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Winter Flowers: Growing Annuals

Jan 18

If you pick cool-season annuals, the frigid days and nights of winter may set the setting for spectacular blossoms. These lovely plants have a lot of floral power, blooming from fall through winter in warm climates. These cool-weather flowers are ideal for fall and spring plantings in colder climates.

Try a handful of these annuals to add some cool-season color to your landscape in winter. Unless otherwise specified, all hold their own in pots or planting beds.


Bachelor's Buttons

The ruffled blue flowers of this flower generate careless drifts of color that are ideal for planting beds. This cottage garden classic is also available in pink and white, and makes a lovely bouquet. Blooms entice you. Butterflies are attracted to seedheads, which attract birds.

Plants freely self-sow. To prevent self-sowing, remove wasted blossoms. In warm zones, look for seedlings or sow seed in the fall; in cold zones, spread seed outside 7-14 days before the last frost date in the spring. For further information, go to the webpage of your local Cooperative Extension System.

Plant Dimensions: 12 to 36 inches tall and 12 to 18 inches broad.

Plant in well-drained soil in full sun to moderate shade; too much shade causes plants to droop.



Calendula blooms are daisy-like and come in a variety of colors, including conventional yellow, deep orange, pastel colours, and bicolor mixes. Flowers can be solitary or double, and they have the ability to self-sow.

To stimulate branching and more flowers, pinch seedlings. Removing wasted blooms encourages the formation of additional flowers. Both the petals and the leaves are edible. Use blossoms to decorate desserts or add fresh or dried to salads, soups, or rice.

Plants range in size from 12 to 24 inches tall and broad.

Where to Plant: Fertile, well-drained soil in full sun; in hotter zones, give afternoon shade.


Flowering Stock

Spikes of clove-scented flowers appear in colours of pink, purple, white, lavender, scarlet, and yellow on these plants. Pollinators are attracted to single or double blooms. The leaves are a grayish-green color.

Plants should be placed near outdoor seating areas, pathways, or entrances so that you may enjoy the smell. To encourage additional blooms to develop, snip spent flower spikes.

Plant Dimensions: 12 to 36 inches tall and 9 to 18 inches broad.

Where to Plant: In humus-rich, consistently wet soil in full sun to moderate shade.



These plants have dainty Snapdragon-like flowers that cover them in vibrant color. Look for blooms in purple, blue, yellow, white, red, and a variety of other colors. Nemesia like wet soil, so don't let it dry out too much between waterings.

Many new kinds don't require the removal of spent flowers, making this a low-maintenance beauty. If you're buying a plant, check the tags to determine if it has to be deadheaded.

Plant Height and Width: 12-18 inches tall and 6-12 inches broad.

Where to Plant: Full sun to light shade, especially in the afternoons; evenly wet, well-drained soil with organic content.


Viola & Pansy

Include Pansy and Viola in your landscaping patterns for nonstop color. In warm climates, these cheery bloomers boast pleasant blooms that bloom throughout winter. Consider Violas to be a smaller version of Pansies, with tiny blooms and a shorter size.

Pansy and Viola flowers come in a variety of hues, from solids to bicolors to watercolor mixes. Petals can have typical beards and faces or not. Plants normally form clumps, however new trailing varieties are also available.

Pansy is 4-10 inches tall and 9-12 inches broad, while Viola is 6-9 inches tall and 6-12 inches wide.

Where to Plant: Moist, well-drained soil with organic matter added; full sun to light shade.



Snapdragons are a typical cottage garden flower with spikes of blossoms that open and close like a dragon's jaws. Flowers in practically every color except genuine blue may be found. Tall varieties are ideal for cutting.

Pinch seedlings at the time of planting to encourage branching. Tall kinds can be staked to maintain their stems straight. The new heat-tolerant Snapdragons bloom all through the spring and summer.

Dwarf (8-12 inches tall, 6-8 inches wide), middle (12-24 inches tall, 8-10 inches wide), or tall (8-12 inches tall, 8-10 inches wide) (24-36 inches tall, 9-15 inches wide)

Use on moist, well-drained, organic-rich soil in full sun.


Sweet Alyssum

Sweet Alyssum is a ground-hugging perennial beauty with delicate flowers in purple, white, pink, and apricot colors that make colorful mats. Flowers with a honey aroma attract bees, and plants attract pollinators.

Sweet Alyssum is a wonderful plant for edging or as a front-of-the-border plant. It grows well in rock gardens and between flagstones. Plants will die if the soil is too wet.

Plant Height and Width: 4-9 inches tall and 6-12 inches broad.

Use on well-drained, rocky soil in full sun, with afternoon shade in hotter zones.


Heat-resistant annuals

Replace wasted cool-season annuals with heat-tolerant annuals once the chilly weather passes but before summer heats up. As the temperature rises, these heat-loving plants provide nonstop color to your garden.