Growing Desert Annuals: Choosing And Planting Southwestern Annuals

Purple Annual Plants
sw annual
(Image credit: hecos255)

While perennial flowering plants become old friends, annual flowers redecorate your garden each year with new shapes, colors, and fragrances. If you are looking for annual flowers for southwestern parts of the country, you will find more than a few to try.

Annual plants in the southwest have to do well in hot and dry desert climates. If you are ready to start growing desert annuals, read on for some of our favorites.

About Southwestern Annuals

Annual plants live and die in a single growing season. Southwestern annuals grow in spring, reach maturity and flower in summer, then set seeds and die in fall.

While they don’t last for years as perennials do, annual plants fill your yard with eye-catching color. They are easy to plant since they are usually sold in cell packs, flats, or individual pots. Pick out specimens that seem compact, have healthy green foliage, and appear to be free of insect or disease issues.

Annual Plants in the Southwest

When you are growing desert annuals, you’ll find different plants for different seasons. Winter annuals are planted in the fall. These are cooler weather plants that will do just fine through the winter but die back in spring. Plant summer annuals in spring and enjoy them through summer and fall.

Quite a few winter plants work well as annual flowers for southwest regions. A few of our favorites include:

Summer Annual Flowers for Southwest Gardens

You might think it would be harder to find summer annual flowers for southwest gardens, but it isn’t. Many annuals enjoy the hot, dry conditions of desert gardens.

When you are growing desert annuals for summer gardens, remember to wait until all possible spring frosts have passed before putting them in the ground. You could try any of these listed beautiful blossoms: 

If you need transition plants to grow and bloom between winter and summer annuals in southwest regions, plant poppies, marigolds, or gerbera. In the veggie garden, kale will also carry you right through.

Teo Spengler

Teo Spengler has been gardening for 30 years. She is a docent at the San Francisco Botanical Garden. Her passion is trees, 250 of which she has planted on her land in France.