical-name botanical name Helianthus
sun-requirements sun requirements Full sun
height height up to 25’
hardiness-zones hardiness zones 2-11

Sunflowers are among the largest annual flowers. They are a classic, bright addition to the summer garden. Start your sunflowers early in spring, as they can take up to 13 weeks to bloom from seed. Once they get started, sunflowers can bloom for eight to 12 weeks, bringing bright, happy colors to the garden. 

In addition to the classic yellow sunflowers, there are sunflowers in shades of red and brown as well. If you leave the seed heads, overwintering birds will come to visit and have a sunflower seed feast. Sunflowers like all the sun you can give them, as their name implies. On a cloudy day, they may turn to face each other rather than toward the sun.

Sweet Peas

A delicate sweet pea vine gracefully climbs, adorned with enchanting pink and purple blossoms that exude gentle charm. In the background, a lush tapestry of verdant greenery creates a soft, blurred backdrop.
Certain heat-tolerant sweet pea varieties can bloom throughout summer.
botanical-name botanical name Lathyrus odoratus
sun-requirements sun requirements Full sun to partial shade
height height up to 8’
hardiness-zones hardiness zones 2-11

Sweet peas are another annual flower with a very short seed-to-bloom time. Their bright flowers appear in as little as 50 days after planting. In mild climates, sow your sweet pea seeds in fall. They will begin to bloom in late winter, continuing until mid-summer. Sweet peas come in a wide array of colors, and their long stems make them excellent cut flowers.

Cool-weather is the ideal growing condition for most sweet peas. However, some more heat-tolerant varieties have been developed and these will bloom through the summer. Give your sweet pea plants full sun, with some afternoon shade. A bit of shade around their roots to help retain moisture and keep them blooming longer. 


Purple cosmos flowers, vibrant under the sun's glow, radiate beauty in various hues. In the backdrop, blurred green stems form a lush tapestry, enhancing the floral spectacle with their verdant presence.
Consider planting cosmos for their easy growth and drought tolerance.
botanical-name botanical name Cosmos
sun-requirements sun requirements Full sun
height height 2’-3’
hardiness-zones hardiness zones 2-11

For bright color and texture, consider planting these annual flowers this year. Cosmos are delightfully easy to grow and drought-tolerant. They also have a delightfully delicate appearance. The fernlike texture of the leaves creates a nice contrast to broadleaved plants. These are a pollinator favorite with their abundance of brightly colored flowers. 

Cosmos are fast growers, blooming about two months after germination. They make great cut flowers. Even though the individual flowers only last for a day, multiple buds per stem will continue to open after cutting them. If you leave flowers to go to seed, your cosmos will self-seed quite well. 


A cluster of poppies blooms gracefully, their delicate pink petals unfurling to reveal deep, dark centers. Greenery envelops the blossoms, providing a verdant backdrop that enhances the beauty of the delicate flowers in full bloom.
These beautiful annual flowers bloom approximately three months after sowing.
botanical-name botanical name Papaver
sun-requirements sun requirements Full sun
height height 1’-2’
hardiness-zones hardiness zones 2-11

Poppies have a rich and storied history that includes a fair amount of controversy. As a garden plant, they are simply beautiful annuals that brighten up the landscape.

They also attract pollinators and other beneficial insects. They take a little longer to bloom, about three months after planting, but they are worth the wait. 

Poppies have large, colorful flowers and are drought-tolerant. Sow the seeds in early spring for late-spring flowers that continue all summer. Poppy seeds require cold stratification, so be sure to sow them several weeks before your last expected frost. 


A snapdragon plant featuring an array of purple blossoms, showcasing a delightful spectrum of hues. The blurred background elegantly captures the abundance of these flowers, creating a mesmerizing and harmonious floral composition.
Be cautious when watering snapdragons due to their delicate roots.
botanical-name botanical name Antirrhinum
sun-requirements sun requirements Full sun to partial shade
height height up to 3’
hardiness-zones hardiness zones 2-11

Practically frost-proof, snapdragons love cool weather. You can plant these seeds in fall in mild climates and several weeks before the last expected frost in cooler ones. Fluffy confections of brightly colored flowers begin to bloom between two and three months after planting the seeds. This period may be longer in cold climates. If you direct sow, make sure the seeds aren’t planted too deeply because they need light to germinate. 

Snapdragons make excellent cut flowers. They have lush foliage that blushes slightly in cold weather. The flowers resemble tiny dragon faces that open their mouths when you squeeze the outer edges lightly. Be careful not to overwater these plants because they have shallow and delicate roots. These roots cannot absorb a great deal of water. 


Orange nasturtium flowers with delicate petals bloom vibrantly amidst round leaves, their vivid hues contrasting against the greenery. In the blurred background, lush foliage adds depth to the scene.
Planting nasturtiums early in spring delays blooming due to their sensitivity to cold temperatures.
botanical-name botanical name Tropaeolum majus
sun-requirements sun requirements Full sun to partial shade
height height 1-10 feet
hardiness-zones hardiness zones 2-11

Nasturtiums grow excellently from seeds, and flower in about six weeks after germination. Planting too early in spring can slow down the bloom time, as these are not fond of very cold temperatures. The flowers come in warm colors and all parts of the plant are edible. The leaves and flowers have a peppery flavor.

You can grow these near your vegetable garden to be used as a trap crop. They attract certain harmful insects and lure them away from your other food crops. Their rounded foliage is brilliant green and compliments the red, yellow, or orange flowers. Some varieties produce variegated foliage and flowers. 


Grow larkspurs in full sun for tall elegance and vibrant color.
botanical-name botanical name Consolida regalis
sun-requirements sun requirements Full sun to partial shade
height height 1’-3’
hardiness-zones hardiness zones 2-11

Larkspurs are tall and elegant and provide major color with their extra-long flower stems. A mass planting of larkspurs will create a wonderful backdrop for other, smaller annual plants. Sow your seeds a month before your last anticipated frost. Warm temperatures can slow down and can inhibit germination. 

You should see these begin to flower about three months after planting, and they will continue through early summer. Blooming will stop during the hottest months but can start again in fall when temperatures drop. Plant these in full sun and anticipate self-sowing, as larkspurs do this well. 

Bachelor’s Button

A cluster of round bachelor's button flowers showcase varying shades of purple, creating a harmonious display. Delicate slender stems elegantly support the blossoms, adding grace to their natural allure.
These flowers thrive in various shades and bloom prolifically with minimal maintenance.
botanical-name botanical name Centaurea cyanus
sun-requirements sun requirements Full sun to partial shade
height height 1’-3’
hardiness-zones hardiness zones 2-11

You will commonly see these bright annual flowers in cornflower blue. Some varieties produce pink flowers and white as well. I find that these plants are exceptionally easy to grow, and require almost no care after planting. They begin to bloom just six to eight weeks after germinating. The plants will produce more flowers if deadheaded regularly

In very hot climates, plant your Bachelor’s Button seeds in a space that gets morning sun and afternoon shade. In cooler climates, full sun is best. Too much shade will cause your plants to grow leggy and floppy, so make sure they get at least six hours of daily exposure. 


A cluster of tiny linaria flowers, vividly purple, catch the sunlight. Their petals seemingly aglow. In the backdrop, a lush greenery unfolds, softly blurred, enhancing the ethereal beauty of the blooms.
This annual can be grown in containers or the ground.
botanical-name botanical name Linaria
sun-requirements sun requirements Full sun to partial shade
height height 8”-36”
hardiness-zones hardiness zones 3-9

Linaria is a great annual addition to the garden. It produces lots of bright flowers that resemble tiny snapdragons. These flowers come in a wide array of different colors. The plants are small and delicate, with sprays of flowers that bloom from spring through summer, lighting up the flower bed. 

You can easily grow linaria in containers or the ground. Sow seeds as soon as the ground is workable in late winter or early spring. They take about 70 days from planting until they bloom and come in many colors. Sow the seeds on the surface of the soil in full to partial sun. 


Blue love-in-a-mist flowers rise gracefully on slender stems, casting a serene aura. Their intricate petals hold a captivating allure, inviting admiration and wonder. Surrounding them, feathery leaves sway gently, adding a touch of elegance to their ethereal presence.
Mixing Love-in-a-Mist seeds into a wildflower mix accelerates their growth.
botanical-name botanical name Nigella damascena
sun-requirements sun requirements Full sun
height height 15″-24″
hardiness-zones hardiness zones 2-11

Love-in-a-Mist adds not only bright annual color but a beautiful texture to the flower garden. The small, bright blue flowers are surrounded by delicate fernlike foliage. This stands in attractive contrast to many broad-leafed plants. It also practically grows itself. Mix these seeds into a wildflower mix and delight at how quickly they pop up.

No need to worry about soil pH with this plant, as it isn’t picky as long as the soil has good drainage. It readily re-seeds itself if the pods are left on the plant. With its fast growth rate, you could see flowers from spring until fall. 


Fuchsia pink impatiens flowers contrast beautifully against green leaves. Their delicate petals bloom elegantly amidst the verdant foliage, bringing a burst of color to the sidewalk's edge where they thrive in the warmth of the pavement.
Consider planting impatiens in partial shade for extended blooming.
botanical-name botanical name Impatiens walleriana
sun-requirements sun requirements Partial to full shade
height height 6″-24″
hardiness-zones hardiness zones 10-11

If you have a spot that doesn’t get much sun, consider planting some beautiful impatiens. These plants work perfectly in dappled shade, like beneath a small tree or in the shadow of a shrubbier plant. They are surprisingly sturdy plants that bloom for an extended period, from late spring until the first frost

Look for impatiens in shades of red, pink, purple, peach, and white. Their bright green, ovate leaves serve as a dense backdrop for the bright, colorful flowers. These plants grow nicely in a container or the ground, in rich soil that holds moisture, as these are water-loving flowers. The more sun they receive, the more water they will need to stay perky. 


Bright calendula flowers shine under sunlight, their orange petals absorbing the warm rays. In the background, green foliage complements the radiant scene, all bathed in the gentle glow of the sun's embrace.
Plant calendulas in early spring for the best growth and blooming results.
botanical-name botanical name Calendula officinalis
sun-requirements sun requirements Full sun to partial shade
height height 1’-2’
hardiness-zones hardiness zones 2-11

Once grown primarily for its medicinal usefulness, Calendula makes a very attractive, bright addition to the ornamental flower garden. It also has beautiful, edible flowers with petals that make a beautiful tea or addition to salads. The flowers come in warm shades of orange, yellow, and bronze. 

Calendula prefers full sun exposure and well-drained soil. It does need regular watering to flower its best. This is not the right plant if you’re building a drought-tolerant garden. Plant early in spring because this cool weather plant will slow down flower production during the heat of summer. But, it may flower again in fall as long as it is given enough water throughout the hot months. 

Morning Glory

A close-up captures the vibrant blue morning glory flower amidst deep green leaves, radiating natural beauty. In the backdrop, a blurred village unfolds beneath the expansive canvas of a serene blue sky, evoking a tranquil countryside setting.
Consider planting Morning Glory for a colorful vine with graceful vining stems.
botanical-name botanical name Ipomoea
sun-requirements sun requirements Full sun to partial shade
height height 8’-10’
hardiness-zones hardiness zones 2-11

For a colorful vine, consider planting morning glory. This plant has graceful vining stems and beautiful heart-shaped foliage. These characteristics make it wonderful for climbing any structure that needs a bit of decoration. The trumpet-shaped flowers come in a wide array of colors. They open in the morning, closing when the afternoon heat sets in. 

Morning glories do their best blooming in full sun, and they prefer moist soil to dry. The early morning flowers are a first morning food for butterflies and hummingbirds. If you prefer not to allow your morning glories to self-seed, deadhead them regularly. Otherwise, allow them to go to seed, and they will return next spring. 


A cluster of delicate white orlaya flowers blooms gracefully, their petals unfurling like delicate lace in the sunlight. Beneath them, green foliage thrives, providing a verdant backdrop to the ethereal beauty above.
This blooms continuously throughout summer if planted successively after the last frost.
botanical-name botanical name Orlaya grandiflora
sun-requirements sun requirements Full sun
height height 18”-36”
hardiness-zones hardiness zones 2-11

With all of these beautifully colorful flowers, why not add some lacey white beauties to the mix? Orlaya is similar in appearance to Queen Anne’s Lace. The difference is that the flowers have a ring of larger petals on the outer edge. This creates a multi-dimensional appearance. The stems are long and strong, and the plant has a shrubby form that produces a mass of snow-white flower heads. 

Orlaya will grow in full sun, but it won’t mind sharing a partially shaded space with your Impatiens either. Plant these right after your last expected frost date. Then plant more every 2 weeks in succession for continuous blooming in summer.


Under the warm sun, numerous pink phlox flowers bloom gracefully, casting a vibrant spectacle. Their delicate petals, in shades of soft pink, gracefully encircle the rich fuchsia centers, creating a mesmerizing contrast in the garden's embrace.
Plant phlox seeds before the last frost for fragrant blooms.
botanical-name botanical name Phlox drummondii
sun-requirements sun requirements Full sun to partial shade
height height 6″-15″
hardiness-zones hardiness zones 2-11

This little Texas native is great if you want to add some fragrance to the flower garden. Phlox are frost tolerant. So, plant your seeds up to a month before your last expected frost to give them a head start. They may go dormant during the hottest months of the summer but are likely to return to bloom in fall. 

In mild climates, sow in fall for early spring flowers, and late winter in cooler climates. Phlox are fast growers and can flower in as little as six to seven weeks after sowing. They make a wonderful addition to the cutting garden, and pollinators will appreciate their appearance. Phlox grows in full sun or partial shade.


A close-up captures the delicate blue flax flowers with green centers, radiating natural beauty. Supported by slender green stems, the flowers are gracefully encircled, illustrating the intricate balance of nature's design and the vitality of the plant's structure.
The seeds of the flax plant are edible and rich in amino acids.
botanical-name botanical name Linum grandiflorum
sun-requirements sun requirements Full sun to partial shade
height height 6″-18″
hardiness-zones hardiness zones 2-11

Flax is best known for its use in making textiles, specifically, linen. It’s also a beautiful flowering plant for the garden, and easy to care for. This is a hardy plant that doesn’t mind hot, dry weather, and can tolerate full sun or partial shade. Flax self-seeds, so once it is in your garden, you’re likely to see it return for many years to come. 

Speaking of flax seeds, the seeds from certain varieties of this plant are edible. They are known to be rich in amino acids. Pollinators love the brightly colored flowers, and they are cold-tolerant.  These seeds can be planted a month before the last expected frost in cooler climates. In warm climates, fall sowing is best, and will bring early spring flowers. 

Bells of Ireland

A close-up reveals a cluster of green Bells of Ireland flowers, each delicate bloom nestled amidst foliage. In the blurred background, similar flowers mingle with scattered rocks, creating a natural, harmonious scene.
These germinate at 50°F (10°C) after planting seeds a month before the last frost.
botanical-name botanical name Moluccella laevis
sun-requirements sun requirements Full sun to partial shade
height height 2’-3’
hardiness-zones hardiness zones 2-11

Bells of Ireland is a uniquely beautiful annual flower with bright green calyxes that house small white flowers. These calyxes are bell or cup-shaped and face outward rather than turning downward. Stems make nice cut flowers, and they dry beautifully as well. 

If you’d like your bells of Ireland to self-seed, simply leave the flowers at the end of the season to go to seed. Plant seeds a month before your last expected frost, and they will germinate when the soil temperature reaches 50°F (10°C). 

California Bluebell

A close-up of tubular California bluebell flowers, vibrant in purple hues, capture the sunlight. Behind them, a blurred backdrop reveals dense foliage, enhancing the contrast of the radiant blooms against the shadowy greenery.
California bluebells are drought-tolerant plants beloved by bees.
botanical-name botanical name Phacelia campanularia
sun-requirements sun requirements Full sun to partial shade
height height 8”-16”
hardiness-zones hardiness zones 5-10

The garden will be abuzz with both native and honey bees with California bluebells in the mix. This easy-growing, drought-tolerant plant produces cornflower blue blooms that are bell-shaped and upturned. They don’t mind cold weather and remain small, so they make a great border.

Plant your California bluebells in spring, summer, or fall depending on your climate. In cooler climates plant a few weeks before your last frost, and nearly year-round in mild climates. These work well in full sun or partial shade. 


Slender stems gracefully hold clusters of blue flowers, the iconic bluebonnet. In the blurred background, a tapestry of more bluebonnet blooms and lush greenery creates a serene natural scene.
Bluebonnets should be planted in fall for early spring blooms.
botanical-name botanical name Lupinus texensis
sun-requirements sun requirements Full sun
height height 6”-18”
hardiness-zones hardiness zones 4-8

This darling species of lupine is the state flower of Texas, to which it is native, among other neighboring states. In mild climates, plant your bluebonnets in fall for early spring blooms. In cooler climates, plant seeds as soon as the ground is workable. Scarify your seeds for enhanced germination. 

Tall flower stems are topped with clusters of blue flowers that almost have a glowing, ultraviolet quality. This makes them very popular with bees. Bluebonnets are drought-tolerant and can thrive in poor and disturbed soil. Slightly alkaline soil is best, but not as important as proper drainage. 


Two muted green pots gracefully showcase thriving petunia plants, their delicate tendrils cascading over the edges. Deep purple and pink petals burst forth, intermingling with the rich green foliage.
Provide ample moisture while planting petunias in full sun.
botanical-name botanical name Petunia x atkinsiana
sun-requirements sun requirements Partial shade
height height 8”-15”
hardiness-zones hardiness zones 10-12

Petunias look great anywhere, but I find they work exceptionally well in hanging baskets. They also make a lovely combination fill/spiller in container gardens. They have a bit of a trailing habit. These bright, trumpet-shaped annual flowers are delicate and have a spicy, clove-like fragrance. 

Plant petunias in full sun, but give them plenty of moisture. Your petunias will let you know they are thirsty by wilting and drooping. These plants provide long-lasting garden color. Even though flowers are short-lived, plants produce a large quantity of blooms. 


Angelonia flowers with vibrant slender, green stems, showcasing delicate white blossoms. In the background, a soft blur highlights a plethora of similar flowers, creating a lush and captivating atmosphere.
Fast-growing Angelonia thrives in zones 9-11 and as an annual elsewhere.
botanical-name botanical name Angelonia
sun-requirements sun requirements Full sun
height height 1’-2’
hardiness-zones hardiness zones 9-11

Angelonia is perennial in zones 9-11, but commonly grown as an annual elsewhere. It is a fast grower and blooms for a significant portion of the year. Nicknamed the summer snapdragon, the flower spikes resemble this garden favorite, but the individual blooms are smaller. They are heat and drought-tolerant, which snapdragons are not, so they make a nice alternative in summer. 

Sow your seeds two to three weeks after the threat of frost has passed in rich, well-draining soil. Keep the seedlings moist until they are established. A sunny space with good airflow is perfect for these plants. They don’t mind heat and humidity and don’t require deadheading for continuous summer blooming. 


Celosia flowers in shades of purple, capturing their intricate textures and delicate petals in exquisite detail. The blurred background gracefully highlights an enchanting sea of celosia blooms, creating a mesmerizing tapestry of floral beauty.
The velvety and unique flowers of celosia add striking color and texture to gardens.
botanical-name botanical name Celosia argentea
sun-requirements sun requirements Full sun to partial shade
height height 9″-18″
hardiness-zones hardiness zones 2-11

Another excellent plant for adding color and textural interest is celosia. These relatives of amaranth have velvety flowers that vary in structure from brain-like to flamelike. The flowers are unusual and add a really interesting flair to the garden, as well as cut floral arrangements. They also dry well. 

Celosia is frost tender, refrain from planting these until after the last expected frost. Plant them in full sun, and rich, moist soil. I find that celosia is a heavy feeder. If you plant these near other flowers, make sure to fertilize regularly to keep everything around it thriving. 


In a brown rectangular container, a  geranium plant thrives, its foliage lush and green against the backdrop. Its blossoms paint a lively scene with shades of red, purple, and white, adding a delightful burst of color to the arrangement.
These versatile plants thrive as perennials in zones 9-12.
botanical-name botanical name Pelargonium
sun-requirements sun requirements Full sun
height height 1’-2’
hardiness-zones hardiness zones 2-11

Geraniums are sometimes grown as annuals, but some varieties will grow as perennials in zones 9-12. They prefer cooler weather, so growing these plants in very warm climates can be tricky. They are slightly frost tolerant and won’t die back until the temperature drops below freezing. However, in summer, they will go dormant once the temperature rises into the 80s (above 27°C).

These plants are great for growing in hanging pots or containers. This way, they can be moved to have some protection from the hot afternoon sun. This will prolong their bloom time and protect their foliage from scorch. Grow your geraniums in full sun and well-drained soil that is neutral or slightly alkaline. 


Vibrant yellow tickseed flowers bloom gracefully, their delicate petals unfurling in the sunlight. A cluster of slender stems supports the blossoms, creating a striking display that adds a burst of color to the garden landscape.
Optimal conditions for tickseeds include ample sunlight with occasional afternoon shade.
botanical-name botanical name Coreopsis tinctoria
sun-requirements sun requirements Full sun
height height 2’-4’
hardiness-zones hardiness zones 2-11

Tickseed is one of those plants that I rarely see without a pollinator or two hanging around. Their cheery flowers are nectar-rich and colorful, drawing the butterflies from neighboring yards right into your garden. They are somewhat frost-tolerant. In my experience, they can withstand freezing temperatures well, but they stop blooming when it gets cold. 

They grow well in full sun, but during the summer, some afternoon shade will keep them happiest. They are somewhat drought and heat-tolerant, but hot summer temperatures can cause them to drop their flowers. 


A collection of pots arranged neatly contains vibrant pansy plants, each pot housing a unique floral beauty. The pansies boast a mesmerizing display of deep purple and sunny yellow hues.
Ample watering and deadheading promote flower production for pansy plants.
botanical-name botanical name Viola x wittrockiana
sun-requirements sun requirements Full sun to partial shade
height height 4”-9”
hardiness-zones hardiness zones 6-10

I love the cold tolerance of pansies, which will grow throughout the winter in milder climates. Here in zone 8, they grow all winter as long as I bring them under cover if the temperature drops below 30°F (-1°C). These small, colorful flowers are wonderfully soft and fragrant, and they are edible as well. 

Pansies can survive the summer, but their blooming will decrease significantly. Give your pansies lots of water and make sure to deadhead, as this will make them produce more flowers. Some varieties have long stems and make very pretty cut flowers. 


A vivid close-up captures the intricate details of a ranunculus flower, boasting numerous dense orange petals. In the background, a soft blur reveals a lush array of purple flowers and foliage, creating a delightful contrast of colors and textures.
These dense-petaled flowers in various colors thrive in cool weather.
botanical-name botanical name Ranunculus
sun-requirements sun requirements Full sun to partial shade
height height 18”-24″
hardiness-zones hardiness zones 8-10

Ranunculus are picture-perfect flowers with intensely dense petals. The flowers bloom in a wide range of colors and color combinations. These are cool-weather plants. In warmer climates, they should go in the ground in fall to give them ample blooming time before the summer heat causes them to stop flowering. 

Plant them in full sun in cooler climates. In warm climates, afternoon shade is ideal to prolong the bloom time. They prefer rich, loamy soil with good drainage. Waterlogged Ranunculus corms rot easily, so you may need to amend your soil if it is clay-heavy.


A cluster of purple verbena flowers blooms abundantly, showcasing nature's rich palette. The fuzzy stems gracefully intertwine, providing sturdy support to the exquisite flowers, enhancing the overall beauty of the floral arrangement.
The verbena plant blooms from early summer to fall and commonly self-seeds.
botanical-name botanical name Verbena
sun-requirements sun requirements Full sun
height height 6″-72″
hardiness-zones hardiness zones 4-11

There are different types of Verbena with various growth habits, from low-growing, trailing types, to very tall, stately plants with long, thin stems. All types are very popular with pollinators. Plant verbena in full sun, as this warm weather plant can tolerate eight to ten hours daily. 

These plants prefer slightly acidic soil that is well-drained but moist. Most varieties will bloom beginning in early summer and continuing through the fall. They will commonly self-seed. If this is not desirable, deadhead them to reduce self-seeding. 

Globe Amaranth

Purple globe amaranth flowers sit atop lush, green leaves in a garden. The flowers form spherical heads, densely packed with tiny blossoms, creating a stunning contrast against the green foliage.
This frost-tender perennial boasts globe-shaped flowers in shades like pink and red.
botanical-name botanical name Gomphrena globosa
sun-requirements sun requirements Full sun to partial shade
height height 1′-2’
hardiness-zones hardiness zones 2-11

Globe amaranth is a frost-tender perennial that will survive the winters of Zone 9 and higher. In most of the country, these pretty little flowers are grown as an annual. The fun little globe-shaped flowers come in bright, warm shades like pink and red, and make great cut flowers, as they have a long vase life. 

The more often you cut your globe amaranth flowers, the denser the plant will grow. If you prefer a looser appearance, leave the flowers be. Pollinators love this plant and will visit the garden regularly. The flowers are particularly attractive to butterflies. 

Indian Blanket Flower

A close-up of an Indian blanket flower, its red petals edged with sunny yellow, stands out against a softly blurred backdrop of another blossom. The intricate details of the flower's center are accentuated by the contrasting hues.
The Indian Blanket Flower showcases remarkable ease of growth and drought tolerance.
botanical-name botanical name Gaillardia pulchella
sun-requirements sun requirements Full sun to partial shade
height height 1’-2’
hardiness-zones hardiness zones 5-9

This is a favorite of mine for its incredible ease of growth and re-seeding ability. Indian blanket flower is a long bloomer. It produces brilliant red and yellow flowers throughout most of the summer and into the fall months. It colonizes easily, especially in warm climates, and forms a blanket of flowers, hence the name. 

Indian blanket flower grows well in poor and sandy soils. It is great for coastal gardens as it is salt tolerant, and it is very drought tolerant as well. The stems and leaves are slightly hairy, which protects them from intense sun exposure. 

Final Thoughts

Planting a variety of annual flowers will bring tons of color to your garden this season. While some prefer heat and others are cool weather bloomers, planting a wide variety of these annuals will keep your garden bursting with color and pollinators throughout most of the year. 

Vibrant purple Creeping Thyme flowers bloom in clusters, forming a mesmerizing carpet. The tiny blossoms showcase delicate petals, adding a burst of color. The lush green leaves of Creeping Thyme create a dense and textured ground cover resembling a vibrant lawn.

Ground Cover

How to Plant, Grow, and Care for Creeping Thyme

If you’re looking for a low-maintenance groundcover that will cut down on mowing and smells great, creeping thyme is perfect. In this article, gardening expert Melissa Strauss will tell you how to replace your lawn with an aromatic herb that pollinators love, too!

Russian sage will be more compact and floriferous after the Chelsea chop.

Ornamental Gardens

What is the Chelsea Chop? Tips for Perennial Pruning

If you’ve never heard of the Chelsea chop, then you’re in for a treat. This quick and simple method of spring pruning is perfect for many types of perennials and can result in more abundant blooms and extended bloom periods. Join organic farmer Jenna Rich as she tells us what the Chelsea chop is all about and provides tips for how to do it best.

A beige, blue, and rock-walled home features beautiful rock bed gardens.

Gardening Tips

How to Find the Right Plants For Your Home’s Style

Looking for plants that are right for your home but not sure where to begin? Wondering what style of architecture you have and what kind of plants will best enhance it? In this article, certified master gardener Liz Jaros takes a look at the home styles that apply to most residences and suggests plants that are well-suited to each.

A vibrant California garden showcases a myriad of wildflowers, each boasting its unique color and shape. Bathed in the warm sunlight, the flowers burst into full bloom, creating a picturesque scene that captivates with its natural beauty and diversity.


27 Native Wildflowers for California Gardens

A garden full of native wildflowers is a beautiful sight with benefits for the gardener and the ecosystem. In this article, gardening expert Melissa Strauss shares 27 gorgeous native wildflowers for California gardens.