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  • Writer's pictureJulia Watson

Annuals that Self-Sow


As I walked around my garden yesterday, I saw some baby plants that were not weeds – oh happy day! They’re annual flowers that come back on their own and that can be wonderful thing for a busy gardener. It’s called self-sowing, and it’s either a gift or a pain in the backside, depending on whether you like that particular plant.


You have to be careful with some annuals, like morning glories, because they self-sow much too much. Sweet alyssum does too, but I like it and it’s not as aggressive as morning glory. Here’s a list of self-sowing annuals for Northern California.

  • Larkspur

  • Nigella (aka Love in a mist)

  • Omphalodes

  • Orlaya

  • Shirley poppies (such as the Falling in Love series, a mix of colors)

  • Sweet alyssum (not everyone likes these plants to come back, so be careful)

  • Morning glory DON'T EVER PLANT THESE (unless you're planning to move away and leave someone else the problem of trying to get rid of them!)


Clockwise from top left: Sweet alyssum (white flowers); Shirley poppies; Larkspur in our front cutting bed; mixed bouquet with pink and white larkspur and white Nigella (upper center of bouquet)


The most reliable on this list is Omphalodes. You can buy one plant from Annie’s Annuals and have new baby plants each spring for years. All the others you can buy as seeds from sources such as Johnny’s or Floret, or find them at your local nursery.


bouquet of spring flowers
Omphalodes is a charming accent in any bouquet

Enjoy your spring flowers – this year and next!

But don't plant morning glories ...

morning glory vine on chair
A morning glory vine can take over anything, anywhere - you've been warned!

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