Q&A: Best Fall Flowers for the Southwest

Tips for when to plant a cool-season annual.
Plating Pansies

Plating Pansies

Related To:

Q: What flowers are best to plant in the fall here? One area gets sun all day and another gets some shade from a chinaberry tree. I want lots of color.
— P.S., Phoenix, Ariz.

A: There are two distinct growing seasons in the low desert. The cool season lasts from the end of September through April. Cool-season annuals can be planted from September to February. The warm season starts with planting in mid to late February. Some warm-season plants will make it through the summer's heat; others will end their growth when the heat arrives.

Cool-season flowers include calendula, bachelor's button, pansies, violas, nasturtiums, stock, snapdragons, alyssum, dusty miller, poppies and dianthus. Wildflowers are also seeded in the fall (usually October) for spring bloom. Most of these are sun lovers.

Bulbs might be a good choice in the shady area, as they appreciate shade in the summer. Bulbs that would do well include Ranunculus, Tritonia, iris, amaryllis, spider lily and rain lily.

A good reference book that contains planting calendars for the low desert is Desert Gardening for Beginners. Good luck!

— National Gardening Association

Next Up

Mum Flowers

Learn about chrysanthemum flowers, including tips for growing and designing with these autumn icons.

Mum's the Word: Helping These Fall Blooms Thrive

Follow these tips for planting and keeping mums healthy.

5 Trendy Color Palettes Inspired by Fall Florals + Produce

Dive into these natural, fall-perfect hues.

Aster Flowers

Get the scoop on one of fall’s most beautiful bloomers.

Fall-Planted Perennials for Easy Spring Color

Get a head start on spring by planting in the fall.

Fall-Blooming Bulbs

The down side of planting bulbs in the fall: having to wait till the following spring to see the flowers. With these plants, though, you get flowers in just 3 weeks.

Fall Gardens Reach for New Heights With Tatarian Asters

This late-blooming perennial flowers until frost.

Overwintering and Planting Fall Bloomers

Summer and spring aren't the only seasons for spectacular blooms.

Arranged Marriage: Fab Flora for Fall Wedding Bouquets

Fall colors in dahlias, peonies, beautybush, stock and herbs combine to create wedding bouquets and floral centerpieces.

Still Life With Fall: Making Art from Flowers and Fruits

Richly colored autumn blooms and luscious harvest fruits burst forth from a pedestal urn in this dramatic update to a classical look.

1,000+ Photos

Browse beautiful photos of our favorite outdoor spaces: decks, patios, porches and more.

Follow Us Everywhere

Join the party! Don't miss HGTV in your favorite social media feeds.