A woman in gardening gloves plants petunias in a flower bed
(Image credit: IRINA NAZAROVA)

Whether you want fresh or dried flowers, blooms for shade or sun, or flowers for containers or the garden, annuals can’t be beat. Not all annuals are created equal, however. Some do better in the Pacific Northwest or the South and then some plants thrive in the Northeast region of the United States. So, what are some of the best annuals for New England gardens? Read on to learn about blooming Northeast plants, specifically New England annuals.

About Annuals

Perennials are long lasting and give year after year, but annuals will always be a favorite in the garden of those who love flowers. Annuals are quick growing with brilliant color, versatile, often less expensive, and adaptable for planting over waning spring blooming bulbs.

Low maintenance annuals come in an array of hues, textures, sizes, and sun exposures. Some like full sun while others thrive in shade to part shade. There’s truly an annual for any environment in your landscape.

Annuals for Northeastern Gardens

The Northeast United States is known for its harsh winters but once the blustery winter is behind us, gardeners are searching for some quick color in the form of blooming annuals. Luckily, the Northeast is fairly temperate from spring through fall giving the gardener a large selection of annuals to choose from.

Types of Annuals for the Northeast

Some annuals are easy going in most any climate. These include geraniums, impatiens, marigolds, pansies, and snapdragons. Just as these annuals will thrive in the Pacific Northwest, so too are they common choices for the Northeastern gardener.

Other common flowers that will thrive in a New England garden include dahlias, nasturtiums, petunias, and zinnias.

If you’re more interested in planting a specific area of your garden such as a shaded niche or a sun drenched hillside— we’ve got you covered.

Sun Loving Annuals for New England

While the above common annuals thrive in sun so too do blooming angelonia, bidens, blanket flower, cape daisy, flossflower, gazania, lantana, Mexican heather, phlox, portulaca, salvia, strawflower, sweet alyssum, and verbena.

Foliage annuals that will do well in New England include dusty miller, ornamental kale or pepper, and sweet potato vine.

Grasses complete the look by adding some height and movement. Grasses for the Northeast include feather grass, fountain grass, and golden millet grass.

Annuals for Shade to Part Shade

There are plenty of shade loving annuals for Northeastern gardeners. For example begonia, browallia, flowering tobacco, foxglove, fuchsia, impatiens, lobelia, New Guinea impatiens, twinspur, and wishbone flower are all blooming annuals suited to this climate.

Foliage plants for Northeast gardens include bloodleaf, Joseph’s coat, coleus, fancy leaved caladium, perilla, Rex begonia, and shamrock. Are you thinking of incorporating some shade loving grasses? Try sedge or ornamental millet in your shaded New England garden.

Deer Resistant Annuals Northeast

Annuals in general are a favorite of deer. They tend to be succulent and tender— not prickly or strong smelling. This fact might make it seem there is no room for annuals in a garden visited by deer, but that isn’t so.

Cosmos, nasturtiums, and marigolds are a few common annuals that deer ignore. Other Northeast annuals that will deter deer include floss flower, heliotrope, larkspur, nicotiana, painted tongue, and spider flower.

Amy Grant

Amy Grant has been gardening for 30 years and writing for 15. A professional chef and caterer, Amy's area of expertise is culinary gardening.