Looking for some cheery winter flowers for a spot that gets full sun? These flowers will give you beautiful blooms throughout the winter months!
Snapdragons (Antirrhinum majus)
Standard varieties grow 12”- 18” H
Dwarf varieties grow 6” – 8” H
If you want long-lasting color for the Vegas climate, go for the snapdragons! Put these flower in as soon as the summer heat eases up and they’ll cruise through the next few months with little trouble. If we do get a hard frost and they die back, don’t panic. They’ll recover shortly and start to bloom again as soon as our typical mild winter temperatures return. Better yet, they’ll reseed themselves readily and fill in an area before the end of spring, continuing to flower faithfully until the heat sets in again.
Rainbow Pink Dianthus (Dianthus chinensis)
2’- 3’ high and wide
This relative of carnations has deep red, bright pink, purple or white blooms, with some flowers displaying a combination of colors. Dianthus is another plant that’ll typically go from early fall through late spring without showing much in the way of damage from the cold. If it does get hit by a hard frost, there’s no need to panic. Dianthus will normally recover fairly quickly as soon as the temperatures rise again. Telstar is a strain that doesn’t get quite as big as others and is reliably easy to find in nurseries.
Have a shady spot that’s in need of some color? Check out this list of winter flowers that thrive with little sunlight!
The sweet fragrance of vintage stock makes it a personal favorite of mine. These upright flowers bloom in pink, purple and white all winter long and they thrill the Anna’s and McCord’s hummingbirds that stay in Vegas year-round. Deadhead the spent flowers to encourage new buds and keep the plants more compact. I usually keep a few 4” pots sitting around to bring them inside when people come over, since they can make a room smell like a floral shop in no time flat.
Pansies (Viola x wittrockiana)
I still remember fondly the British woman who came into the nursery a couple of years ago, wondering if there were any flowers that might make it through the cold. When I pointed to the flats of pansies behind us and told her they would go through the winter, she looked like she was going to cry from happiness. Apparently, pansies are the summer color where she came from and the idea that winters in her new city would be warm enough for them to grow was a little overwhelmingly wonderful. I fully understood where she was coming from. I’m not a winter person either.
Although they’re known commonly as pot marigolds, calendula will bloom well into the winter in Vegas, unlike true marigolds, which only go until the first frost. Calendula flowers are generally bright yellow and eye-popping orange, making them the perfect fall accent either in the ground or in a container, but they are also available in more subtle hues of apricot, creamy white and pale yellow. They’ll also reseed fairly easily, so you can usually count on a bed full of calendula through the spring.
Ornamental Kale & Cabbage (Brassicaceae)
12”-15” high and wide
Flowering kale and cabbage can create a striking presentation, whether it’s in a group planting or mixed in with other annuals and perennials. The rosettes come out green and feature ruffled edges in shades of pink, purple and white, which becomes particularly vibrant once the weather turns really cold. These pretty plants will go through the winter and last until the temperature starts to rise, whereupon they’ll do exactly what winter crops do in the heat, which is go to seed and die. The only caution that I feel compelled to mention to those with a bunny problem: cabbage and kale is straight up rabbit food and they will mow it down in no time flat, without so much as a ‘thank you’ for the meal.