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

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

Annual flowers are a simple way to attract pollinators, fill bare spots in the landscape, and add a bright spot of color to containers in the yard and garden. “Arizona Annual Flowers: A Visual Guide for Low-Desert Flowers” provides information to help gardeners succeed at growing annuals in the low desert of Arizona. 

With over sixty (61 in fact!) annual flowers listed in this guide, you are sure to find one to try. 

Seasons in Arizona are short, and timing is critical when planting. Use this guide to learn when to plant, and whether to plant seeds or transplants. When you plant at the correct time, seeds will sprout and transplants will become established in the optimal conditions for each plant.

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

Ageratum (Floss Flower)

Ageratum (Floss Flower)

How to grow Ageratum:

Grows best from transplant or seed

Months to plant: October – early January

Days from seed to bloom: 180

Months in bloom: February – May

Good to know: Prefers rich soil. Needs regular water. Easy to grow. Comes in many colors. Attracts pollinators. 

Cool Season Hardy Annual Flowers for Arizona
African Daisy

African Daisies

How to grow African Daisies: 

Grows best from seed

Days from seed to bloom: 120

Months to plant: October – November

Months in bloom: January – April

Good to know: Reseeds readily, come consider invasive. When plants die back, shake seeds onto ground after pulling plants to encourage reseeding the following year. 

Angelonia (Summer Snapdragon)

Angelonia (Summer Snapdragon)

How to grow Angelonia:

Grows best from transplant and divisions

Months to plant: March – October

Months in bloom: Nearly all year if frost free 

Good to know: Angelonia is a tough plant that provides excellent color in the heat of low desert Arizona summers. Needs regular water; let established plants dry out a little between watering. Cover if there is a freeze. If plants do not freeze they will provide year-round color. Divide established plants and plant in other areas of the yard.

Cool Season Hardy Annual Flowers for Arizona
Aster

Aster

How to grow Aster:

Grows best from seed or transplant

Days from seed to bloom: 180

Months to plantOctober – November

Months in bloom: March – April

Good to know: Good cut flower. Attracts butterflies. Can be difficult to grow from seed. Keep deadheaded to encourage blooms. 

Cool Season Hardy Annual Flowers for Arizona
Bee Balm

Bee Balm

How to grow Bee Balm:

Grows best from seed or transplant

Days from seed to bloom: 75

Months to plant: February – March

Months in bloom: Late April – early July

Good to know: Difficult to grow. Attracts beneficial insects and pollinators. Considered a perennial flower, but often grown as an annual in the low desert of Arizona.

Begonia

Begonia

How to grow Begonia: 

Grows best from transplant

Days from seed to bloom: 180

Months to plant: September – November

Months in bloom: January – December

Good to know: Needs shade and regular water to grow well. 

Bigelow's Purple Aster

Bigelow’s Purple Aster

How to grow Bigelow’s Purple Aster: 

Grows best from seed

Days from seed to bloom: 150

Months to plant: October – November

Months in bloom: October – November and March – May

Good to know: Attracts butterflies. Wildflower, reseeds. Easy to grow. 

Black Eyed-Susan (Rudebeckia)

Black Eyed-Susan (Rudebeckia)

How to grow Black Eyed-Susan (Rudebeckia):

Grows best from seed

Days from seed to bloom: 120

Months to plant: October – March

Months in bloom: July – September

Good to know: Good cut flower. Easy to grow. Wildflower, often reseeds. Keep deadheaded to encourage blooms. 

Cool Season Hardy Annual Flowers for Arizona
Calendula

Calendula

How to grow Calendula:

Grows best from seed or transplant

Days from seed to bloom: 100

Months to plant: Late September – November

Months in bloom: December – May

Good to know: Edible, medicinal uses. Reseeds easily. Early bloomer. Often grown as a trap crop for aphids. Keep deadheaded to encourage blooms. 

Cool Season Hardy Annual Flowers for Arizona
Carnation

Carnation

How to grow Carnation:

Grows best from transplant

Days from seed to bloom: 150

Months to plant: October – January 

Months in bloom: October – April

Good to know: Easy to grow. Good cut flower. Considered perennial flower. Keep deadheaded to encourage blooms. Considered a perennial flower but often grown as an annual in the low desert of Arizona. 

Celosia (Cockscomb)

Celosia (Cockscomb)

How to grow Celosia (Cockscomb):

Grows best from seed (started indoors if possible) or transplant (do not let transplants become root-bound) 

Days from seed to bloom: 120

Months to plant:  April – beginning of June

Months in bloom: July – November

Good to know: Attracts pollinators and birds. Comes in several colors. Can be tricky to grow.

Arizona Annual Flowers: A Visual Guide for Low-Desert Flowers (continued)

Clarkia

Clarkia

How to grow Clarkia:

Grows best from seed 

Days from seed to bloom: 150

Months to plant: Late September – November

Months in bloom: March – May

Good to know: Wildflower. Good cut flower. Easy to grow. Needs regular water. Keep deadheaded to encourage blooms. 

Coleus

Coleus

How to grow Coleus:

Grows best from transplant

Months to plant: March – early June

Months in bloom: July – November

Good to know: Easy to grow. Needs regular water and part sun or shady conditions to thrive.

Coreopsis

Coreopsis

How to grow Coreopsis:

Grows best from seed

Days from seed to bloom: 30-60

Months to plant: October – November and March – May

Months in bloom:  April – September

Good to know: Wildflower, reseeds easily. Thin seedlings. Good cut flower. 

Cornflower (Bachelor Buttons)

Cornflower (Bachelor Buttons)

How to grow Cornflower (Bachelor Buttons):

Grows best from seed

Days from seed to bloom: 120

Months to plant: late September – November

Months in bloom: February – June

Good to know: Reseeds easily. Good cut flower. Many colors available. Easy to grow. Keep deadheaded to encourage blooms. 

Cosmos

Read this article for more information about how to grow wildflowers

Cosmos

How to grow Cosmos:

Grows best from seed

Days from seed to bloom: 120

Months to plant: March – June

Months in bloom: July – November

Good to know: Wildflower, reseeds easily. Good cut flower. Cutting central stem early produces fuller branching stems. Keep deadheaded to encourage blooms. 

Sunset Orange Cosmos

Cosmos (Orange)

How to grow Sunset Orange Cosmos:

Grows best from seed

Days from seed to bloom: 120

Months to plant: May – July

Months in bloom: September – November

Good to know: Reseeds easily. Taller plants may need support. Needs regular water. 

Dahlias

Dahlia

How to grow Dahlias:

Days from seed to bloom: 45

Months to plant: March – April

Months in bloom: May – November

Good to know: Very difficult to grow in the low desert. Needs regular water and part sun to do well. Excellent cut flower. 

Arizona Annual Flowers: A Visual Guide for Low-Desert Flowers (continued)

Cool Season Hardy Annual Flowers for Arizona
Delphinium

Delphinium

How to grow Delphinium:

Grows best from seed or transplant 

Days from seed to bloom: 150

Months to plant: October – November

Months in bloom: March – May

Good to know: Can be tricky to grow in the low desert of Arizona.

Dianthus (Sweet William)

Dianthus (Sweet William)

How to grow Dianthus (Sweet William):

Grows best from transplant

Days from seed to bloom: 180

Months to plant: September – January

Months in bloom: October – April

Good to know: Easy to grow. Edible. Comes in many colors. 

English Daisies

English Daisy

How to grow English Daisies:

Grows best from seed or transplant

Days from seed to bloom: 120

Months to plant: October – March

Months in bloom: January – May

Good to know: The flower petals fold up at night and open again with the sun. Prefers shade. Keep deadheaded to encourage blooms. 

Cool Season Hardy Annual Flowers for Arizona
Flax

Read this article for more information about how to grow wildflowers

Flax

How to grow Flax:

Grows best from seed

Days from seed to bloom: 120

Months to plant: October – November

Months in bloom: January – Early May

Good to knowConsidered perennial flower. Scarlet and blue varieties. Wildflower, reseeds easily. 

Cool Season Hardy Annual Flowers for Arizona
Forget-me-nots

Forget-me-not

How to grow Forget-me-nots:

Grows best from seed

Days from seed to bloom: 180

Months to plant: September – December

Months in bloom: March – May

Good to know: Wildflower, reseeds easily. Does best in part sun. 

Four o'clock flower in Arizona garden
Four O'Clock

Four O'Clock

How to grow Four O'Clock:

Grows best from seed or transplant

Days from seed to bloom: 90

Months to plant: March – June

Months in bloom: July – November

Good to know: Poisonous. Flowers open mid-afternoon. Can be tricky to grow. Reseeds. Needs afternoon shade. 

Foxglove

Foxglove

How to grow Foxglove:

Grows best from transplant

Days from seed to bloom: 150

Months to plant: September – October

Months in bloom: March – May

Good to know:  Difficult to grow. Poisonous. Needs regular water and part sun. 

Gallardia flower in Arizona garden
Gaillardia (Blanket Flower)

Gaillardia (Blanket Flower)

How to grow Gaillardia (Blanket Flower):

Grows best from seed or transplant

Days from seed to bloom: 150

Months to plant: Late September – April

Months in bloom: March – early November

Good to know: Easy to grow. Wildflower. Reseeds easily. Good cut flower. Keep deadheaded to encourage blooms. 

Cool Season Hardy Annual Flowers for Arizona
Gazanias

Gazania

How to grow Gazanias:

Grows best from seed or transplant

Days from seed to bloom: 30-60

Months to plant: October – November and February – April

Months in bloom: Late October – June

Good to knowConsidered a perennial flower, but often grown as an annual in the low desert of Arizona. Reseeds. Propagates easily by seed, division, or cutting. 

Cool Season Hardy Annual Flowers for Arizona
Geraniums

Geraniums

How to grow Geraniums:

Grows best from transplant 

Days from seed to bloom: 150

Months to plant: September – April

Months in bloom: February – June

Good to know: Remove flowers for first few weeks to allow plant to get established. Keep dead-headed for better blooms. Does best with regular water and 4-6 hours of sun. Considered a perennial flower, but often grown as an annual in the low desert of Arizona. 

Arizona Annual Flowers: A Visual Guide for Low-Desert Flowers (continued)

Globe Amaranth

Globe Amaranth

How to grow Globe Amaranth:

Grows best from seed or transplant 

Days from seed to bloom: 100

Months to plant: March to early July

Months in bloom: April – September

Good to know: Different varieties: trailing and more compact types. Good cut flower. Excellent for drying. Cutting central stem early produces fuller branching stems. Heat tolerant. Easy to grow. Keep deadheaded to encourage blooms. 

Globe Mallow

Read this article for more information about how to grow wildflowers

Globe Mallow

How to grow Globe Mallow:

Grows best from seed

Days from seed to bloom: 120

Months to plant: October – November

Months in bloom: February – early July

Good to know: Wildflower, reseeds easily. Attracts birds and pollinators. Easy to grow.

Cool Season Hardy Annual Flowers for Arizona
Hollyhocks

This article shares more information about how to grow hollyhocks

Hollyhock

How to grow Hollyhocks:

Grows best from seed, can also be grown from transplant

Days from seed to bloom: 365 +

Months to plant: September – October and February – March

Months in bloom: April – June

Good to knowHollyhocks are biennials that grow strong root systems and foliage the first year. The second year they send up flowering shoots that produce seeds and then die.

Cool Season Hardy Annual Flowers for Arizona
Johnny-jump-up (Violet)

Johnny-jump-up (Violet)

How to grow Johnny-jump-up (Violet):

Grows best from seed or transplant

Days from seed to bloom: 120

Months to plant: October – November

Months in bloom: March – May

Good to know: Edible. Reseeds. Keep deadheaded to encourage blooms. 

Cool Season Hardy Annual Flowers for Arizona
Larkspur

Read this article for more information about how to grow wildflowers

Larkspur

How to grow Larkspur:

Grows best from seed 

Days from seed to bloom: 180

Months to plant: Late September – November

Months in bloom: March – May

Good to know: Wildflower, reseeds heavily. Several colors. Easy to grow. Attracts hummingbirds.

Linaria (Toadflax)

Linaria (Toadflax)

How to grow Linaria (Toadflax):

Grows best from seed

Days from seed to bloom: 180

Months to plantLate September – November

Months in bloom: March – April

Good to know: Wildflower, reseeds. Easy to grow. Many colors. 

lisianthus flower in Arizona garden
Lisianthus

Lisianthus

How to grow Lisianthus:

Grows best from transplant

Days from seed to bloom: 60-90

Months to plant: March – June

Months in bloom: May – November

Good to know: Good cut flower. Cutting central stem early produces fuller branching stems. Heat tolerant. Keep deadheaded to encourage blooms. 

Cool Season Hardy Annual Flowers for Arizona
Lobelia

Lobelia

How to grow Lobelia:

Grows best from seed or transplant

Days from seed to bloom: 150

Months to plant: Late September – December

Months in bloom: March – early June

Good to know: Prefers part sun. Needs regular water. Wait until hot temperatures subside to plant transplants. Keep deadheaded to encourage blooms. 

Cool Season Hardy Annual Flowers for Arizona
Lupine

Lupine

How to grow Lupine:

Grows best from seed

Days from seed to bloom: 120

Months to plant: October – November

Months in bloom: Late February – April

Good to know: Can be tricky to grow. Once they find a spot they like, will often reseed each year.

Cool Season Hardy Annual Flowers for Arizona
Marigolds

Marigold

How to grow Marigolds:

Grows best from seed or transplants

Days from seed to bloom: 30-60

Months to plant: September – October and February – early June

Months in bloom: Late September – December and March – June

Good to know: Good companion plant in the garden. Reseeds easily. Easy to grow. Needs regular water. Cutting central stem early produces fuller branching stems. Keep deadheaded to encourage blooms. 

Cool Season Hardy Annual Flowers for Arizona
Mexican Hat

Read this article for more information about how to grow wildflowers

Mexican Hat

How to grow Mexican Hat:

Grows best from seed

Days from seed to bloom: 180

Months to plant: October- November

Months in bloom: April – Early September

Good to know: Wildflower, often reseeds. Keep deadheaded to encourage blooms. 

Cool Season Hardy Annual Flowers for Arizona
Nasturtiums

This article shares more information about how to grow nasturtiums.

Nasturtiums

How to grow Nasturtiums:

Grows best from seed

Days from seed to bloom: 120

Months to plant: October – January

Months in bloom: February – May

Good to know: Edible. Good companion and trap crop. Overly rich soil results in fewer blooms. Reseeds readily. 

Cool Season Hardy Annual Flowers for Arizona
Ornamental Cabbage

Ornamental Cabbage

How to grow Ornamental Cabbage:

Grows best from transplant

Months to plant: Late September – early December

Months in bloom: Late September – March

Good to know: Easy to grow. Needs regular water. Tolerates part shade.

Arizona Annual Flowers: A Visual Guide for Low-Desert Flowers (continued)

Cool Season Hardy Annual Flowers for Arizona
Painted Daisies

Painted Daisy

How to grow Painted Daisies:

Grows best from seed or transplant

Days from seed to bloom: 150

Months to plant: October – early November

Months in bloom: Late March – May

Good to knowKeep deadheaded to encourage blooms. Medium difficulty to grow. Needs regular water. Good cut flower. 

Cool Season Hardy Annual Flowers for Arizona
Pansies

Pansies

How to grow Pansies:

Grows best from transplant or seed (if started early in the season)

Days from seed to bloom: 30

Months to plant: Late October – early February

Months in bloom: Late November – early May

Good to knowKeep deadheaded to encourage blooms. Edible. Easy to grow. Needs part shade. 

Petunias

Petunias

How to grow Petunias:

Grows best from transplant

Days from seed to bloom: 30

Months to plant: Late September – March

Months in bloom: October – early May

Good to know: Pinch off flowers when first planted to encourage root development. Keep deadheaded to encourage blooms. Easy to grow. Needs regular watering. 

Cool Season Hardy Annual Flowers for Arizona
Phlox

Phlox

How to grow Phlox:

Grows best from transplants or cuttings

Days from seed to bloom: 150

Months to plant: Late September – early October

Months in bloom: March – May

Good to know: Good cut flower. Needs regular water. Easy to grow. Cut back stems after flowering. Different varieties have varying heights and colors. 

Pincushion Flower

Pincushion Flower

How to grow Pincushion Flower:

Grows from seed or transplant

Days from seed to bloom: 180

Months to plant: October – November

Months in bloom: April – August

Good to know: Can be tricky to grow from seed, start transplants if available. Keep deadheaded to encourage blooms. 

Cool Season Hardy Annual Flowers for Arizona
Poppies

Read this article for more information about how to grow wildflowers

Poppy

How to grow Poppies:

Grows best from seed

Days from seed to bloom: 120-150 

Months to plant: October – December

Months in bloom: March – early May

Good to know: Many different varieties (California, Shirley, Iceland). Reseeds easily. Seed pods are beautiful. Needs regular water. Easy to grow. 

Portulaca (Purslane)

Portulaca (Purslane)

How to grow Portulaca (Purslane):

Grows best from seed or transplant

Days from seed to bloom: 30

Months to plant: February – July

Months in bloom: Late February – October

Good to know: Edible. Water the plant only when the top of the soil is dry. Needs well-drained soil. Good for containers or rock gardens. Pinch back to encourage new growth.

Arizona Annual Flowers: A Visual Guide for Low-Desert Flowers (continued)

Purple Coneflower (Echinacea)

Purple Coneflower (Echinacea)

How to grow Purple Coneflower (Echinacea):

Grows best from transplant (Echinacea often blooms in second year, and seeds need cold weather to germinate) 

Days from seed to bloom: 180

Months to plant: October – November

Months in bloom: April – June

Good to know: Attracts wildlife. Needs regular water. Good cut flower. Keep deadheaded to encourage blooms. 

Cool Season Hardy Annual Flowers for Arizona
Queen Anne's Lace

Queen Anne's Lace

How to grow Queen Anne's Lace:

Grows best from seed

Days from seed to bloom: 65-90

Months to plant: October – December

Months in bloom: March – early May

Good to know: Can be invasive. Will reseed readily. Deadhead before seeds form on flower. Good cut flower and vase filler. 

Red Salvia

Salvia (Red)

How to grow red Salvia:

Grows best from seed or transplant

Days from seed to bloom: 30

Months to plant: October and March – May

Months in bloom: April – early December

Good to knowReseeds. Attracts hummingbirds and butterflies. Several colors and varieties. Keep deadheaded to encourage blooms.

10 Flowers that love the heat of summer - and how to grow them -FLOWERS FOR ARIZONA SUMMERS – WHEN AND WHAT TO PLANT
Blue Salvia

Salvia (Blue)

How to grow blue Salvia:

Grows best from seed or transplant

Days from seed to bloom: 30

Months to plant: October and March – May

Months in bloom: April – early December

Good to knowReseeds. Attracts hummingbirds and butterflies. Several colors and varieties. Keep deadheaded to encourage blooms. 

Shasta Daisy

Shasta Daisy

How to grow Shasta Daisy:

Grows best from seed or transplant

Days from seed to bloom: 180

Months to plant: October – November

Months in bloom: April – July

Good to knowNeeds regular water. Good cut flower. Attracts butterflies. Keep deadheaded to encourage blooms.

Cool Season Hardy Annual Flowers for Arizona
Snapdragon

Snapdragon

How to grow Snapdragon:

Grows best from transplant

Days from seed to bloom: 30-60

Months to plant: October – early February

Months in bloom: November – early June

Good to know: Attracts bees and butterflies. One of the easiest cool-season flowers to grow. Cutting central stem early produces fuller branching stems. Keep deadheaded to encourage blooms. 

Stock

Stock

How to grow Stock:

Grows best from transplants or seeds 

Days from seed to bloom: 150

Months to plant: October – January

Months in bloom: March – May

Good to knowCutting central stem early produces fuller branching stems. Keep deadheaded to encourage blooms. Needs regular water. Easy to grow. Fragrant. 

10 Flowers that love the heat of summer - and how to grow them -FLOWERS FOR ARIZONA SUMMERS – WHEN AND WHAT TO PLANT
Sunflowers

This article shares more information about how to grow sunflowers

Sunflowers

How to grow Sunflowers:

Grows best from seed or transplant 

Days from seed to bloom: 90

Months to plant: February – July

Months in bloom: May – November

Good to know: Start seeds in trays if birds are a problem. Easy to grow. Try single stem and branching varieties. Good cut flower. Attracts birds and pollinators. 

Arizona Annual Flowers: A Visual Guide for Low-Desert Flowers (continued)

Cool Season Hardy Annual Flowers for Arizona
Sweet Alyssum

Sweet Alyssum

How to grow Sweet Alyssum:

Grows best from seed or transplant 

Days from seed to bloom: 30

Months to plant: October – March 

Months in bloom: Late October – May

Good to know: If planted from seed, thin seedlings. Easy to grow. Grows well in sun or part shade. Reseeds easily. 

Cool Season Hardy Annual Flowers for Arizona
Sweet Peas

Sweet Peas

How to grow Sweet Peas:

Grows best from seed or transplant

Days from seed to bloom: 120 

Months to plant: October – February 

Months in bloom: February to early May

Good to know: Doesn’t like being potbound; transplant as soon as possible. Prefers rich soil. Needs regular water. Provide support or trellis for growing plants. 

Cool Season Hardy Annual Flowers for Arizona
Verbena

Verbena

How to grow Verbena:

Grows best from transplants

Days from seed to bloom: 120

Months to plant: Late September – November

Months in bloom: March – September 

Good to know: Easy to grow. Needs regular water. Wildflower types will often reseed. Keep deadheaded to encourage blooms. 

Vinca (Periwinkle)

Vinca (Periwinkle)

How to grow Vinca (Periwinkle):

Grows best from transplant or seeds

Days from seed to bloom: 30

Months to plant: March – July

Months in bloom: April – October

Good to knowKeep deadheaded to encourage blooms. Tolerates hot conditions. Needs regular watering. Often reseeds. Look for trailing varieties for containers. Cutting central stem early produces fuller branching stems. Easy to grow. 

Zinnias

Zinnias

How to grow Zinnias:

Grows best from seed or transplant 

Days from seed to bloom: 30

Months to plant: March – June

Months in bloom: April – November

Good to know: Attracts butterflies. Good cut flower. Do not get leaves wet. Easy to grow. Cutting central stem early produces fuller branching stems. Grows well in full sun. Keep deadheaded to encourage blooms. 

Want to learn more about how to grow annual flowers?

Flower Planting Guide for the Low Desert – This guide published by the Maricopa County Cooperative Extension office was a valuable resource as I’ve learned to grow flowers in the low desert. I also used it as a reference in this visual guide of annual flowers. 

Photos all by me. Most photographs taken in my yard and garden in Mesa, Arizona. 

Wondering what to do in your Arizona garden each month?

190 Shares

2 comments on “Arizona Annual Flowers: A Visual Guide for Low-Desert Flowers”

  1. I’ve learned about Coleus and Ornamental cabbage from “Garden Answer” on Youtube. They garden in Oregon, not AZ, but you should check them out if you haven’t already. You two are my gardening favs!

Leave a Reply

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