While perennials are celebrated for their low-maintenance qualities and ability to come back year after year, annuals are beloved for their rich and bright blooms that can last for weeks and weeks. If you crave beautiful flower blooms in your garden all Summer long, then you need to plant some annuals in your yard!
Whether you’re looking for bright colors, height, or interesting flower petals, there’s an annual out there for you just waiting to be planted.
The Benefits of Planting Spring and Summer-Blooming Annuals
Annuals differ from perennials in many important ways you should know about, especially if you’re new to gardening. Put simply, annuals grow for only one season and must be replanted every year if you want to enjoy them in your garden next Spring and Summer.
This means you’ll have to purchase new plants or seeds every single year. Perennials on the other hand, can grow in the same spot for several years without having to be replanted.
Yes, annuals are a little more work than perennials in terms of planting every year BUT annual flowers definitely reward you with extended bloom periods and seriously colorful blooms.
Also, some of the most beloved and popular flowers are annuals. When you plant any of the flowers below, you can enjoy beautiful blooms through the Fall season and reap the benefits of your hard gardening work until early frost!
Another benefit of planting an annual is that it gives you the opportunity to experiment and figure out which flowers you like or dislike. If you love a particular flower, you know you’ll repurchase it next year, and if you don’t, you’ll know that you need to search for new flower varieties to try out next year; it’s part of the fun of gardening.
Planting Spring and Summer Annuals from Seed
Here’s something else that’s beneficial to annuals: they’re much more affordable than perennials, especially if you grow them from seed. Growing annuals from seed is not a difficult process and it’s actually an excellent way to get started in gardening.
You get to watch the growing process from seed to bloom all in the same year, which is a great motivator to keep gardening and beautifying your yard. If you’d like to grow a garden bed full of annuals, I recommend going with a seed mix because you’ll be able to grow multiple varieties of annual flowers at once with less hassle and for the price of a couple of seed packets.
Make sure to either start your seeds indoors several weeks before your zone’s last frost date if you live in a cold zone with a long Winter or plant them directly in the ground after the last frost if you live in a warmer zone as I do (I’m in Zone 9b so I can start planting directly in the ground around February).
Now let’s delve into 16 of the most stunning annuals that would make any garden-lover swoon!
Summer-Blooming Annuals That Bloom All Summer Long
Begonias area a classic annual. This waxy flower is a stunner and one of the most beloved annuals around. The deep green foliage gives way to small, wax-like petals and a yellow center. They bloom from June to frost and come in shades of white, pink, red, and multi-color combinations. They’re incredibly low-maintenance and easy to grow! Begonias thrive in moist and fertile soil and can tolerate extreme temperatures. If you plan to use these as ground covers, try growing them indoors from seed a few weeks before Spring! (To learn how to start seeds indoors, check out this seed-starting guide).
2. Celosia Spicata
This is one of my favorite annuals because it’s so unique and rich in color. Also known as Feather Celosia, this flower is famous for its unique and feather-like blooms, and comes in deep shades of red, burgundy, yellow, or orange. It blooms from Summer to frost, so it’ll brighten up your garden for WEEKS on end. Provide it with moist, fertile soil and full sun. If you love a showy garden, then this annual is a must-have.
Poppy flowers are some of the most well-known annuals and for good reason. There are many different varieties, and some are actually grown as perennials. They can grow anywhere from 1 to 8 feet tall and will grow throughout the Summer! Make sure you look closely at blooming times before you purchase your seeds or potted plants, as some poppies have different blooming seasons. If you have containers that you want to fill in your yard or balcony, poppies are a perfect choice because they grow very well in pots.
Here’s another popular annual. In fact, I don’t know any gardener who HASN’T grown petunias in their yard – they’re that popular! They come in several shades including purple, pink, blue, white, and yellow, so they’re perfect for adding variety and pops of color throughout your yard. The good news is they’re very low-maintenance, so if you’re a beginner gardener, this is an excellent flower to start with. Add petunias to the containers on your porch or patio if you have pots you want to fill. Make sure to provide them with organic matter and moist soil!
5. Yellow Marigolds and Signet Marigolds
If you crave pops of bright yellow or orange in your garden, give the signet marigold a try. This annual can grow from 6 to 12 inches long and can bloom during Summer and Fall. Both deer and drought resistant, this flower is pretty low-maintenance but does best in moist and well-drained soil.
This gorgeous dahlia-like flower will bring height and a rich shade of purple to your garden. It blooms from Summer to frost and can grow in Zones 1-10. Zinnias are a wonderful flower to add to your cut garden, especially since they attract butterflies and hummingbirds! Plant zinnias in an area that gets full sun.
This annual is beloved for its clusters of soft white petals and for its ability to grow vigorously as a ground cover. It also produces fragrance, so add it to your yard if you crave a fragrant garden! This annual can grow up to 4 to 8 inches and requires moist soil with good drainage. This plant will wilt if dehydrated so make sure you water regularly.
8. Spider Flower
The Spider Flower aka Cleome Hassleriana produces fragrance and can grow up to 6 feet tall. It features unique spider-like stems of tiny petals that bloom from June to frost. Plant it in an area that gets full sun or partial shade and provide it with medium, well-drained soil. You can find this flower in shades of white, pink, and purple.
9. Sweet Pea Vine
This vining annual is the perfect choice if you don’t want to commit to a vine that will grow for years on end. Plus, it produces beautiful blooms that give off a lovely fragrance. Make sure to deadhead this beauty and provide it with fertilizer to encourage growth. Try adding sweet pea to your cutting garden so you can fill your indoor vases or bouquets when it blooms!
10. Angelface Blue Angelonia
It’s hard to believe this beautiful flower is so low-maintenance, but it is. It requires full sun and will bloom throughout the Summer because it LOVES heat! Angelonias are hardy annuals that are drought tolerant and can grow up to 2 feet tall.
11. Superbena Verbenas
If you’re looking for a pretty annual that is heat, drought, AND mildew tolerant, you’ll want to grab some Superbenas on your next trip to the garden center! You can find Superbena Verbenas in several different shades including purple and red. This annual plant produces large clusters of small flowers that bloom from June to frost. It can also be grown as a perennial if you live in a zone that doesn’t have cold Winters.
You can never have enough petunias when you’re creating beautiful containers or filling a garden! The beauty of the Supertunia, a newer variety of the petunia, is that it doesn’t need to be deadheaded – it’s self-cleaning! This particular annual features deep purple blooms that grow up to 12 inches in height – just look how they stand out in the sea of red Supertunias and yellow marigolds! It grows well in containers and hanging baskets, so you can grow this beauty on your balcony if you don’t have a yard. This annual loves moisture and will bloom from Summer to frost. Fertilize to provide nutrients for vigorous growth and blooms.
13. Sonota Mix Cosmos
This daisy-like flower can be found in a variety of bright colors and they’re pretty low-maintenance, too. Their long and slender stems can reach up to 6 feet tall! Add them to your garden bed or to your containers, and use their blooms as cut flowers to add variety to your vases and bouquets. Cosmos aren’t fussy about soil so don’t overwhelm them with fertilizer. However, you definitely need to deadhead these beauties to encourage the development of new flowers.
14. Moss Rose
Moss Rose is one of the hardiest annuals around and is an excellent starting point for gardening beginners. It can tolerate both heat AND drought. You can find Moss Rose in several shades including pink, red, yellow, and orange. This low-maintenance flower is perfect for growing in containers and will produce blooms without deadheading! Make sure not to overwater, however, as this sun-loving flower doesn’t do well in overly moist soil.
How can you not love dahlia flowers? This daisy-like flower is a beautiful addition to full sun gardens and containers. It’s one of the most popular annuals for Summer and Fall color, and it pairs perfectly with other annuals on this list. Dahlias perform well in sandy soils and are cold-hardy in Zones 8-11. Sart your dahlia seeds indoors if you want to get a head-start on the growing season. (Click here to learn how to start seeds indoors).
If you crave a striking flower in your yard, the sunflower is it. They come in different colors, too. Choose the yellow varieties for some serious bright color or go with darker ones for a little drama. Grow these Summer annuals in average, well-drained soil that’s slightly alkaline. Make sure to keep the soil moist because they do love their water! As with other plants that have tall but thin stems, they might need staking, especially if you live in a windy area.
There you have it, some of the most beautiful and easy-to-grow annuals that will bloom all Summer long! Whether you start from seed or purchase potted plants from a nursery, these annuals will prove their worth to you with their long-lasting blooms.