What cool-season annuals do well in Iowa?


What cool-season annuals do well in Iowa?


Cool-season annuals are annual plants that prefer cool temperatures, growing best in spring or fall. Many are tolerant of a light frost often surviving down to 28°F or sometimes even 25°F with little damage to flowers or leaves. They are great additions to containers and garden beds in the shoulder seasons to add color late into fall or early in the spring season.

The following annuals are great for planting in early spring and/or fall in Iowa.

  • Pansy (Viola)
  • Ornamental cabbage and kale (Brassica oleracea)
  • Snapdragons (Antirrhinum majus)
  • Stock (Matthiola incana)
  • Larkspur (Delphinium consolida)
  • Bachelor’s buttons (Centaura cyanus)
  • Pot marigold (Calendula officinalis)
  • Twinspur (Diascia)
  • Lobelia (Lobelia erinus)
  • Nasturtium (Tropaeloum majus)
  • Nierembergia (Nierembergia)
  • Sweet alyssum (Lobularia maritima)
  • Cape daisy (Osteospermum)
  • Pinks and sweet William (Dianthus)
  • Swiss chard and beets (Beta vulgaris)
  • Dusty miller (Jacobaea maritima,aka Senecio cineraria)
  • Petunia (Petunia)
  • Sweet pea (Lathyrus odoratus)
  • Nemesia (Nemesia)
  • California poppy (Eschscholzia californica)
  • Bells of Ireland (Molucella laevis)

There are several species traditionally grown as perennials that can also be treated as annuals and grow well in the cool season including,

  • Mums (Chrysanthemum)
  • Coral bells (Heuchera)
  • Black-eyed Susan (Rudbeckia hirta)

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