Orange Shades in the Garden

Typically, when you think about flowers, orange is not at the top of the list. But why not? Orange can make a garden feel tropical, adding heat and complexity that the more subdued flower colors lack. Most flowers in the garden are shades of pink, purple, white, or yellow. Blue is another color, like orange, which is more rare in the garden. But blue does not make the garden feel more tropical.

However, despite the lack of orange overall in nature and the garden, there are still a variety of plants you can choose with shades of orange. I like to look for pumpkin, one of the most vibrant oranges out there. And despite the lack of flower power in that bright hue, there are a variety of birds, insects, and other animals with it. But you can make a dedicated part of the garden for orange, or scatter it throughout the whole. Colors that complement include blues, dark reds, white, silver, and purple. So you see, orange goes with almost anything.

Annuals with Orange Shades

There are probably more annuals and tropicals that have shades of orange than any other type of plant. Here in the Central Great Plains, annuals and tropicals include plants that are hardy to Zones 7 and higher, or complete their life cycles in 1 season. For example, canna is a perennial in the tropics, but not cold hardy here. One of our annuals is Helenium amarum, which completes its life cycle out on the high plains in 1 season.

I prefer to plant annuals either in masses where the effect is more transforming, or scattered between shrubs and perennials to highlight and brighten the garden. Orange colored annuals are no different. Putting them in massings may be better because it gives them a chance to pop in the garden, rather than be subdued by shades of green.

Also, there are a lot of flower types and shapes, even in this color. So, put like shapes together or nearby where they can complement each other. And do not forget to add contrasting shades like white, blue, or dark purple to help the colors all pop together.

List of Annuals in Orange Shades

  • Calendula
  • Callibrochoa
  • Canna
  • Dahlia
  • Celosia
  • Tassel flower
  • Firecracker plant
  • Gerbera daisy
  • Lantana
  • Impatiens
  • Marigolds
  • Nasturtium
  • Petunia
  • California poppy
  • Poppy
  • Purslane
  • Moss rose
  • Annual rudbeckia
  • Mexican sunflower
  • Black-eyed Susan vine
  • Zinnia
  • Bidens
  • Bird of Paradise
orange flowered annuals


There are quite a few more perennials with orange than what I originally thought. I have a lot of butterfly milkweed in my garden, and that is the plant I think about the most when looking for this color. But there are a lot more, some of which are already in my gardens that I never thought about. With the larger size of some of these perennials, it can be real easy to add them to the garden for a bigger wow factor. The only problem is that most perennials have a shorter bloom time. So add in those annual flowers as well.

List of Perennials In Orange

orange flowered perennials

Orange Nature

Besides plants, what animals, birds, or insects have such brightly colors parts? The first one that comes to mind is the Monarch butterfly, whose orange and black markings help is stand out so well in the landscape. Besides it, and its mimic, the viceroy, there are quite a few butterflies and other insects/animals with either orange markings or full on colored bodies.

List of Animals & Birds (not including insects)


List of Insects


Looking for and finding orange colored life in the garden may not be as impossible as one would think. And now that we know what are the more common annual and perennial plants, we can make our garden feel more tropical by adding some in. I like to think of a well balanced garden as one with several species and cultivars of plants in these major colors: orange, red, purple, bright pink, white, blue, and yellow. And foliage in shades of green, red, silver, purple, and chartreuse.

Happy planting!

author of shades of orange in the garden

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