Annuals to Color Up a Southern Fall and Winter

While you may know that pansies, flowering kale, and snapdragons provide wonderful color and can withstand cooler temperatures, there are plenty of alternatives to consider for those with Southern addresses. To lengthen your summer bloom season through the shorter, cooler days of fall and early winter, select annuals that can handle a light frost.

Annual Flowers that Bloom Through Fall in the South

Sweet Alyssum

(Lobularia maritima)
Close up of sweet alyssum flower clusters with new buds that are white, blending to purple as they mature
Sweet Alyssum is a reliable garden favorite that offers clusters of dainty pink, purple or white, delicately perfumed flowers on mounding plants. Just make sure to plant it in a location where its scent can be enjoyed! For the best performance, keep it watered and fertilize it monthly.


(Calendula officinalis)
close up of both, orange and yellow, calendula flowers in a garden
The glowing color of calendula’s daisy-like flowers are a warm spot in the cool winter landscape and make excellent cut flowers that can be enjoyed indoors, as well. Deadhead (remove finished flowers) regularly to prolong the bloom time.


(Dianthus chinensis)
close up of vibrant magenta pink picotee dianthus flowers
An excellent cool-season annual, dianthus provides masses of richly colored, fringed blooms. China Pinks or Indian Pinks, as they are also called, are perfect for cutting to use in fresh bouquets. Remove any faded blooms to encourage new growth.


(Gazania hybrids)
close up of orange, gold, white, and rose gazania flowers planted along a stone wall
It’s like summer never ends with Gazania’s vibrant, daisy-like blooms. Flowers come in a range of orange, red, rose, yellow and white with many that display blends of two colors. The flower petals close at night, and on dark, cloudy days, and reopen with the sunshine.


(Petunia x hybrida)
close up of white and hot pink petunia flowers
Petunias are a summer favorite that can also tolerate a bit of chill. Trimming your petunias when they get leggy in late summer will encourage new growth and flowering to keep your plants looking good well into late fall.


(Tagetes species)
close up of orange and gold French marigold flowers
The bright oranges and yellows of marigolds are the perfect accent to warm up the cooler days of autumn. Remove the faded flowers to encourage the formation of new buds. A pot of marigolds makes a colorful accent or centerpiece for a dining or end table on your patio or deck.


(Lobelia erinus)
close up of deep blue, pink, and purple lobelia flowers
The cool color palette of lobelia is a refreshing escape from the hot yellows, reds, and oranges of summer. Flowers are available in soothing shades of blue, lavender, rose, and white. Lobelia looks best in locations where the trailing foliage can grow freely over the sides of a retaining wall, pot, or in a hanging basket.


(Verbena x hybrida)
close up of purple and pink verbena flowers held above the plant's deeply textured foliage
Use verbena’s wide variety of colors to create bright spots of color throughout your garden. Verbena has beautiful, textured foliage and dense clusters of flowers that can survive light frosts. Trailing types make a lovely choice for hanging baskets and pots, where the foliage and flowers can cascade over the sides of the container.

Evergreens Bring Color to Southern Gardens in Winter

row of Japanese cedar trees creating a hedge

Evergreen trees and shrubs are the perfect backdrop for colorful flowering annual plants, bringing life to winter landscapes. Many conifers prefer the cooler weather of northern regions but there are a few species that are right at home in the heat of the South. Learn which conifers are right for your landscape in our guide to Growing Conifers in the South.

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