Northwest Annual Flowers: What Annuals Grow Well In The Pacific Northwest

Northwest Annual Flowers: What Annuals Grow Well In The Pacific Northwest

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By: Amy Grant

Perennialsare often the choice for northwest garden flowers, perfect for gardeners whowant more bang for their buck. Since perennials return year after year, it mightbe tempting to plant only perennials. However, that would be a mistake whenthere are dozens of annual flowers for northwestern states.

What annuals grow well in the Pacific Northwest? The sheer number and variation of PacificNorthwest annual flowers available may surprise you.

Why Grow Pacific Northwest Annual Flowers?

Annualsare plants that germinate, bloom, set seed, then die back in a single season.Amongst Pacific Northwest garden flowers, you will find tender annuals such as marigoldsand zinniasthat can’t take chilly temps, and hardier specimens like poppiesand bachelor’sbuttons which can handle a light frost.

Annuals are easily sown from seed and can be direct sowninto the garden before the last spring frost. They are usually available at alow cost in multiple packs which allow gardeners to create huge swaths of colorwithout breaking the bank.

Perennials develop complex root systems so they can survivewinter temps. Annuals have no such qualm and, instead, throw all of theirenergy into making seed. This means they rapidly produce abundant flowers thatcan stand their own in the garden, in containers, or combined with perennials.

What Annuals Grow Well in the Pacific Northwest?

Due to the relatively mild climate, there are numerousoptions for Pacific Northwest annuals. Some northwest annual flowers, such asgeraniums and snapdragons, are categorized as such but are actually perennialsin warmer climates. Since they are suited for growing as annual flowers fornorthwestern states, they will be categorized as such here.

With few exceptions, impatiensand begonias,for instance, northwest annual garden flowers are generally sun lovers. This iscertainly not a comprehensive list available, but it will give you a good startwhen planning your annual garden.

  • African Daisy
  • Agapanthus
  • Ageratum
  • Aster
  • Bachelor’s buttons (cornflower)
  • Bee Balm
  • Begonia
  • Black-eyed Susan
  • Blanket flower
  • Calibrachoa
  • Celosia
  • Cleome
  • Cosmos
  • Calendula
  • Candytuft
  • Clarkia
  • Cuphea
  • Dahlia
  • Dianthus
  • Fan Flower
  • Foxglove
  • Geraniums
  • Globe Amaranth
  • Impatiens
  • Lantana
  • Larkspur
  • Lisianthus
  • Lobelia
  • Marigold
  • Morning Glory
  • Nasturtium
  • Nicotiana
  • Nigella
  • Pansy
  • Petunia
  • Poppy
  • Portulaca
  • Salvia
  • Snapdragon
  • Stock
  • Strawflower
  • Sunflower
  • Sweetpea
  • Sweet Potato Vine
  • Tithonia (Mexican sunflower)
  • Verbena
  • Zinnia

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Amaranth (Amaranthus)

There are many species of amaranth. Some are grown strictly as flowers, some for their leaves, and others for use as grain. Two common varieties are love-lies-bleeding (Amaranthus caudatus), with its dangling mauve-pink flowers, and Joseph's coat (Amaranthus tricolor), which features splashy red and yellow leaves.

Gardeners love these plants for their chenille-like blooms and colorful foliage. They range from a few inches to several feet tall. Plus, they all grow well from seed and can handle various conditions, including living indoors as houseplants or as perennials in the warmer U.S. Department of Agriculture hardiness zones.

  • Color Varieties: Red, pink, purple, yellow, green, white
  • Sun Exposure: Full sun
  • Soil Needs: Rich, moist, well-draining


Lavender bushes are possibly the most quintessential plant for pollinators and they smell great! There are three main types of lavender (English, Spanish, and French) that also have different varieties. Lavender does well as a perennial in zones 6-7 and are annual in zones 6 or lower. In hotter climates, this plant will do well with some afternoon shade but for the most part, lavender does well in full sun and in well-draining soil. Overwatering is one of the most common mistakes with this plant!

Lavender usually blooms summer to fall but can be slow and frustrating if you start from seeds. Try a well established plant from local nurseries.

Spanish Poppy (Papaver rupifragum)

A later bloomer than some others, the bright orange flowers of Papaver rupifragum will attract butterflies and bees to your garden from May through August. The double flowers grow 1 to 2 feet in height and are resistant to deer, like all poppies. Like many poppies, this is a short-lived perennial that freely self-seeds to establish itself in the garden.

Native Area: Morocco, Spain

USDA Growing Zones: Hardy in zones 6–10 grown as annuals elsewhere.

Watch the video: Rose Companion Plants


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