Hardy Annuals for UK Gardens

An annual is a flowering plant that germinates, grows, flowers and then sets seeds within a single growing season.

Annuals provide attractive and prolific blooms that give much needed interest and colour in formal bedding displays or as an eye catching infill in beds and borders.

Hardy Annuals (HA) are annuals that can survive a certain level of frost and once established will usually survive outside in a normal British winter. Hardy annuals are normally raised from seed in the spring for summer/autumn flowering in the same year, however many can be sown outdoors from April onwards, in the position where they are to flower. Certain Hardy Annuals are also tough enough to be sown outdoors in September for over-wintering; which will then flower much earlier the following summer. However, a really bad winter with severe frosts can still kill Hardy Annuals.


The following selection of Hardy Annuals are suitable for domestic gardens in Great Britain (England/Scotland/Ireland):

Calendula officinalis

Calendula
Pot Marigold

Centaurea cyanus

Centaurea
Cornflower

cosmos flower white

Cosmos
Cosmos

Eschscholzia californica

Eschscholzia
California poppy

sweet pea flowers

Lathyrus odoratus
Sweet Pea

Limnanthes douglasii

Limnanthes douglasii
Poached egg plant

white alyssum flowers

Lobularia maritima
Sweet alyssum

Nigella damascena

Nigella
Love in the mist

Papaver somniferum

Papaver somniferum
Common Garden Poppy

nasturtium flower

Tropaeolum
Nasturtium


There are many varied HA types available and every year seed producers create new strains with ever widening ranges of flower shape, size, colour and growth habits. Most varieties of Hardy Annuals are not difficult to grow. Generally all they need is frequent watering, some feeding and regular dead-heading to provide a continuous display all summer long.