As a Wisconsin gardener, I know that the cool season can be a bit of a challenge when it comes to adding color to your garden. But fear not, there are plenty of cold-hardy flowers that will add vibrancy to your outdoor space! Here are a few varieties to get you started, along with my best care tips for each type of flower.

Cold-Hardy Flowers for Your Spring Garden

Bells of Ireland

These beautiful green flowers are slower to start than some other plants, so you’ll want to plant them early in the season. They can take at least three weeks to germinate, so be patient. Once they start to grow, you may need to provide some stake support if they get top-heavy.


These cold-hardy flowers like healthy, well-draining soil with full sunlight. Start them in early spring and watch them thrive.

Sweet peas

Soak the seeds before planting, but if you forget to do so, they will still grow just fine. Once they reach 4 to 6 inches tall, pinch out the central growing tip just above a leaf joint, leaving just 2 or 3 leaf nodes. This will encourage the plant to branch. Sweet peas prefer cool soil and regular watering.


These easy flowers are great for adding some color to your garden in the spring and fall. They like regular watering and deadheading, and can sometimes be limped along through the summer if given shade and a break from the heat.


A garden staple for many, calendula prefers full sun or part shade. They will not do well in the hot summer heat and prefer the cooler temperatures of spring and early fall. Calendula flowers are edible and can be added to salads or brewed into a tea.


These colorful cold-hardy flowers need full sun and reasonably fertile, well-drained soil. Marigolds make great edging plants for borders and are known for their pest-deterrent properties.

Bachelor buttons

These flowers thrive in well-drained soil but are prone to rot if the roots get too wet. They can get leggy in partial shade, so make sure to plant them in a sunny spot.


These delicate flowers prefer full sun and require about an inch of water per week. Keep them well-watered during hot, dry weather. They make great border plants and work well in containers and hanging baskets.


Sow larkspur seeds early in the spring and be patient – they can take up to two weeks to germinate. Larkspur needs full sun to grow well and develop color, but they don’t like hot and dry weather.


These popular flowers are perfect for adding some color to your garden in the cooler months. They prefer full, direct morning sun and soil that’s high in organic matter.


These tall flowers do best in rich, well-draining soil in a sunny location. Keep them hydrated during the first week of planting and deadhead to keep the blooms coming all summer long.


My personal favorite, these flowers start blooming in early summer and continue until frost if you deadhead regularly. They prefer full sun and can really take off in the fall when the temperatures cool down.

Have I convinced you to add some cold-hardy flower to your spring garden?

With a little patience and some TLC, these cold-hardy flowers can brighten up your outdoor space and add some life to the gray winter months. Happy gardening!

If you are looking for high-quality seeds, Territorial Seeds always has a great selection!

Ready to grow even more?