The Best Annuals for Massachusetts Summers

Annual flowers provide an attractive splash of color to commercial landscapes during the hot summer months.

If you’re not familiar, annuals are flowers or plants that complete their entire life cycle within a single season. Whether planted in the late spring, summer or fall, annuals are usually done once the frost hits and then replaced the next year.

Here are our team’s favorite annuals — we plant these throughout the year on commercial properties around Massachusetts.

Our Favorite & Most-Used Annuals


Hearty pansies are great in the summer, but can even survive a frost, so they can look great even in the spring and fall. We often plant these in the springtime.

Pansies come in a wide variety of bright colors and are known as “the flower with a face on them” because of the unique darker shapes at their center.


A summer favorite for many Americans, petunias bloom from spring to fall and keep producing until the frost comes. Since they bloom for so long, they require pruning and dead-heading throughout the summer to keep them looking fresh.

They thrive in full sun and come in many colors purple, red, yellow, white and pink.

New Guinea impatiens

While standard impatiens prefer shade, this variety, with its large, colorful flowers, can handle half a day of sun — and blooms in pink, white, lavender and orange. This beauty gets its name from the tropical location it hails from, which makes it perfect for our summers. These are great for attracting butterflies!


Geraniums can be both annual or perennial. The annual variety looks great in window boxes or containers. The small flowers can be white, pink, lavender or blue, and they grow low and sprawling.


These are so easy to grow and maintain, and they work equally well in flower beds and containers. Coleus often grow best in shady areas, sprouting a wide variety of leaf sizes and shapes, with flower colors ranging across the spectrum, including red, green, yellow, pink and maroon.


Like petunias, begonias have a long bloom time: from early summer until frost. Since many varieties thrive in the shade, they can add some lovely color to those shady areas. Red, pink and white are the most common colors, but you can also find some nice orange and yellow begonias.

Other Annuals We Like (But Use Less Often)

There are some other summer annuals that are also fantastic, but we use a little less often, or choose to put them in planters.

Osteo daisies

We’re all familiar with standard daisies but osteo daisies (also known as African daisies) differ in their extra-vivid coloring, in purple, pink, yellow, orange, white, and even two-tones.

Though they like lots of sun, they stop blooming when it’s really hot, and tend to bloom twice: as spring turns to summer and summer to fall.


Marigolds are popular for good reason: they’re beautiful, low-maintenance, germinate quickly, and live long lives for annuals, from late spring to fall. The fluffy flowers most commonly bloom in orange and yellow.


As we mentioned earlier, standard impatiens grow nicely in the shade. They’re quite versatile, able to be planted as seeds or cuttings, or purchased as well-rooted plants. Blossoming in purple, coral, white, pink, red and yellow, they look beautiful in hanging baskets and window boxes.


Blooming from mid-summer to fall, vibrantly colorful dahlias are a many petaled flower that thrives in the full sun. They’re another versatile flower, coming in a wide range of colors and sizes (flowers can range from two to 15 inches and they can grow as high as five feet).


Keep in mind that there’s a perennial vinca and an annual type. The annuals look pretty similar to impatiens, but they differ in their preference for sun over shade. With its five-petalled flowers, the vinca is fairly sturdy (drought and pest tolerant) and new colors have recently been cultivated, including pinks, roses and lilacs.

Sweet potato vine

While you’re not going to grow any actual sweet potatoes with this plant, and the flowers are insignificant, sweet potato vines are attractive for their heart-shaped leaves which come in many colors. With vines up to 10 feet long, they can be used to grow up a trellis or add interest to planters.

Ready for some seasonal color?

Planting annuals can increase your curb appeal, entice new customers and make your commercial property look much more hospitable.

At Landscape America, we like to rotate annuals every year, giving you unique colors and designs each year. This also keeps the soil nutrients balanced and prevents harmful pests or diseases from intruding on your garden.

Ready to brighten your property with some annuals this summer and fall? Reach out — we’d love to hear from you!