Most annuals flower for most of the summer and although they are indispensable for planters of all sizes to brighten up patios and porches, many are also suited for planting out in the garden. Garden centers offer a great selection of annual flowers, but it can also be fun to grow your own from seed.
Antirrhinum - Snapdragons
Antirrhinum is a genus in the Plantaginaceae family. They are perennial in their native habitats in S-Europe, N-Africa and N-America, where they grow in sun-baked, rocky soil.
In northern climates a number of cultivars are grown as annuals.
Chrysanthemum is a genus in the aster family, Asteraceae, that has been greatly revised in recent years and divided into a number of genera. One of them is Ismelia, with only one species, the tricolour chrysanthemum (Ismelia carinata).
Chrysanthemum carinatum (now Ismelia carinata)
Convolvulus - Bindweeds
Convolvulus is a large genus of 200-250 species in the Convolvulaceae family with a global distribution. They are annual or perennial vines.
Dianthus - Pinks
Dianthus is a fairly large genus of perennial plants in the Caryophyllaceae family, many of which are nice garden plants. They are covered in the perennial section of this website. A large number of China pink cultivars are grown as annual flowers.
Dianthus chinensis - China pink
Dorotheanthus is a small genus in the family Aizoaceae, native to S-Africa. They are annual plants with thick leaves and very colourful flowers that open in sunshine. They grow best in well-drained soil and a very sunny place. Livingstone daisies were formerly classified in the genus Mesembryanthemum and many seed mixes are sold by that name.
Dorotheanthus bellidiformis (Mesembryanthemum criniflorum) - Livingstone daisy
Erysimum - Wallflowers
Erysimum is a genus of around 180 annual and perennial species in the Brassicaceae family. Perennial species are usually short-lived and often grown as biennials in gardens. Many species grow in dry, sun baked soil.
Eschscholzia - California poppy
Around 12 species of annual and perennial plants belong to the genus Eschscholzia, in the poppy family, Papaveraceae. Most are native to the southwestern regions of N-America where they grow in dry soil and grow therefore in full sun.
Godetia - Clarkia
All the species in the genus Godetia have been moved to the genus Clarkia in the Onagraceae family, so the genus name Godetia is no longer accepted. Nearly all species in the expanded Clarkia genus are native to N-America.
Clarkia amoena (Godetia)
Helianthus - Sunflowers
The genus Helianthus belongs to the aster family, Asteraceae. It contains around 70 species which are all native to N- and S-America. Perennial sunflower species are not popular garden plants as they have a tendency to be too invasive.
Xerochrysum is a small genus of 7 species formerly belonging to the genus Helichrysum in the aster family, Asteraceae. They are all native to Australia. Their defining characteristic is brightly coloured, papery bracts which are more conspicuous than the flowers themselves. The flower heads are well suited for dry flower arrangements.
Xerochrysum bracteatum (formerly Helichrysum bracteatum)
Lathyrus is a genus in the Fabaceae family native to temperate regions. One species, the sweet pea, is a popular annual flower and many garden cultivars are grown in gardens. .
Limnanthes - Meadowfoams
Limnanthes is a genus of 7 species in the family Limnanthaceae, which are all native to the west coast of N-America. They are annuals that often grow in the margins of seasonal pools.
Linanthus is a genus of annual and perennial plants in the family Polemoniaceae, native to western N-America and Chile. The genus has recently been split and over half the species have been moved to the genus Leptosiphon.
Linaria - Toadflax
Linaria, is a genus of around 150 species of annual and perennial plants in the family Plantaginaceae. The genus is distributed around temperate regions in Europe, Asia and N-Africa with the greatest diversity around the Mediterranean.
Lobelia - Lobelias
Lobelia is a large genus of roughly 400 species in the bellflower family, Campanulaceae. The genus is widely distributed around the tropics and warm temperate regions. One species is a popular annual here.
Matthiola - Stock
Matthiola is a genus of 50 species of annual and perennial plants in the mustard family, Brassicaceae. Many are cultivated because of their strongly scented flowers. One, stock, is grown here as an annual flower.
Matthiola incana - stock
Most species belonging to the genus Mimulus have been moved to the genus Erythranthe and both genera have been moved to the family Phrymaceae. Most species grow in moist soil and are not drought tolerant.
Nicotiana - Tobacco plants
Nicotiana is a genus of 67 species in the nightshade family, Solanaceae, native to America, Australia, SW-Africa and the South Pacific. The tobacco plant, N. tabacum, is widely cultivated for tobacco production and a few species and cultivars are grown as ornamental plants.
Papaver - Poppy
Papaver is a genus of around 100 species in the poppy family, Papaveraceae, widely distributed in Eurasia and a few native to N-America. They are drought tolerant plants with deep taproots that prefer the sunny side of life.
Pelargonium - Geraniums
Pelargonium, geraniums, is a large genus of roughly 200 species in the geranium family, Geraniaceae. They are evergreen perennials or subshrubs native to temperate and tropical regions with a center of diversity in southern Africa. They are drought and heat tolerant, but are frost tender and can therefore only be grown outside during the summer months. They can however be grown as houseplants during the winter months and in that way kept perennial.
Pelargonium x hortorum
'Horizon Pink Ice'
'Summer Showers Burgundy'
Petunia is a genus of around 35 species in the nightshade family, Solancaceae, which are all native to S-America. The plants grown in gardens are usually hybrids grown as annual flowers.
Phlox is a genus in the Polemoniaceae family. All species except one are native to N-America and grow in diverse habitats. Annual phlox is a popular annual flower and a great number of cultviars are grown in gardens.
Rudbeckia - Coneflowers
Rudbeckia, is a genus of 25 species in the aster family, Asteraceae, which are all native to N-America. Most are perennials, but there are also a few annual plants in the genus. Their main characteristic is yellow or orange ray florets with dark brown center disks. Black-eyed Susan is an annual species which is a popular garden plant in warmer climates, but needs more summer heat than Iceland can offer to flourish.
Salvia - Sage
Salvia is the largest genus in the mint family, Lamiaceae, with roughly 1000 species native to Eurasia and America. The genus has three distinct distribution areas, Central- and S-America, Central Asian and the Mediterranean and E-Asia. Most need a warmer climate than Iceland, but one species has been grown here as a tender annual.
Tropaeolum - Nasturtium
Tropaeolum is the only genus in the family Tropaeolaceae, native to Central- and S-America.
Viola - Violets
Viola is the largest genus of the violet family, Violaceae, with the greatest distribution around the northern temperate zones. A few species grow in the southern hemisphere, in the Andes mountains and Australia. Most are low growing, but a few are shrubby and some species in the Andes have thick, fleshy leaves. The most widely grown plants are pansies and violets grown as annuals.
Viola x williamsii - violets
Viola x wittrockiana - pansies