10 Cool Weather Flowers

Many gardeners don’t realize that there are some flowers that perform better in cooler weather. These cold tolerant flowers can be used to brighten your garden, porch or patio during the cooler days of early spring or late fall into early winter. Here are ten cool season annuals that will extend your enjoyment of flowers from early spring right into the first frosts of winter.

10 Cool Season Annual Flowers

1. Lobelia

(Lobelia erinus)
a cascade of blue lobelia flowers on a granite rock ledge
This flowering annual is a popular choice for hanging baskets or window boxes where the foliage and flowers can cascade over the sides. Lobelia can also be used as a bedding plant, in the foreground of flower beds or as a border along walkways. Lobelias expand a gardener’s color palette by offering some of the truest blue flower shades available in the plant world.

2. Stock

(Matthiola incana)
close up of lavender, purple, pink, magenta and white stock flowers
Stocks are a must-have when creating a fragrance garden. Their sweet scent fills the air. Stocks love cooler temperatures and flowering may taper off in the hottest part of summer, then increase again in fall. Taller varieties are a favorite for creating fragrant cut flower arrangements.

3. Viola

(Viola species)
terra cotta pot filled with a colorful mix of yellow, purple, and burgundy bicolor violas
Viola (commonly called violets, pansies or violas) is a genus of flowering plants in the violet family Violaceae. These hardy little flowers love cool weather and come in many cheerful color combinations. Viola plants bloom best in early spring and then again in late fall. Violas are easy to grow and make great borders or fillers for containers or garden beds. They’re a good pollen source at times of the year when other flowers aren’t as plentiful.

4. African Daisy

(Osteospermum hybrid)
colorful close up of a dense planting of yellow, bronze, and lavender African daisy flowers
African daisy is a cool season annual that blooms from early spring to late fall. They grow well in both, gardens and containers and the can overwinter in regions with frost-free winters. When deciding where to plant African daisies, keep in mind that the flowers close at night, so you can’t see their beauty after the sun falls.

5. Dusty Miller

(Centaurea cineraria)
close up of the silvery foliage of dusty miller plants
Dusty miller is a plant that is most often grown for its leaves, rather than flowers. Its silvery gray leaves bring a glow to the landscape and create a beautiful contrast to brightly colored annuals. Along with its good looks, dusty miller’s soft, often deeply cut foliage, adds texture and visual interest to the garden or mixed containers.

6. Dianthus

(Dianthus species)
close up of red, pink, and lavender dianthus flowers
Dianthus is a genus, which contains over 300 species of flowering plants in the family Caryophyllaceae. This group does well in cool weather and includes carnations, garden pinks, sweet William and other related plants. Dianthus flowers are sometimes called “pinks” because their fringed petals look like they’ve been cut with pinking shears. Flowers have a lovely fragrance that smells faintly of cinnamon and cloves.

7. English Daisy

(Bellis perennis)
close up of red, pink, and white English daisy flowers
English daisy is technically a tender biennial plant, but it is grown as an annual in regions with freezing winter temperatures. An ornamental plant native to Europe and Asia, English daisies are members of the Asteraceae family. Wildflower meadows, herb gardens, cottage gardens and flower beds are common places to use this cold tolerant flower.

8. Snapdragon

(Antirrhinum majus)
close up of bright spikes of pink and orange snapdragon flowers
Snapdragons are colorful annuals that thrive in sunny flowerbeds or containers. They bloom best in the cool temperatures of spring and fall and will sometimes survive right up to the first dusting of snow. These stunning flowers range in color from white and yellow to orange, red, pink and purple. Look for tall varieties to add height to a garden design or cut flower arrangement.

9. Pot marigold

(Calendula officinalis)
dense planting of orange and yellow calendula flowers in full bloom
Calendula, also known as “pot marigold”, is an easy-to-grow, cool-season annual. They’re popular for growing in pots, a flower border, or in a vegetable garden where their bright flowers help attract pollinators. Calendulas are deer resistant making them a good choice for landscapes frequented by deer. Flowering peaks in spring, often slows down in the heat of summer, and resumes in the fall. Calendula readily reseeds to produce more plants.

10. Alyssum

(Lobularia maritima)
lavender and white sweet alyssum flowers spilling over a rock ledge
The tiny flowers of sweet alyssum are cherished for their fragrance. They also attract butterflies, bees and other pollinators. Plants are available with flowers in shades of white, pink and purple. Best of all, they’re a cold-tolerant flower you can continue to enjoy as the temperatures drop.
Cold-tolerant flowers aren’t the only way to get the most out of an entire growing season. There are many vegetables that prefer cool temperatures as well. You can Extend the Growing Season with a Cold Frame to enjoy the earliest – and latest – possible harvests of fresh vegetables.
wooden cold frame with the lid lifted to show young lettuce, onion, and herb plants

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