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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. 


Cool-Season Flowers That Love Mild Winters

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10 Cool-Season Flowers That Love Mild Winters


The low desert of Arizona includes cities in and around Phoenix, including Glendale, Scottsdale, Paradise Valley, Mesa, Tempe, Chandler, Gilbert, Peoria, Apache Junction, Buckeye, Fountain Hills, Tolleson, Surprise, Sun City, Queen Creek, and Goodyear.

Remember, timing is critical when gardening in hot climates like the low desert of Arizona. 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.

The low desert of Arizona includes cities in and around Phoenix, including Glendale, Scottsdale, Paradise Valley, Mesa, Tempe, Chandler, Gilbert, Peoria, Apache Junction, Buckeye, Fountain Hills, Tolleson, Surprise, Sun City, Queen Creek, and Goodyear.

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.

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


When to plant ranunculus

Cool-Season Flowers That Love Mild Winters
  • 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. 

When to plant ranunculus in Arizona: October – November & February – March

(Presprout corms if planting in February – March)

  • Blooms from February through early May.

How to plant ranunculus

Cool-Season Flowers That Love Mild Winters
  • 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.

Tips for growing ranunculus

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

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


How to plant lobelia

Cool-Season Flowers That Love Mild Winters

You can grow lobelia from seed, but I have had the best luck with young transplants. 


When to plant lobelia

Cool-Season Flowers That Love Mild Winters

Start seeds indoors:

July – October

Plant transplants outside:

September 15 – December Do not plant if temperatures are still hot. 

Blooms from March through early June.


Tips for growing lobelia

Cool Season Hardy Annual Flowers for Arizona
  • Prefers part sun.
  • Needs regular water.
  • Wait until hot temperatures subside to plant transplants.

Good to know when growing lobelia

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

Are you looking for more information about how to grow lobelia? Read this blog post.


Flowers to Plant Outside & Seeds to Start Indoors Each Month in the Low Desert of Arizona.
• PLANTING GUIDE: Each month lists annual flowers to plant outside & seeds to start indoors.
• BLOOMING GUIDE: Photos show what may be in bloom that month.


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

Cool-Season Flowers That Love Mild Winters
  • 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.

When to plant sweet peas

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.

In the low Desert of Arizona:

Start seeds indoors:

September – January

Plant seeds or transplants outside:

October – February


Tips for growing sweet peas

Cool-Season Flowers That Love Mild Winters
  • 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.

Good to know when growing sweet peas

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

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

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


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


How to plant delphinium (larkspur)

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

Larkspur grows best from seeds started directly in the garden. Click here for larkspur seeds.


When to plant delphinium (larkspur)

Cool-Season Flowers That Love Mild Winters
  • 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.

Tips for growing delphinium (larkspur)

Cool-Season Flowers That Love Mild Winters
  • 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. 

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


How to plant foxglove

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

Start seeds indoors:

July – August

Plant transplants outside:

September – October

Blooms from: March through May.


Good to know when growing foxglove

Cool-Season Flowers That Love Mild Winters
  • Choose an area with afternoon shade. Can be difficult to grow.
  • All parts of the plant are poisonous; dispose of them in trash, not compost.
  • Good cut flower; harvest when just a few bottom blossoms are open.
  • Attracts hummingbirds.
  • Read this article for more information about how to grow foxglove.

10 Flowers that Love Mild Winters #6: Poppies

How to plant poppies


When to plant poppies

Poppies in bloom in Arizona Garden in April #arizonagardening #arizonagarden #aprilinthegarden
  • Plant seeds from October through December.
  • Blooms from March through early May.

Tips for growing poppies

Cool-Season Flowers That Love Mild Winters
  • 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 begin to crack open for cut flowers. 

Good to know when growing poppies

Cool-Season Flowers That Love Mild Winters
  • Poppies reseed easily year after year. 
  • Save seeds at the end of the season from your favorite blooms.

How to Grow Poppies: 8 Tips for Growing Poppies


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


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


How to plant nasturtiums

Cool Season Hardy Annual Flowers for Arizona

When to plant nasturtiums

Cool-Season Flowers That Love Mild Winters
  • Plant nasturtium seeds from October through January.
  • Nasturtium blooms from February through May.

Tips for growing nasturtiums

Cool-Season Flowers That Love Mild Winters
  • 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.

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.

How to Grow Nasturtiums: Nasturtium Growing Guide


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



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


How to plant calendula

How to grow calendula

When to plant calendula

Cool-Season Flowers That Love Mild Winters

In hot summer areas like Arizona, calendula grows best throughout the cooler months of late fall and spring.

In the low desert of Arizona:

Start calendula seeds indoors:
August – September
Plant seeds or transplants outside:
September 15 – November

Calendula blooms in Arizona from December through May.  


Tips for growing calendula

Cool-Season Flowers That Love Mild Winters
  • 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. 

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. 

How to grow calendula


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


10 Flowers that Love Mild Winters #9: Snapdragon


How to plant snapdragons

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

When to plant snapdragons

Cool-Season Flowers That Love Mild Winters

Start seeds indoors:
June – December
Plant transplants outside:
September 15 – February 15

Blooms from November through early May.


Tips for growing snapdragons

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

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)

Cool-Season Flowers That Love Mild Winters

How to plant bachelor buttons (cornflower)

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

When to plant bachelor buttons (cornflower)

Cool-Season Flowers That Love Mild Winters
  • Plant seeds in your garden from late September through November.
  • Blooms from February through June.

Tips for growing bachelor buttons (cornflower)

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

Good to know when growing bachelor buttons (cornflower)

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

How to Grow Bachelor Buttons 5 Tips for Growing Cornflowers

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


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


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

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


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