Frost-hardy annual plants are some of the easiest flowers to plant during winter. They require little maintenance once planted and come back each year. These plants are very resilient and will survive through even the harshest winters.

There are hundreds of varieties of frost-hardy annuals to choose from. You can plant them all at once or plant a few seeds weekly for several months. These plants will return each year with bright blooms, providing color and beauty throughout the season. In this article, we want to explore the best frost-hardy annuals.

Here are Some of the Best Frost Hardy Annuals

1. Wallflower

The wallflower blooms in spring and summer and is one of the easiest plants to grow indoors. This easy-to-grow perennial grows best in well-drained soil that receives some sunlight. Its flowers are very similar to those of the lily family, and they bloom in shades of yellow, white, red, pink, purple, orange, and brown.

They come in different sizes and shapes, including daisylike clusters, single petals, and double blossoms. The wallflower has long stems up to 20 inches tall with small leaves on its stem. It also produces a rhizome (a rootstock) to help increase its growth rate.

2. Geranium

Geraniums are an ideal choice for anyone wanting to add color to their home landscape. The geranium comes in many colors and forms, such as rosa rugosa, pinks, lavender, and creams. They have an upright habit, reaching heights between 12 and 18 inches. The leaves are light green, hairy, and oval-shaped.

The flowers are produced on racemes, flower clusters that look like upside-down cones. The geranium is native to Europe but has been cultivated worldwide since ancient times. Modern cultivation began around 500 BC in China.

3. Calendula

Calendulas are commonly known as pot marigolds because they do not need much space. They are also called pot marigolds, pot marigolds, and calendula. The calendula plant is usually grown as an annual herbaceous flowering plant.

The name “calendula” is derived from the Latin word “calends” which means “first day.” Calendulas are sometimes called pot marigolds, although they are unrelated to true marigolds. Calendulas produce large, showy flowers in shades of yellow, orange, and red. Their blooms last for about two weeks.

4. Cosmos

Cosmos are popularly known by their common names of zinnias, cosmos, starflowers, and sunflowers. The cosmos is a member of the composite family. The cosmos is a biennial plant that matures after 2 years. The cosmos has a large number of cultivars; some of them include: ‘Alba,’ ‘Aurora,’ ‘Bouquet de Nuit,’ ‘Cosmos,’ ‘Dorothy Perkins,’ ‘Grandiflora,’ ‘Helen Keller,’ ‘Mermaid,’ ‘Oriental Star,’ ‘Rosea,’ and ‘Sunset.’ Most cosmos are sold as seedlings, but some are available in pre-grown pots.

5. Heliotrope

Heliotropes are an evergreen plant with very soft foliage and beautiful, fragrant blooms. Some heliotropes have blue, pink, white, or violet flowers. Others have dark green foliage and reddish-purple blooms. When growing heliotropes, consider how much water you want to give them during the growing season. If you give too much water, then the plants may get roots rot.

Common NameScientific NameDescription and Characteristics
PansyViola tricolorSmall, colorful flowers with a wide range of colors and patterns. Tolerant of light frost. Excellent for early spring and fall gardens.
SnapdragonAntirrhinum majusTall spikes of tubular flowers. Blooms in various colors. Resistant to light frost. Great for adding vertical interest.
CalendulaCalendula officinalisBright orange or yellow daisy-like flowers. Cold-hardy and easy to grow. Attracts pollinators and beneficial insects.
NasturtiumTropaeolum majusRound, vibrant flowers and round leaves. Edible flowers and peppery foliage. Frost-resistant and low maintenance.
Sweet AlyssumLobularia maritimaLow-growing with tiny, fragrant flowers. Tolerates light frost. Ideal for borders, containers, and as ground cover.
StockMatthiola incanaSpikes of fragrant, clove-like flowers. Good cold tolerance. Used in cut flower arrangements and cottage gardens.
Iceland PoppyPapaver nudicauleDelicate, papery flowers in various colors. Cold-hardy and short-lived. Adds a pop of color to early spring gardens.
CornflowerCentaurea cyanusVibrant blue, pink, or white flowers. Tolerant of light frost. Great for wildflower meadows and attracting pollinators.
Love-in-a-MistNigella damascenaUnique, feathery foliage and blue or white flowers. Frost-tolerant. Self-seeds readily and has interesting seed pods.
Bachelor’s ButtonCentaurea cyanusBlue, pink, or white button-like flowers. Cold-resistant and low maintenance. Attracts bees and butterflies.

6. Dianthus

This hardy perennial flower grows up to six inches tall and produces bright flowers in pink, red, and white shades. It doesn’t bloom during the summer months due to high temperatures. However, the plant will start producing new blossoms when the temperature drops in autumn.

Cut the plant to about one inch above ground level once the leaves turn brown. You can keep the plants alive over winter by cutting them back every few weeks. In spring, you can cut the stems back to just three buds.

7. Snapdragon

There are many different kinds of snapdragons. They come in several sizes and colors. This plant is one of the most popular flowering plants because it blooms throughout the winter. In fact, it is considered a hardy perennial.

A snapdragon grows up to 2 feet tall and produces large clusters of bright yellow flowers. You can use it as a cut flower or as part of a bouquet. Snapdragons like full sunlight and average soil conditions. Give your plant plenty of room so that it gets enough light. Water your snapdragons regularly throughout the year.

8. Cyclamen

Cyclamen are native to southern Europe and Asia and are some of the easiest houseplants you could buy. Their leaves are shaped like cups, and each plant produces one bloom per season. This perennial grows best in full sun but doesn’t require much water, either. You can find cyclamens in many colors, including red, white, light blue, yellow, orange, and even pink.

9. Osteospermum

Osteospermum is mostly known as the African Daisy. This plant produces traditional daisy blooms but comes in a variety of colors. They produce traditional daisies in various colors, including blue, purple, white, and yellow.

Approximately 3 feet tall, these flowers bloom in partial shade. When temperatures are around 50°F to 60°F, they’ll produce blooming. However, they won’t blossom in the summer when temperatures reach 90°F.

10. Hydrangea

Hydrangeas are deciduous shrubs with stiff, hairy branches that are easily identifiable. There are hundreds of varieties of hydrangeas, and they all come in a range of colors. Many people enjoy growing hydrangeas in their gardens because they provide interest throughout spring and summer. They also make attractive cut flowers. Hydrangeas, however, do not tolerate cold weather well. So if you live somewhere cold, you should choose another kind of flower instead.

11. Viola

Viola is a versatile flower. Depending on the conditions, they may be perennials or annuals. There are over 400 varieties to choose from. Violas have something for everyone, whether you want bright or darker colors. They’re also heavy self-sowers, so they might keep coming back yearly. Cold weather doesn’t seem to bother them much, either.

If you live somewhere where it gets cold, Viola could be a good option for you. You’ll still enjoy blooms throughout the winter months. They’re also easy to care for and don’t need specific conditions to survive.

12. Fuchsia

Fuchsias are flowering plants that originate from South America. The name fuchsia means “foolish” in German. People often confuse these plants with rhododendrons, but they’re more closely related to azaleas.

Fuchsias come in single and double blossoms and are available in various colors, such as pink, red, white, yellow, and coral. Many people enjoy using fuchsias as centerpieces and for other ornamental purposes. If you’d like to add some color to your home this fall, consider adding some fuchsias to your garden.

13. Crocosmia

Crocosmia has been used as a decorative plant since ancient times. It’s an ornamental flower that originated in central Asia. It does well in most soil types except acidic soils. Crocosmia prefers slightly alkaline soil. The plant is low maintenance and requires very little watering. It tolerates drought quite well. Crocosmias love heat, so make sure you give them plenty of sunlight.

How to Grow Hardy Annuals?

  1. Most hardy annual plants are easy to grow, making them ideal for beginners.
  2. Germination of seeds is a challenge, however. You can grow the plants in the garden after this stage once they are hardy enough.
  3. It is important to learn about the requirements of each plant type to ensure proper seed germination.
  4. Hardy annual plants require stratification. Germination will occur because this process breaks down the seed coats.
  5. Directly sown seeds in the fall undergo natural stratification. Depending on the flower grown, seeds sown indoors may require artificial stratification.
  6. If you have been instructed to chill your seeds, follow the instructions on the seed packet.

Frequently Asked Questions [FAQs]

1. When Should I Plant Frost-Hardy Annuals?

You should plant frost-hardy annuals in early spring or late summer/early fall, depending on your climate. In colder regions, planting in early spring allows them to establish before the summer heat, while in milder climates, fall planting ensures they can bloom throughout the winter and early spring.

2. How Do I Care For Frost-Hardy Annuals During The Winter?

To care for frost-hardy annuals during the winter, provide them with proper insulation. Mulch around the base of the plants to protect the roots from freezing, and cover them with frost cloth or row covers during particularly cold nights. Water sparingly, as the soil should be kept slightly moist but not soggy during winter.

3. Can I Grow Frost-Hardy Annuals In Containers?

Yes, you can grow frost-hardy annuals in containers. Containers allow for more control over soil conditions and microclimates. Choose a well-draining potting mix and ensure your containers have proper drainage holes. Place them in a location with adequate sunlight, and protect the containers during cold snaps with blankets or move them to a sheltered area.

4. Do Frost-Hardy Annuals Require Deadheading?

Deadheading, or removing spent blooms, can help prolong the flowering period of frost-hardy annuals. Regular deadheading encourages the plant to produce more flowers rather than directing energy toward seed production. It also keeps the plant looking tidy.

5. Can I Save Seeds From Frost-Hardy Annuals For The Next Year?

Yes, you can save seeds from frost-hardy annuals for the next year. To do this, allow the flowers to mature and form seed pods. Harvest the seeds when the pods have dried on the plant. Store the seeds in labeled envelopes or containers in a cool, dry place. Properly stored seeds can remain viable for several years, allowing you to replant them in the following growing season.


There are hundreds of annuals waiting for you to choose from. These plants’ size and appearance offer unique and colorful options for any season. As mentioned above, there are several factors involved in growing hardy annuals. Some of these include climate, light, and soil. Before beginning, you must also know several things about planting, cultivation, and care.

About the Author

Virginia E. Hayes is a gardening enthusiast who loves to write about gardening tools, safety issues, and ways to keep gardens clean and safe. With her vast experience in gardening, she provides valuable insights and tips to help fellow gardening enthusiasts to enhance their gardening experience. Her passion for gardening and writing has made her a sought-after author in the gardening community.

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