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Daucus Carotta Dara
Antirrhinum Chantilly
Larkspur Flowers
Sweetpea Navy King
Orlaya Grandiflora

How to grow Hardy Annuals 

The first questions really is to ask why grow hardy annuals and when to grow them? 

Hardy annuals are annuals which are hardy and will overwinter  with a little protection, so by sowing them in late summer/early autumn they can germinate and establish some roots and leaves before winter sets in. They can then be over wintered in a greenhouse or cold frame and be planted out much earlier in the year as they will be hardy. If you sow the same seeds in Jan/ February then the resulting seedlings would be susceptible to frost and can not be planed out until the risk of frost has passed.  I plant out my overwintered hardy annuals from February onwards, and as I write this the Cornflowers are literally screaming at me to plant them out as they are getting so big for their pots already in January. 

My top 10 Hardy Annuals: 

1. Daucus Carota - Sep/ Oct 

2. Antirrhinum (Snapdragon) - End Aug/ Sep - I tend to sow these as early as possible as they are very slow to start so I find that starting them early give them a better chance. 

3. Larkspur - Sep/Oct

4. Lathyrus Odoratus (Sweetpea) End Oct/ Nov - I sow mine as late as I dare as I find that they do too well, and grow too tall too soon and by January I am having to pinch them out. 

5. Orlaya Grandiflora - Sep/ Oct 

6. Scabious - Sep/Oct

7. Cornflower - Sep/ Oct 

8. Calendula

9. Ammi Majus 

10. Icelandic Poppy

Scabious Summer Fruits
Cornflower Black Ball
Ammi Flowers
Icelandic Poppy

Sow the seeds in trays or pots filled with the prepared soil, following the recommended planting depth. Provide consistent moisture during germination and seal with propagation lids where necessary.  Germination can be a little slow on the Daucus, Orlaya & Larkspur, maybe 4-8 weeks, but the Snapdragons & Sweetpeas should emerge within the first 2 weeks. Transplant seedlings into cell trays and once grown pot on into 8am pots. 

The tricky part is then to keep them well ventilated as they do have a tendency to suffer from damping off. Overwatering, poor air circulation, and high humidity levels can exacerbate the problem. To prevent damping off, ensure proper drainage, use sterile potting mix, and avoid overcrowding seedlings. Additionally, maintaining good air circulation  by leaving the door open and providing adequate light can help reduce the risk of infection. If damping off occurs, remove affected trays promptly and allow plants to dry out a little to prevent further spread of the disease.  Check out our guide to Seedling Success to learn more. 

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