In the spring when the garden calls, we make a list of some varieties that can be direct sown and flower quickly adding some new bursts of color this summer.
There is always a little bare patch here and there between long-standing perennials that can use a punch of color. You probably already know about bachelor's buttons, cosmos, and zinnias. Here are more of our favorite, throw and grow, last-minute lovelies.
- Sweet Alyssum is oh, so fragrant, attracts beneficial insects, and ever-blooming in my climate. In hot areas, expect it to take a mid-summer siesta.
- California Bluebells remind me of hiking amid the dazzling wildflowers of California. I sowed these in a rock wall bordering the garden and fell in love with the color!
- Calendula accepts neglect and keeps producing sunny flowers all season, and year after year if you let them reseed. 'Oopsy Daisy' is really compact and cute as a button!
- Flax flowers quickly and handles dry, hot conditions with ease. Expect them to reseed for years of color!
- Moss Rose Portulaca creates a carpet of color that doesn't flinch at heat and drought. Expect these practically care-free flowers to reseed too.
- Nasturtiums, which I affectionately call "nasties" (partly because one of our warehouse managers couldn't pronounce "nasturtium"), have not only lovely blooms, but also gorgeous foliage. But don't let the nickname fool you; the edible flowers and leaves add a nice peppery kick and wonderful color to salads.
- Poppies are so easy to grow; just scatter seeds! With so many shapes and sizes, it's easy to fall in love with them, and they're drought tolerant, too! The color of 'Mikado' is really eye catching and the huge blossom of 'Lauren's Grape' is a dramatic purple!
- Sunflowers seem to go from seed to towering flower in almost no time and they feed the birds in the fall!
- 'Striped Japonica' Ornamental Corn adds big, bold texture and colors with its striped magenta, white, and green leaves. At 5'–6′ tall it makes an excellent backdrop for other flowers or a lovely privacy screen.
- Violas are the first and last to bloom, since they thrive in cooler weather. I love the royal purple faces of 'King Henry' and the tri-colored 'Johnny-Jump-Up' always makes me smile. I adore these edible cuties in a salad!
Flower mixes are also as easy as throwing and growing. With some watering of course, they provide endless color all growing season! Flower mixes may be sown as early as 6 weeks before your average last frost date until the end of May.