Ashleigh Smith + photo

Ashleigh Smith

Mar 6
3 min read
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Common Cold Hardy Annual Larkspur Flowers Consolida orientalis

What Does Cold-Hardy Mean?

The time between New Year's and your last frost date can feel like an eternity. This has been one of those years for us as we continue to receive scattered snow storms. We definitely need the snow to refill our reservoirs, lakes, and underground water storage, but a little sunshine here and there sure would be nice. If the cold and snow are keeping you out of your garden too, you may want to consider planting some cold-hardy annual flowers to kick off the growing season early. Cold-hardy flowers include varieties that can handle being planted before your last spring frost date. Some can even be planted in the fall to come up in the spring with the warming temperatures. The defining characteristic of a plant being cold-hardy is its ability to tolerate low temperatures without sustaining damage. Some plants can tolerate greater degrees of frost than others. Check out our cold hardy annual flower list below, along with their earliest planting times.

Who Grows Cold-Hardy Annual Plants?


Cold-hardy flowers aren’t for everyone. They are typically grown in areas that experience short growing seasons, freezing winter temperatures, and adverse weather including snow, ice, late frost, and frigid spring winds. If you live in USDA hardiness zones 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, or 7, you may want to consider growing some cold-hardy annuals. Zones 8 and above may also grow some of these frost-tolerant plants. However, many of them will grow as short-lived perennials in zones 8 and above. Keep in mind that while each of the following recommendations is cold-hardy and frost-tolerant seeds, not all of the plants will be able to survive early fall frosts. Plants recommended for both early spring planting, as well as fall planting, will be identified.

frost covered flowers

List of Cold-Hardy Annual Flowers:

frost tolereant violas

Johnny Jump Up's

Sow 4-6 weeks before the last spring frost.

May be sown in the fall for spring blooms.

Larkspur

Larkspur

Sow 2-3 weeks before the last spring frost.

May be sown in the fall for spring blooms.

Sweet Peas

Sweet Peas

Sow 2-3 weeks before the last spring frost.

In zones 8-10 sow in the late fall.

Everlasting Sweet Pea = Perennial

Poppy

Poppy

Sow 2-3 weeks before the last spring frost.

May be sown in the fall or winter.

Bachelor Buttons

Bachelor Buttons AKA Cornflower

Sow 2-3 weeks before the last spring frost.

May be planted in the fall for spring blooms.

Snapdragons

Snapdragons

Sow 2-3 weeks before last spring frost.

Snapdragons are perennials that are usually grown as annuals. May be grown during the fall in zones 8 and warmer.

Bells of Ireland

Bells of Ireland

Sow 2 weeks before the last spring frost.

May be planted in the winter for spring blooms, or cold stratified and started indoors.

Marigold

Marigold

Sow 1-2 weeks before the last spring frost.

Marigold seeds are cold-hardy, the plants are not once they have started growing.

Alyssum

Alyssum

Sow 1-2 weeks before the last spring frost.

Sow in the fall for zones 8 and warmer.

Calendula

Calendula

Sow before the last spring frost

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3 comments

Gale

Thanks.. This information was a good read. I BETTER GET PLANTING. THANKS TRUE LEAF 🍀


Jessie

I am so excited to learn more and become the best Gardner I can be!


Heather

I love flowers. Are these bulbs?


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