Annual Flowers for a Lovely Cottage Garden

cottage garden annuals

A cottage garden is an exceptionally popular style of garden that includes a variety of self-sowing flowers that come in a variety of shades and types that blend seamlessly. Cottage gardens are popular due to their almost whimsical nature. A cottage gardener will mix a variety of flowers with no concern for spacing, height levels or types of flowers.

One of its greatest appeals is the fact that the flowers grown are typically lavish in style, yet the garden contains no formal structure. Many flowers that are considered for cottage garden tend to have a fragrance that will all blend to produce a lovely scent.

Many cottage gardens have accents such as small pathways or benches that make them lovely places to read a book or enjoy the summer sunshine.

We’ve compiled a list of some of the best flowers that are ideal for growing a truly exquisite cottage garden.


1. Bachelor’s Button

Bachelor's Button

This lovely blue wildflower grows as sprinkling blossoms with uniquely shaped petals that contain multiple prongs on the end. Also known as cornflower or garden cornflower, it is a charming, folksy flower that will return and re-bloom each summer. It is an edible flower and many gardeners snip off the steps to use as a gorgeous blue garnish on any cold dish. It requires full suns and will grow in zones 2-11.

2. Calendulas


These bright yellow-orange flowers appear similar to a daisy. They are seen in the majority of English cottage gardens, often grown in a container. They are edible and have a mild spice that makes them perfect for broths and summer salads. It is often grown in the containers of cottage gardens, growing between 1-3 feet in height. It grows well in the warmer zones of 9-11 and requires full sun or partial shade.

3. China Aster

China Aster

These flowers are true show-stoppers in any cottage garden. They are members of the same family as the daisy and are prized by gardeners because of their very bright color palette that consists of bold purple, hot pink and white. They are very attractive when used as cut flowers and will bloom in late summer through late fall, growing best in zones 2-11.

4. Cosmos


This flower was named after the Greek word that means “harmony,” making it a perfect name for the bright explosion of pink and purple blooms with a yellow center eye. This plant thrives in very warm conditions and does well even in poor soil. Most cottage gardeners grow Cosmos from seed and are highly resistant to drought. They grow well in zones 2-11.

5. Geraniums


Geraniums are a favorite for cottage gardens and come in a variety of lovely colors. They have a lovely fragrance and are often grown as a potted plant. They grow in the warmer zones, typically 9-11.

6. Impatiens


Nicknames “busy lizzies,” these lovely plants are a staple of any cottage garden. They come in a variety of shades that all blend well together, including hot pink, coral pink, white, and various shades of purple. They will bloom from summer into fall and attract birds and hummingbirds. They prefer very rich, well-drained soil and will grow taller the closer that they are planted together. They grow well in zones 7-11.

7. Marigolds


These lovely annual flowers come in a variety of shades that range from gold to orange-yellow. They are prized by gardeners because they bloom richly from spring to fall and contain deep green foliage that accents their sunlight color. They also grow in nearly any zone, ranging from 2-11 in an area where they receive full sunlight and have well-drained soil. They should be planted in the soil about six inches deep for maximum growth and blooming potential.

8. Nasturtium


These lovely flowers bloom in shades of orange, red and yellow and have five petals to each flower. They bloom during summer and fall and love to be planted in full sunlight. Gardeners love them because they bloom in various vibrant shades. They typically bloom best in zones 4-8, but they can survive in zones 9-11 when they are more carefully tended to. Some can even survive less-harsh winter conditions.

9. Salvia


Technically a member of the mint family, these lovely plants are known for being exceptionally hardy. Their petals bloom on lovely stalks in a massive variety of shades. They bloom best when they are planted in a very large number and quite close together. They attract butterflies and hummingbirds and their two-foot-tall stalks give lovely height, making them perfect border flowers. There are hundreds of varieties of Salvia flowers, that all do best in different zones.

10. Spider Flower

Spider Flower

These easy-to-care-for flowers come in shades of pink, light purple, rose, and white. They prefer warmer climates, growing best in zones 10-11. They grow best in full sun or partial shade and do well in well-drained soil that is also kept moist daily. They are known as rapid spreaders in a cottage garden.