81017thumbGardening is not always fun. After diligently tending to warm season vegetables through spring and summer, it eventually becomes necessary to pull them up to relinquish space for cool season vegetables that grow through autumn and winter. It likely would be less unpleasant to wait for them to succumb to frost, but by that time, it would be getting late for the incoming vegetable plants.

Removing warm season annuals and bedding plants is just as necessary, and might be just as unpleasant. The only consolation is that the incoming cool season annuals and bedding plants are likely to be blooming well as they get installed. Even though they take a while to mature, there is no time without at least some degree of color. Warm season annuals may be tired by now anyway.

Just like cool season vegetable plants, the various cool season annuals and bedding plants appreciate an early start so that they can begin to disperse roots while the soil is still somewhat warm. Only those that dislike warmth should wait. Cyclamen and flowering cabbage and kale can be planted as late as winter. Flowering cabbage and kale might even bolt if they get too warm too soon.

Pansy, viola, sweet William, stock, Iceland poppy, calendula and various primroses are all seasonable now. They should be happy to bloom until they too need to be replaced by annuals for the following season, several months later. Chrysanthemum, marigold and a few other autumn annuals are short term annuals that bloom excellently through autumn, but are not likely to bloom later.

Just like most of the cool season vegetables, most of the cool season annuals should be planted as small seedlings in cell pack. Chrysanthemum and many of the primroses, as well as cyclamen and flowering cabbage and kale that come later, should actually be planted as four inch potted plants. Needless to say, some of these are expensive relative to their respectively limited bloom seasons. Seed for nasturtium and alyssum can be sown directly into the garden. Nasturtiums seedlings in cell packs are expensive and do not transplant well.

12 thoughts on “Cool Season Annuals Are Next

    1. There are countless ‘different ones’, but as far as I know almost all have the potential to be perennial. Mine lasted about ten years before the neighbor’s ‘gardener’ killed them with the weed whacker.


  1. I hate getting rid of cool/warm season annuals while they are still blooming, but I realize I just have to steel myself. Love violas and pansies, also Osteospermum. Should give primulas a try.


    1. I think that primulas of all types are totally excellent, but I happen to be allergic to the sap! They are not for everyone. Osteospermum is a perennial. The old fashioned ground cover type was pretty tough.


  2. I look forward to the “winter pansies” to arrive in the stores! I get the violas, Johnny-Jump-up ones, I like the little faces. They are my favorite flowers ever I think. I adore autumn colors, and usually fall for the chrysanthemum colors, but not this year! I have an odd dislike of them, and when I fall for the temptation and buy one (in a pretty bronze or purple) I look at it after its planted and hate it! I will admit to pulling them out and tossing them too. Winter pansies are it for me! The last few winters we’ve had snow that stays for a while, and they are just as nice after it melts as before. Amazing little flowers.

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    1. My colleague down south plants both pansies and the smaller violas annually in a few pots just because he likes them so much, but because they do not do so well in that climate, he does not plant many. I think it is silly, but can not complain. I grow nasturtiums, which is far worse.


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