Types of Annual Flowers for Your Home Garden

Annuals vary in their sizes and their climatic requirements.

Certain annual flowering plants prefer regions with warm climate while some do well in regions where cold climate is predominant. If you buy the local annuals from the nearby nursery in your area, it is a given that it would do well in your garden.

If you are planning to mail order your annuals via internet, it is more prudent to check up with your local cooperative extension or other experienced gardeners on whether the annual would do well in your climatic conditions.

Some annual flowers prefer direct sunlight in abundance while some are sun shy. Some annuals prefer indirect sunlight.

Annual flowers come in different shapes and sizes. Some flowers are large sized like sunflowers while some are dwarf sized like lobelia.

The different types of annuals with examples and pictures, based on the above criteria, are given below

Warm Weathered and Cold Weathered Annual Flowers

Annuals are usually not fuzzy about the climate. They germinate by spring and die by fall. There are some annuals who have certain preferences as far as weather is concerned.

Warm weathered flowering annuals

Warm weathered flowering annuals grow better in areas which have more sunshine and predominantly hot conditions. Examples are

  • Marigolds
  • Periwinkle

Cold weather flowering annuals

Cold weather flowering annuals grow between in areas which have a predominantly colder climate. These annuals can withstand chilly nights without shedding their buds and flowers. Examples of cold weathered annual flowers are

  • Pansy
  • Cleome
  • Calendula

Different Types of Annual Flowers Based on Sizes

It is important to be aware of the full size the plant would grow to once it is mature. It would be unwise to plant large sized annuals close to each other as they would cramp up as they grow.

Low Growing Annuals

Low Growing Annuals work like a carpet. You can set them as a base to any large flower plant or tree. Examples are

  • Alyssum
  • Portulaca
  • Fan flower

Compact Annuals

Compact Annuals are very petite in structure and give a nice look. You can grow them in small pots and on window sills. Examples are

  • Diascia
  • Pansies
  • Lobelia

Large sized annuals

Large sized annuals give off large flowers and have broad leaves. These flowers add a touch of grandeur to your landscape. Examples are

  • Zinnia
  • Sunflower
  • Cleome

Mound forming annuals

Mound forming annuals give you a clustered look. They grow in a dense fashion and give an appearance of a mound when placed in a group. Examples are

  • Impatiens
  • French Marigold
  • California Puppy

Spiky Annual flower plants

Spiky Annual flower plants add a variety to your garden through their unique spiky look. Examples are

  • Snapdragon
  • Salvis

By fall most of the annual flowers die off. It is very difficult to sustain an annual flowering plants beyond fall try as you may. They give you your money’s worth as long as they are alive.

List of Popular Annual Flowers for Home Gardening

Are you looking to grow a colorful garden full of beautiful buds and attractive blossoms? Then you cannot do away with Annuals. This group of plants make for some of the best garden flowers and are also the easiest to grow and maintain. If you are a novice gardener or a starter green thumb, you will love annuals thoroughly. Advanced gardeners use annuals in conjunctions with perennials to ensure flowers through out the year.

Annuals do have a drawback, they only live for a year. Their lifecycle begins and ends within the space of one year – hence the name Annuals. But in this small span, these plants provide a riot of flowers and blooms making the garden look like a virtual canvas. They are well worth the money you spend so don’t discard them just because they have a short lifecycle.

In this article we endeavor to provide you with a list of beautiful annuals that you can plan for your garden. We have also mentioned the popular cultivars available in the market for each type of flowering Annual. The end purpose is to help you make a quick decision on the type of annual flowers that will be suitable for your garden. So, here is the list of some of the most popular annuals.

A Garden Of Annuals


Marigolds in Full Bloom
Marigolds in Full Bloom. Photo Credit.

Just because it has become a household name does not make it any less significant as a beautiful garden flower plant. Many people tend to ignore Marigolds as clichéd but we consider them as one of the most beautiful flowering annuals. Growing marigolds can have added advantages – they are known to repel nematodes (because of their strong scent).

You don’t have to contend yourself with the an orange flower, marigolds come in a variety of color – dark red, maroon, yellow and even a shade of white. The size of a marigold plant can vary depending on the variety – it can go up to a mighty 30 inches or stay as puny as 6 inches. If you are looking to plant marigolds, be sure to heed the below tips

  1. They require plentiful sun. Excellent blooms can be expected if 6 hours of direct sun is available. If you grow them in shade the blooms will be sparse.
  2. Marigolds grow best in well-drained soils. If your garden is replete with clay soil you must consider mixing in some coarse organic matter or compost to improve the soil draining capacity.
  3. These plants are low-maintenance, they require very little fertilizing. You can add water soluble fertilizers once every few weeks or add dry organic fertilizer once before the start of the growing period.
  4. Dead heading is of course a must. Be sure to chop off the dead blossoms before they go to seed else the flowering would stop.

Different varieties of marigolds you can choose from are as below

African Marigolds – Jubilee and Antigua are the two varieties available in this cultivar. Jubilee grows up to 32 inches tall while Antigua stays a small stature of 9 inches. The flowers are large and can be as wide as 4 inches. Flowers are fully or semi double.

French Marigolds – Well suited for small hedges. They grow like bushes, short and dense. The flowers are small sized (2 inches wide at max). Flowers are single, crested or fully double depending on the variety. Several colors are available such as red, orange, gold, yellow, mahogany and bi-color.

A few varieties you should consider in French marigolds are – Bonanza, Safari, Aurora and Disco.

Signet Marigolds – Flowers have single rowed petals with a yellow center. They have a mound like framework with small flowers. The various colors available are gold, orange, mahogany and bi-color. They don’t require deadheading.

Varieties available in Signet Marigolds are Tangerine gem, lemon gem, Red gem and orange gem.

Triploid Marigolds – This is a hybrid variety. Few attractive features of this variety are

  1. They bloom early
  2. They offer large flowers.
  3. Deadheading is not required
  4. They are very versatile and stress-resistant

Zenith and Nugget are the two varieties of Triploid marigolds.


The Beautiful Impatiens
The Beautiful Impatiens. Photo Credit.

It can easily be the one the most elegant flowering plants around. The flowers are usually single row and they come in various colors such as white, pink, red, oranges, rose, lavender, purple or salmon. Impatiens are gaining in popularity as container plants as well as for over-hanging baskets. They have a tendency to cascade over the sides of the container and they grow in a very lush manner.

Be sure to grow your impatiens in clusters. They look extremely attractive this way. If you provide the right conditions, you can be sure of a carnage of blossoms throughout summer and well into the fall. The proper conditions for growing impatiens are as given below.

  1. Less sun – they prefer shade, it would be ideal to plant them in regions of your landscape whether they are exposed to morning sun but shaded from noon sun.
  2. Moist soil – Impatiens are fussy about soil moisture. One day of dry soil is enough to cause them to wither away. Be sure to keep the soil moist.
  3. Mulch away – mulching will help retain soil moisture better and is a must for impatiens
  4. No deadheading needed, of course you can cut off the dead blossom for aesthetic appeal.
  5. They require very little fertilizing and as such are low-maintenance.

You might end up having a hard time growing impatiens from seeds. They are bit finicky about the soil and moisture. The best way to grow impatiens would be from cuttings. In fact your garden can be lush with impatiens within a year if you take cuttings from time to time.

The various varieties of impatiens you can consider are as given below

Standard impatiens – You can buy the compact variety in this one called – super-elfin. If you are looking for a medium sized plant you can consider the variety called “Accent”. The series of standard impatiens that grows tall is called “Blitz 3000”. So make sure you choose the right series as per your needs.

Double impatiens – As the name suggests, this variety has double layered flowers. The rose impatiens in this variety would look like actual roses. The “Fiesta” series in double impatiens is getting really popular with its beautiful blossom and tendency to flower above the foliage.

New Guinea impatiens – there are several features in this variety that would set it apart from the standard variety. Some of them are given below>

  1. More tolerance to sun
  2. Larger blossoms
  3. Glossy flowers
  4. Thicker foliage
  5. An upright growth
  6. Better recovery in dry conditions

Hybrid impatiens – The advantage with hybrid varieties is that you end up with flowers of different colors that are out of the normal as far as impatiens are concerned. The colors you can end up with are – yellow, peach, orange and other fruity colors. The “Seashell” series of hybrid impatiens is popular for its delicate colors while the “firefly” series is popular for its small flowers.


The Petunia Trumpets
The Petunia Trumpets. Photo Credit.

The advantage you get with petunias is the variety of flower colors and their ability stay blooming from summer to fall. Thanks to various hybrids of petunias you can get flowers in almost any color except black. There was a time when the only color available in petunias was pink. Even today, the pink petunias are considered to be the most robust.

The conditions necessary for better growth and blossoms are as given below

  1. A minimum 6 hours of sun would ensure beautiful blossoms. Petunias are known to stop flowering in regions of partial shade.
  2. Petunias will die off by the start of frost unless you plant the frost-resistant variety called the “Wave” series.
  3. They required a well-drained soil for better growth. Make sure you mix good amount of coarse organic matter into the soil before planting your petunias.
  4. Might require deadheading depending on the variety
  5. They are low-maintenance plants and require little fertilizing.

The various types of petunias you can consider are mentioned below

Grandiflora – Mostly grow into mounds. The flowers are 3-5 inches wide. They are less resistant to bad weather and rains. The various varieties available are “daddy”, “cascade” and “Ultra”.

Multiflora – They grow in a more compact fashion. More prolific blooming habits. The flowers may not be are large as grandiflora but they are better resistant to weather conditions. The various varieties are “Carpet”, “Celebrity” and “Madness”

Wave – A hybrid variety that has the tendency to survive the frost climate. Flowers are available in several colors such as purple, pink, lilac and rose. They require some maintenance as they are heavy feeders. Water soluble fertilizers would need to be applied once every two weeks.

Supertunia – Tends to grow in a Vine like structure. Needs moist conditions for better growth and requires regular fertilizing. You can consider growing them in window boxes, they look attractive due to their cascading habit.


The Majestic Zinnias
The Majestic Zinnias. Photo Credit.

If you look to make a bold statement with respect to your garden flowers, you must consider Zinnia. They older original varieties have an upright growth and give off majestic flowers that have several rows of petals. The world of zinnia has progressed much, nowadays you have zinnia with a compact, low-spreading growth with flowers that are single rowed. You can grow these new low-growing varieties in containers or window boxes. They clustered flower growth looks very attractive especially when several zinnias are grow in groups.

The conditions required for better growth are as given below

  1. Ample sun – Zinnias are sun loving plants and would require at least 6 hours of direct sunlight for better blossoms.
  2. Low-maintenance – They require very little fertilizing
  3. Well-drained soil – They grow better when the soil is kept moist but is well-drained.
  4. Avoid spraying water on the foliage. Zinnia are prone to mildew and one way to protect them would be to keep their foliage as dry as possible.
  5. Fungicides may be sprayed occasionally if your zinnias develop a mildew problem.

The different varieties of Zinnias you can consider are “Star Gold”, “Starbright” and “Crystal White”. All of these varieties are compact with a low growing habit. You can also consider the new variety of zinnias called the “Profusion” series – as the name suggests you can expect a profusion of blossoms when you plant this variety.
Lobelia – They give off beautiful masses of blue flowers. Lobelias make for excellent flowering plants in regions that have a predominance of cool climate. They grow well in moist and rich soil – they are thirsty plants. It is best to allow them protection from the summer sun by planting them in regions where partial shade is available.

Conditions required for better growth and blossom are as below

  1. Protection from sun – they grow better in partial shade. Dry and direct sun can be lethal. Once they become stable they can tolerate more sun.
  2. Plenty of water – the soil should be porous and should have better water retaining capacity. Mulching is a good option.
  3. Feed with water-soluble fertilizers once in three weeks for better growth.

Though blue colored flowers are most popular in lobelias, you can also consider varieties that give off white colored and rose colored flowers. Some of the varieties that give off white colored flowers are “Snowball”, “White lady” and “White pearl”.


Sweet Fragrant Alyssums
Sweet Fragrant Alyssums. Photo Credit.

If you love clustered flowers then alyssum is a good choice. Alyssums give off small flowers in trusses, the flowers usually have a four petals arranged in a square fashion. The leaves are so small and narrow that they are also invisible when the alyssums are in full bloom. You can plant alyssum as borders, to hide the foundation or in containers. They are also known as “sweet alyssum” because of their sweet fragrance.

The suitable conditions for this plant are given below

  1. Partial shade – It is best to protect them from direct afternoon sun. Place them in regions where they get ample light but are protected from direct sun rays.
  2. Well-drained soil – They prefer moist conditions but are averse to water logging.
  3. Pruning – If they grow leggy its time for a haircut. Don’t let them droop over.

The most popular color in alyssums would be white. The other colors available nowadays are – purple, pink and rose.

List Of Commonly Grown Annuals

Beyond the popular annuals mentioned above you can also try other attractive and colorful annuals listed below.

If you love a colorful summer garden you cannot do away with annuals. Though they have a short life span, spreading over two to three seasons, they give real value for your money with their blossoms, fragrance and foliage.


Eye-catching Periwinkles
Eye-catching Periwinkles. Photo Credit.

Also known as Vinca Periwinkle, they have give off some of the most delicate and enchanting flowers.

Flowers on original periwinkle are dark blue in color.
The foliage is thick green and the stem gets woody with time.
The other colors you can consider in this variety are – red, purple, pink and white.


The Pretty Pansies
The Pretty Pansies. Photo Credit.

They give off funny looking flowers, looks as if the flowers are sticking their tongue out.

Pansies are very popular in most landscape especially for their bi-colored flowers.

You can consider buying different sizes; they are available as large, medium and compact.

They are very resilient to soil conditions and can be utilized as bedding plants.


Elegant Cleomes
Elegant Cleomes. Photo Credit.

They are also know as “spider flowers” because of the unique structure of the flowers.

They look most elegant when grow in a group.

The foliage is light and at times non-existent.

Cleomes can be the show stealers in any garden when in full bloom.


The Cute Verbenas
The Cute Verbenas. Photo Credit.

You get to have beautiful clustered flowers from spring to fall when you plant verbenas.

They are easy to maintain and resilient to most soil types.

Make sure you don’t over feed them or over-water them.

You can consider various colors in verbena such as – red, pink, mauve and purple. Deadheading would be required for continuous flowering.


The Stunning Begonias
The Stunning Begonias. Photo Credit.

They valued not only for their attractive flowers but also their foliage.

Very popular in American landscapes, they can be grow in containers, overhanging-baskets as well as indoors.

They are shade tolerant are very resilient to soil conditions.

The various colors you can go for are yellow, red, pink and white.


Clusters of Salvia
Clusters of Salvia. Photo Credit.

You won’t get enough of the flowering plants. The have a fast growth rate and the blossoms are very attractive. The flowers are small and grow in a stem like cluster that is almost breath taking. The most popular color in salvia is purple. They look very eye-catching when grow in a group.

Annuals are low maintenance plants and require very less care. Most plants are drought resistant but watering amply will help the plants generate more blooms. These heavy duty plants do better when fertilized at regular intervals, usually once in two weeks.

Identifying Sun/Shade Loving Annual Flowers

There are several annual flowers which prefer direct sunlight and grow well in full sun. These annuals are also heat resistant and survive even when the watering is scarce.

If you are living in regions where the summers are hot and last for long, where full sun is available for most part of the year, you should consider growing sun loving annuals in your garden.

Examples of Sun Loving Annual Flower Plants

A few examples of popular sun loving annuals are Marigold, California poppy, Zinnia, Alyssum, Calendula, and Periwinkle.

Annual Flowers for Shade

On the other side of the spectrum as annuals which prefer to grow in shade. These annuals may be drought resistant but they cannot withstand direct sun for long.

You will notice that in the case of shade loving annuals the leaves are thick green and have a bright hue to their flowers. The lack of direct sun ensure that they maintain the green hue of their foliage.

In the case of sun loving annuals there is a tendency to love the lush green color of the foliage due to the impact of direct sun. The leaves take on a light green hue and the flowers tend to wither away quicker.

With shade loving annual flower plants you have the advantage of longer lasting and brighter flowers.

A few examples of popular annual flowers for shade are Pansy, Impatiens, Lobelia and Begonia.

Make sure you choose the annuals based on your climatic conditions. You can check up with your local cooperative extension regarding the varieties of annuals that do well in your area. Another option would be to peek into your neighbor’s garden to check out the annuals which are doing well.

Growing White Annual Flowers in Your Garden

There are different types of annuals you can choose from, most of them vary in the structure and color of their flowers.

Where you create an annual flower bed, you can look at a uniform color theme. The best color to choose in this case would be white.

There are several annuals which have white colored flowers, that come in different sizes and shapes. A few of the popular ones are mentioned below with their pictures and description.

Popular White Annual Flowers

Annuals flowers white
Annuals flowers white

A few popular annuals which give off white colored flowers are given below. Most of these annuals would also be available in varieties yielding flowers of other colors.

Snapdragon: There flowers have a unique structure in that their face looks like a dragon’s mouth. It is a cold season annual.

Sweet Alyssum: These annuals are low growing. Alyssums have beautiful flowers and they look elegant in clusters.

White Impatiens: These simplistic looking flowers have a beauty of their own. Impatiens are mound forming annuals and look good when clustered.

White Petunias: These annuals come in different bold colors, but white petunias look graceful.

Verbena: These flowers grow in clusters and have a light yellowish center. These annual flowers offer a perfect background to a flower bed built around a soft theme.

Rose periwinkle: These flowers have white petals with a tinge of pink at the center. Periwinkles look elegant and add a charm to your garden.

Zinnia: These annual flowers have a multilayered structure which gives them a marigold look. The pollen is usually yellow colored but the petals are bright white.

Pansies: These flowers have very delicate petals. Pansies are annuals which prefer a cool weather and do well in regions where the climate is predominantly cold.

You can use a combination of these flowers in your flower bed to create a white colored theme in your garden. Certain flowers look good when grown in clusters in which case you can use a repetition of these annuals in your flower bed.

When to Plant Annuals for Best Results

The best time to plant your annuals would be towards the last frost before the start of spring.

That said you need to know that annual are very hardy and can survive most climates except severe cold. So avoid frost. If you have long summers, it’s great.

The two common times people go in for annuals are as below

Planting Annuals Towards Late Spring

Since most annuals are sensitive to extreme to medium cold, it makes sense to wait for the frost to subside before planting your annuals. Make sure the soil is no longer chilling or cold before you plant your annuals. Warm soil works best in these cases.

Few annuals you can consider planting by late spring are Cleome, Impatiens, Petunias,

Planting Annuals by Summer

Beginning of summer may be the right time to plant annuals which thrive in hot sun. There are several annuals which are drought resistant and don’t mind direct sun hitting them. If summers start early in your region, consider planting Marigold, California Poppy, Zinnia,

If you consider planting other annuals towards end of spring or beginning of summer, it should not be a problem. Just ensure that the summer heat is not intolerable.

You don’t want the annuals to go into a shock. If the soil is very hot try provide an artificial shade or plant the annuals in areas which are naturally in shade.

Watering your annuals

The annuals don’t make a lot of demands as far as watering is concerned. To ensure healthy growth however, you should provide ample watering.

Annuals are usually low care but don’t neglect them. Ensure that you soak them deeply at least twice a week.

Watering regularly would ensure that the stems stay turgid. There are more blooms on a low stressed plant. An important tip to follow is to water in the morning before sunrise if possible.

Avoid watering your annuals towards evenings. The lack of sun would usually cause water logging and lead to diseases like mildew.

Planting Elegant Annual Flower Beds

Annuals flower beds
Annuals flower beds

You can plant beautiful flower beds using annual flowers by working on the pattern and the color theme.

Based on pattern you can work out four different ways of planting the flower bed, they are

  • Layering flower bed
  • Repetition flower bed
  • Stacked flower bed
  • Common flower bed

Based on the color you can go in three types of themes, they are

  • Soft theme
  • Bold theme
  • Contrast theme

Let’s look at each in detail with examples.

Annual Flower Beds based on Pattern

Layering works great with annuals because they come in different heights and widths.

Certain annuals grow low while some have a tendency to grow to good heights. There are extremely compact annuals and then there are mound forming annuals. There are spiky annuals which have really broad and spiky leaves and flowers.

Place a row of mound forming annuals followed by another row of compact annuals. Place the low growing annuals behind the compact annuals. The large sized annuals and spiky annuals come at the end. Thus you have a beautiful layering of annuals in the flower bed.

Examples of each type of annuals is given below

Low growing annuals

  • sweet alyssum
  • fan flower
  • portulaca

Compact annuals:

  • Lobelia
  • Diascia
  • Small pansies

Large sized annuals:

  • Sunflower
  • Zinnia
  • Cleome

Mound forming annuals:

  • California puppy
  • Impatiens
  • French marigold

Spiky Variety Annual Flowers

  • Snapdragon
  • Salvis

The other three patterns of annual flower beds you can try are

Repetition: Use annuals which have the same height but different colored flower and repeat them over a space of two to three rows. It gives a uniform and graceful effect.

Stacked: You place the lower growing and mound annuals at the bottom and the medium to tall annuals behind them to create a stack effect.

Common: Be simple and just cluster the annuals of a particular size and color in different parts of your garden.

Annual Flower Beds Color Themes

You can also go in for different types of themes based completely on the color of the flowers. Few examples are as below

Soft theme: Go in for colors like light yellow, pale white, baby pink, light blue, lavender and cream. It gives a romantic and tranquil ambience. Some flowers you can try are

  • Osteospermum
  • Verbenas

Bold theme: Go for bright color which are striking like thick orange, red, purple and magenta. Examples would be

  • Petunias
  • Marigolds (orange ones)

Contrast theme: You can contrast two specific colors like blue and white, orange and bellow, red and green. A good combination would be nasturtiums and blue salvias.

The burst of colors provided by the annual flowers in your garden is quite enchanting. Watering and fertilizing adequately will keeps the plants in full bloom, just make sure you cut off the dead blossoms before they take seed.

When you prevent the annual flowers from going to the seed, they bloom continuously.