Hardy annuals are amazing flowers that can add so much to your spring and early summer garden. Annuals live for a year, growing seeds, putting down roots, and creating flowers and seeds. Annuals are typically heat-loving plants. Hardy annuals follow the same growing pattern but differ in that they follow different planting dates and survive and can thrive in cold weather. Similar to biennials, hardy annuals can be planted in the fall, overwinter, and produce beautiful and hardy blooms in the spring. There are also perennials that are not strong growers that do better when treated as hardy annuals and can be replanted each year.
I am writing about hardy annuals now because it is past time to start your hardy annual seeds. However, it's not too late to get seeds started. You can start them today!
Here are some of my favorite hardy annuals that I grew this year:
These beautiful flowers can be started outside, covered with soil. They are winter hardy to zone 6. They are deer resistant and attract beneficial insects. It makes a great airy ingredient in bouquets.
Scabiosa can be started indoors or outdoors, covered with soil. They are winter hardy to zone 7 and can use a layer of row cover during the winter for extra protection and a hardier plant in the spring.
The snapdragons I planted last fall survived the winter without row cover and bloomed in early May. Start them indoors with no soil covering them. They are winter hardy to zone 4. They can use support netting or wire grid. They benefit with pinching and will continue to bloom all summer if you continue to cut the blooms. I cut them at the base of the plant right above a leaf node.
Orlaya/White Lace Flower
This was a new flower for me this year. It was a great addition to bouquets. You can sow seeds indoors or outdoors with no soil covering the seeds. They are winter hardy to zone 6. They can benefit from a layer of row cover during the winter months.
Yarrow is listed in my list of perennials to grow. However, some of the varieties that I grow function as short-lived perennials and can be grown as hardy annuals. I will be experimenting this year with growing the yarrow as a perennial and as a hardy annual. Yarrow is deer resistant, attracts beneficial insects, and is a beautiful flower for bouquets. It is winter hardy to zone 4. You really don't have to worry about it over the winter. It can be started indoors or out with no soil covering the seeds. This is a great flower to grow that needs little care.
I love using dill in bouquets. It adds whimsy and texture to any arrangement. I let the dill in my garden self-seed and pop up wherever it lands. However, it is a great hardy annual to start now, if you do not have any growing on your farm or in your garden. The seed can be sown outdoors or indoors and covered with soil. It is winter hardy to zone 8, though it self-seeds easily without any interference from me on my zone 7 farm. It is deer resistant and attracts beneficial insects and pollinators.
The cheery white and yellow flowers above were an amazing addition to bouquets this year. This is a flower that is a weak perennial. It does well treated as a hardy annual, though you can experiment with treating it as a perennial in your garden. It is cold hardy to zone 5 and deer resistant. It also repels insects, so be careful where you place it in your garden. You can sow seeds indoors or out. Do not cover the seeds. The plants can benefit from netting or a wire grid.
I loved growing sweet peas, though I did not end up using them in bouquets as much as I thought I would. I did love creating arrangements with them for my own enjoyment. Their scent and beauty were a lovely addition to the farm. They are winter hardy to zone 7. I am going to plan on starting them a little later this year in the late winter/early spring. You can start them indoors or outdoors, covering them with soil. They have long roots, so start them in deeper containers or soil blocks. They need vertical support once they are growing and can be pinched for more blooms.
I hope you consider starting some hardy annuals this week to get your spring garden growing now.