10 Cool-Season Flowers That Love Mild Winters

Although summers are hot in the low desert, our winters are mild. Several beautiful flowers grow well during the mild winter and bloom through early spring. In this post, I share my 10 favorite cool-season flowers that love mild winters. Keep reading to the end for my honorable-mention choices for flowers that grow well during mild winters. 

Remember, when gardening in hot climates like the low desert of Arizona, timing is critical. Learning the best times to plant will help you be successful. This guide for cool-season flowers that love mild winters will help you know when to plant, and whether to plant seeds or transplants. 

A few things to keep in mind: 

When you plant at the correct time, seeds will sprout and transplants will become established in the optimal conditions for each plant. 

The planting dates listed are for the low desert of Arizona (zone 9b). If you live in a different area, you may need to adjust your dates.

And finally, don’t be afraid to start flowers from seed. Transplants aren’t always available at the best time to plant. However, use good judgment when starting from seed. If it is at the end of the planting window for that particular plant, it might be best to plant a transplant rather than start from seed.

Disclaimer: this post contains affiliate links. See my disclosure policy for more information.

10 Cool-Season Flowers That Love Mild Winters #1: Ranunculus

Cool-Season Flowers That Love Mild Winters
Ranunculus

Ranunculus is simple to grow and their blooms are unbelievable. This stunning flower is easily my favorite cool-season flower for mild winters. 

How to plant ranunculus

  • Ranunculus is grown from corms. Order corms early to have them in time for fall planting.
  • Ranunculus grows best in rich, healthy, well-draining soil with plenty of sunlight.
  • Plant corms 2-3 inches deep and about 6 inches apart.
Cool-Season Flowers That Love Mild Winters

When to plant ranunculus

  • In zones 7 and warmer, there are two planting windows — late fall and again in late winter or early spring. For zones cooler than zone 7, plant in the spring after danger of frost is passed. 
  • In the low desert of Arizona, plant ranunculus corms from October – November and again from February – March
  • Blooms from February through early May.
When to plant ranunculus

Tips for growing ranunculus

  • Look for large corms, they will have larger blooms.
  • Soak corms before planting.
  • Corms may be dug up at the end of the season.
Cool-Season Flowers That Love Mild Winters

Good to know when growing ranunculus

  • All parts of ranunculus are poisonous when ingested. 
  • Deadheading plants encourages more blooms.
  • Hot temperatures cause blooms to stop.

Looking for more information? Read this blog post or watch this video. 

10 Flowers that Love Mild Winters #2: Lobelia

I’m a sucker for bright blue lobelia flowers. I love putting them along the edge of beds or containers. They trail over and add a bright pop of color. 

Cool Season Hardy Annual Flowers for Arizona
Lobelia

How to plant lobelia

  • You can grow lobelia from seed, but I have had the best luck with young transplants. 
Cool-Season Flowers That Love Mild Winters

When to plant lobelia

  • Plant lobelia from late September – December in the low desert. Do not plant if temperatures are still hot. 
  • Blooms from March through early June.
When to plant lobelia

Tips for growing lobelia

  • Prefers part sun.
  • Needs regular water.
  • Wait until hot temperatures subside to plant transplants.
Cool-Season Flowers That Love Mild Winters

Good to know when growing lobelia

  • Plant at the edge of containers.
  • Beautiful when paired with blue salvia.
  • Abundant blooms.
  • Tolerates neglect.

Cool-Season Flowers That Love Mild Winters #3: Sweet Peas

How to Grow Sweet Peas: 5 Tips for Growing Sweet Peas
Sweet Peas

How to plant sweet peas

  • Sweet peas grow best from seeds. Click here for sweet pea seeds
  • Plant in areas with full sun to shade.
  • Plant seeds 1 inch deep, 2-3 inches apart. Thin to about 5 inches apart when seedlings are 2-3 inches tall.
Cool-Season Flowers That Love Mild Winters

When to plant sweet peas

  • In mild winter areas (zone 8-10) like the low desert of Arizona, plant in the fall from October through February.
  • Blooms from February through early May.
When to plant sweet peas

Tips for growing sweet peas

  • Put trellises in place before you plant so as not to disturb the roots. 
  • Once blooms begin, harvest at least every other day to encourage blooming. 
Cool-Season Flowers That Love Mild Winters

Good to know when growing sweet peas

  • Unharvested blooms will develop seed pods and blooms will stop. Save seeds to plant the following season. 

Looking for more information about how to grow sweet peas? Read this blog post. 

Cool-Season Flowers That Love Mild Winters #4: Delphinium (Larkspur)

Arizona Annual Flower Planting Guide: A Visual Guide for Low-Desert Flowers
Delphinium (larkspur)

How to plant delphinium (larkspur)

Cool-Season Flowers That Love Mild Winters

When to plant delphinium (larkspur)

  • In mild winter areas (zone 8-10) like the low desert of Arizona, plant in the fall from late September through November.
  • Blooms from March through May.
When to plant larkspur

Tips for growing delphinium (larkspur)

  • Seeds may be difficult to germinate. Freeze seeds for a week or so before planting to encourage germination.
  • Harvest larkspur when about 1/3 of the blooms are open for the longest vase life. 
Cool-Season Flowers That Love Mild Winters

Good to know when growing delphinium (larkspur)

  • Wildflower; reseeds easily.
  • Extremely cold-tolerant.
  • Read this article for more information about how to grow wildflowers

Cool-Season Flowers That Love Mild Winters #5: Foxglove

Arizona Annual Flower Planting Guide: A Visual Guide for Low-Desert Flowers
Foxglove

How to plant foxglove

  • Can be difficult to start from seed – plant transplants for best results.
  • Prefers part sun; needs regular water.

When to plant foxglove

Cool-Season Flowers That Love Mild Winters
  • Plant from September through October.
  • Blooms from March through May.
When to plant foxglove

Tips for growing foxglove

  • Choose an area with afternoon shade.
Cool-Season Flowers That Love Mild Winters

Good to know when growing foxglove

  • Can be difficult to grow.
  • All parts of the plant are poisonous; dispose of in trash not compost.
  • Good cut flower; harvest when just a few bottom blossoms are open.
  • Attracts hummingbirds.

10 Flowers that Love Mild Winters #6: Poppies

Poppies in bloom in Arizona Garden in April #arizonagardening #arizonagarden #aprilinthegarden
Shirley poppies with flax and alyssum

How to plant poppies

Cool-Season Flowers That Love Mild Winters

When to plant poppies

  • Plant seeds from October through February.
  • Blooms from March through early May.
When to plant poppies

Tips for growing poppies

  • Thin seedlings to 6” to 9” apart (depending on the variety) to maximize air circulation and reduce powdery mildew. 
  • The larger-stemmed varieties of poppies make a beautiful cut flower. Cut stems nearly down to the ground just as blooms begins to crack open for cut flowers. 
Cool-Season Flowers That Love Mild Winters

Good to know when growing poppies

  • Poppies reseed easily year after year. 
  • Save seeds at the end of the season from your favorite blooms.

Looking for more information about how to grow poppies? Read this blog post

Cool-Season Flowers That Love Mild Winters #7: Nasturtium

Cool Season Hardy Annual Flowers for Arizona
Nasturtium

How to plant nasturtiums

Cool-Season Flowers That Love Mild Winters

When to plant nasturtiums

  • Plant nasturtium seeds from October through January.
  • Nasturtium blooms from February through May.
When to plant nasturtiums

Tips for growing nasturtiums

  • Nasturtiums prefer cooler weather, so in warm climates grow plants in the shade to prolong their growing season. 
  • If you want an abundance of flowers, do not fertilize nasturtiums. Nutrient-rich soil grows plenty of green leaves, but not as many blooms.
Cool-Season Flowers That Love Mild Winters

Good to know when growing nasturtiums

  • The flowers, leaves, and stems of nasturtiums are all edible. 
  • Each flower sets several seeds, and nasturtiums will self-seed easily year after year.

Looking for more information about how to grow nasturtiums? Read this blog post. 

Cool-Season Flowers That Love Mild Winters #8: Calendula

How to grow calendula
Calendula

How to plant calendula

Cool-Season Flowers That Love Mild Winters

When to plant calendula

  • In hot summer areas like Arizona, calendula grows best throughout the cooler months of late fall and spring.
  • In the low desert of Arizona, plant calendula seeds and transplants beginning in late September through November
  • Calendula blooms in Arizona from December through May 
When to plant calendula

Tips for growing calendula

  • Succession plant calendula seeds every 2 or 3 weeks for a continual harvest.
  • Calendula needs regular water; do not let the plant dry out. 
  • Keep flowers cut back to encourage more blooms. 
Cool-Season Flowers That Love Mild Winters

Good to know when growing calendula

  • Harvest calendula blooms when petals begin to open. 
  • Calendula petals are edible. 
  • The entire calendula flower is used in healing skin ointments, salves, oils, and teas. 

Looking for more information about how to grow calendula? Read this blog post. 

10 Flowers that Love Mild Winters #9: Snapdragon

Arizona Annual Flower Planting Guide: A Visual Guide for Low-Desert Flowers
Snapdragon

How to plant snapdragons

Cool-Season Flowers That Love Mild Winters

When to plant snapdragons

  • Plant transplants outside from October through early February in the low desert of Arizona. 
  • Blooms from November through early May.
When to plant snapdragons

Tips for growing snapdragons

  • Support large varieties with netting for straight stems. 
  • Cut central stem back to ground level to encourage branching. 
  • Keep deadheaded to encourage blooms. 
Cool-Season Flowers That Love Mild Winters

Good to know when growing snapdragons

  •  Harvest when the first few blossoms on the bottom of the stem have opened for cut flowers. 

Cool-Season Flowers That Love Mild Winters #10: Bachelor Buttons (cornflower)

Arizona Annual Flower Planting Guide: A Visual Guide for Low-Desert Flowers
Bachelor buttons (cornflower)

How to plant bachelor buttons (cornflower)

Cool-Season Flowers That Love Mild Winters

When to plant bachelor buttons (cornflower)

  • Plant seeds in your garden from late September through November.
  • Blooms from February through June.
When to plant bachelor buttons

Tips for growing bachelor buttons (cornflower)

  • Good cut flower. Cut stems when the flower is just beginning to crack open. 
  • Cut central stem at ground level to encourage strong, tall stems.  
  • Keep deadheaded to encourage blooms. 
Cool-Season Flowers That Love Mild Winters

Good to know when growing bachelor buttons (cornflower)

  •  Many colors available. 
  • Easy to grow.
Cool-Season Flowers That Love Mild Winters

Looking for more ideas? Other cool-season flowers that love mild winters include:

viola
Viola
Cool Season Hardy Annual Flowers for Arizona
Marigold
Arizona Annual Flower Planting Guide: A Visual Guide for Low-Desert Flowers
Aster
Arizona Garden in January#gardening #garden #arizonagarden #Januarygarden #gardeninginarizona #desertgarden
Alyssum
Cool Season Hardy Annual Flowers for Arizona
Flax
Cool Season Hardy Annual Flowers for Arizona
Forget-me-not
Arizona Annual Flower Planting Guide: A Visual Guide for Low-Desert Flowers
Stock

Did I forget any of your favorite cool-season flowers that love mild winters? Let me know in the comments what your favorites are. 

Arizona annual flowers planting guide helps you learn when to plant flowers in Arizona, and whether to plant seeds or transplants.

10 Flowers that Love Hot Summers shares my favorite heat-loving plants that grow well in hot Arizona summers. 

12K Shares

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *