10 Best Cold Hardy Flowers: What Flowers Are Winter Hardy

Yellow-Purple Winter Hardy Flowers Covered With Snow
(Image credit: gyro)

Simply put, cold tolerant flowers are those which are able to withstand cooler garden temperatures. Unlike tender annuals, frost hardy flowers will not be damaged by frost. Learning more about growing frost hardy flowers is one of the easiest ways to extend the growing season. Gardeners will delight in flower beds bursting with color in late fall and early spring. In some climates, the best cold hardy flowers may even continue blooming throughout the winter. What flowers are winter hardy though? 

  1. Alyssum: Also known as sweet alyssum, this low-growing annual is incredibly cold tolerant. Alyssum blooms well during hotter weather too, making it an excellent addition to flower beds and containers. Many gardeners suggest planting alyssum near sidewalks and paths, where its sweet fragrance can be enjoyed.
  2. Annual Phlox: Much like perennial phlox, annual phlox plants produce a profusion of clustered flowers, but on much shorter stems. Annual phlox can be planted in both fall and spring for very early blooms. With a long vase life, these plants are also quite popular among cut flower growers. 
  3. Bachelor’s Buttons: Among the best cold hardy flowers, bachelor’s buttons plants consistently withstand freezing temperatures from a fall planting. When growth resumes in spring, flower growers are sure to be delighted by large masses of vibrant blooms. 
  4. Calendula: Also known as “pot marigold,” frost hardy flowers like calendula are prized for their usefulness in both flower and herb gardens. Bright, cheerful blooms range in color from very pale white to deep orange-mahogany.
  5. Forget-Me-Nots: Annual forget-me-nots are an early spring favorite for many. Masses of these tiny, bright blue flowers are a popular choice for borders and containers. Forget-me-not flowers may be invasive in some regions. Always make certain to reference local regulations before planting. 
  6. Pansies: Pansies have long been one of the most favored frost hardy flowers available to gardeners. Ranging greatly in color, it is not uncommon for pansy plants to bloom in fall and throughout milder portions of winter. 
  7. Shirley Poppies: Shirley poppies are prized in the landscape for their delicate paper-like appearance. Shirley poppies are ideal for large, naturalized plantings or gardens with a more relaxed, carefree design. 
  8. Snapdragons: When planted in late fall, spring snapdragons are among the first flowers to begin blooming in the garden. Large, floriferous spikes are extremely attractive to pollinators, as well as useful in cut flower arrangements.
  9. Scented Stock: Scented stock is a delightful addition to the garden. Fall-planted stock begins blooming as temperatures begin to warm each spring. Like many cold-tolerant flowers, stocks offer growers a beautiful aroma that is sure to be noticed. 
  10. Sweet Peas: Sweet pea (Lathyrus odoratus) flowers are among the most fragrant hardy annual flowers for the garden. When planted in fall, large vines are able to reach impressive heights. This makes them a stunning garden accent or focal plant. Not to be confused with garden peas, all parts of the sweet pea plant (including seeds) are toxic. 

Learn More About Your Favorite Flowers

Tonya Barnett

Tonya Barnett has been gardening for 13 years. Flowers are her passion. She has trasformed her backyard into a cut flower garden, which she regularly chronicles on her YouTube channel http://www.youtube.com/@tonyawiththeflowers.