We’re a few weeks away from when we officially enter the cool growing season here in South Florida, but that means now is the time to start thinking about which annuals to include in our landscapes. Growing cool-season annuals is a fantastic way to add a splash of color to the yard, whether you put them along walkways, in containers, or directly in a garden bed.
Cool-Season Annuals for South Florida
Because of their long flowering period, Petunias are popular winter annuals in Florida.
Alyssum: The dainty, sweetly scented blooms of Alyssum are great for borders around gardens or along paths. They also look fabulous in hanging baskets to fully display the plant’s cascading habit. Place Alyssum in an area that gets full to part sun.
Dianthus: Dianthus has starry flowers and showy, grass-like foliage. While sometimes called Pinks, Dianthus flowers are available in shades of pink, purple, red, white, and yellow, and sometimes blooms have multicolored patterns. The flowers have a delightful clove-like fragrance, and pollinators such as butterflies and hummingbirds will be drawn to them. Plant Dianthus in full to part sun.
Geraniums: With a wide range in shades of blooms, Geraniums are perfect for adding accents of color to your landscape. To encourage new blooms, remove faded flowers at the base of their stems. Geraniums do best in full sun, though they can tolerate part shade.
Gerbera Daisy: With their cheerful flowers, Gerbera Daisies come in a range of bright colors. Depending on the cultivar, the flower heads can grow up to five inches wide. Gerbera Daisies also make beautiful cut flowers. To stimulate new growth, remove spent flower stalks. Place in a spot that gets plenty of sun.
Lobelia: While Lobelia flowers are available in a range of shades, we love the blue varieties, since blue blooms are quite uncommon. Place them along borders or ponds, use as a groundcover, or add to containers. Lobelia also attracts hummingbirds and butterflies. Plant in full to part sun.
Petunias: Because of their long flowering period, Petunias are popular winter annuals in Florida. Plus, they come in many shades, ready to match whatever color palette you have in your garden. Petunias also range in size, from six inches to over a foot tall. Grow in a spot that gets full sun.
Snapdragons: Varying in size from six inches to three feet tall, Snapdragons come in a range of colors ready to brighten up your yard. The flowers begin blooming at the bottom of the stock then work their way up. Plant in groups for the most impact, and place in a spot with full sun.
Viola: The fragrant flowers of Violas are available in a wide range of colors, sometimes even in multiple colors like the popular tri-colored yellow, white, and purple variety. These cheery flowers are also edible, perfect for topping salads or for decorating cakes. Plant Violas in full to part sun.
Unlike other parts of the country, we don’t have to sacrifice colorful blooms just because it’s winter! Plant some of these vibrant annuals alongside your favorite perennials for a lush and welcoming landscape.