15 Fast Growing Flowers For Your Garden

Gardens can always do with more flowers, but if you’re in a hurry to grow something new, or you’re trying to figure out what will grow where in a new garden, one of the easiest ways is to plant fast-growing flowers.

This gives you an idea of what will thrive where, what colors and forms you like, and the ones you wouldn’t put on next year’s list of things you want to grow.

Let’s take a look at some of the fastest, easiest flowers to grow, where to grow them, and why you should plant them.

Why You Might Want Fast-Growing Flowers In Your Garden And Which To Choose

There are many reasons why you might want to grow plants that produce flowers quickly. Maybe you’re growing them for a flower competition, so you need as many as possible to select the best ones to show off.

Perhaps it’s for a classroom project, a community garden, or someone has even asked you to do their wedding flowers!

Or maybe it’s not for any of these reasons. Maybe you’ve been buying plants that are ‘guaranteed’ to flower within the first year of planting, and they just haven’t, or you’re sick of waiting for your peonies or other slow-blooming plants to produce more than just foliage.

Fast-growing flowers are very satisfying, even before they bloom you’ll see the results of your work quickly, as most sprout very quickly when you grow them from seed. 

Not only that, but once you see the sea of blooms you’ve created, you’ll want to explore what else you can grow in your garden, fast-growing or otherwise.

Antirrhinum ‘Snapdragon’

Also known as dragon flowers, snapdragons come in a huge array of colors, and have faces that look a little like a dragon, and you can see their namesake when you squeeze the flower.

There’s a reason why snapdragons are planted in parks and ornamental gardens across the world. Not only do they provide plenty of color and fill up borders, but it doesn’t take them very long to do so. 

They aren’t fussy about the conditions they are grown in, so you can use them in rockeries, borders, containers, and as a bedding plant to fill in any spaces in your garden quickly.

While they are readily available as established plants, they are very easy to grow from seed, and much cheaper.

Calendula ‘Pot Marigold’

This cheery, uplifting plant has been used for centuries as a topical aid for healing skin conditions, and forms a big part in natural and organic cosmetics today as a moisturizer and to soothe irritated skin.

These gorgeous flowers are also perfect for companion planting, helping attract pollinators to crops that these insects may miss at first glance, such as zucchinis.

It also helps that the calendula marigold is edible, and isn’t just grown for its fabulous flowers or ability to deter pests as a companion plant. You can use the petals as a substitute for saffron, and they can also be used in salads and teas, too.

Calendula will grow in sandy, loamy, or chalky soils and isn’t fussy about the pH, but you will need to give it decent drainage, and preferably full sunlight for it to thrive.

The only drawback of this plant – if there was one – is that it’s an annual and needs to be resown every year. 

However, as it grows so easily from seed, this is barely a disadvantage, and many people grow it just for its beauty, its uses being a bonus.

You can buy them as established plants, but it is easy enough to grow them from seed, and works out cheaper when you already have some seed compost and pots to hand.

Centaurea cyanus ‘Bachelor’s Button’

Cornflowers come in many colors, though perhaps the most famous is the vivid blue cornflower, which you can also make a natural ink out of.

Cornflowers grow very well in containers and in the ground, so there are endless possibilities in where to plant them. 

They can range between a foot and 3 feet tall, depending on the conditions you give them. Some cornflowers may even sprout as quickly as a week after sowing them!

Give the seedlings as much indirect light as possible to start with, and this will help boost their growth. You can start them off indoors, or sow them directly where you want them to grow, but if you’re doing the latter, make sure that the weather is warm enough to give them a head start.

Cornflowers love plenty of drainage, and need full sunlight to be at their absolute best. They will tolerate some shade, but you might not see as many flowers as you would in a position of full sunlight.

These annuals are very easy to grow, and also inexpensive and readily available. It helps that they make gorgeous cut flowers, too, and make a fabulous bouquet as a gift.

Cosmos bipinnatus ‘Cosmos’

Cosmos looks fabulous in many gardens, with its clouds of airy leaves, and tall, vivid flowers in shades of purple, white, pink, orange, yellow, and red.

You might assume that because the foliage gets quite tall (sometimes to even 6 feet) that they take a long time to grow, but this is not the case. 

They do love well-draining soil in the sunniest position possible. Mimicking their native conditions, where you keep them on the drier side, will mean that they will be at their best.

However, there is a balance to strike. If you get very hot, sunny weather, some cultivars will fade quickly, so give them a good drink during prolonged dry spells. 

If you grow cosmos in pots, the easiest thing to do is to fill a wheelbarrow full of water, and sit the bottom of the plants in water during really hot weather. 

This will save water, but be careful not to leave the plants in direct sunlight when you do this. Also ensure that you don’t do this with any unhealthy plants, as any diseases in the soil or the plant will spread to the others.

In warm zones, cosmos are perennials which are capable of self-seeding, and in colder areas, they still work perfectly as annual summer plants, both in pots and in the ground.

Eschscholzia californica ‘California Poppy’

Available in warm sunset shades of yellow, orange, and red, and sometimes in white, pink, and purple, California poppies will brighten up any garden with their cheery colors and large flowers.

They are fairly undemanding – their biggest need being a lot of sunlight – in well-draining soil, and they will grow quickly, blooming roughly two months after planting in the ground.

If you live somewhere that doesn’t have balmy weather most of the time, these poppies make the perfect pop of annual color, otherwise they are perennial plants in warmer areas.

Helianthus ‘Sunflower’

You might assume that sunflowers don’t grow all that quickly, as it always seems to take an age for them to flower. 

This is probably because they flower very late in the season, and while the other flowers are fading, the sunflowers haven’t started yet. It can make you impatient!

One of the most well-loved flowers across the world, sunflowers can provide a lot of joy very quickly. It isn’t long until they begin to flower – sometimes as quick as two months after being planted in the ground.

Exactly how fast the flowers will appear and open depends on the variety you choose, and some will flower much faster than others, so do your research if you’d prefer a quicker-growing variety. 

To get the very best out of sunflowers, put them in the sunniest position possible, as far away from strong winds as you can get them. Provide them with well-drained soil, and a good drink about once a week.

If you don’t want to stake their delicate stems to protect them from wind, there are varieties that have been bred to have stronger stems, or, you can plant a bunch of them together (leaving enough room for healthy airflow) and they will support each other.

Sunflowers are annual plants, so you will need to sow them every year, but you will hardly mind when you see their beauty in absolutely no time at all. 

Most are better sown in individual pots, as they need a lot of room quicker than you might think. You could sow them in a large seed tray, but you will need to thin them out or transplant them quickly once the true leaves come in.

Ipomoea ‘Morning Glory’

Morning glory vines are among the most charming of the classic planting choices, and it also helps that they grow incredibly quickly. 

They come in a range of colors, including white, purple, blue, and pink, producing flowers that last for a single morning in quick succession. This is where the name comes from, as these blooms often fade by the afternoon.

Luckily, several flowers will open per day during the growing season, so the plant is never bare during the flowering season.

Another interesting feature of these plants is the heart-shaped leaves, which are just as beautiful as the flowers.

Morning glories love sunlight and well-draining soil, but they are prone to overwatering. 

It’s also worth noting that these plants are toxic when ingested, and they are classed as invasive in many parts of the world thanks to their fast growth, and ability to strangle their neighbors.

Lathyrus odoratus ‘Sweet Pea’

The fragrant sweet pea is among many people’s garden favorites, and it’s not difficult to see why. 

As well as giving off the sweetest perfume, these climbers produce beautiful flowers in a range of colors and shapes. They look perfect against trellises, fences, and obelisks.

They make great cut flowers, as the plants will actually perform better when you remove them, directing the plant’s energy away from making seed pods. 

This extends the flowering window of any sweet pea, but it is worth leaving some on the plant for the pollinators to worship, too.

Sweet pea plants prefer cooler conditions than many other plants on this list, but will bloom in no time during summer. 

It’s worth noting that this is the annual form of the sweet pea, and produces the perfume that the perennial form sadly lacks. You will have to sow them every year, but this is a small trade-off.

Lobularia maritima ‘Sweet Alyssum’

Perfect for seasoned gardeners and beginners alike, sweet alyssum is a forgiven plant that’s hard to kill, and produces flowers for weeks. 

Depending on when you plant sweet alyssum, you may see blooms in as little as 2 months after planting in the ground, and if given the right conditions, seeds can sprout in less than a week. 

Sweet alyssum loves sunny positions, but it does fare better if you can give it some shade away from the afternoon sun. 

You can find sweet alyssum in shades of pink, white, and purple, brightening up any well-drained area with plenty of flowers. 

They are perfect for rockeries, containers, and part of a mixed border, but don’t be fooled – they don’t like a lot of drought, so don’t let them dry out completely.

Nigella ‘Love-In-A-Mist’

Nigella, also known as love-in-a-mist, produces some of the most unusual and elaborate flowers in shades of blue, pink, white, and purple, against the perfect backdrop of lacy leaves.

Even the seed pods look beautiful, almost as if they come from an alien planet, and these look perfect in dried bouquets.

As long as you start them off in spring, they will start flowering in the first few weeks of summer, and look perfect at the front of borders, also helping to suppress weeds with their low-growing habit.

Petunias

One plant that grows quickly and is readily available is the petunia. There are so many colors to choose from that you’ll nearly find these flowers in every shade you can imagine – and some you can’t.

Some are grown for their unusual color, while others are cultivated for their perfume. They are happy in beds, containers, rockeries, and as bedding plants, so you really can’t go wrong with petunias.

Give them somewhere with at least some sunlight, and soil that drains well, and you will see a wealth of color.

Phlox drummondii ‘Annual Phlox’

Just because a plant is an annual and only grows for a specific season, does not mean that it is not tough. 

Annual phlox is a very resilient plant, loving dry spells and hot weather, and attracts crowds of butterflies into your garden.

They look perfect in pots as well as in mixed borders, enjoying a lot of sunlight. They do like a good drink during particularly dry weather, and if you keep cutting off fading blooms, you will extend the flowering window.

Annual phlox plants produce flowers in summer and into fall, for as long as the weather allows.

Tropaeolum majus ‘Nasturtium’

Often grown as an annual, nasturtium is a gorgeous perennial plant that looks good in the ground, or in raised beds where it serves as a great companion plant for crops. 

They grow quickly, sometimes as fast as a week after sowing them. They are available in a range of colors, including red, yellow, orange, and peach. 

It also helps that you can eat these blooms and the leaves in salads, too, as long as you don’t use any pesticides on the plant! 

You can get varieties with different growth habits. Tropaeolum majus is a climber, for example, perfect for training up climbing bean supports alongside your crops or as ground cover, while Tropaeolum minus come in bushy or dwarf types.

You can also use them in pots, too. As companion plants, they attract caterpillars and blackfly to the leaves, which stops them from eating brassicas and beans. It also helps that bees love these flowers, too.

Because they are so easy to grow from seed, they are readily available and very inexpensive if you start them from scratch. They love soil with very good drainage, and they prefer poor soils to nutrient-rich, loamy soil.

Violas ‘Johnny-jump-ups’

Violets are very beautiful, dainty-looking flowers that don’t look like they would survive much. But appearances can and will fool you in nature. Violets are tough little plants, able to withstand frosts and will pop up anywhere given half a chance to self-seed.

They are known to grow in gravel near pots they were originally planted in, and can even withstand some weedkiller. Give them plenty of light, and soil with good drainage, and you’ll see them popping up in no time.

It also helps that these flowers come in a range of colors, and are absolutely adored by bees.

Zinnia

Like many annuals, zinnias sprout quickly, and provide plenty of color into your garden. There are many colors and forms to choose from, but one thing that they all absolutely adore is as much sunlight as you can give them.

They also need well-draining soil in order to truly thrive. Depending on the type you go for, zinnias can range from nearly a foot tall to 4 feet high. They also need the occasional watering, though they don’t mind soil on the dry side.

Zinnias make perfect cut flowers for any vase with their vivid colors, and also attract plenty of beneficial insects into your garden, too. 

These flowers will absolutely thrive in USDA zones 3 through to 10.

What Flowers Grow The Quickest?

When it comes to growing flowers fast, you should consider the climate in your garden, and what plants will absolutely thrive in the conditions you have.

The good news is that there are many annual plants that grow quickly, and these are perfect in any climate during the summer months. Sunflowers, zinnias, and even cosmos will thrive in summer in colder areas, as this season mimics their natural conditions.

For other times of the year, daffodils and tulips are also an option, as well as winter-flowering clematis and crocuses. 

It’s worth noting that even on the fastest growing flowers, there is still a little bit of a waiting game. 

This is especially true of sweet peas, which often need to be started off in the early spring before they will flower in summer.

However, if you mix different plants that flower for different seasons and plant carefully, there is no reason why your garden should be bare at any time of the year.

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