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Cold-Tolerant Annuals       Bookmark and Share

An annual is any plant that would naturally survive only one season, going from germination to death in less than a year. Annuals are grown for their continuous blooms during their short lives.

Cold-tolerant annuals, also referred to as hardy annuals, can add early color and interest to the landscape. In the early spring when there’s still a good chance for frost, Minnesota is limited to cold-tolerant annuals. Cold-tolerant annuals have the ability to withstand cooler temperatures in the spring and will frequently withstand temperatures slightly below freezing in the fall.

Cool weather annuals are also cold tolerant; however, they thrive only when the weather is cool. Once the summer gets warm, their blooming slows. Examples of cold-tolerant/cool weather annuals are Calendula, Godetia, Lobelia, Pansies and Violas.

Tips for Growing Healthy Cold-Tolerant Annuals
Acclimate tender plants
events & seminars Start by keeping the plants outdoors during the day any time the temperature is 40 degrees or above. After several days, they should be able to handle the cooler temperatures.
events & seminars Be prepared to move them indoors when the temperature dips below 40 degrees.
events & seminars The plant should be able to withstand a light frost after several days of acclimation.
Frost tolerance
events & seminars This varies by the specific variety of annual.
events & seminars Pansies and Violas can tolerate several degrees below freezing, so they are usually the first annual planted.
events & seminars Most hardy annuals tolerate light frosts, but not freezing.
events & seminars Average last frost date in Minneapolis is May 10.
Light
events & seminars Varies with each variety, refer to plant tag.
Locations
events & seminars Perfect for containers or great by themselves, annuals combine well with other early spring blooms. Tuck a few into a summer mixed planter for early color while the summer plants fill out.
events & seminars Annuals also thrive when planted in:
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Beds and borders
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Gardens interspersed with spring flowering bulbs
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Window boxes
Soil
events & seminars Containers: Use any peat-like mix such as Bachman’s Mighty Earth™ Potting Soil. For best results, replace soil annually.
events & seminars Ground Beds: Amend soil with compost or peat moss once the frost is out of the ground.
Transplanting
events & seminars Annuals have a very fine, fibrous root system, so ease them out of their pots gently. The outside of the root ball may be a mat of white roots.
events & seminars Make several shallow cuts through these roots to encourage outward growth.
events & seminars Plant them at the same depth they were growing. Annuals don't do well when planted deeper.
Spacing
events & seminars Varies with each variety, refer to plant tag.
Water
events & seminars After transplanting, water immediately.
events & seminars Frequently water.
Fertilizer
Containers:
events & seminars Add a slow-release granular fertilizer at time of planting.
events & seminars Feed with water-soluble fertilizer weekly.
Ground Beds:
events & seminars Add granular fertilizer at time of planting.
events & seminars Feed with water-soluble fertilizer monthly.
Protection
events & seminars Annuals planted in containers and ground beds should be covered with frost cloth if frost is forecasted.
events & seminars Remove frost cloth once the sun rises and temperature is above 32 degrees.
Protection
events & seminars Snip out any leaves that develop milky white patches, usually caused from plants that are not fully acclimated.

Cold-Tolerant Annuals
Cool-Tolerant Vegetables
Calendula
Dianthus
Forget Me Not
Godetia
Pansy
Snapdragon
Stock
Sweet Alyssum
Sweet Peas
Viola
Broccoli
Brussels Sprouts
Cabbage
Cauliflower
Kale
Kohlrabi
Lettuce
Peas
Radish
Spinach

Related Bachman's Information
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Pansies & Violas
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Annuals for the Shade
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Annuals for the Sun


Recommended Products
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Bachman's-grown annuals and vegetables
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Quality seeds and seed starting supplies
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Plant fertilizer
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Potting soil, compost and peat moss

Bachman's Floral, Gift & Garden Centers
Your local garden expert since 1885.
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Select source information provided by the University of Minnesota Extension, www.extension.umn.edu.

Last Updated: March 2012

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