Skip to main content

If you want a garden that blooms all year-round, plant these flowers

blooming perennial flower garden along a walkway

If you love gardening and appreciate flowers in spring and summer, why not grow a four-season garden? It’s possible to have a bright, colorful landscape throughout the year, if you plan for it. Plant selection is the key. By choosing a diverse collection of shrubs, perennials, trees, and annuals that bloom in different seasons, you can quickly give yourself a year-round garden. Let’s get started.

Finding flowers for a year-round garden

Observe your garden

Before buying anything, get to know your garden’s growing conditions, starting with your hardiness zone. Also observe to understand its lighting. Where is it shady in the afternoon? Which parts get hot sunshine all day? Do you have spots that get little or no direct sunlight? Keep in mind, too, that the sunlight changes throughout the year with the rise and fall of the sun’s angle and the leaves growing and falling from deciduous trees.

Mix it up

In order to cover all of the seasons, you’ll need to choose a diverse selection of flora from different plant categories. Some of the best flowers for late winter and early spring come from trees, shrubs, and bulbs. In spring, summer, and fall, flowers abound among annuals and perennials. Winter flowers, not uncommon in mild climates, are rare for northern gardeners. Colorful fruits and foliage can help to fill the void.

Beyond flowers

A garden’s appeal goes beyond flowers. Plants offer a host of other interesting elements, like foliage color and texture, varying sizes and forms, interesting branch structure, motion in the wind, attraction to wildlife, and scents associated with flowers and foliage. As you develop your year-round landscape, don’t forget these and other attractive elements.

Get inspired

Look for inspiration in public gardens, parks, and garden centers. If you see an interesting plant around town, snap a pic and take it to your local garden center for help with identification. Be sure your photos are in focus, and show details such as the overall plant size and shape, close-ups of the flower or foliage, etc. They may have it on hand, or they might be able to order it for you.

May we suggest…

large garden with flowering tulips and hyacinths


Trees and shrubs are the first things to flower each spring, soon followed by bulbs and other herbaceous perennials. If you planted cool season annual flowers in fall, they may rebloom again in spring as well.

  • Flowering cherry trees: Kwanzan Cherry, Yoshino Cherry
  • Deciduous magnolias: Saucer Magnolia, Star Magnolia
  • Old-fashioned ornamentals: Forsythia, Lilac, Flowering Quince
  • North American native trees: Eastern Redbud, Flowering Dogwood
  • North American native shrubs: Rhododendron, Mountain Laurel, Native Azaleas
  • Spring flowering bulbs: Crocus, Narcissus, Tulip, Iris
  • Spring flowering perennials: Hellebore, Peony, Trillium, Virginia Bluebells, Lily of the Valley, and many more
  • Cool weather annuals: Pansy, snapdragon, dianthus, stock


As the season progresses, a few late-blooming trees begin to show color. Shrubs that bloom on new growth produce flowers in summer. Most herbaceous plant species, annuals, and perennials, prefer to flower at this time of year.

  • Summer flowering trees: Southern Magnolia, American Linden, Goldenrain Tree, Chaste Tree, Crape Myrtle
  • Summer flowering shrubs: Rose, Hydrangea, Butterfly Bush, Spirea, Rose of Sharon, Summersweet
  • Summer perennials: Daylily, Coneflower, Black-eyed Susan, Bee Balm, Guara, Phlox, Hardy Hibiscus, Coreopsis, Acanthus, Heuchera, Astilbe
  • Summer annuals: Petunia, Vinca, Impatiens, Zinnia, Marigold, Ageratum, Sunflower


A few trees and shrubs hold out until fall before blooming. Lots of perennials flower this time of year. It’s also a great time to swap out the summer annuals for cool season flowers.

  • Fall flowering Trees: Autumn Cherry, Franklin Tree
  • Fall flowering shrubs: Camellia sasanqua, Fragrant Tea Olive, Confederate Rose, Seven-Son Flower, Fatsia
  • Fall perennials: Aster, Goldenrod, Sedum, Russian Sage, Helenium, Japanese Anemone, Monks Hood, Toad Lily, Joe Pye Weed, Balloon Flower, Nippon Daisy, Chrysanthemum
  • Fall annuals: Viola, Celosia, Calabrachoa, Flowering Cabbage/Kale, Ornamental Peppers
crocus flowers in the snow


For those not blanketed in snow or ice, winter may be a time to enjoy cold-hardy flowers. Be sure to plant these treasures in locations where you can enjoy them no matter the weather.

  • Winter flowering trees: Flowering Apricot, Okame Cherry
  • Winter flowering shrubs: Camellia japonica, Paperbush, Mahonia, Daphne, Winter Jasmine, Witch Hazel, Pieris, Pussy Willow
  • Winter flowering perennials: Hellebore, Snowdrops, Winter Aconite, Cyclamen
  • Winter flowering annuals: Pansy, viola

Editors' Recommendations

Mark Wolfe
Former Digital Trends Contributor
Mark Wolfe is a freelance writer who specializes in garden, landscaping, and home improvement. After two decades in the…
Loquat trees provide flowers, fruit, and even herbal tea! Here’s what you need to know about growing these useful plants
Loquat tree care guide
Ripe loquats on a loquat tree

Sweet, juicy, and fruit fresh from your garden is a treat unlike any other. If you’ve tried growing some of the typical garden staples such as blackberries or apples and are looking for something new, then loquat trees should be your next garden addition.

Native to southern China, this tree offers beautiful flowers, tasty fruit, and even leaves that can transform into herbal tea! Interested in all this tree has to offer? Use this simple care guide to get started growing your own today.
Planting a loquat tree
Start by choosing your planting site, since you may need to take extra steps to prepare it before planting. Choose a location in full sun or partial shade with well-draining, slightly acidic soil. Adding compost, pine straw, or peat moss to your soil can help adjust the pH.

Read more
Angelonia is excellent for containers, borders, and more – how to grow this beautiful and sweet-smelling flower
An angelonia care guide for growing these flowers in your garden
Light purple angelonia flowers

Angelonia is a beautiful flower with a sweet scent that some say is reminiscent of apples. It grows short flower spikes that bloom in shades of purple, blue, pink, and white. Angelonia’s smaller size and lovely colors make it exceptionally popular for use in container gardens and garden borders. To help you get started growing angelonia for yourself, here is a simple care guide.
Planting angelonia
When growing it outdoors, begin planting your angelonia in mid-spring. Although mature angelonia plants can tolerate some cold weather, colder temperatures slow down the germination of their seeds.

You can start angelonia indoors at any time, as long as you keep the seeds and seedlings warm. You can transplant the seedlings in your garden once the weather warms up. If you live north of zone 9, you’ll either need to grow your angelonia in a container or grow it as an annual. Whether indoors or out, make sure your angelonia is growing in full sun and rich, well-draining soil.

Read more
How to care for crocosmia – get stunning red and orange flowers all summer long
Caring for your own crocosmia flowers
Orange crocosmia flowers

A summer garden full of bright, vibrant flowers is a delight to behold, and there are so many colors to choose from. From sunny yellows to cheerful pinks, there are flowers in practically any color you could want. If you’re looking for orange and red flowers that really stand out, then crocosmia might be just what you need! Also called coppertips, these flowers are easy to grow and lovely to look at. Just follow these tips to grow your own.
Planting crocosmia
Begin planting your crocosmia in mid-spring, after the last chance of frost has passed. If you want to get a head start you can plant them in starter pots indoors or in a greenhouse. Then, transplant the crocosmia into your garden once the weather is warm.

Choose a planting site that's in full sun or light shade. Crocosmia does best in rich and well-draining soil. You can improve your soil before planting by adding compost or leaf mulch. The organic matter breaks down, leaving gaps in the soil for water to flow through as well as adding nutrients to the soil for your plants to use.

Read more