Tagawa Gardens Blog

Reluctant to Plant Since It’s Still Cold? Here are 5 Pretty Plants That Can Handle the Cold Weather

If you’ve lived or gardened here for a while, then you know that “springtime in Colorado” can look an awful lot like winter.  But at Tagawa Gardens, we can help you work with that!  We have lots of plants that are ready for your garden now, in spite of the cold and snow that may lie ahead.


Why wait for a sure thing from Mother Nature?  If you’re up for just a little bit of T.L.C., you don’t have to hold off until the middle of May to add some colorful annuals to your flower beds or to pots on your balcony or patio.  Read on!

Pansies rock!

Of course, we start with pansies!  The sight of these charming flowers can warm even the coldest spring day.  If you planted them last fall, they’re probably already showing off their sweet faces.  But if you didn’t, then now’s the time to act!


The only difficult part of planting pansies is deciding which ones to choose.  Few plants in the spring pallet offer as much variety.   Yellows, blues, purples, reds and maroons…  with or without “whiskers” in their markings.  With pansies, “something for everyone” is an understatement.

Pansies love cool temperatures, rich well-drained soil and morning sun.  They’ll appreciate regular watering and fertilization.  They can take snow as long as they’re not buried for days on end.

Dead-heading (removing the fading flowers before they form seeds) will prolong the bloom period.  Pansies will fade away once the heat of summer sets in, but they’ll put on a lovely show until then.

Alyssum may look delicate…

…but looks can be deceiving!  This lovely plant forms low mounds of tiny white flowers that are purr-fect along the edge of a bed or container garden.  And the fragrance!!  I’m a beekeeper, and my honey bees adore alyssum as much as I do.  The flowers smell like honey, so what’s not to love?


Alyssum also comes in shades of pink and purple, which make a beautiful compliment to other spring pastels.

Alyssum prefers regular moisture and a site that has full sun, but doesn’t get too hot.  Plant it, and the bees and other pollinators will come!

Who knew snapdragons scoffed at cold weather?

These flowers from out childhood are not only fun to play with… pinching the blossoms until they open wide and live up to their name.  But they’re cold-tolerant, too!

Tagawa’s carries a variety of snaps this time of year.  The short- to medium-height snapdragons will stand up well to a bit of snow without being crushed.

Snaps like full sun and regular watering.  The flower spikes bloom from the bottom up so they give on-going color.  Once the spikes get especially tall, snip them back by a third to keep the plants full.

They’re likely to take a break in the heat of summer, but if you give them consistent watering, snapdragons often bloom again in the cooler temperatures of all.

Calling all kale…

…all ornamental kale, that is.  Kale doesn’t just tolerate cold weather.  It loves it!  The cold actually deepens the purples and pinks that make this plant a stand-out in the garden in spring and fall.


The leaves of ornamental kale can have ruffles or frills or feathers.  The plants are show-stoppers in containers.  They can get quite large before they begin to fade in hot weather, so plant with that in mind if they’re going to be sharing a pot with other flowers.

If it’s grown organically, ornamental kale is edible, but you might not like the taste.  This plant is grown for its beauty, not it’s flavor.

Dusty Miller makes a great co-star

The leaves of this familiar silver-white plant are workhorses in our mixed plantings later in the season, but Dusty Miller deserves more respect in its own right!


Dusty Miller comes with both scalloped and frilly leaves.  The plant’s rich but neutral color makes a lovely addition to a larger “mixed” planting that features a variety of flowers.  And in a protected garden bed, don’t be surprised if Dusty Miller survives the winter and comes back the following spring!

Dusty Miller produces tiny yellow flowers in mid-summer, but they’re not showy and some gardeners prefer to remove them and let the beautiful leaves stand on their own.

This sun-loving plant is drought tolerant and deer resistant.

A little T.L.C….

As I mentioned in the beginning, all of these plants can benefit from a little extra love.  For example, if we happen to drop into a serious deep freeze, consider covering the young plants with an inverted flower pot or bucket.  And don’t let them sit under heavy spring snow for days on end.  But that’s about as demanding as they get!

For now, come visit our Annuals Department at Tagawa’s and ask about these and other cold-hardy annuals.  Then plant and enjoy!

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Luan Akin
Luan Akin
Tagawa Gardens Outreach Ambassador

After 30 years as a news reporter for KCNC TV in Denver, Luan Akin was ready for a change. In 2008, she came to Tagawa Gardens and offered to create a brand new position: Garden Outreach Ambassador.

Luan had trained and volunteered as a Douglas County Master Gardener for ten years. In addition to her duties as a news reporter, working primarily out of the Channel 4 News helicopter, Luan also produced and presented a long-running series of stories called “Gardening Together.”

All these years later, Luan now works year ‘round, presenting a variety of gardening and nature-related topics to hundreds of children, HOA’s, gardening clubs, church groups, small businesses and other organizations.

She is an avid gardener, a beekeeper and a proud mom to four dogs who have trained her well.


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