It’s hard to beat fresh-cut flowers, but you don’t want to wait all spring and summer for them to bloom. Instead, you can grow a host of fast growing flowers that you start from seed during the spring. This will allow you to create a beautiful cutting flower garden, and they look wonderful in beds or in containers. They can help you save money with cut flower arrangements, and they can add wonderful splashes of color to your yard all season long. Many of the fast growing flowers are very low-maintenance as well, and this makes them a great choice for novice gardeners who are just learning how to grow plants. Starting them from seed gives you a very good understanding of the growth cycle too.
Maybe you have bare spots in your garden or you bought new containers you want to fill. Whatever the reason, fast growing flowers are one easy way to go. They’re inexpensive, you get a lot per seed packet, and many of them are very hardy. I’ve picked out several fast-growing flowers that you can add to your garden lineup this year. I’ll describe the best growing environment for them, and I’ll give you pictures so you can get a feel for how they’ll look in your garden.
1. Tithonia Rotundifolia
The first fast growing flower on the list is an annual that can grow to an impressive six feet high. They produce large, three-inch blooms in a vibrant orangish-red color. You’ll get deep green foliage that is slightly coarse, and each plant can have several stems with flowers. It’s better known as Mexican Sunflowers, and they can bloom twice in a single summer. A single plant can grow in a four-foot wide cluster, so it will need room. It does best planted in zones 4 to 10, and it should be in an area that gets full sun. The soil should be slightly gritty but drain very well between routine watering sessions.
2. Calendula Officinalis
Better known as Pot Marigold, this fast growing flower that is an annual. It has bright green foliage and can grow to heights of 30-inches tall, and it has very sturdy stems that can support the three-inch blooms. The flowers come in a range of citrusy colors like bright orange to light yellow, and some have darker centers to make them stand out more. It grows best in zones 4 to 11. You can plant them in your vegetable gardens to help deter pests because they release a fragrance many bugs don’t like. You can use the leaves in stews. It grows best in full sun conditions in a well-drained but rich soil. They’ll produce flowers from the early spring months until the late fall.
Calendula by UnconentionalEmma / CC BY-NC 2.0
3. Antirrhinum Majus
Snapdragons are a fast growing flower that come in a huge range of sizes from dwarf varieties that don’t get over a foot tall to larger ones that can get three or four feet tall. You will have to stake the taller varieties to prevent them from breaking. You get smaller tubular-shaped blooms in a host of colors, and there are hundreds of cultivars available in every color but black and blue. They grow best in zones 4 to 11, and this is one plant that likes cooler conditions. Make sure that the soil is moist but well-draining and rich, and put them in a partially shaded spot to keep them happy.
Snapdragon Spring by Bennilover / CC BY-ND 2.0
4. Rudbeckia Fulgida var. Sullivantii
The black-eyed susan is a very cheerful perennial that can grow up to three-feet high. It can produce several flowers per branched stem to give it a very full look. It has lance-shaped leaves in a deep green coloring, and the blooms are almost three-inches long. The fast growing flower will spread out to form very large clumps with up to 20 flowers per plant, and this helps to fill in dead space in your garden design. They’ll start to bloom in the early summer months and go until fall, and cutting them will encourage more flowers. They grow best in zones three to nine in full sun conditions. The soil should be moist but well-draining, and you can enrich it. Divide the clumps early in the fall.
Black Eyed Susans by John Munt / CC BY-NC 2.0
5. Papaver Somniferum
When you think of poppies, you most likely think of the scarlet red variety, but there are over 70 to choose from. They have a range of colors that include mauve, pink, and white. This fast growing flower can grow to be four-feet tall with bluish-green foliage, and it has bowl-shaped blooms that can measure up to four inches across. It does best planted in zones 7 to 10, and it likes full sun to partial shade. The soil should be slightly gritty and sandy but rich, and they only need moderate watering. The flowers sit above the foliage on slender stems to make them stand out more. If you pick the flowers, do so just before they open to make them bloom longer.
Poppies by Richard Gillin / CC BY-SA 2.0
6. Salvia ‘Indigo Spires’
Salvia is a fast growing flower that is a butterfly magnet, and it can get up to five feet tall with larger clusters that can get over five feet wide. It will produce small violet-blue flowers along a foot of the coarsely-toothed foliage to create a dramatic look that adds height to your garden. They grow best in zones 7 to 11, and you should prune them regularly. If you don’t, the flowers tend to bend under their own weight and they can break unless you remove some of the weight. Plant them in a rich but well-drained soil in full sun or partial shade conditions, and keep the soil slightly moist but not saturated.
Monarch on Salvia by Jink McCombs / CC BY-ND 2.0
7. Iris Pseudacorus
You’ll get pointed, sword-shaped foliage with a greenish-grey coloring with this fast growing flower, and it has larger yellow blooms that can get as large as four inches across. This plant can get up to four feet tall, and they’re some of the earliest blooms you’ll have in your garden in the early spring months. Each flower has four or more blooms on each stalk, and they can spread if you live in the wetlands. They do best in zones four to nine, and it is invasive in some areas due to the spreading habit. Plant them in a place that gets full sunlight and make sure that the soil is slightly dry because this will slow down the spreading habit. Keep it slightly moist and make sure it drains well.
Yellow Iris by Derek Parker / CC BY-NC-ND 2.0
8. Cosmos Bipinnatus
This fast growing flower has very long stems, and it’s a garden annual that will grow up to six feet tall. The Cosmos flower is a nice pick for novice gardeners as it does very well in poor soil conditions, provided it drains well. You get very fine foliage that is sprig-like, and the flowers can get up to three inches. This plant comes in pink, white, red, and purple, and they’re very popular to have in butterfly gardens because they attract pollinators. They grow best in zones 5 to 10. Keep the soil relatively moist, and grow them in full sun. Also, don’t fertilize this plant in large doses because it can stunt the flower’s growth.
Cosmos-flowers by Etolane / CC BY-NC-ND 2.0
9. Monarda Punctata
This is a fast growing flower that has multiple branches, and it can grow up to four feet tall. It’s a perennial that has lance-shaped leaves. It can produce up to seven small lavender or pink bracts with pale yellow flowers on every branch, and it attracts butterflies to your garden. It makes an excellent filler flower on floral arrangements, and it grows best when you plant it in zones 5 to 10. The foliage on this plant smells like oregano, and you can easily dry it and use it as a homemade air freshener. Plant it in partial shade to full sun in a slightly sandy and gritty soil that drains very well.
Monarda Punctata by manuel m. v. / CC BY-NC-ND 2.0
10. Echinacea Purpurea
The Purple Coneflower is a perennial that can grow in larger clumps that get three feet tall and wide. It is a fast growing flower that produces flowers that can get up to three inches wide, and it has a very coarse foliage in a dark green color. You’ll get flowers with larger purple-colored centers with purple or lavender petals that attract butterflies from the spring to the fall. It grows best in zones three to nine, and it’s a pest and disease-resistant plant that also tolerates drought very well. It likes growing in rich soil that is on the drier side, and it likes full sun. You can add the dried petals to your tea.
Purple coneflower by Selena N.B.H. / CC BY 2.0
11. Coreopsis Tinctoria
You can add a pop of interest to your floral arrangements by adding Calliopsis. This is an annual fast growing flower that can get up to four feet high, and the flowers are slightly smaller at two-inches across. Every stem on this plant has several branches and flowers to give it a full look, and they have purple centers with bright yellow tips on the petals. It’s a drought-tolerant plant that will supply color through the fall months, and it’ll draw butterflies and birds in. It grows best in zones 4 to 10, and you can deadhead them to encourage repeated blooms. Plant them in a rich soil in full sun to partial shade.
Coreopsis Tinctoria by Carl Lewis / CC BY 2.0
You can find this fast growing flower in a variety of shapes, including a whimsical pompom. Mums have a color range from white and pink or lavender to orange or burgundy. You can get varieties that spread and are low to the ground, and there are ones that will easily grow up to five feet tall. They’re not prone to diseases, and they grow best in zones five to nine. These are very durable plants that will tolerate a wide range of soil conditions and full sun to partial shade, but the soil should drain well. They can tolerate mild neglect, and they look great in containers. However, they can’t handle the cold or frost without issues.
Mums by Jay Bohnsack / CC BY-SA 2.0
13. Tropaeolum Speciosum
This fast growing flower has larger leaves in a round shape, and the flowers can get around two-inches across. It’ll grow to be around a foot tall, and it can tolerate poor soil conditions without impacting the growth. If you overwater it, you’ll get a lot of dense foliage with few flowers. It has a non-toxic nature, so the kids can use it as a fun starter seed. It draws hummingbirds to it, and it grows best in zones 4 to 11. As a bonus, the plant has a peppery taste that goes well in salads. Plant it in a spot that gets full sun with some afternoon shade, and make sure the soil drains well. Water it sparingly.
Tropaeolum speciosum by peganum / CC BY-SA 2.0
14. Verbena Bonariensis
This perennial is a fast growing flower that can be an annual if you live in cooler climates, and Verbena has smaller purple flowers that grow on top of coarse, stiff stems. It forms clusters of flowers that sit elevated from the bright green foliage, and this can add height and interest to your garden. It can get to be around six feet tall, and the clumps will get around three feet wide. It’s a drought-tolerant plant that will bloom all summer long into the fall months, and you want to plant it in zones 7 to 11. Keep it in a place that gets full sun with a rich but well-drained soil, and water it regularly.
Verbena Bonariensis by Gerry Popplestone / CC BY-NC-ND 2.0
15. Lobularia Maritima
Better known as Sweet Alyssum, this fast growing flower is a favorite plant if you want to draw smaller, beneficial insects to your garden. It’s a very low-growing plant that does great in edging along your pathways or beds, and it does well in containers. Each variety produces a slightly different fragrance, and the fragrance gets stronger in the evening hours. They come in a huge range of colors, and they have deep green foliage that help the flowers stand out. Grow them in full sun to partial shade in a very rich but well-draining soil and enjoy the color show all season long.
Alyssum/Sweet Alyssum by bd168 / CC BY-NC-ND 2.0
16. Phlox Drummondii
Phlox is a fast growing flower that is very hardy. It’s an annual that is native to Texas, and there are hybrid species that make it a gorgeous cut flower. The flowers on this plant are very rich in nectar, and this makes it an excellent addition to your butterfly garden for pollinators. It does well in full sun with slightly dry but well-draining soil. This plant is resistant to drought, and it can withstand dry and arid environments. It grows slender stems with small clusters of flowers in purple, pink, blue, white, and bi-colors, and the foliage is a very rich green that helps the plants stand out more.
Phlox by Anna Hesser / CC BY-NC-ND 2.0
17. Nigella Damascene
Commonly called Love-in-a-Mist, this fast growing flower has beautiful, soft pastel shades. The smaller flowers get framed by a lacy foliage, and they’ll mature into seed pods that look great in dried flower arrangements. They are very hardy plants that grow in the cooler spring weather, and they’ll start blooming right in the early summer months. The feature foliage works well along the base of a fence, and it’s a great companion plant because it’ll fill in bare spaces. It likes full sun to partial shade, and the soil should be rich. Make a point to keep it slightly more moist without saturating it.
Love in the mist-03 by Plbmak / CC BY-NC-ND 2.0
18. Petunia × Atkinsiana
The common garden petunia looks wonderful planted in hanging baskets because it can spill down the sides and make it look very full. They’re a very easy fast growing flower, and they come in a seemingly endless array of solid and bi-colors. Some will emit a fragrance while others don’t, and you can get single or double blooms. Purple is one of the most popular colors, but you can get them in pink, white, blue, and more. They have smaller foliage in deep green with larger flowers, and they grow well in an all-purpose potting mix that drains well. Keep them slightly moist and plant them in an area where they get plenty of sun. You won’t have to deadhead or cut them back.
Petunia by Amanda Slater / CC BY-SA 2.0
19. Viola Tricolor
You may have heard this fast growing flower referred to as mini-panies, Johnny jump-ups, or field pansies. They are very quick blooming flowers that are frost-hardy. They’ll start blooming in the early spring months and go well into fall to provide pops of color in your landscape. They do wonderfully by spring-flowering bulbs, and they’ll reseed themselves. Plant them in an area that gets plenty of sunshine. They’re not picky about the soil as long as it drains well, and they’re hardy enough to survive poor soil conditions. The flowers usually have several colors, including deep purple that fades to light purple with yellow, white, orange, and more.
Field Pansy by Peter Stenzel / CC BY-ND 2.0
20. Celosia Argenta
Celosia is a fast growing flower that has blooms that resemble feathers, and this helps to add a pop of interest with height to your garden. They have tiny seeds, but you get a very quick germination rate if you place them in a sunny area. You can start them six to eight week inside before the last frost of the season, and they grow best in zones 10 and 11. You can get bright pink, purple, or red for the colors, and they need a very rich but well-drained soil. This is usually an annual plant, and many are hybrids. Make sure you keep the soil relatively moist, and they can benefit from a light liquid fertilizer.
Toronto Ontario – Canada – Edwards Garden – Cockscomb Flower by Onasill ~ Bill / CC BY-SA 2.0
21. Lablab Purpureus
This is a fast growing flower in vine form, and it’s extremely easy to grow. It will easily cover your fence or pergola during the summer months, and they’ll germinate around 10 days after planting. By late summer, the vines form flowers and pods to add interest to the plant. It grows as an annual in zones 10 to 11, and you can get pink, white, or rose purple for the coloring. They need full sun to partial shade and the well-drained soil should be very rich. Make sure that you keep it at a medium moisture level, and give this vine a supporting structure to climb to keep it healthy.
Hyacinth Beans by NatalieMaynor / CC BY 2.0
22. Impatiens Walleriana
This fast growing flower has very tiny seeds, and they need moisture, light, and heat to encourage germination. They do take around three months to grow into flowers, so start them early indoors before transferring them outside. They grow best in zones 10 and 11 as an annual, anad the flowers come in shades of white, orange, salmon, red, purple, and pink. You can also find bicolored ones available. They need full shade to partial sun to be happy, and you should put them in moist, rich, and well-drained soil. They are prone to mildew damage, so be careful when you water.
Impatiens by NYC Tom / CC BY-NC-ND 2.0
23. Ipomoea Purpurea
The Morning Glory is a striking fast growing flower that you should start indoors around two weeks before the last frost date. You will have to soak the seeds in warm water overnight as they are very hard. These plants will need a support structure to cling to as they grow like a trellis. They grow very rapidly when you plant them into the garden, and they will grow in all zones as a true annual. You’ll get blue or purple coloring with white throats, and there are cultivars that come in shades of red, pink, white, and magenta. They need full sun with moist but well-drained soil to thrive, and they’ll start producing flowers in the very early spring months until fall.
Morning Glories by Ryan / CC BY-NC-ND 2.0
24. Helianthus Annuus
Did you know sunflowers are very easy to grow for novice gardeners? These seeds are ready to go as soon as you get them into the soil, and it’s a good idea to start them outdoors directly in the ground. The seedlings will get very gangely and large fast, and they’ll outgrow any pot you put them in. They can grow from 3-feet to 10-feet tall, and they will grow in all zones as a true annual. They come in red, orange, yellow, mahogany, and bicolors, and they need full sun to grow. They like well-drained soil that is on the dry side, and they can produce huge blooms with dark centers on thick stalks. The flowers will turn toward each other if they don’t get enough sunlight and heat during the day.
Sunflowers by Steve Elliott / CC BY-SA 2.0
25. Zinnia Elegans
The final fast growing flower on the list is the Zinnia. They look like Dahlias, but they’re much easier to grow. You should start the seeds indoors in warm conditions and transfer them outside at the same time that you put your tomatoes out. The temperature in the evening should be around 60-degrees F. They get between one and four feet tall, depending on the cultivar. They have everything from daisy-like booms to thick and dense pom poms. There are also creeping varieties available. They will grow in every zone as a true annual, and you should plant them in a space that gets full sun. They have a color range of white, green, purple, pink, rose, lavender, yellow, orange, and red. The soil should be moist but drain well.
Zinnia by Peter Miller / CC BY-NC-ND 2.0
These 25 fast growing flowers will add splashes of color to your patio, garden, or yard in the early spring months and go well into fall. They come in a huge range of heights and colors, and most of them are very easy to grow. I encourage you to mix and match these fast growing flowers and see which ones you like best in your landscaping. Since most of them are annuals, it’s easy to switch them out year after year.
Jen is a master gardener, interior designer and home improvement expert. She has completed many home improvement, decor and remodeling projects with her family over the past 10 years on their 4,500 sf Victorian house. She is also a passionate farmer who keeps goats, chickens, turkeys cows and pigs on her farm, and an instructor for her community’s Organic and Sustainable Farming project.