Texas is blessed with mild winters and long growing seasons that are excellent for annual flower gardening. As a result, Texas gardeners can enjoy a wide variety of blooming beauties, from bluebonnets to Texas lantana. Here are 11 of the best annual flowers for Texas gardens sure to thrive in the Lonestar State.
The alyssum, or sweet alyssum, is a small, delicate annual flower perfect for rock gardens and borders. Popular as an annual white flower, alyssum cultivars also come in pink, purple, peach, or yellow. In addition, alyssum is a low-maintenance flower that is drought-tolerant and does not require deadheading.
This pretty plant is one of the best annual flowers for Texas gardens because it’s easy to grow in hardiness zones 6-9. Mounds of alyssum plants spread their dainty round four-petal blooms along the ground or out of hanging baskets.
Tips for growing alyssum:
- Grow alyssum in areas of full sun to light shade.
- Alyssum soil needs medium moisture and should be well-draining.
- Fertilize alyssum plants once a month or with a slow-release fertilizer early in the season.
Lovely Calendula officinalis (AKA pot marigold) is a cheerful annual flower that blooms in shades of ivory, yellow, orange, and gold. It’s easy to grow in Texas cottage gardens, containers, or as a border plant. The pot marigold resembles traditional marigolds with double rows of petals, but calendula flowers have a fringed or ruffled appearance.
Also, like traditional marigolds, calendula plants may repel garden pests such as squash bugs, tomato beetles, and mosquitoes due to their fragrance. For this reason, planting calendula in your vegetable garden might help keep veggies safer from these and more insects.
Calendula plants produce beautiful daisy-like blooms that reportedly have edible petals often used as a garnish. These plants are also historically used in healing salves and ointments due to calendula’s anti-inflammatory properties.
Please note: A-Z Animals does not recommend plants or herbs for medicinal or health use. We present the following information for academic and historical purposes only.
Tips for growing calendula:
- Grow calendula in areas of full sun to partial sun. However, calendula plants prefer cooler temperatures. Therefore, they may need extra shade during scorching days.
- As with most plants on this list, calendula soil should be medium-moist and well-draining.
- Fertilize calendula plants once a month or with a slow-release fertilizer at the beginning of the growing season.
- Be patient with calendulas in the spring since they won’t start blooming until summer to fall.
The cosmos plant was named by Mexican monks who thought these flowers represented cosmic order and harmony. We agree that pretty cosmos blooms shine like little stars in Texas gardens! Cosmos are tall and airy annual flowers that bloom in pink, purple, white, and yellow. In addition, they’re an excellent choice for Texas gardens because cosmos plants attract butterflies and are deer-resistant.
Cosmos plants can grow up to 6 feet tall, making them an excellent choice for the back of a flower bed or as a privacy screen. Also, with delicate round blooms similar to daisies, cosmos plants make perfect cut flowers due to their long vase life.
Tips for growing cosmos:
- Grow cosmos in areas of full sun.
- Cosmos need medium-moist and well-drained soil.
- Avoid fertilizing cosmos plants because fertilizer might cause more leaf growth than flowers.
If you planted dahlia tubers in early fall in a sunny garden, you’d enjoy their gorgeous blooms in the summertime! Dahlias have single pompom-shaped flowers on top of long stems. Their showy blooms make these annual flowers for Texas gardens perfect for bouquets and vase arrangements. Moreover, some dahlia blooms grow up to 10 inches in diameter! And others have small, dainty blooms that look lovely in window boxes or container gardens.
Tips for growing dahlias:
- Grow dahlias in areas of full sun but be mindful of the heat. The dahlia loves warm weather but only when it’s moderately hot. Therefore, you may need to provide shade for dahlia plants in the afternoon on the hottest days of the year.
- Plant dahlias in nutrient-rich soil with good drainage. Don’t overwater to avoid tuber rot.
- Add mulch around the dahlias to help keep them cool. You can use a spray bottle to mist your dahlia plants with water on hot days.
- Fertilize dahlias plants every 3-4 weeks during the growing season.
The hardy and delicate impatiens plant is one of the best annual flowers for Texas because it thrives in the shade! So Texas gardeners of all experience levels can plant them in pots on covered porches with confidence. In addition to being low-maintenance in shady gardens, impatiens bloom continuously from spring to fall. And, boy, do they bloom! Impatiens flowers will cascade down containers and tumble out of hanging baskets for many weeks.
Impatiens plants bloom in orange, red, purple, pink, or white, depending on the plant variety. They look lovely when planted en masse or combined with other plants that thrive in shady conditions.
Tips for growing impatiens:
- Grow impatiens in areas of partial to full shade.
- Impatiens need moist soil to thrive, but don’t overwater. These plants get root rot pretty quickly when sitting in soggy soil. However, if impatiens are wilting, you must water them more often.
- Fertilize impatiens every two weeks with a water-soluble fertilizer.
Larkspur is a tall, stately annual flower that blooms in shades of pink, purple, and white. It’s a beautiful cut flower due to its long vase life. Moreover, larkspur is one of the best annual flowers in Texas that attracts bees but not deer! So your flowers are safer from grazing wild animals while also being a favorite among Texas pollinators.
You’ll know larkspur plants by their tall flower-filled stems and delicate five-petal blooms with a yellow eye in the center. These drought-tolerant beauties grow well in garden borders or as accent flowers among other tall, showy annuals.
Take note that there are giant and dwarf larkspur varieties available for home gardening. Make sure you know which size flowers you have before you plant them!
Tips for growing larkspur:
- Grow larkspur in garden beds with full sun and well-draining soil.
- Deadheading is not necessary but can keep plants tidy.
- Space giant larkspur plants 10-18 inches apart.
- Fertilize larkspur every two weeks during the growing season.
Not to be confused with the pot marigold, marigolds (Tagetes erecta) are a popular annual flower across the country! Also called African marigolds, these bushy plants have double blooms in warm colors like orange and yellow. In addition, marigolds are low-maintenance annual flowers with a lovely scent that bloom from spring to fall. In Texas, these gorgeous flowers might last through November.
Did you know that marigolds make great companion plants in vegetable gardens? Gardeners in-the-know plant fragrant marigolds next to vegetables to ward off certain pests that don’t care for the plant’s scent.
Marigolds come in tall, upright varieties and short, mounding variations. Their flowers are round and fluffy like pompoms, adding bright color to Texas gardens and containers.
Tips for growing marigolds:
- Give marigolds lots of sunshine and well-draining soil.
- Space marigold plants 1-2 feet apart.
- Deadhead marigolds often so they will bloom repeatedly.
- Fertilize marigolds with a balanced fertilizer every 1-2 weeks.
8. Mexican sunflower
The Mexican sunflower is a tall, showy annual flower in vibrant shades of orange and yellow. With daisy-like blooms that grow up to 3 inches across, Mexican sunflowers deserve a special spot in Texas cut flower gardens. Though they usually bloom later in the season (late summer to fall), these radiant flowers are worth the wait!
Tips for growing Mexican sunflowers:
- Grow Mexican sunflowers in garden beds with full sun and well-draining soil.
- Mexican sunflowers are drought-tolerant but perform best in medium-moist soil.
- Consider staking these plants to keep them upright at their mature height of 4-6 feet.
- Space plants about 3 feet apart.
- Fertilizer isn’t necessary for healthy plants.
- Deadhead spent blooms often to promote continuous blooming.
Petunias are some of the easiest annual flowers for Texas to grow. They grow well in partial shade in beds or containers and bloom from spring through to the first frost. In addition, petunias come in many colors, including pink, purple, red, white, and yellow, and bi-color varieties.
Types of petunias include the large-flowered or grandiflora variety, which has ruffled blooms that measure up to 4 inches across. For container gardens, consider the smaller-flowered wave petunias. They have a tidier, mounded shape and come in bright colors. However, wave petunias are also spreader plants! Their spreading growth habit makes them perfect for hanging baskets and tall containers.
Tips for growing petunias:
- Petunias grow best in full sun to partial shade.
- Water petunias when the soil is dry to the touch.
- Be prepared for some petunia varieties to cascade or spread out of their containers and beds.
- Fertilize petunias every 2-3 weeks throughout the growing season.
- Deadhead spent blooms for additional flowerings and prune the plants to keep them from getting too leggy.
10. Texas Bluebonnet
The iconic bluebonnet is the state flower of Texas and a beloved symbol to Texans. In fact, Texas has five total state flowers; every single one of them is a bluebonnet variety! The bluebonnet we’re featuring here is Lupinus texensis, arguably the most popular and well-known bluebonnet of them all. Texas bluebonnets are so widely grown in the state that they often dot the landscape along roadways.
The Texas bluebonnet has a long cluster of tiny blue bonnet-shaped flowers on white-tipped stalks. While bluebonnets are considered a wildflower, they are also grown in home gardens. And a maroon bluebonnet called ‘Alamo Fire’ is another popular annual flower in Texas gardens.
Growing tips for bluebonnets:
- Plant bluebonnet seeds in the fall for spring and summer blooms.
- Mark the area where you planted bluebonnets, as they will not emerge until the following spring.
- Bluebonnets are best planted in the fall in areas with full sun.
- Give bluebonnets a home with sandy and well-drained soil.
- Bluebonnets do not require pruning, but they benefit from deadheading.
11. Texas Lantana
The Texas lantana is a tender perennial shrub usually grown as an annual in many climates, including North Texas. This beautiful tropical-looking plant is another annual flower with vibrant orange, yellow, and red blooms. It is native to Texas and is often used as a ground cover or in butterfly gardens.
Texas lantana’s cluster flowers have unique tubular blooms that change color as they grow! The flowers bloom first in yellow, then change from bright yellow to orange, and then to red. How’s that for a good reason to add this flower to your Texas garden? Better yet, this brilliant plant grows well in poor soil and high heat.
Tips for growing Texas lantana:
- Texas lantana needs full sun and is drought-tolerant.
- Don’t overwater these heat-loving plants. Instead, water them when the soil feels dry.
- Cut back old foliage or dead flowers to encourage new blooms.
- Fertilizing only in the spring is enough to keep Texas lantanas healthy and well-fed.
- Texas lantana is winter hardy in growing zones 9-10. Still, it can benefit from a light layer of mulch to protect it from cold temperatures in the winter.
The best annual flowers for Texas are beautiful and low-maintenance!
There you have it; these 11 best annual flowers for Texas gardens are all beloved for their beauty and ease of growth. Whether you are a new or seasoned gardener, the best annual flowers for Texas gardens add eye-catching color and personality around your lawn and landscape.
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- Texas AgriLife Extension Service, Available here: https://aggie-horticulture.tamu.edu/archives/parsons/flowers/cosmos/cosmos.html
- Texas AgriLife Extension Service, Available here: https://aggie-horticulture.tamu.edu/archives/parsons/flowers/bluebonnet/bluebonnetstory.html
- Texas AgriLife Extension Service, Available here: https://aggie-horticulture.tamu.edu/plantanswers/fallgarden/zones.html