Best Spring Annuals
Plant these hardy, beautiful annuals in your garden for a pretty show all season long.
Dress your beds and containers for spring with annuals that withstand the season’s wild temperature swings. This roster includes beauties like pansies, the classic cool weather favorite, which opens blooms that stand up to light frosts.
Plant breeders have crafted pansies that spread, similar to Wave-type petunias. The result is the Cool Wave spreading pansy, which cascades artfully from hanging baskets or scampers happily along planting beds. Look for this spreader in a host of hues, including raspberry (shown).
But pansy is just the tip of the annual iceberg that looks great even despite any lingering spring chill. Check out a few of our favorite annuals for spring. Many of these cool weather-worthy annuals segue effortlessly into summer, too.
Blood Orange Sunsatia Nemesia
Turn up the color with the glowing hues of Blood Orange nemesia. Flowers unfurl in a rainbow of shades from bright to soft pastels. This spring bloomer needs good drainage to thrive. For best performance, tuck it into pots or raised beds. Once summer arrives with night temps that hover over 70 F, flowering slows. Trim plants by one-third, and wait for cool weather for blooming to start again.
Bright Lights Swiss Chard
Bright Lights Swiss chard sprouts a kaleidoscope of rainbow tinted stems in the garden. This chard is an All-America Selections award winner, which means it grows well in all regions. The bright stems blend beautifully in flower beds and make an eye-catching addition to garden bouquets. Stems and leaves are ready for harvest 4 to 5 weeks after planting from seed. Chard tastes great juiced, braised or steamed. Or use leaves and stems to dress a colorful salad.
Shock Wave Petunia
Petunias thrive in cool weather and supply color that sails from the chilly nights of early spring through summer heat to fall frost. Shock Wave petunias, including Pink Vein (shown), are one of the earliest flowering Wave types. Small flowers make this petunia a great team player in container gardens with other annuals. Or tuck it into planting beds for a non-stop flower show all season long.
For real flower power, plant Soprano Compact Purple osteospermum, which blooms from early spring to hard fall frost. This purple charmer is a low-maintenance annual that doesn’t need deadheading. New flowers form fast enough to cover faded blossoms. Use it in containers or planting beds, but be sure to feed it regularly for best growth. Soprano Compact osteospermum grows 10 to 12 inches tall. Flowers beckon bees and other pollinators like crazy.
Snow Princess Sweet Alyssum
Snow Princess sweet alyssum opens fragrant white blooms that sparkle in spring’s cool weather and summer heat. Most sweet alyssum peters out when temperatures soar, but Snow Princess flowers all summer long—even in Southern heat and humidity. Flowers are sweetly fragrant and lure butterflies, bees and all kinds of good pollinator insects. Plants never set seed, so they keep blooming until a hard freeze. Use Snow Princess as a full sun ground cover or in containers.