The Best Annuals for Iowa Gardens: Our Expert Selections for 2023 wallacegardencenter

The Best Annuals for Iowa Gardens: Our Expert Selections for 2023

It’s almost time to let those annuals hit your Iowa garden, and we at Wallace’s can’t wait for the color show! If you’re getting ready to start shopping for the best annuals of 2023, we’ve got our expert picks lined up for every garden type. Whether you’re planning your garden beds, thinking about container gardening, or just looking to spread some summer cheer with hanging baskets, here is what we think you’ll love this year!

Wallace's grown geraniums


These old-fashioned beauties love the sunshine and are one of the most beloved annual flowers for an Iowa garden. They are one of the best bedding plants you can grow, and come in several shades of pink, red, white, and orange. Some gardeners love them so much they are grown as houseplants and can be enjoyed all year indoors!

purple petunia flowers


Another annual favorite, petunias dazzle garden beds and hanging baskets all summer long with prolific blooming and abundant growth. The trumpet shaped-flowers attract hummingbirds and butterflies and add great dimension to any Iowa garden. Petunias love the sun, so keep them in the spotlight for much of the day.

pink impateins


This delicate annual flower is a classic addition for any Iowa garden, and does best in shadier locations. Impatiens like moist, well-draining soil and do well in hanging baskets and containers. If you want your impatiens to grow low to the ground in a garden bed, plant further apart. Impatiens planted close together grow taller, between 6-30” tall!


If you like Impatiens, but don’t have many shady spots to grow them, SunPatiens are the perfect sun-loving annual for your Iowa garden. Growing right through from spring until the first frost, SunPatiens make some of the best container and bedding plants you can get!



If you’re looking to make local pollinators happy this year, this is definitely the best annual for you! Adored by hummingbirds and bees, the delicate dangling flower makes quite a color show in hanging baskets and grown on trellis’. Keep this beauty out of full, direct heat and ensure good dappled sunlight throughout the day. Fuchsia also prefers some humidity, so if overwintering indoors, keep the air humid for the best chance of survival.


It’s hard to find a garden in Iowa (or anywhere!) that doesn’t have a dahlia growing! Not only do they come in a wide variety of blooms and colors, they grow tall as well, making them among the best cut flowers for any garden. You’ll also attract a dedicated following of helpful local pollinators, like bees and butterflies, so it’s a win-win!


We love beautiful begonias and their feminine, delicate blooms. With around 1300 species of annuals, perennials, shrubs and climbers, you’re sure to find one that suits your garden best. Wax begonias are among the most popular annuals, being easy to care for, fantastic bloomers, and full of vibrant color all season.


Sometimes, the most dramatic plants we can add to a summer garden to make it look its best aren’t even flowers! Many of the best, visually appealing gardens in Iowa feature the perfect balance of bountiful bloomers and lush foliage. Why not try one of these fun and leafy pro picks!


These stunning tropicals are sure to add flair to your Iowa garden or container displays with vibrant pink, red, white and green heart-shaped leaves. As partial shade-loving plants, caladium are among the best foliage plants to incorporate into your summer garden design and will work well pretty much anywhere!


This ornamental summer vine lends an attractive, tropical feel to a garden, and is best for filling container gardens and large garden beds. With colors ranging from green and yellow to purple and chartreuse, you’ll see just how easy this summer annual fits into any part of the garden.


For a real splash of elegance, try planting coleus for its deep red and green foliage. Not only are these annuals super easy to care for and propagate, they don’t need a ton of sun, making them perfect choices for darker corners or to fill in spaces between your perennial blooms.


If you’re after a more delicate foliage plant to spill over containers or for use as a groundcover, we know you’ll love dichondra. This fast-growing, trailing annual has pale green to silver foliage and gives off a definitive flowing effect in the garden. Give this annual full sun for the most robust growth, or use as a lawn alternative in bare parts of your garden.

We hope you try some of these top picks for the best annuals to plant in your Iowa garden. We’re fully stocked and ready to help turn your outdoor space into an enviable explosion of color in 2023. We’ll see you at the garden center!

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