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Hardy Annuals for Your Flower Garden

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Annuals are plants that bloom in the same year that they are planted. A hardy annual is an annual plant that can tolerate frost and its seeds can tolerate a cold winter.

The seeds of hardy annuals can be sown in the open garden in early spring or autumn. The seeds of hardy annuals can germinate in cold soil and the seedlings and mature plants can withstand frost.

The seeds of hardy annuals also can winter over outdoors and germinate the following spring. (There are hardy, half-hardy, and tender annuals. Tender annuals are plants that are easily killed by a light frost and their seeds can not survive outdoors through winter. Half-hardy annuals can withstand light frost, but their seed can not overwinter outdoors in cold regions.)

Hardy annuals can withstand frosts in autumn and winter as well as spring. They can be started in late summer or early fall and will grow until killed by a hard freeze. A hard freeze is several hours of temperatures at 28°F (-2.2°C) or colder.

Hardy annuals are a good choice for early spring and late summer and early autumn planting. They do not grow well in the warm time of the year; most hardy annuals will bolt and set seed when temperatures climb into the 80°sF (26°sC).

Grow hardy annuals in late winter and early spring. Grow tender annuals in summer. Grow hardy annuals again in autumn and winter.

Basket flowers, Centaurea
Basket flowers, Centaurea

Hardy Annuals

A-G Common NameBotanical Name
Baby blue-eyesNemophila menziesii
Basket flowerCentaurea americana
BlanketflowerGallardia pulchella
California poppyEschscholzia californica
CalliopsisCoreopsis tinctoria
Chinese forget-me-notCynoglossum amabile
Globe candytuftIberis umbellata
Gloriosa daisyRudbeckia hirta


White Flowering Flax, Linum grandiflorum
White Flowering Flax, Linum grandiflorum
F-P Common NameBotanical Name
Field poppyPapver rhoeas
Flowering cabbage and kaleBrassica oleracea
Flowering flaxLinum grandiflorum
Forget-me-notMyosotis sylvatica
FoxgloveDigitalis purpurea ‘Foxy’
Johnny-jump-upViola tricolor
Mountain phloxLianthus spp.
PansyViola x wittrockiana
Pot marigoldCalendula spp.


Rose campion, Lychnis coronaria
Rose campion, Lychnis coronaria
R-Z Common NameBotanical Name
Rocket candytuftIberis amara
Rose campionLychnis coronaria
Rose of heavenLychnis coeli-rosa
Satin flowerClarkia spp.
Spider flowerCleome spp.
StockMatthiola incana
SunflowerHelianthus spp.
Sweet alyssumLobularia maritima
Sweet WilliamDianthus barbatus
Texas bluebonnetLupinus texensis
ToadflaxLinaria maroccana

Also of interest:

Caring for Annual Flowers

Designing with Annual Flowers

Tender Annuals

Written by Stephen Albert

Stephen Albert is a horticulturist, master gardener, and certified nurseryman who has taught at the University of California for more than 25 years. He holds graduate degrees from the University of California and the University of Iowa. His books include Vegetable Garden Grower’s Guide, Vegetable Garden Almanac & Planner, Tomato Grower’s Answer Book, and Kitchen Garden Grower’s Guide. His Vegetable Garden Grower’s Masterclass is available online. has more than 10 million visitors each year.

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