Winter Flowering Annuals: Plant These Winter Blooms

Winter Flowering Annuals: Plant These Winter Blooms

Winter doesn’t have to be a dull time. There are a wide variety of annual flowers that bloom during the winter months. Whether you’re growing outdoors in warmer climates, or indoors in colder climates, here are our top recommendations for winter blooming annual flowers.

(Featured Image: Winter Hardy Annual Flowers)

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Top 10 Winter Flowering Annuals To Plant For Winter Blooms

These top 10 winter flowering annuals can add color and vibrancy to your garden during the colder months. These plants are known for their ability to thrive in cool weather and provide beautiful blooms in the winter. Here are some popular winter flowering annuals:

1. Pansies (Viola x wittrockiana)

Pansies are one of the most popular winter flowering annuals. They have a distinctive “face” with five petals that often display contrasting colors. They come in a wide array of hues, including purple, yellow, white, and blue. Winter pansies can tolerate cool temperatures and light frost, making them excellent choices for winter gardens.

To start pansies from seed, try these heirloom pansy seeds from Seed Needs for outdoor planting.

Pansies are cold hardy and can bloom in winter months.


2. Violas (Viola spp.)

Violas are closely related to pansies and share many characteristics. They have similar-looking flowers with a delightful fragrance. Violas are smaller than pansies but offer a diverse range of colors and patterns. They are hardy plants and can continue to bloom through the winter in mild climates.

Choose a trusted brand of seeds, like these viola seeds by The Farmer’s Almanac, for outdoor winter planting.

Winter hardy viola flowers are a great choice for winter blooms.


3. Snapdragons (Antirrhinum majus)

Snapdragons are known for their tall, vertical spikes of tubular flowers. These blooms have a snapdragon-like shape, and they come in various shades, including pink, red, orange, and white. Snapdragons are cold-resistant and are excellent for adding vertical interest to a winter garden.

Use a variety seed pack, like these snapdragon seeds by Isla’s Garden, for a multi-color flower display every winter.

Snapdragons can bloom in cool weather and make a great addition to any winter garden.


4. Calendula (Calendula officinalis)

Calendula, or pot marigold, produces daisy-like, bright orange or bright yellow flowers. It’s known for its herbal and medicinal properties and is often used in topical remedies. Calendula looks like French marigolds and is a bright and cheerful choice for winter bloomers.

Calendula flowers have a daisy-like appearance and can withstand cold winter temperatures.


5. Sweet Alyssum (Lobularia maritima)

Sweet alyssum is a low-growing plant that forms clusters of small, fragrant, white or purple flowers. Its subtle beauty and sweet scent make it a favorite for winter container gardens or ground cover in mild-winter regions.

Sweet alyssum typically comes in either purple or white hues. Use a combination of purple seeds and white seeds to make a show-stopping winter flower display.

The winter hardy sweet alyssum flower puts on a beautiful display of winter blooms.

Sweet Alyssum

6. Cyclamen (Cyclamen spp.)

Cyclamen is a unique winter flowering plant with attractive, upswept petals. These fragrant flowers come in shades of white, pink, and red, and they have intricate patterns. Cyclamen is often grown as a houseplant but can also be planted in outdoor rock gardens in regions with mild winters.

Hot pink cyclamen flowers stand out in the cooler winter temperatures.

Cyclamen Flowers

7. Primrose (Primula spp.)

Primroses are known for their vibrant, early spring blooms, but they often start flowering in late winter. They feature a variety of colors, including pink, purple, yellow, and red. English primrose are an excellent choice for winter blooms as they have a cheerful, simple appearance and can bloom in part shade.

Primrose can flower in part shade, which is beneficial during the low light winter months.


8. Winter Jasmine (Jasminum nudiflorum)

Winter jasmine is a woody shrub with bright yellow, star-shaped flowers. It produces an abundance of blooms, which can create a beautiful cascade of color during the winter months.

Winter jasmine with snow balanced on its intricate flowers.

Winter Jasmine

9. Hellebore (Helleborus spp.)

Hellebores, also known as Lenten roses, are known for their nodding, cup-shaped flowers. They come in various colors, including shades of white, pink, purple, and green. Hellebores can continue to bloom for a long time (from late winter into early spring) and will easily adapt to winter sun and light shade.

Hellebores can be planted as bare root stock in the fall and will grow into mature plants. This is often a faster route to blooming than starting from seed would be.

Hellebores are winter hardy and can flower in colder temperatures.


10. Lobelia (Lobelia spp.)

Lobelia includes several species and varieties. While some lobelias are best suited for warmer climates, certain varieties can be grown as winter annuals in milder climates. They typically produce small, tubular flowers in shades of blue, red, or purple and make a lovely addition for winter-flowering plants.

Some species of lobelia, like the Great Blue Lobelia, are native to many regions of the United States.

Lobelia produces tiny flowers that can bloom in winter temperatures.


When choosing cool-season annuals for your garden, consider your local climate, available space, and your color preferences. Ensure that you provide the appropriate care and protection, such as mulching and frost cloth, to help these plants thrive during the winter months.

What USDA Hardiness Zones Can Grow Winter Flowering Annuals?

The ability to grow winter flowering annuals outdoors depends on the specific annuals and the hardiness zones in which you live. Different winter flowering annuals have varying cold tolerances. Here’s a general guideline for which hardiness zones can grow winter flowering annuals outdoors:

Hardiness Zones 9-11

  • Winter flowering annuals can be grown outdoors year-round in these zones. These regions typically have mild to warm winters with minimal frost or cold weather.

Hardiness Zones 8

  • Many winter flowering annuals can thrive outdoors in Zone 8, but some may require protection or may not bloom throughout the entire winter.

Hardiness Zones 7

  • In Zone 7, you can grow certain winter flowering annuals, but they may need extra care, such as mulching and frost protection during cold temperature. Some varieties may not be suitable for the coldest parts of this zone.

Hardiness Zones 6

  • While it’s possible to grow some winter flowering annuals in Zone 6, you’ll need to choose hardier varieties and take additional precautions to protect them from freezing temperatures.

Hardiness Zones 5 and below

  • These zones have very cold winters, making it challenging to grow winter flowering annuals outdoors without significant protection and preparation. Container gardening, raised beds, or overwintering indoors may be more practical in these areas.

Keep in mind that microclimates, local variations in temperature, and other factors can influence the success of growing winter flowering annuals in your specific location. Be sure to choose plants that are well-suited to your hardiness zone and consider using protective measures such as mulch, row covers, or cloths to shield your plants from frost and extreme cold. Additionally, starting some winter annuals from seeds or young plants indoors and then transplanting them outdoors once the weather allows can be a successful strategy in colder climates.

How To Grow Winter Blooming Flowers In Cold Climates

Winter flowering annuals can be grown in a variety of regions, but their suitability and performance depend on local climate conditions. These plants are typically more cold-tolerant than summer annuals, but they still have limits to the cold they can endure. Here’s where you can grow winter flowering annuals:

  1. Mild Winter Climates: Winter flowering annuals thrive in regions with mild, relatively frost-free winters. This includes areas with Mediterranean climates, coastal regions, and some parts of the southern United States. In these areas, you can often enjoy a continuous display of winter flowers.
  2. Greenhouses: Even in a colder climate, you can grow winter flowering annuals in a greenhouse. The controlled environment provides protection from freezing temperatures and harsh winter conditions.
  3. Container Gardens: If you’re in a region with harsh winters, you can still enjoy winter flowering annuals by growing them in winter containers. You can move the containers indoors or provide external insulation during the coldest nights or when frost is expected. This provides some degree of control over the growing conditions.
  4. Raised Beds and Microclimates: In some colder regions, creating microclimates can help you grow winter flowering annuals. Raised beds, for instance, can provide better drainage and may warm up faster during the day, allowing for winter blooms.
  5. Overwintering: Some winter annuals can be started indoors in late summer and then transplanted outdoors in the fall. They may continue to flower through the winter. This overwintering method is a common practice in regions with colder winters.
  6. Protective Measures: In areas with occasional frost or light freezes, you can use protective measures like frost cloth or row covers to shield your winter flowering annuals from the cold. These measures can extend the flowering season.
  7. Indoor Gardens: Many winter flowering annuals can be grown as indoor plants. They thrive in bright, cool indoor environments and can provide a pop of color during the winter months.

It’s essential to select winter flowering annuals that are appropriate for your specific climate. Pay attention to the USDA Hardiness Zone for your area, as well as the recommended planting times for each plant. Additionally, keep an eye on local weather forecasts and be prepared to provide protection when necessary to ensure your winter flowering annuals can thrive.

Tips For Growing Winter Blooming Annual Flowers

Growing winter blooming annuals can be a rewarding experience, adding color and vibrancy to your garden during the colder months. Here are some tips to help you successfully cultivate winter flowering annuals:

  1. Select Suitable Varieties: Choose winter flowering annuals that are well-suited to your local climate and hardiness zone. Look for varieties known for their cold tolerance.
  2. Plant at the Right Time: Timing is crucial. Plant your winter flowering annuals in late summer or early fall so they have time to establish themselves before the colder months.
  3. Prepare the Soil: Ensure your soil is well-drained and rich in organic matter. Use compost or organic mulch to improve soil quality.
  4. Choose the Right Location: Place your winter annuals in an area with adequate sunlight. Most winter flowering annuals prefer full to partial sun, but some can tolerate shade.
  5. Provide Adequate Water: While winter annuals generally require less water than their summer counterparts, they still need consistent moisture. Water the plants when the soil is dry to the touch. Be cautious not to overwater, as waterlogged soil can lead to root rot.
  6. Mulch for Protection: Apply a layer of mulch around the plants to help maintain soil moisture and protect the roots from cold temperatures. Mulch also helps prevent weeds.
  7. Fertilize Sparingly: Use a balanced, slow-release fertilizer in the early stages of growth to promote healthy root development. Avoid excessive fertilization in the winter, as it can lead to leggy growth.
  8. Prune and Deadhead: Remove spent flowers to encourage continuous blooming. Deadheading helps direct the plant’s energy into producing new flowers.
  9. Monitor for Pests and Diseases: Keep an eye out for common pests like aphids and snails, as well as any signs of disease. Early intervention can prevent problems from spreading.
  10. Protect from Frost: Depending on your region, you may need to provide protection from frost. Use frost cloths or blankets to cover your plants during particularly cold nights. Remove the cover during the day to allow sunlight and airflow.
  11. Consider Container Gardening: If you’re in a region with harsh winters, growing winter flowering annuals in containers allows you to move them to sheltered areas when the weather is extreme. Make sure the containers have good drainage.
  12. Overwinter Indoors: Some winter annuals can be started indoors in late summer and then transplanted outdoors in the fall. This can ensure they survive the winter and provide blooms.
  13. Rotate Crops: If you plan to grow winter annuals in the same spot year after year, consider rotating your crops to prevent soil depletion and disease buildup.
  14. Regular Maintenance: Continue to care for your winter flowering annuals throughout the season, providing proper care, water, and protection as needed.

Remember that specific care requirements may vary depending on the type of winter flowering annuals you choose. Always follow the planting and care instructions provided for the specific plant varieties you’re working with to ensure their best performance.

Help Your Plants Thrive In The Winter Months

Whether you live in a warmer climate and want to help your outdoor garden bloom, or you live in a colder climate and want to bring your favorite plants inside this season, these articles can help you prepare for the winter months ahead:

Colorful annual flowers that are planted in the fall for winter blooms.

Mixed Array of Annual Flowers