A wildflower is a flower that grows freely without human intervention. These flowers are beautiful, colorful, and can be grown just about anywhere. The absolute number of colors, tones, and shapes of these flowers are amazing. Planting wildflowers is a great way to bring your garden back to its natural environment. Plus, wildflowers are wonderful for feeding essential pollinators that are important for a healthy ecosystem. These flowers make your garden even more inviting.
Here are 10 popular wildflowers to consider adding to your garden:
Black-Eyed Susan – Black-Eyed Susan is native to North America and is also known as Rudbeckia hirta. This perennial flower is a member of the aster family. The “black eye” is named for the dark brown center of its daisy-like flower. The petals are golden-yellow. The plants can grow over 3-feet tall and have a diameter of approximately 2 inches. They bloom from June to October and look great in flower beds, borders, or containers. Black-Eyed Susans make excellent cut flowers. These flowers like to be grown in full sun or partial sun. There are also varieties that have orange or red flowers. They are hardy for zones 3-9.
Blanket Flower – Blanket Flower is a perennial also known as Gaillardia and is native to hot and dry climates. This flower is drought tolerant and adapts well to poor soils. It also loves to be in the sun. If planted in the shade, the plant will flower poorly, become stretched, and flop over. In the shade, it is at high risk for powdery mildew. It will flower from early summer until frost. Make sure you deadhead the flowers to continue the blooming. These cheery flowers come in purple, red, orange, white, and yellow and are loved by pollinators. In the fall, small birds will feast on the seeds. Hardiness zones 3-10.
Blue Cornflower – Blue Cornflower is an annual found in many perennial wildflower seed mixes as they are prolific bloomers and self-seed easily. They are also known as Bachelor Buttons. It is easy to grow and best grown from seed as they do not transplant well. The gorgeous blue flowers are great for cutting and dried arrangements. They prefer well-drained soil in full sun and the taller varieties do require staking to prevent them from being blown over or beaten down by spring and summer storms. Deadheading will encourage them to continuously flower from early summer into the fall. They are rarely bothered by insects or diseases and are drought tolerant as well.
California Poppy – California Poppy is an annual with bright orange flowers and is the state flower for California. This flower is commonly seen blooming in the spring and summer on freeways or growing in the wild throughout the state. It is considered a cool-season annual because of its bloom time. The flower is easy to grow and will reseed in the garden for years. They do come in other colors, but bright orange is the most common. For best results, grow California poppies in full sun. Sow the seeds directly in the soil. If they are happy in that location, they will reseed and reappear next year. The flowers are known for closing at night and on overcast or windy days. Hardiness zones 2-11.
Coreopsis - Coreopsis have cheerful flowers that rise on tall stems above narrow green leaves. They are available in single- and double-flowering. The plant is also known as tickseed because its seeds resemble a tick. Coreopsis are considered a short-lived perennial which means they last about two to three years in Southern gardens and about four years in the North. It is another sun-loving plant that grows best in well-draining soil. It also does well in dry, rocky, and sandy soils. Butterflies and other pollinators love them for their nectar. They bloom in orange, pink, red, and yellow. Hardiness zones 3-9.
Purple Coneflower – Purple Coneflower is also known as Echinacea. It is native to North America and while it is often grown as a perennial flower it is also sold as an herbal supplement. Native American tribes used Echinacea as a remedy for headaches, sore throats and as a preventive for the common cold, but none of these properties have been confirmed by studies conducted by the Food & Drug Administration in the past decade. There has been an increase in the color palette from the signature purple color to include red, orange, and yellow. Breeders have also developed stockier plants that aren’t as tall and don’t need the supports that taller varieties require. Coneflowers grow in garden zones 3 to 9 and do best in full sun. They are fairly adaptable when it comes to soil types but do best in well-drained soil. An added bonus is that the flower self-seeds which means you can add more of them to your garden without incurring additional costs.
Red Poppy – Red Poppy is a small annual flower that grows about 12 to 14 inches tall with blooms that measure 2 to 3 inches wide. They are considered the world’s most popular wildflower. It is also known as Shirley Poppy, Flanders Poppy, American Legion Poppy, and in England Corn Poppy. The vivid red wildflowers appear in spring and summer. As an annual flower, they grow quickly from seed. Red poppies prefer full sun and adapt to most soils except heavy clay. As a cut flower, these Poppy flowers don’t last long in a vase, sometimes just a day.
Shasta Daisy – Shasta Daisy is a classic perennial. The garden favorite has white petals with a golden center. It has large robust blooms that return every spring or early summer and bloom until the fall. The sturdy stems one the flowers make them great for floral arrangements. The plants grow one to three feet tall, drought-tolerant, and low maintenance. When planting these flowers in your garden, make sure the soil is fertile, so you get the best blooms. Well-draining soil is key for the optimal performance of Shasta daisies. Deadheading the flowers will help produce more blooms. Hardiness zones 5-8.
Texas Bluebonnet – Texas Bluebonnet has beautiful blue flowers and is one of the world’s best-known wildflowers. Bluebonnets are actually a lupine and have attractive foliage with smooth, palmate leaves. To successfully grow them start by planting the seeds in the fall. Plant them in well-draining sandy soil with full sun exposure. This plant needs to have at least 6 hours of sun per day. They are a perennial but in colder geographies, they are annual. Bluebonnets can be sown in small spaces, containers, and raised beds. Try growing them with the California Poppy. Hardiness zones 3-8.
Zinnia – Zinnias are easy to grow annual flowers. They will perform best when grown in full sun. They can flower in part shade, but you will have a great chance of disease and fewer flowers. Well-draining soil is important because the plant can rot in cool, wet soils. Zinnias are fast-growing. The seeds can be planted directly into the soil once your area is frost-free. Zinnias come in every color but blue. The flower is also a butterfly magnet.
Let us know if you have any of these wildflowers in your garden?