Get Your Garden Halloween Ready With These 15 Easy Annuals

Are you looking to up the spook in your garden this Halloween? In this article, gardening expert Jill Drago lists 15 annuals that are equally spooky and easy to grow.

A rectangular brown pot holds an assortment of flowers and leaves, showcasing vibrant colors. Splashes of orange, purple, and pink create a lively and harmonious display, capturing the essence of nature's palette in one charming arrangement.


Annuals are often regarded as additions to our spring or summer gardens, but did you know you can also add annuals to your fall gardens? Swapping some of your summer annuals out for fall annuals is one of the easiest ways to get your garden ready for Halloween and the rest of the fall season. 

Halloween, falling on October 31st of each year, is a holiday filled with warm autumnal colors, spooky characters, and jewel-toned hues. Jazzing up your garden with kooky plants for this holiday is easy and fun!

Below are 15 easy-to-care-for annuals in spooky colors perfect for your Halloween garden. 


A close-up of an orange celosia flower reveals its distinctive shape. Reminiscent of the brain's intricate folds, the bloom's organic curves are complemented by the surrounding leaves, creating a harmonious display of nature's elegance.
These unusual flowers offer plume-like and wavy varieties, ideal for summer and Halloween-themed gardens.
botanical-name botanical name Celospa spp. 
sun-requirements sun requirements Full sun
height height 1-4 feet
hardiness-zones hardiness zones 2-11 as an annual

Celosia and cockscomb produce unique flowers that almost have a velvety feel. While celosia produces more of a plume-like bloom, cockscomb produces a beautiful wavy and curled flower that looks like a brain, making it a great choice for a Halloween-themed garden.

Celosia and cockscomb are great choices for your summer beds, too. However, you may want to refresh them for the fall. 

Try ‘Twisted Orange’. The orange blossoms are right on point for this holiday. However, if you prefer more of a plume flower, the ‘Pampas Plume’ blend will bloom in varied fall colors, such as red, orange, pink, and yellow. 


A cluster of Chrysanthemum flowers shines with an orange hue, adding warmth to the scene. Each bloom boasts a pompom-like appearance, its intricate layers creating a captivating texture that invites closer admiration.
Chrysanthemums are fall plants that offer pom-pom flowers on fern-like leaves.
botanical-name botanical name Chrysanthemum spp. 
sun-requirements sun requirements Full sun
height height 1-2 feet 
hardiness-zones hardiness zones 5-9

Potted mums are the classic fall plant. While they may grow perennially in your area, the potted mums you grab from the garden centers in September have been grown in hot houses and will most likely not be winter hardy.

These plants produce pom-poms of flowers on top of fern-like green leaves. If you would prefer to grow a perennial mum, garden mums are available, as are perennial asters. These plants provide the same autumnal splash of color with season-long foliage tolerant of the summer heat

You can purchase mums in just about every color imaginable. To up your Halloween game, select an orange variety such as ‘Gigi’ or ‘Autumn Sunset.’ Plant your mums in your flower beds, containers, or window boxes for a quick fall fix for your gardens. 


Coleus leaves showcase scalloped edges, adding intricate texture. Their matte finish enhances the tactile allure. Their green hues are accompanied by captivating brown blotches at the centers, creating a harmonious fusion of colors and patterns.
With its vibrant foliage, coleus enhances gardens in both summer and fall.
botanical-name botanical name Coleus scutellarioides
sun-requirements sun requirements Partial to full shade
height height 1-3 feet tall 
hardiness-zones hardiness zones 10-11, grown as an annual elsewhere

Prized for its beautifully colorful foliage, coleus is a great addition to summer and fall gardens. Depending on your chosen variety, coleus can reach up to 3 feet tall.

When your coleus begins to produce flowers, pinch them off to promote more foliar growth. This pretty annual grows very nicely in flower beds, but is also very useful in containers where you may need a thriller or a filler. 

‘Chocolate Drop’ coleus has rounded green leaves with a deep crimson center that is nearly black, giving the appearance of a spider web. If you want to add some orange to your fall garden, try ‘Wicked Hot’ or ‘Sedona Sunset.’ Each of these varieties has a rusty orange color and will grow 2-3 feet tall. 

Corkscrew Rush

In a tranquil pond setting, slender corkscrew rush stems rise gracefully from the water's edge. The elongated, verdant stems exhibit a captivating twist, mirroring the playful spirals of a corkscrew.
‘Corkscrew Rush’ thrives in wet soil and water gardens for a spooky pond aesthetic.
botanical-name botanical name Juncus effusus
sun-requirements sun requirements Full sun to partial shade
height height 1-2 feet
hardiness-zones hardiness zones 5-9

While rush is not technically an annual, ‘Curly Wurly’ is usually used and grown as an annual in containers and window boxes. This grass looks like you took a curling iron to your otherwise rigidly straight rush.

Corkscrew rush loves very wet soil and grows nicely in water gardens. Add a few purple and orange lights nearby to set the mood for a perfectly spooky pond.

Adding this to your window boxes for a whimsical wickedness that reminds me of a witch’s broom. Pair corkscrew rush with mums or coleus, or grow it on its own and add some pumpkins for a pop of color. 


A close-up of a dahlia flower showcasing its lanceolate petals. The inner petals of the dahlia bloom shine in a shade of yellow. As the gaze moves outward, the red petals with pale yellow tips create a captivating contrast.
Dahlias grow from bulbs with striking flowers that last from summer into fall.
botanical-name botanical name Dahlia spp. 
sun-requirements sun requirements Full sun
height height 1-4 feet
hardiness-zones hardiness zones 8-11, grown as an annual elsewhere

With many different dahlias, finding a variety that suits your Halloween needs is easy. These stunning flowers are grown from bulbs planted in the spring or early summer, depending on where you live.

You can also purchase mature, blooming dahlias from your local garden center.  While dahlias begin blooming in the summertime, they will last well into the fall. 

The ‘Show n’ Tell’ dahlia is a dinner plate variety that produces reddish-orange flowers with yellow tips. The ‘Scura’ dahlia has dark purple, nearly black stems and anemone-style orange flowers that would be perfect for a sweet, not spooky Halloween garden. Before the frost, dig your bulbs up and keep them dry so you can plant them again next year. 

Dusty Miller

Thriving within the depths of dark soil, dusty millers exhibit their resilience and charm. Their gray foliage, with its deep serrated edges, adds a touch of elegance and intrigue to the surrounding landscape.
This plant is a versatile grey-foliaged annual, ideal for a Halloween ambiance.
botanical-name botanical name Jacobaea maritima
sun-requirements sun requirements Full sun to partial shade
height height 6 inches to 2 feet tall
hardiness-zones hardiness zones 8-11, grown as an annual elsewhere

Dusty Miller is a classic bedding annual known for its soft grey foliage. You can pair this annual with just about any plant, and it will blend nicely.

Are you seeking something with a hint of mystery or a smoky feel? Dusty Miller is the perfect plant for this!

Plant ‘Silver Dust’ by seed or purchase a few 6-packs from your local garden center. Add it to any spot in your garden where you need some freshening for fall.

This annual can grow up to two feet tall and reach widths of one foot, but if you install this plant in the fall, it will likely stay small. This makes it easy to tuck it into your existing containers. 

Flowering Kale 

A captivating close-up of a flowering kale, revealing its intricate leaves with a mix of colors and patterns. The center boasts a rich deep purple hue that seamlessly shifts into delicate purple veins, intricately branching across the green leaves.
The Peacock Red variety of flowering kale is perfect for Halloween-themed gardens.
botanical-name botanical name Brassica oleracea
sun-requirements sun requirements Full sun
height height 1 foot
hardiness-zones hardiness zones 10-11, grown as an annual elsewhere

Adding flowering kale to your garden is one of the easiest ways to take flower beds and containers from summer to fall. These frilly kale plants pair nicely with anything growing in your gardens.

Whether mums or perennials such as hydrangeas or cone flowers, flowering kale provides a really pretty foliar accent to your gardens. These plants can grow in your flower beds, but you may get more out of them if you grow them in containers. 

Try ‘Peacock Red’ flowering kale for your Halloween gardens. This variety has dark purple outer leaves with a purple center. Combine this purple kale with orange flowers, like Superbells or pansies, for a uniquely beautiful and spooky color display. 


Love-lies bleeding flowers are held by stems matching their vibrant hue, accompanied by lush green leaves. The elegant inflorescence showcases hanging clusters of tiny flowers, densely packed together, creating a graceful visual spectacle in shades of crimson-red.
This variety of amaranth is a tall annual with unique crimson-red flowers that bloom in late summer.
botanical-name botanical name Amaranthus caudatus 
sun-requirements sun requirements Full sun
height height 3-8 feet
hardiness-zones hardiness zones 2-11 as an annual

Love-lies-bleeding is an easy annual for the Halloween garden that grows tall and produces unique flowers. These flowers bloom in the late summer and into the fall.

Tiny crimson-red flowers are clustered in long racemes to create a dramatic floral show. These flowers dry very nicely if you wish to save them, or you can leave them on the plant for the birds to eat. 

Aside from the mainstay red flowers, there is a purple variety, ‘Dreadlocks,’ which only grows to 5 feet tall with the same long flowers. Sow these seeds in your garden two weeks after your last frost, or purchase mature plants from your garden center later in the season. 


A vibrant arrangement of marigolds and lush green compound leaves creates a burst of natural beauty. The marigolds stand out with their intricate layered petals, showcasing a stunning gradient of orange that fades to sunny yellow at the edges.
Marigolds are cherished annuals used for their vibrant colors and fragrance.
botanical-name botanical name Tagetes spp. 
sun-requirements sun requirements Full sun
height height 8 inches to 4 feet tall
hardiness-zones hardiness zones 2-11 as an annual

Marigolds are beautiful annuals loved for their bright colors and unique fragrance. These annuals are traditional flowers that accentuate the Day of the Dead (Dia de los Muertos) holiday.

Families will scatter these petals around in hopes of attracting the souls of their ancestors to their door. This unique purpose makes marigolds the perfect Halloween decor choice

There are many marigolds to choose from depending on your style. For a classic marigold look, try ‘Boy o Boy’. The ball-shaped flowers range in shades from yellow to orange.

My favorite marigold blend is the ‘Favourite Blend’ of French marigolds. This variety is a bit more bushy, and the flowers are smaller but plentiful. 


A display of white, purple, and yellow pansies blooms brilliantly within a circular concrete landscape curbing. Their foliage accompanies them, their leaves lush and healthy, accentuating the floral arrangement's vibrancy. The well-maintained grass stretches beyond, defining the outer edge.
Pansies bloom well in both spring and fall.
botanical-name botanical name Viola x wittrockiana
sun-requirements sun requirements Full sun to partial shade
height height 8 inches
hardiness-zones hardiness zones 7-11

Pansies are often called spring annuals, but they bloom just as nicely in the cool fall weather. These easy annuals for your Halloween garden produce large flowers that will rebloom if you deadhead the spent blossoms.

Grab a few 6-packs of pansies from your garden center and spread them throughout your containers and flower beds. The flowers will revel in the cool weather and add instant color to your yard. 

Varieties like “Matrix ® Halloween” will make the perfect seasonal addition to your fall beds and containers. This variety sports two different colored flowers: orange and black.

If you prefer a more neutral fall palette, try the ‘Swiss Giants Blend.’ The flowers in this mix could be shades of red, yellow, orange, purple, and white. 


A collection of unique 'Black Kat' pumpkins showcasing their distinct dark hue and quirky designs. Among the pumpkins, a few boast a delightful contrast as patches of vibrant orange peek through their deep black skin.
‘Jack O’Lantern’ and ‘Black Kat’ pumpkins offer a range of sizes and colors for Halloween decorations.
botanical-name botanical name Curcurbita pepo
sun-requirements sun requirements Full sun
height height 1-3 feet tall
hardiness-zones hardiness zones 2-11 as an annual

What is Halloween without a jack-o-lantern? Growing pumpkins does take a bit of foresight. Plant by seed in the spring, or purchase pumpkin plants from a local farm or garden center in the summer.

These plants are vining and can spread from 2-30 feet. There are many different types of pumpkins in a variety of colors, from classic orange to white, peach, and bluish-grey. 

If you are growing pumpkins for jack-o-lanterns, try the obvious ‘Jack O’Lantern’ variety. This variety produces pumpkins that weigh from 10-18 pounds! They’re perfect for carving and harvesting seeds for snacking.

If you would like something a little more dramatic, try growing ‘Black Kat’. Harvest the pumpkins and add them to window boxes, front steps, or table tops. 


A vibrant burst of red and purple strawflowers stand tall amidst lanceolate green leaves. The exquisite flowers, with their striking hues, proudly display yellow centers that add a cheerful touch to the overall elegance of the scene.
These daisy-like, straw-textured flowers are ideal for fall gardens.
botanical-name botanical name Helichrysum bracteatum
sun-requirements sun requirements Full sun 
height height 1-5 feet
hardiness-zones hardiness zones 8-10, grown as an annual elsewhere

Strawflower is a very pretty, tender perennial or annual that produces daisy-like flowers. The main difference is that these flowers feel like straw and come in many colors perfect for a fall garden. These flowers will bloom from spring through your first frost and make excellent cut flowers

If you would like a jewel-toned combination of colors, try the ‘Swiss Giants Blend.’ This blend has yellow, orange, white, and deep purple flowers. This plant is drought-tolerant once established and thrives in the full sun. 

Superbells ®

Superbell flowers, with their orange petals unfurled, bask joyfully in the warm sunlight, radiating a sense of vitality and zest. In the backdrop, the leaves provide a gentle contrast, their details softly diffused in a blurred tableau.
These versatile flowers shine in both summer and fall gardens.
botanical-name botanical name Calibrachoa spp. 
sun-requirements sun requirements Full sun to partial shade
height height 6 inches to 1 foot 
hardiness-zones hardiness zones 9-11, grown as an annual elsewhere

Superbells may be the star of your summer gardens and containers, but these bell-shaped flowers will perform beautifully in the fall. Grow this annual in your flower beds, containers, or window boxes.

The long vining stems will be covered in colorful flowers until the first frost. If you have been growing superbells in your garden all summer, they probably need to be refreshed to have lasting power into the fall. 

‘Tangerine Punch’ has unique orange flowers with a deep burgundy center. Hello Halloween! ‘Double Orange’ is lovely and sweet paired with rush or cream-colored mums. 

Sweet Potato Vine

Sweet potato vine leaves display a black hue, and their edges are deeply serrated. In the backdrop, the blurred expanse unveils the rich, dark soil, a nurturing foundation for the thriving sweet potato vine.
Sweet potato vine, grown as a spiller or vine, offers captivating foliage and contrasting colors.
botanical-name botanical name Ipomoea batatas
sun-requirements sun requirements Full sun to partial shade
height height 6-10 inches
hardiness-zones hardiness zones 11

This vine is typically grown as a spiller in a container or as a vine in flower beds. It creeps beautifully and provides interesting foliage to your gardens.

Sweet potato vine either grows heart-shaped or deeply cut leaves. Typically grown in shades of green, purple, or variegated, the black potato vine will add creepy contrasting color to your Halloween garden. 

‘Illusion® Midnight Lace’ is a deep purple, nearly black, variety of sweet potato vine. The leaves are deeply cut and pair nicely with Superbells, coleus, or mums. This sweet potato vine may produce pretty yet insignificant purple flowers that will hide beneath the mounds of foliage. 

Swiss Chard 

Amidst the rich, dark soil, several green Swiss chard plants flourish, illuminated by the warm embrace of sunlight. Among them, some Swiss chards showcase elegant green stems, while others boast a captivating touch of regal purple.
Swiss chard is an edible and ornamental plant for fall gardens with colorful ribs.
botanical-name botanical name Beta vulgaris
sun-requirements sun requirements Full sun
height height 1-2 feet 
hardiness-zones hardiness zones 2-11 as an annual 

Yes, Swiss chard is edible! However, it is so beautiful it doubles nicely as an autumnal annual. You can plant Swiss chard by seed or purchase nursery starts in the late summer or early fall.

If you choose to start by seed, do so about 1-2 months before you want to transplant the Swiss chard into your garden. 

‘Celebration’ Swiss chard produces classic green leaves but has brightly colored ribs in shades of orange, red, and yellow. Swiss chard will make a better splash in window boxes where the ribs can be viewed easily.

Combine Swiss chard with mums or sweet potato vine for a fun and useful fall garden. Before the frost, harvest your Swiss chard for microgreens, salads, or sautés.

Final Thoughts 

There is something very refreshing about clearing your tired summer gardens for the fall. Once that cool and crisp air settles in, it’s time to get those tired annuals out and prepare for Halloween! While tidying up your gardens, look around to see if you can harvest anything for décor. This could be pumpkins or gourds, bundles of ornamental grass flowers, dried hydrangea flowers, or any remaining dahlia or other flowers that can be used indoors. Happy haunting season! 

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