The color pink continues to enjoy its rebirth as a multi-tasker with mass appeal, no longer relegated to the nurseries of newborn baby girls or cotton candy. It’s a trendy fashion statement for men and women alike, is synonymous with causes like breast cancer awareness, and tints our gold jewelry and electronics accessories. Not one to be left out, landscape design has been getting in on the trend, with more and more gardens implementing either bold pops of standout color or going all-in on monochromatic themes. If you want to get in on the trend and try it out in your own space, here are 22 of the best annuals and perennials with pink flowers.
The pink lotus in bloom represents a person who has had a successful journey to enlightenment and attained nirvana
The rose became the national flower emblem of the US in 1986, when Ronald Regan declared it so.
No list of noteworthy pink flowers would be complete without the rose. There are about 200 different species of rose, and thousands of cultivars, all in varying shades of pink (among other colors), from the palest blush to the most vibrant magenta. Most of the different types have a growing range in USDA cold hardiness zones 4-10, though the climbers are hardy to zone two and the shrubs to zone 3.
Roses need three things: direct sunlight, well-draining soil, and nutrients. As long as they have these, they’re otherwise easy to grow. They can thrive in the ground, containers, hanging baskets, climbing pergolas and trellises, and pretty much anywhere else you can put one. They mix well with a wide variety of other plants and flowers and can adapt to any landscape theme.
Not a true lily, daylilies are in the genus Hemerocallis
Daylilies are known as the “perfect perennial” with pink flowers due to their low maintenance nature, drought tolerance, can take any soil, and has no pest or disease issues. They may look dainty and delicate, but they’re surprisingly tough. There are a staggering 35,000-600,000 different varieties, cultivars, and hybrids, with only 15 original species. With those kinds of numbers, there’s an endless range of solid and patterned pinks from which to choose.
While they do enjoy a wide range of zones one through 11, not all daylilies grow in all zones. Most of the hybrids were bred in the south and therefore don’t do as well in the colder northern temperatures. They’re classified as evergreen (better in warmer temps), dormant (better in colder temps), or semi (somewhere in-between), and this characteristic isn’t only flower-specific, but is affected by the climate as well, meaning some cultivars can be both, while some are one or the other.
These pink flowers have inhabited Earth for 300 million years.
Proteas have existed on this planet about 300 million years, making them one of the oldest species of flowering plant ever. It’s a large genus with over 1,500 species of varying sizes and colors found mostly on Africa. Many of the different species look almost identical, so they’re tricky to tell apart, even for professionals. The most notable feature of this plant is its large head, and the King Protea has the distinction of being the largest of them all.
Before you select a protea, understand they are a bit persnickety and considered difficult to grow. They’ve likely survived so long because dormant buds can live through wildfires, emerging through the ground when the fire has gone out. This propensity has them acclimated to handle extreme weather. This close relative of the grevillea grows in zones 9 – 12 and will pop flower buds at two years old, and every year thereafter.
Hibiscus plants can be grown as annuals or perennials, depending on the climate.
Hibiscus are tropical plants that can cross over and be grown as annuals, depending on the climate. In zones 9 – 12, they function as perennials, but turn into annuals around zone eight and lower. These plants with pink flowers are favored because they’re low maintenance, easy to grow, and have big, showy blooms which are on display almost all year long.
There are over 1,000 cultivars of grevillea, thanks to how easily they hybridize with close relatives.
Grevillea are native to Australia and grow as shrubs, trees, and groundcover. The species, about which there are close to 700, are evergreen and like to hybridize with their relatives, adding to the growing list of cultivars. The foliage isn’t particularly remarkable, and can actually appear overgrown and unkempt in the wild, and from a distance will obscure a lot of the pink flowers. But, up close, the pink flowers are spectacular and not to be missed.
The bloom period of these pink flowers is brief, but beautiful.
One look at this plant and the name makes sense — the flowers look like little drops of blood in the shape of hearts. They’re “ephemeral,” meaning they bloom one time and then go dormant, and will remain that way until the following spring. This plant does best in zones 3 – 8, in damp but not waterlogged soil. In the warmer south it needs shade, but in the cooler north can take partial or even full sun.
Mountain laurels are regarded as one of the most beautiful native shrubs in the eastern US.
“Laurel” is a plant name that always requires further explanation because there are multiple genera of plants with species called laurels. In this case, we’re talking about mountain laurels, or Kalmia latifolia to avoid confusion. This plant is native to the eastern US and is well known for is beauty. The blooms put on a show in early summer by popping voluminous clusters of light and mid-pinks. This plant can handle any level of sun exposure (or lack thereof) as long as it has slightly acidic soil that’s well-draining. Best for zones 5 – 9.
Penstemon is the largest genus of flowering shrubs in the entire US.
Penstemon is the largest genus of flowering perennials in all of North America, with a little under 300 different species. They have a pleasing architecture that compliments a wide variety of looks, with upward growing spikes featuring tube-shaped blooms. They are a gorgeous, vibrant addition to just about any style of landscape. They don’t bat an eye at Phoenix summer temperatures. I especially like to use Parry’s Penstemon (vibrant magenta) in xeriscapes, tucked in around boulders and mixed with agave. They come in a variety of colors, but apart from the Parry, ‘Pensham Laura’, and ‘Pensham Jessica Mai’ are real crowd pleasers. For a unique take on the pink them, Penstemon digitalis ‘Huskers Red’ features a striking combination of dark maroon foliage and super-pale-pink flowers.
Technically, the pink seen on the bougainvillea pictured here are not flowers, but bracts, leaf-like structures that protect the smaller flowers inside.
Bougies are my favorite plant, and while technically it’s not their flowers that are pink, I’ve included them because they push out a profuse display of colors that few plants can match. Fast-growing, drought-tolerant once established, and adaptable to pots, hanging baskets, trellises, and more, they’re a heat and sunshine-loving perfect marriage of desert and tropical. The color you see on bougs are leaflife structures called “bracts.” ‘Pink Pearl’ and ‘Pink and White Surprise’ have bracts with white to pink gradient coloring, ‘Vera Pink’ is a bubble gum pink, and ‘Barbara Karst’ is the more traditional magenta color. Mixing the different pinks together, climbing a wall or draped over a pergola, is a stunning look. Bougies are best suited for the warm climates of zones 9 – 11.
Pink Pampas Grass
A simple color change of beige to pink takes the pampas grass from average to extraordinary.
There’s just something about things that are pink, and pink pampas grass is a good example of that. Even though it’s “just” a grass, and standard pampas grass is alright but relatively unremarkable, there’s something about changing the plumes from beige to pink that’s a game changer. This is always an eye-catcher. These are fast, aggressive growers and make great hedges. They’re smaller than the standard, which is a plus, but maintain the same architectural structure. Once pink pampas grass establishes, it’s a nightmare to remove, so remember to plant in a location bearing that in mind. Most nurseries will say zones 7 – 10 are suitable, but that’s hit or miss. I’d stick to full sun locations in zones eight or 9.
Bird of Paradise
Outline of a flying bird superimposed onto a Strelitzia reginae bloom to show how the plant earned its common name.
It feels wrong to write about noteworthy pink flowers and not include the tropical bird. It’s arguably the most exotic, interesting, and artistic bloom in horticulture (to be fair, the desert bird of paradise has a bloom equally stunning, but not pink). It’s not entirely pink, but there’s a bit, so we’ll take it. The common name comes from the bird in flight that the bloom resembles. Interestingly, most people think the bloom looks like the head and beak of a bird in profile with spiked head plumage. In actuality, it’s a bird in flight.
The bloom could resemble a lot of things because there’s a lot going on. Like bougainvillea, what you’re looking at are actually bracts (on the bottom) and sepals (on the top) with the smaller blue sections in the middle being the petals. Its exotic looks give an impression of being a high-maintenance, finicky plant, but it’s not; it’s one of the easiest tropical plants to grow. This long-time reigning queen of indoor plants is now regularly used in outdoor landscapes where it thrives, even in the arid desert southwest. Shockingly drought-tolerant once established, this full-sun-loving beauty thrives in the warmer zones of 10 – 12.
Annuals are plants or flowers that live their entire life, including a bloom cycle and then death, in one season, which is less than a full year. All of the following pink flowers are planted either in the spring (for summer color) or fall (for winter color), and then removed when the season is over.
Pink and white calibrachoa with double blooms.
If daylilies are the perfect perennial, then Calibrachoa are their perfect annual counterpart. They’re low maintenance, heat tolerant, and disease resistant, and on top of that, they flower like crazy. They look their best in a hanging basket or container where the arms can cascade over the sides. Also known as “million bells,” they come in many different colors and patterns. All of the pink Calibrachoa are gorgeous; you can’t go wrong. Some popular choices are: ‘Aloha Kona Hot Pink’, Cruze® Control ‘Pink Delicious’, and ‘MiniFamous Neo Pink Strike’.
African daisies are a favorite thanks in part to their extra long bloom cycle.
Osteospermum, as this flower is also called, is native to Africa and needs a similar climate to look its best. The flowers look like common daisies, with long, slender petals around a circular center. They come in many different colors, but the pinks look especially nice against the silvery-gray foliage. It’s an extremely drought-tolerant flower and typically requires watering only once a week after establishing. African daisies like the full sun of zones 10 and 11, and have a nice, long bloom cycle. There are a lot of options for pink flowers, but some noteworthy cultivars are ‘In the Pink’, ‘Margarita Dark Pink’, and ‘Serenity Pink.’
Starting petunias with pink flowers from seed is very challenging, but worth the effort.
Petunias can be started from seed, which is challenging but rewarding, planted as plugs, or purchased as young plants from a nursery. They love the sun and need at least four to six hours of it every day, and won’t tolerate any frost. A nutrient-rich soil with organic matter blended in is what they like best. There are about 20 different species of Petunia and they can be grown in just about any climate, though they seem to do a bit better in the warmer climates of zones 10 and 11. Petunias come in many different varieties, with many growers coming up with their own privately grown cultivars. Double blooms and “wavies” are popular choices, and look great both in-ground or in containers.
Some impatiens of yesteryear were completely wiped out and are no longer used due to their mildew issue; there are now species that are resistant.
Impatiens have been a garden favorite for a long time, and were at one time a staple of shade gardens everywhere. Back in 2011, a mildew epidemic wiped out the entire species of the popular shade-loving Impatiens, including from commercial nurseries and subsequently, ornamental gardening as a whole. Thanks to intrepid horticulturalists, there are cultivars on the market now resistant to this problem. Check out ‘Bounce Pink Flame’, ‘Spreading Shell Pink’, ‘Compact Royal Magenta’, or ‘Compact Pink.’ Impatiens can be grown in a variety of climates. These plants with pink flowers like full sun or partial to full shade, depending on the cultivar.
Dianthus have a way of looking happy to see you.
Dianthus grows in cheerful-looking little clusters of green-tufted foliage at the base of stems that support sunshine-shaped blooms in a multitude of colors and patterns. Most sources will indicate a grow range of zones three through nine, though I used them in Phoenix extensively as a winter annual, both in-ground and in hanging baskets. They’re heat and drought tolerant, respond well to full sun, and look beautiful mixed in with other flowers. I often used them as the middle tier of a three-tier design with a taller flower behind like Snapdragons and lower, mounding flower in front, such as Lobelia.
Snapdragons were one of the first annuals I ever worked with with pink flowers, and it was a long and successful working relationship.
Snaps are fun and easy to start from seed indoors, and then transplant when ready to their outdoor home. Young specimens are also available to purchase from nurseries. Full sun locations with well-draining soil are where they look happiest, and they’re easily deadheaded by simply pinching off parts of the stalk with spent blooms. Snaps come in several different colors, including lovely shades of rich pink. They’re great additions to bee and butterfly gardens, and are truly one of the easier cool-weather annuals to grow. Depending on your aesthetic, different growing patterns and sizes are available. Depending on the cultivar, these plants with plant flowers can grow in just about any climate. Snaps are popular in the southwest as a winter annual.
Angelonia are called “summer snapdragon,” for obvious reasons.
The snapdragon’s summertime counterpart is the Angelonia, and this flower is in fact often referred to as “summer snapdragon.” Their architecture is similar, with columnar clusters of flowers covering the top of slender stalks. They’re typically used in zones 9 – 11 and die off as soon as a frost hits. Angelonia will stay in bloom for the entire growing season, even in conditions of direct summer sun and high winds. They’re a clean flower and require no deadheading.
Geraniums can be successfully grown inside or out, but bloom better with sunshine.
Geraniums can be grown throughout a wide range including zones 4 through 10. They’re an adaptable flower, with both indoor and outdoor success, though they seem to prefer the outdoor sunshine. Soil is the most important detail to get right when it comes to geraniums. Amendments like peat and perlite will need to be added. As far as watering, it depends on the cultivar. Some varieties like to completely dry out between waterings and in fact bloom more impressively under those conditions; others like their soil kept moist but well-drained.
Dahlias with pink flowers are related to mums, sunflowers, and daisies.
Dahlias are a favorite and feature a pretty, unique bloom. There are thousands of different kinds of dahlias available in so many different colors it’s difficult to choose. These distant relatives of mums, daisies, and sunflowers are native to Mexico and therefore love full sun (as long as it’s not too hot) with a moist soil leaning more toward sandy. Just as they don’t like temperatures that are too hot, they also don’t like it too cold and cannot take any sort of frost. They are not contained to a specific zone and can be successfully grown just about anywhere as long as they’re pulled indoors if outside conditions are not ideal.
Zinnias are one of the few true annuals with pink flowers, meaning they are an annual regardless of where they are planted, always.
There aren’t many plants or flowers that are true annuals — an annual regardless of where they’re planted — but zinnias are one of them. They’re a warm-weather-loving flower, so they thrive when planted in the spring in a location that’s nice and warm. There are colors and sizes to suit every aesthetic; I always preferred the shorter varieties, but there are some that can hit 4′ tall, and some varieties have double blooms. Zinnias are a popular choice in zones three through 10 because they’re easy to grow, low maintenance, and heat and drought tolerant.
Also with beautiful pink flowers, ranunculus are often used in place of roses.
Ranunculus are often used as a substitute for roses, having a somewhat similar architecture. Their blooms are similar at first glance, but rose petals vary in height, while ranunculus petals are more uniform, and enclose around each other in an overall look that’s highly texturized and interesting. They are commonly seen in a true, romantic shade of light pink, though they come in other colors as well. They’re well suited for zones eight through eleven, but can be grown in other zones if accommodations are made to avoid frosts. For blooms of pink flowers in early spring, be sure to plant them by late fall.
The World Needs More Pink
People who love the color pink are said to have some very desirable personality traits.
Pink has really come into its own as a versatile color that can bend and mold to fit into any application in a modern and interesting way. In a sense, it’s become a new neutral, much like black, white, or beige, blending into a wide range of color schemes depending on the coolness or warmth of the tones. Whether you’re trying out a splash of pink here or there, or pinkwashing the entire space, the color you’ve chosen says a lot about you: people who love pink are said to be loving, warm, approachable, generous, and sensitive to the needs of others. If only there were more like you.