Annuals to Color Up a Southern Fall and Winter

Rectangular planter box filled with purple and white pansies and petunias placed on the top of a stone wall

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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)

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.

Close up of sweet alyssum flower clusters with new buds that are white, blending to purple as the flowers open and mature

Calendula (Calendula officinalis)

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.
Close up of orange and yellow calendula pot marigold flowers in a garden

Dianthus (Dianthus chinensis)

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.
Close up of vibrant magenta and white picotee dianthus flowers in a Southern garden

Gazania (Gazania hybrids)

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.
A colorful mix of orange, yellow, and white gazania planted in front of a rustic stone wall in a southern garden

Petunia (Petunia x hybrida)

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.
Petunias for a southern garden in a mix of white and magenta pink blooms

Marigold (Tagetes species)

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.

Close up of annual orange French marigold flowers growing in a southern garden

Lobelia (Lobelia erinus)

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.
Close up of blue, purple and pink Lobelia erinus used as edging in a southern flower garden

Verbena (Verbena x hybrida)

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.

Close up of purple and pink clusters of annual verbena flowers held above the plant’s beautiful, deeply textured foliage

Evergreens Bring Color to Southern Gardens in Winter

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.

A row of Japanese cedar trees creates a privacy hedge in a southern landscape


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