Fall is also the time to plant cold hardy annuals, also known as cool flowers. Pansies come to mind for most people when thinking of cool flowers, but there are so many more to plant now for spring blooms! One important thing to note is that all cool flowers are not hardy in every zone. I am talking here about my specific zone and encourage you find out your zone by checking the USDA’s plant hardiness zone map.
In addition to still harvesting almost daily and also designing for weddings each weekend, we are planting thousands of seedlings out into the field. While we have 2 unheated hoop houses on the farm – both of which will be packed full of plants and bulbs this winter – most cool flowers can be planted directly into the field and require minimal, if any, protection. Planting cool flowers now helps the plants to get their roots established before we dive into winter temperatures and provides them with the necessary vernalization. Once the temperatures begin to warm up in the late winter and spring, these plants will take off. Longer stems and more blooms per plant are just some of the many benefits of planting cold hardy annuals. I highly recommend Lisa Mason Ziegler’s book “Cool Flowers” if you’re interested in learning more.
Even though I start all my seeds in a greenhouse or order them as plugs from large greenhouse growers, these can also be directly seeded into the garden. Here are my top 5 favorite cool flowers that you can plant now: