Hardy Annuals For Autumn – What You Need To Know

Last Updated on June 12, 2023 by Real Men Sow

Annuals are easy to grow, and they can be used as a quick fix for young gardens. Hardy annuals for autumn are easy to grow because they can be sown directly in finely raked soil in spring. They are very hardy, so you can sow them in autumn (September to October) and they will overwinter ready for growth when the temperatures rise in spring. 

You can also wait until spring to sow. You can do both and get the longest flower succession possible. Nearly all hardy annuals like full sun and well-drained soil. However, they don’t require the soil to be very rich. Plants that have too much soil can produce too much leafy growth, which can be detrimental to their flowers.

Sowing Hardy Annuals For Autumn

There are many varieties of annuals that can be grown in hardiness. You can look out for the HA symbol on seed packets. 

  1. Preparing the soil involves weeding, digging and raking. Applying fertiliser will only encourage weed growth.
  2. You can mark your area with a pencil and determine where you want to plant seeds. Consider colour, shape, height, and habit.
  3. You can sow seeds in two ways: broadcasting is quicker and gives your plants a natural look. Drilling in distinct rows makes it easier to weed later.
  4. Spread the seed evenly over your bed and lightly rake in. Then water well.
  5. Make shallow grooves with a drill to sow using a cane. To achieve a natural effect, you can offset neighbouring areas by putting rows in a different direction. Each drill should be thinly sown with seeds. Rake the soil and water well. After they have germinated you can thin them out according to the recommended spacing on the packet.

Best Hardy Annuals For Autumn


These star-shaped, azure blue flowers are topped by fuzzy stems. They will quickly fill in gaps in your herb garden or borders. The flowers are worth growing just for their colour. They can also be used as decorations in a Pimm’s jug or frozen into ice cubes. Sprinkle them on summer salads to enjoy their subtle cucumber flavour.

The bristly leaves can be eaten too. They can be wilted as spinach and used in a sauce or pasta stuffing. Borage can self-seed, so be sure to cut the plants back before they set seed.

Calendula Officinalis “Pink Surprise”

When you say the word “marigold”, the first colour that comes to mind is usually a bright orange. There are other, more subtle choices like ‘Pink Surprise’, which is a soft shade of peach that will look great in a pastel-coloured border. Calendula self-seeds with ease, but they can be pulled up easily if they appear in areas they do not want, or pulled out when they fade to avoid further problems.

California Poppy

The flowers emerge in summer from a loose mound of lacey, grey-green leaves. Their satin-sheen petals open when the sun shines on them. There are many varieties of cultivars with flowers in different shades such as satsuma orange, cream-white, rose pink, and single- and double-flowered versions. Height: 45cm.

Centaurea ‘Mauve Ball’

Annual cornflowers are one of the easiest annuals to grow. Just scatter the flowers and enjoy the ruffled blooms. You can choose from a variety of bright blue, but you might also like to try ‘Mauve Ball’. This pink-purple colour would look great with lime green. To prevent them from flopping, you can sow cornflowers on a block by attaching a cane to each corner.

Crepis Rubra

Although its flowers look like a dandelion’s, this beautiful species of hawks’ beard is not a weed. It thrives in poor soil and its pale pink flowers are held high above a rosette shaped, grey-green, lance-shaped leaves. It is similar to its sibling, however, it can self-seed. However, prompt deadheading will stop this from happening.


Gardeners know Nigella damascena, a name that is both memorable and distinctively flowering. They also know the magical inflated seed pods that grow from the flowers. The plant’s feathery leaves are great for filling in gaps. There are many varieties, including the classic blue and pure white, as well as pink and pink. To add winter interest, keep the seedheads strong.

Salvia Horminum

Clary sage is poised to become a hardy annual. If you live in colder parts of the country, wait until spring before you sow. However, if you live in warmer areas, plant a few rows in autumn. This annual stands out with its bright bracts that emerge from each stem’s top like perched butterflies wings. They can be cut as a cut or in sugar pink, purple, or white.

Real Men Sow
Real Men Sow

Hello, I’m Pete and I’m currently based in the west of Scotland, in a small place called Rosneath, where I’m exploring my garden adventures. I personally started gardening around 6 years ago and initially, I started out by growing my favorite fruits and berries, such as strawberries, Raspberries & Gooseberries. Since then I’ve added a lot of vegetables and working closely with my neighbor, it’s been a lot of fun.