31 Annual Flowers That Will Bloom All Summer Long
Trying to figure out which annual flowers to plant this season that will bloom all summer long? This is a struggle for many gardeners! In this article, hobby gardener Jason White explores 31 different flowers that are considered annuals (even if some are technically perennials). Each of these flowers can be planted as annuals, and each of them should bloom all the way until first frost.
To fill your garden with color all summer, there are many different annual flowers to pick from that will bloom all summer long, depending on your hardiness zone. While perennials offer a yearly return, they tend to have a shorter bloom. You’ll find that annuals bloom quickly and in the right conditions, even for most of the year!
In the following list, you’ll find our favorite annuals that will stay blooming until winter. It’s important to note that many of these can be “classified” as perennials. However, many are in fact, grown as annual flowers, depending on your hardiness zone. In most circumstances, growing them as annuals will yield the best blooms.
Your strategy should be to choose annuals that bloom across all seasons in your particular growing zone. So, let’s dig in and look at our full list of annual flowers that generally grow in summer through the first frost of winter. Hopefully it will help you create a garden full of beautiful flowers that will provide you with joy all summer long!
- 1 Ageratum
- 2 Chrysanthemum
- 3 Cockscomb
- 4 Cornflower
- 5 Cosmos
- 6 Dahlia
- 7 Felicia Daisy
- 8 Gerbera Daisy
- 9 Geranium
- 10 Gomphrena
- 11 Impatiens
- 12 Lantana
- 13 Marigold
- 14 Moonflower
- 15 Morning Glory
- 16 Nasturtium
- 17 Nigella
- 18 Pansy
- 19 Petunia
- 20 Primrose
- 21 Salvia
- 22 Snapdragon
- 23 Stock Flower
- 24 Sunflower
- 25 Sweet Pea
- 26 Toto Rustic
- 27 Twinspur
- 28 Verbena
- 29 Vinca
- 30 Wax Begonias
- 31 Zinnia
- 32 Final Thoughts
Scientific name: Ageratum houstonianum
For annual flowers that work as filler for your garden, consider Ageratum. Also called Floss Flower, this flower type produces clumps of wispy flowers in bright colors. It’s prized for its classic blue color, but also comes in purple, pink, and white. It can grow to be over 2-feet tall.
Ageratum is easy to grow and has a long bloom period. It does well in zones 2-11. Plant them after the last freeze in spring, and you’ll have blooms until the first freeze of winter. It thrives in all kinds of soil, as long as it’s moist. It benefits from partial sun in warmer climates and full sun in cooler climates.
Scientific name: Chrysanthemum morifolium
While Chrysanthemums are classified as a perennial, they are often grown as an annual. They are bloom in a wide range of colors and sizes. It grows anywhere from 1- to 4-feet tall. Commonly known as mums, you’ll find them in full bloom in pots around the beginning of fall. For your garden, plant them in early spring.
They do well in zones 3 through 11. Keep the soil rich and slightly moist. With full sun and regular deadheading, you’ll have blooms all summer and fall. They withstand cold and heat well. If you live in a warmer climate, you could see blooms late into winter!
Scientific name: Celosia argentea var. cristata
Among hardy annual flowers, the Cockscomb is one you’ll likely plant each year, especially if you live in cooler climates. It has large, velvet-like blooms in deep shades of red, orange, and yellow. Its stem grows up to 12-inches long.
While it grows in zones 2-12, it thrives in warmer climates. Plant it after the last frost in spring. With full sun, moist neutral soil, and weekly watering, it will produce flowers through fall.
Scientific name: Centaurea cyanus
Cornflowers are a stunning addition to your annual flower garden. The pompom-style head on a tall stem comes in a variety of colors, including white, pink, and even a light shade of blue. However, its classic color is true blue. Give it full sun, and it will grow up to 2-feet tall.
Cornflowers grow well in zones 2-11. To get the most out of this flower, plant it after the last freeze in spring. It blooms for about two months. Pinch it back every month, give it quality soil and water weekly. Do this, and you’ll reap bloom through the fall.
Scientific name: Cosmos bipinnatus
Cosmos is another perennial, but often grown as annuals depending on the variety and your climate. These low-maintenance flowers are perfect for beginner gardeners! Cosmos have a recognizable, daisy-like shape with simple petals and a long stem. Find them in a range of colors, from white and yellow to burgundy. Some Cosmos grow between 1- to 4-feet tall.
While they do well in zones 2-11, all Cosmos need to thrive are full sun and moist soil. The key to fast blooms all year is to deadhead high on the stem.
Scientific name: Dahlia
Dahlias are considered tender annuals, but can be overwintered. Loved for their intricate array of small petals, Dahlias come in a variety of patterns. You’ll find them in every color of the rainbow. Growing up to 4-feet tall, they can make a great addition to your garden from spring through the fall.
Dahlias take in zones 3-10. Unlike some annual flowers, dahlias are grown from tubers, not seeds. For the best success, plant them deep in warm soil once the weather is mild. Give them full sun and water regularly for gorgeous blooms later into the season.
Scientific name: Felicia amelloides
Felicia Daisies have a petite daisy shape with bright blue petals on a long stem. Go with Felicia Daisies if you’re looking for annual flowers that repel deer and rabbits.
This flower will grow in zones 2-11. After the last frost of spring, plant it where it will get full sun until the late afternoon. Prune it back midsummer when the first blooms start to fade, and it’ll bloom again until the first frost of winter.
Scientific name: Gerbera jamesonii
Gerbera Daisies are stunning annual flowers that present a spray of long petals around a circle of micro flowers. They can have single or double petals in varying shades of red, yellow, orange, pink, and white. The flowerhead spans between 3-5 inches in diameter with a stem of 8-18-inches.
A low-maintenance option, Gerbera Daisies prefer warm climates but will grow in zones 5-10. Give them slightly acidic soil and weekly watering. They thrive in the ground with full sunlight. To enjoy their blooms all summer and fall, prune and deadhead at least every other week.
Scientific name: Pelargonium
Also called “Scented-Leaf Geranium,” add these fragrant annual flowers to your garden near a walkway to enjoy their scent. They have bushy, curly leaves and small white, pink, or red flowers with 5 distinct petals. If allowed to, their foliage can grow up to 6-feet tall!
Plant them in the spring and have flowers well into winter. For a stronger scent, keep soil neutral and water sparingly. Prune regularly and deadhead to encourage new blooms. Just be aware that Geranium is highly poisonous to dogs, cats, and horses.
Scientific name: Gomphrena globosa
Make an impact in your garden with these sweet annual flowers. Gomphrena produces brightly colored bracts with feathery leaves that contain the flowers inside. These globe-shaped bracts come in all colors of the rainbow and attract pollinators. They usually grow a few feet tall.
While Gomphrena should be planted when it’s warmer, it’s otherwise easy to grow in zones 2-11. Give it neutral, sandy soil, full sun, and regular water. Then leave it, and you’ll have blooms until winter.
Scientific name: Impatiens spp.
Impatiens are some of the most popular flowers grown. They are both annuals and perennials depending on your hardiness zone. You’ll find these popular annual flowers in hanging baskets every spring. Impatiens come in a range of colors and shapes but generally have 5 delicate, wide petals. They grow low and enjoy the shade.
They do well as annuals in zones 2-11. Give them partial sun or full shade. They need to be watered regularly but also need well-drained soil. Pinch back the stems regularly to encourage blooms until the first frost.
Scientific name: Lantana camara
Many lantana varieties are perennials depending on your location. But there are also cultivars that fall into the annual category. A tropical flowering shrub, Lantana is a great addition to your garden. You’ll enjoy the bright clusters of small flowers that come in a rainbow of colors. Grow them in their own pot or bed, so they don’t crowd out other plants.
Surviving well past the first freeze of winter, Lantana does well in zones 2-11. It needs full sun and regular watering in slightly acidic soil. Prune it back after the first blooms, and you’ll have flowers all year long.
Just be aware that they are very toxic to all animals and are restricted in some areas where they’re considered invasive.
Scientific name: Tagetes spp.
Marigold is a big hit with its elaborate pleated petals in yellows, oranges, and golds. The bloom sits on top of a long stem and can grow up to 6-feet tall. It’s valued for its medicinal benefits. Most Marigolds are annuals, but they are often mistaken for perennials due to the fact they can sow themselves.
These hardy annual flowers grow easily in zones 2-11. Plant them in the spring, where they get full sun with moist, neutral soil. Water them every few days in the spring and once a week once they mature. Pinch off the first buds and then deadhead regularly to see abundant blooms through the fall.
Scientific name: Ipomoea alba
Moonflowers are only perennials in subtropical climates, and annuals everywhere else. This stunning flower is a great addition to any garden. Considered a version of Morning Glory, Moonflower is a tropical flower that stays open all night. The trumpet-shaped head has a stunning white color. Its delicate vine can grow 10- to 15-feet high.
A perennial in zones 10 and 11, Moonflower is an annual in all lower zones. Plant seeds near a trellis before the last frost, and you’ll have blooms all summer and fall. Give it full sun and moist soil. It isn’t picky with soil quality.
In tropical climates, Moonflower is considered invasive.
Scientific name: Ipomoea purpurea
This flowering vine gives a lovely presentation when its buds open in full sun. Morning Glory’s trumpet-shaped head comes in shades of white, pink, purple, and blue. It has large heart-shaped leaves and vines with tendrils. These tendrils will attach to any kind of support and grow up to 10-feet tall.
Morning Glory does well in zones 2-11. It needs full sun to fully open each day and likes well-drained soil. Seed it when the ground is warm and enjoy blooms from summer through fall.
Keep in mind that the seeds are poisonous when consumed in large quantities. Store seed packets away from where children can reach them to prevent consumption.
Scientific name: Tropaeolum
Technically, nasturtiums are perennials, like many on this list. But most people grow tem from seeds as annuals. Nasturtium comes in a variety of sizes and shapes. You can find them in combinations of red, yellow, orange, pink, and purple. The trumpet-shaped flower opens up into 5 petals. While some variations of this vine climb as high as 10-feet, some stay low to the ground and crawl up to 3-feet wide.
Hardy through zones 2 to 10, you can plant this flower and leave it alone. Just give it partial sun, moist soil, and weekly waterings. In most climates, it’ll produce blooms from spring until the first frost. Be careful when planting though, as the some nasturtium is invasive.
Scientific name: Nigella Damascena
Nigella can be found in blue, pink, purple, and a striking white with black seeds. It can have single or double rays of paper petals around a raised seed pod. It’s also called “Love-in-a-mist” for its wispy, thin leaves.
Nigella does well in zones 2-10. Put out seed once it’s 60-degrees Fahrenheit outside. To get the most blooms out of Nigella, seed every three weeks into summer. Water weekly and provide the flowers with rich, neutral soil. This and deadheading regularly will extend the life of Nigella until the first frost.
Scientific name: Viola x wittrockiana
For annual flowers that truly grow all season long in your garden, consider pansies. Like other flowers on this list, in warmer climates, these can be perennials. But if you live somewhere where it gets more than a few short freezes, consider this an annual. These charming flowers have 5 petals: 4 pointing up and 1 pointing down. Pansies come in an impressive variety of color combinations. They don’t grow very tall, or they flop over on a thin stem.
Pansies are ideal cold-weather flowers. They thrive in zones 6-11, as they prefer cool soil. Plant them in early spring for blooms until summer. They’ll rest in the heat and come back in the fall until well after the first snow. To encourage the most blooms, give them moist, fertilized soil and partial sun. Deadhead plants as blooms die.
Scientific name: Petunia
Today you can find all kinds of hybrids of Petunia. Look for solid colored varieties, speckled and striped. You’ll find single or double petals that can be curly or smooth. Petunias come in every color you can think of except blue. They have furry, sticky leaves and short stems. These annual flowers are prized for their sweet scent.
For the best experience, grow Petunias in zones 8-11, where summers are mild. They don’t take to heat well, but otherwise are easy to care for. Just water them weekly and give them moist, acidic soil. Deadhead them regularly, and you’ll have blooms from early spring through the first frost of fall.
Scientific name: Primula spp.
For a flashy spring flower to fill in a garden still coming out of winter’s sleep, go with primrose. All primroses have a bowl-like flowerhead of 5 rounded petals. You’ll find them in every color of the rainbow except green. Some varieties grow in clusters of buds, while others have a bud on a single stem.
They do well in zones 2-8. Primroses need a cool area with partial shade. While you can’t force primroses to bloom, they show quickly in early spring and thrive in the right environment. To see blooms until the end of summer, give them regular water, nutrient-rich soil, and indirect light.
Scientific name: Salvia officinalis
Also known as Common Sage, the flower of this herbaceous plant is stunning and lasts through the fall. They are generally considered an annual flower depending on the climate. Salvia produces tall stalks full of small purple flowers. These annual flowers attract all kinds of pollinators. The entire plant with flower stalks will usually grow to be a few feet tall.
Salvia grows in zones 3-11. Plant it after the last frost of spring, and you’ll have flowers in a few weeks. Cut back dying buds to have blooms through fall. This plant likes full sun and moist, neutral soil.
Scientific name: Antirrhinum majus
Snapdragons get their name from the 2-part flowerhead that resembles a dragon’s nose. The flowers even “snap” closed after bumblebees push them open to reach the pollen inside. These short-lived perennials are best planted as annuals. They grow in groups on stalks that are a few inches high. They come in bright colors of all kinds, and some release a sweet scent.
You can grow them in zones 2-11. They take time to bloom, so seed indoors before the last frost of spring. They like full sun in cool climates. Give them neutral soil and regular water. Snapdragons will give you the most blooms in the spring and summer. To extend blooms, give them partial shade and keep the soil moist.
Scientific name: Matthiola incana
Stock Flower has clusters of small double-petal blooms on a long stem surrounded by narrow leaves. Choose from shades of red, orange, yellow, pink, purple, and white. It can grow between 1- to 3-feet tall.
A lover of cool weather, Stock Flower thrives in zones 7-10. Plant it after the ground thaws, and it’ll bloom until the harsh heat of late summer. In milder climates, it could last until the first frost. Give it neutral soil and regular water. Partial sun and regular deadheading will keep blooms coming until the end of the season.
Scientific name: Helianthus annuus
While there are several variations of Sunflowers, the most popular has short yellow petals around a large brown base with a 3-6 foot stem. You can find different giant and dwarf versions in a variety of colors.
Grown in zones 2-11, Sunflowers are heliotropic annual flowers. Give them full sun and regular watering, and they’ll be happy. They aren’t picky about soil. If you plant them after the last frost, you’ll have blooms by summer. In the right conditions, you can enjoy these flowers well into fall.
Scientific name: Lathyrus odoratus
Most sweet peas are annuals. This beautiful flower looks regal with its 5 intricate petals giving the appearance of a butterfly. It comes in shades of white, pink, and purple. Pollinators enjoy its sweet aroma. Plant it in your vegetable garden near a trellis or tripod where its thin vines can climb and add color.
Originating in the Mediterranean, Sweet Pea thrives in the milder climates of zones 3-8. Plant it after the last frost to enjoy their blooms into fall. In warmer climates, give it partial shade. Provide it with alkaline soil and water weekly. Deadhead Sweet Pea regularly to encourage continuous blooms.
Scientific name: Rudbeckia
Yes, many cultivars of rudbeckia are considered perennials. But there are some that are more commonly grown as annuals, including the Toto Rustic. This yellow flower is commonly grown on a yearly basis, and looks a bit different than the traditional Black-Eyed Susan that many gardeners think about. They carry golden yellow leaves on the outer part of the petals, and the inner parts of the flower are a darker golden brown, getting darker as the petals approach the center.
Toto Rustic grows well in Zones 5a to 9b. They should be grown outdoors, and will need a mildly acidic soil to grow well. They will grow to around 12 inches in height when fully grown. They will not tolerate colder winter temperatures. Expect them to bloom in the mid summer, late summer, and in the early fall season.
Scientific name: Diascia
A relative of the Snapdragon, Twinspur has a unique lipped-petal flowerhead with one large tongue-like petal. It can also be found in shades of red, pink, white, and purple. It has small leaves and a stem that grows 6- 12-inches long.
Twinspur does well in zones 2-11. It blooms best in the cooler weather of spring and fall. To reap continuous blooms all summer, give it full sun while it’s cool and partial shade in the harshest heat. Give it regular water and moist, acidic soil. Deadhead Twinspur to encourage blooms.
Scientific name: Verbena x
Enjoy all the varieties of these annual flowers. Verbena variations all present clusters of large or small flowers on a long stem. You’ll find them in bright and pastel shades of pink, purple, and red.
Verbena grows in zones 3-12. Plant them after the last frost, and they’ll bloom quickly. For the most blooms in spring through the first frost of winter, give them full sun and moderately dry soil.
Scientific name: Catharanthus roseus
Vinca is also called Periwinkle. Its 5 overlapping petals sit on top of a waxy dark green stem with waxy leaves. Choose from these annual flowers in a variety of shades of red, purple, pink, and white. Include Vinca in your butterfly garden.
While you’ll find Vinca in zones 3-11, they love warm weather. Plant it when the soil is warm, and you’ll have blooms until the first frost. It loves full sun and sandy soil. Only water it when the soil is dry.
Scientific name: Begonia semperflorens
A plant first discovered in Haiti, Wax Begonias are known for their beautiful shiny leaves and small buds. Most commonly, the leaves are deep green and brown or maroon with pink or red flowers. While they can grow up to 18-inches tall, they tend to spread out to a foot-wide.
These annual flowers grow in zones 2-11. They grow in the shade, partial sun, and full sun. Wax Begonias prefer moist but well-drained soil and regular watering. However, it would be best to avoid the leaves when watering the soil.
Plant them after the last frost of spring. Move them inside before the first frost of winter to enjoy their blooms all year round!
Scientific name: Zinnia Elegans
Zinnia comes in several variations that can look like Daisies or even elaborate Dahlias. They are annual flowers that come in bright, varying colors in shades of red, orange, yellow, pink, and purple that pollinators love. Zinnias grow well in most climates, and are a favorite of many gardeners, even beginners.
They do well in zones 2-11. Seed the ground when the ground is warm. In a few weeks, you’ll have blooms that will last until winter. Just give them full sun and nutrient-rich, well-drained soil.
Annual flowers are a great choice if you wish to mix things up or bring color to your garden before your perennials bloom. Annual flowers tend to bloom faster than perennials and keep their blooms longer. With a little planning, these flowers can give your garden some extra beauty all season long!