Abronia vilosa

Desert Sand Verbena

Wildflower annual. Despite its name, this is not a Verbena but looks much like one. With the right recipe for rain, the purple flowers of Desert Sand Verbena are a common sight in late winter-early spring, carpeting sand dunes in desert areas. Start from seed sown in place in the fall.

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Alcea rosea


This is an iconic "grandma's garden" perennial or biennial often grown as an annual. It is old-fashioned but still fun to grow. Consider it a back-of-the-border plant due to its height, what can reach more than 6 feet. Available in a wide range of flower colors. Reseeds readily to extend plantings.

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Antirrhinum majus


Plant snapdragons from containers or nursery packs in late winter to early spring. Prolific flowers come in many colors that are good for cutting for bouquets.

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Calendula officinalis


Start from plants in containers or nursery packs early in spring. Vigorous growth to 1-1/2 feet high, sometimes more. Sprawling growth habit. Good flowers for cutting.

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Castilleja exserta

Owl's Clover

Wildflower annual, sow seeds where you want plants to grow in early fall. Height and width are actually less than 1 foot, so place where you can enjoy the flowers close-up.

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Catharanthus roseus

Periwinkle, Vinca

A cold-tender perennial most often grown as an annual. Start from plants in containers or nursery packs in spring. One of the better bedding plants for hot-summer regions. It is available in a wide range of flower colors. Appreciates regular diluted applications of fertilizer to keep plants healthy and growing strong.

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Centaurea cyanus

Bachelor's Button

Bachelor's Button has a long bloom period. Start from seeds in fall. Reseeds on its own to expand plantings.

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Chrysanthemum x morifolium

Garden Chrysanthemum, Hardy Mum

Plant Garden Chrysanthemum from containers in late summer to early fall. Available in a wide range of colors and flower forms, including daisy, pompon, anemone, spider and more. This is the traditional, easy-to-grow, fall-bloomer. Canopy coverage: 3 square feet.

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Cosmos bipinnatus

Southwestern Cosmos

Cosmos puts on quite the color show, with flowers available in many bright colors. Plant from seeds in the fall or set out from containers or nursery packs in the spring.

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Dianthus species

Dianthus, Sweet William

This broad group of plants include biennials—plants that live for two years—or perennials, which have a longer lifespan. However, they are often grown as annuals in most regions. Set out from containers or nursery packs in fall. They are among the best annuals for shady locations.

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Eschscholzia californica

California Poppy

This wildflower is very popular—likely the most popular wildflower, period. California Poppy is a shortlived perennial most often grown as an annual. It is known to naturalize in many regions of California and the Southwest. Plant seeds where you want plants to grow in the fall.

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Eschscholzia californica mexicana

Mexican Gold Poppy

Mexican Gold Poppy is a wildflower annual that is very similar to California Poppy. According to the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center: "The first leaves on seedlings of Mexican Gold Poppy are linear and undivided, whereas on seedlings of California Poppy they are divided in a Y-shape." Generally speaking, Mexican Gold Poppy tends to be more yellow-gold, and plants may be smaller. Technically a biennial, but most often grown as an annual. Plant seeds in the fall.

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Gaillardia pulchella

Blanket Flower

Wildflower annual that is an aggressive grower that is often included in wildflower seed mixes. Dependable summer bloom. Sow seeds where you want plants to grow in fall or spring.

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Helianthus annuus


Annual Sunflowers are easy to grow, dramatic due to their size, and provide edible seeds to both people and birds. Sow seeds in place in spring. New selections with a range of flower colors are available, in addition to the traditional sunny yellow. Also consider dwarf selections if garden space is at a premium.

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Impatiens species


Impatiens are the go-to choice for color in the shade, even full shade. Can be grown as a perennial in frost-free regions, but usually grown as a bedding plant annual. Set out from nursery packs or containers in spring.

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Lathyrus odoratus

Sweet Pea

Sweet Peas are vining annuals and require supports on which to climb, growing to 6 feet tall or more. Start from seeds or plants in fall. Most selections emit a sweet fragrance. Many flower colors are available; plants labeled "old-fashioned" tend to have the strongest fragrance.

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Layia platyglossa compestris


Wildflower annual, start from seeds in fall, or, if you live in a cold-winter region, plant in spring. Plantings may naturalize (spread on their own) after one or two seasons. Flowers are bright yellow tipped with a white fringe.

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Linum grandiflorum 'Rubrum'

Scarlet Flax

Wildflower annual, start from seeds in the fall. Additional water extends bloom period.

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Lobelia erinus


Lobelia is a cold-tender perennial grown as an annual. It is low-growing and offers flowers in pleasing shades of blue. Nice when used in containers to drape over the edges. Can sometimes reseed to extend plantings.

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Lobularia maritima

Sweet Alyssum

Sweet Alyssum is easy to grow and a great plant to use in combination with other flowering plants. Set out from containers or nursery packs in spring. Attractive draping and spilling from a container. Low growth makes it an excellent choice as a foreground plant.

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Lupinus succulentus

Arroyo Lupine

A wildflower annual with blue flowers, start Arroyo Lupine from seeds in the fall. A relative of the famous Texas Bluebonnet.

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