As the days get shorter and cooler, summer fades away and a new season arrives.

While some people love the lower temps that make us want to cozy up, others who love the outdoors begin to feel a little down. Colorful winter flowers can be a great pick me up. We call these ‘winter annuals’. While they all are not officially classified as annuals, these are the plants that will give you the most bang for your buck during the fall, winter, and early spring here in California’s Central Valley.


Pansy flowers

Great for full to part sun. Wide range of colors. Available in jumbo packs and 4″. Edible flower.


Violas on table

A little sister to the Pansy. Known as “Johnny Jump Ups”. Great for full sun to shade. Smaller flowers and smaller plants for filler or color in small spaces. Wide range of colors. Edible flower. Available in jumbo packs and 4″.


Rosy colored Snapdragons in bloom

Best in at least 4 hours of sun, more sun is better. Very tall varieties grow up to 3′, shortest varieties grow only 8-10″ and a few heights in between. Available in white, yellow, pinks, reds, and some oranges. Available in jumbo packs, 4″,6″ and occasionally #1 (1 gallon) containers.


Yellow Calendula flower

Best in at least 4 hours of sun, more sun is better. Grows up to 24″ tall. Available in oranges, yellows and some pink-orange. Edible flower. Available in jumbo packs and 4″ containers.


Cyclamen on bench

One of our favorites. They are actually a bulb but not one you would dig up and store. Best in part sun to shade. Full sun is okay in the coolest months only. Cyclamen bloom their hearts out, even in shade and are certainly queens of the winter. They can even be “oversummered” once the weather gets too warm in the spring by setting them aside in their own container, watering occasionally but keep relatively dry until late August. Then start watering when dry and feed with a bloom fertilizer like Master Bloom. Available in 4″ and 6″ containers.

Flowering Kale and Cabbage

Best in at least 4 hours of sun, more sun is better. Too much shade will cause them to get leggy reaching for the sun. These are not inedible, just not tasty. Grown for their bold texture and color. Flowering Kale has very frilly edges while Flowering Cabbage has much smoother edges. Colors are white, pink, and purple. All colors have darker green or purple outer leaves with the color on the younger, center leaves. Available in 4″, #1 (1 gallon), and occasionally jumbo packs which would need to be planted before November.


Pink Stock flower

A favorite for the scent. Colors are creamy white, pinks, lavender, and purples. Available in jumbo packs and 4″.

Maxsea Bloom & MNGC Bud & Bloom
These are just a few of the products that will help promote flowering.