20 Best Annual Flowers to Grow in 2020

Annual flowers are an excellent option if you’re looking for a way to keep your garden fresh and beautiful all year long. With all the different types of annual flowers out there, it can be tough to choose the right ones for your garden, but don’t worry because that’s what we’re here for!

In this article, we’ve got all the information you need to know about annual flowers. We’ve also rounded up a list of 20 best annual flowers that you can grow in your garden. Let’s take a look.

a yellow sunflower

The best thing about annual flowers is that they’re low maintenance and bloom quickly and once they’re in bloom, they stay that way for a very long time. You can grow them anywhere you like, in an open garden or in containers, it’s all up to you!

What are Annual Flowers?

marigolds with a butterfly on top

Annual flowers are plants or flowers that live for just one growing season before they produce seeds and die. Their life cycle is only one year which means that if you want to have them in your garden every year, you’re going to have to plant and replant them every year.

The plus point about annual plants is that you get to try out different ones which will help you figure out what you like best. It also give you the chance to have a different variety of flowers every season. However, you might want to keep in mind that every annual plant is different and can be sensitive to different climates.

Now that you have an idea of what annual flowers are, let’s take a look at the different types of annual flowers that you can grow in your garden.

1. Dahlias (Dahlia pinnata)

a pink dahlia

Dahlias are gorgeous flowers that can give a lush look to your garden. They’re available in several varieties from fluffy flowers to ones shaped like honeycombs. They’re summer flowers and are very easy to grow. If you want them in your garden year after year, you can just dig up the tubers and reuse them.

Needs: Dahlias usually need a lot of sun to grow. You’ll also need to make sure that the soil is well-drained.

2. Dianthus (Dianthus barbatus)

purple dianthus

Dianthus flowers have a lovely spicy fragrance and are often known simply as ‘pinks’. They have a gorgeous blue-green foliage and are most often used in potted displays. Remember not to mulch around these flowers since they don’t like it.

Needs: Dianthus need well-drained, fertile soil that’s alkaline. They do well in both full or partial shade.

3. Marigolds (Tagetes)

a marigold flower

Marigolds are some of the easiest annual flowers to care for. They’re very popular because they stay in full bloom all summer and their lovely, bright colors make them a much loved choice for boquets and other floral decorations. They’re also edible so you can even use them as pretty salad garnishes!

Needs: Marigolds need full sun and like dahlias, they should be planted in well drained soil.

4. Flowering Kale (Brassico oleracea)

ornamental cabbage

Flowering kale isn’t as tasty as most of the other edible flowers on this list but it certainly is health! It’s a great source of vitamins C, A and K and it also contains calciums and several different types of antioxidants. It has beautiful, big leaves and it produces the best color in colder weather which is why it’s a great winter annual.  

Needs: Full sun or partial shade and well-drained soil.

5. Snapdragons (Antirrhinum majus)

white snapdragon flowers

Snapdragons are a pretty, fragrant flower with petals that resemble little mouths. They’re a popular choice for bouquets and come in a wide variety of colors including red, orange, yellow, indigo and pink, to name a few.

Needs: Snapdragons prefer full sun and well-drained, cooler soil.

6. Primroses (Primula vulgaris)

yellow primroses

These are absolutely gorgeous flowers to have in your garden.  English primroses come in a wide variety of bright colors that can brighten up your home especially during the winter season. They’re winter flowers that take time to bloom and have a short life span. They grow up to 1.5 feet in height and colors include red, orange, yellow, indigo, pink, blue and white.

Needs: Primroses don’t do well in a lot of sun which is why they’re winter annuals.

7. Sweet Pea (Lathyrus odaratus)

purple sweet peas

Sweet pea flowers are a popular ingredient in perfume because of their delicate, sweet scent. These can climb up to about 10 feet which is why they’re often used in balcony gardens. They’re easy to grow from seed but the important thing to keep in mind is: plant the seeds early so that you can take advantage of the cool spring weather.

Needs: Full sun and well-drained soil. Alkaline soil is the best for sweet pea flowers so if your soil is acidic, try sprinkling some powdered lime on its surface.

8. Petunias (Petunia x atkinsiana)

a vase with petunias

Petunias come in all kinds of shades of reds, blues and pinks. They’re hardy plants, really easy to take care of and are usually the best option for beginner gardeners. Petunias are excellent for hanging baskets, garden beds, window boxes, containers or pots. If you want to color up your balcony with some beautiful flowers, these would be just the thing!

Needs: Petunias need a lot of sun and make sure to plant them in well-drained soil.

9. Geraniums (Pelargonium)

pink geraniums

Geraniums are a great way of dressing up your porch, front yard or walkway. These petite and perky flowers are fuss-free and stay in bloom for months. There are hundreds of different species of geraniums that give you numerous choice for garden beds and floral arrangements and they come in red, blue, orange and several other colors.

Needs: Full sun or partial shade. Make sure the soil is moist and well-drained like indoor potting soil.

10. Zinnias (Zinnia elegans)

a red zinnia

Zinnias are great low-maintenance flowers that can add a lovely variety of colors to your bouquet arrangements and planters. Some types of zinnias look exactly like dahlia flowers so it’s easy to mix up the two. They’ve got flowerheads that look like daisies and erect, single stems which make them great as cutting flowrs or as food for the butterflies.

Needs: These flowers need to be in full sun and should be planted in well-drained soil.

11. Calendulas (Calendula officinalis)

calendula flowers and essential oils

The calendula is an edible flower that’s popularly used for salads and soups. These flowers are also often made into essential oils that help hydrate and heal the skin. Calendulas are hardy annual flowers and you’ll find they’re really easy to grow from seed. They take only about 6-8 weeks to grow to full maturity.

Needs: Full sun or partial shade. Ordinary soil works fine for calendulas but they prefer nutritious, organic soil.

12. Begonias (Begonia)

pink begonias

Begonias are a favorite among many people thanks to their lovely big blooms and different varieties. They come in several colors which make them very easy to include in any bouquet or garden. Begonias are an excellent choice if you’re a novice gardener especially since they attract very few pests.

Needs: Partial shade or full sun. Begonias also should be planted in well-drained soil.

13. Vinca (Catharanthus rosea)

a vinca flower

Vinca flowers, also known as madagascar periwinkle flowers, are known for blooming endlessly throughout the summer. Many people opt to have these annual flowers in their garden because of their attractive blue color. They’re available in different colors including red, blue, indigo, pink and white.

Needs: Grows well in full sun or partial shade. Vincas grow best in sandy loam soil.

14. Stock (Matthiola incana)

pink stock flowers

Stock flowers make a really cute addition to your garden. They’re very popular because of the lovely clove-like smell they give off and they’re mostly used for bouquets. You’ll find that stock flowers are very easy to grow and because they grow only up to 2.5 ft in height, they make excellent indoor plants. There’s also a dwarf variety of stock flowers that grows up to 12 inches tall.

Needs: Full sun and well-drained, moist soil. Don’t let these flowers dry out.

15. Pansy (Viola wittrockiana)

purple and white pansies

Pansies are great spring annuals that are often found in many homes. They’r edible, so you can use them to garnish your soups or cocktails. Pansies are usually the first annuals to bloom early in spring.

Needs: Pansies like well-drained, rich soil that’s high in organic matter and they do well in both full sun or partial shade.

16. Dusty Miller (Senecio cineraria)

white dusty miller plant

The Dusty Miller plant is quite a unique addition to landscape, often grown for its interesting, silvery gray foliage. It has lacy leaves which would make attractive companions for many other flowers in your garden.

Needs: Dusty Miller flowers need full sun to grow.

17. Celosia (Celosia argentea)

yellow celosia flowers

Celosia flowers are soft and feathery and they come in reds, yellows, pinks, oranges and magenta. They’re a type of herbaceous plant which is actually rather useful. Celosia plants are typically grown as ornamental plants throughout the U.S. but in Africa they’re commonly grown as a vegetable. Any part of the plant can be chopped up and put in soups and stews.

Needs: Well-drained soil and make sure not to water it too much. Celosia flowers do need sunlight but their watering requirements are more important. Watering them too much can cause them to die.

18. Impatiens (Impatiens walleriana)

impatiens flowers

Impatiens flowers make excellent container plants and they’re also very easy to grow. They’re one of the most popular annual flowers because of their brightly colored blooms and their ability to thrive in shady areas.

Needs: Impatiens thrive in sun and partial shade as long as you water them frequently. However, don’t leave them for more than two or three of hours direct sunlight as they can die.

19. African Daisy (Osteospermum)

a purple african daisy flower

African daisies are beautiful, happy flowers that stay in full bloom for a long time. They come in several colors and can grow up to 14 inches tall. You can grow these flowers in beds or borders and they also do well indoors.

Needs: African daisies love heat and full sun which means at least 8 full hoours of direct sunlight. They also need well-drained soil and won’t do well in dry soils. Also remember to give them extra fertilizer.

20. Violas (Viola reichenbachiana)

yellow, white and red violas

Violas are known to be hardy annual flowers that bloom straight through the winter months. These flowers can used in soups, salads, pasta and desert or you can even eat them with some fruit. They’re very health, containing vitamins A and C and they’ve also got antioxidants like anthocyanin. Violas are closely related to pansies.

Needs: These flowers can tolerate most condition but they thrive in full sun or partial shade. They need moist nutrient-rich and well-drained soil to grow.

Summing Up…


So there you have it! A complete list of best annual flowers to grow, with flowers for every season. As you can see we’ve only mentioned a few varieties but there are hundreds more. You’ll find that you won’t need to wait for too long during the growing season to see and pick the beautiful blooms. One major plus point is that many of these annual flowers can be eaten so you can use them in your favorite desserts and dishes.