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19 Types of Wildflowers to Consider Growing (And Why)

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Woman laying in the sun in a field of wildflowersWoman laying in the sun in a field of wildflowers

Wildflowers have become a popular choice for gardeners across the United States due to their easy maintenance and stunning display of colors, textures, and foliage throughout the summer months.

It is highly recommended to choose wildflowers that are native to your region, but if you decide to opt for non-native plants, make sure they are unlikely to become invasive.

By selecting the right wildflowers for your garden, you can create a beautiful and low-maintenance outdoor space that you can enjoy all summer long.

Here are the 19 best wildflowers to consider growing and why in your garden this summer, along with the sunlight, soil, and water requirements:

1. New England Aster (Symphyotrichum novae-angliae)

Purple flowers of New England Aster (Symphyotrichum novae-angliae)Purple flowers of New England Aster (Symphyotrichum novae-angliae)

USDA Hardiness Zones: 4-8
Color Varieties: Purple, Pink, White
Sun Exposure: Full Sun
Soil Requirements: Well-drained, Moist
Water Needs: Moderate

The New England Aster is a vibrant perennial wildflower native to the meadows and woodlands of North America.

Its beautiful flowers, ranging in hues from deep purple to soft pink and white, are a sight to behold, especially when they burst into bloom from late summer to early fall.

What makes this wildflower special is its ability to attract butterflies with its rich pollen, thus playing an essential role in the ecosystem. It also provides a vital habitat to various pollinators, contributing to the health of our natural world.

The lush foliage of the New England Aster adds a unique texture to any garden, enhancing its aesthetic appeal.

Any gardener should consider growing this wildflower not only because it is easy to care for, but also due to its adaptability to different climate conditions.

It can be used in floral arrangements, adding a touch of elegance to any bouquet of beautiful blooms.

2. Blanket Flowers (Gaillardia aristata)

Vibrant Blanket Flowers (Gaillardia aristata) with yellow and red colorsVibrant Blanket Flowers (Gaillardia aristata) with yellow and red colors

USDA Hardiness Zones: 3-10
Color Varieties: Red, Yellow, Orange
Sun Exposure: Full Sun
Soil Requirements: Well-drained, sandy or loamy
Water Needs: Moderate

Blanket Flowers, scientifically known as Gaillardia aristata, are beautiful wildflowers native to the meadows and prairies of North America. They are a perennial species, known for their vibrant, daisy-like blooms and rich foliage.

What makes these flowers special is their ability to attract butterflies, adding a dynamic and lively element to your garden.

They are also prolific pollen producers, making them important contributors to local ecosystems. Their hardiness and adaptability to different climates make them a favorite among gardeners.

Every gardener should consider growing Blanket Flowers. Not only do they add a burst of color to any garden, but they also provide a habitat for local wildlife.

Plus, their long-lasting blooms make for beautiful flower arrangements and bouquets, perfect for any celebration or unique occasion.

3. Queen Anne’s Lace Wildflower (Daucus carota)

White flowers of Queen Anne's Lace Wildflower (Daucus carota)White flowers of Queen Anne's Lace Wildflower (Daucus carota)

USDA Hardiness Zones: 3 – 9
Color Varieties: White
Sun Exposure: Full Sun to Partial Shade
Soil Requirements: Well-drained
Water Needs: Moderate

The Queen Anne’s Lace Wildflower, also known as Daucus carota, is a beautiful perennial native to meadows and fields across Europe and Southwest Asia.

It has since naturalized in North America and Australia. This wildflower is a member of the carrot family and is known for its delicate, lace-like clusters of tiny white flowers.

What makes the Queen Anne’s Lace Wildflower special is its unique ability to attract butterflies and other pollinators.

Its nectar-rich flowers are laden with pollen, making it an essential part of any ecosystem seeking to support the natural world’s pollinators.

Any gardener should consider growing this wildflower for its beneficial attributes. Not only does it enhance your garden’s biodiversity, but it also adds a touch of elegance with its beautiful flowers.

4. Bachelor Buttons (Centaurea cyanus and Centaurea montana)

Bachelor Buttons blue and white flowersBachelor Buttons blue and white flowers

USDA Hardiness Zones: 3-8
Color Varieties:
Blue, Purple, Pink, White
Sun Exposure: Full Sun
Soil Requirements: Well-drained, sandy or loamy
Water Needs: Moderate

The Bachelor Buttons, also known as Cornflowers, are charming wildflowers native to Europe. They are perennial plants that add a splash of color to meadows and gardens alike with their beautiful flowers.

What makes these flowers special is their ability to attract butterflies, thus playing a crucial role in the ecosystem by facilitating pollen transfer.

Their vibrant hues and delicate foliage make them a popular choice for floral arrangements, adding a touch of natural world to any bouquet of beautiful blooms.

Any gardener should consider growing Bachelor Buttons not only for their aesthetic appeal but also for their resilience.

They are adaptable to different climates and require minimal care, making them perfect for both novice and experienced gardeners.

Their role in the habitat of butterflies and other pollinators also makes them an excellent choice for those wishing to support local wildlife.

5. Plains Coreopsis (Coreopsis tinctoria)

Close up shot on the yellow flowers of Plains Coreopsis (Coreopsis tinctoria) with reddish brown centersClose up shot on the yellow flowers of Plains Coreopsis (Coreopsis tinctoria) with reddish brown centers

USDA Hardiness Zones: 2-11
Color Varieties: Yellow with red-brown centers
Sun Exposure: Full sun to partial shade
Soil Requirements: Well-drained soil
Water Needs: Moderate

The Plains Coreopsis, also known as Coreopsis tinctoria, is a wildflower native to the prairies and meadows of North America.

These beautiful flowers are known for their vibrant yellow petals, accented by red-brown centers, creating a stunning contrast that is sure to stand out in any garden.

What makes this wildflower special is its hardiness and adaptability. It thrives in a wide range of climates, from the harsh winters of Zone 2 to the warm summers of Zone 11.

This perennial plant is drought-tolerant and can thrive in various soil conditions, making it an excellent choice for novice gardeners and seasoned experts alike.

Beyond its beauty and resilience, the Plains Coreopsis plays a crucial role in our ecosystem. Its flowers produce abundant pollen that attracts butterflies and other pollinators, supporting the health of our natural world.

They are also an excellent choice for flower arrangements and bouquets, whether for a celebration or a unique occasion. A bouquet of these beautiful blooms is sure to impress.

6. Coneflower (Echinacea purpurea)

Blooming pink Coneflower (Echinacea purpurea) in a gardenBlooming pink Coneflower (Echinacea purpurea) in a garden

USDA Hardiness Zones: 3-9
Color Varieties: Pink, White, Yellow, Red, Purple
Sun Exposure: Full Sun to Part Shade
Soil Requirements: Well-drained
Water Needs: Moderate

The Coneflower, or Echinacea purpurea, is a stunning example of a perennial wildflower native to the meadows and prairies of North America.

With its vibrant colors and hardy nature, it’s a favorite among gardeners and butterflies alike.

What makes the Coneflower special is its adaptability and resilience. It thrives in various climates, requires minimal care, and is resistant to most pests and diseases.

Its beautiful flowers not only add a splash of color to any garden but also serve as a rich source of pollen, attracting a variety of pollinators and contributing to the local ecosystem.

Any gardener should consider growing Coneflowers as they are easy to care for and provide a long-lasting display of beautiful blooms.

Their sturdy stems and bright foliage make them perfect for flower arrangements, adding a touch of nature’s beauty to any celebration or unique occasion.

7. Cardinal Flower (Lobelia cardinalis)

Red flower spikes of Cardinal Flower (Lobelia cardinalis)Red flower spikes of Cardinal Flower (Lobelia cardinalis)

USDA Hardiness Zones: 3-9
Color Varieties: Red
Sun Exposure: Full sun to part shade
Soil Requirements: Moist, well-drained soil
Water Needs: High

The Cardinal Flower, or Lobelia cardinalis, is a perennial wildflower native to the meadows and wetlands of North America. Its vibrant red blooms and lush green foliage make it an eye-catching addition to any garden.

What makes the Cardinal Flower special is its appeal to butterflies and hummingbirds.

The flower’s high pollen count makes it a vital habitat for these creatures, contributing to the ecosystem and enhancing the natural world of your garden.

Every gardener should consider growing the Cardinal Flower for several reasons. Its beautiful flowers are perfect for creating stunning flower arrangements and bouquets, adding a touch of elegance to any celebration or unique occasion.

This wildflower is also resilient and adapts well to different climates, making it a versatile choice for gardeners across various USDA zones.

8. Black-Eyed Susans (Rudbeckia hirta)

Black-Eyed Susans (Rudbeckia hirta) blooming in the gardenBlack-Eyed Susans (Rudbeckia hirta) blooming in the garden

Photo Credit: Shutterstock.

USDA Hardiness Zones: 3-7
Color Varieties: Yellow, Gold
Sun Exposure: Full Sun
Soil Requirements: Well-drained, loamy or sandy
Water Needs: Moderate

The Black-Eyed Susan, a perennial wildflower native to North America, is a beautiful addition to any garden, with its striking yellow or gold petals and dark, button-like center.

This plant is a favorite among gardeners and butterflies alike, its pollen-rich flowers providing an essential habitat and food source for these beautiful insects.

What makes Black-Eyed Susans special is their resilience. They are hardy plants that thrive in a variety of climates and soil conditions, making them a reliable choice for both novice and experienced gardeners.

Their bright, cheerful blooms last from early summer to first frost and are a staple in wildflower meadows.

Any gardener should consider growing Black-Eyed Susans not only for their beauty but also for their role in the ecosystem. They attract a variety of pollinators, contributing to the biodiversity of the natural world.

9. White Water Lily (Nymphaea odorata or Nuphar luteum)

Blooming White Water Lily (Nymphaea odorata or Nuphar luteum)Blooming White Water Lily (Nymphaea odorata or Nuphar luteum)

USDA Hardiness Zones: 3 – 10
Color Varieties: White, Pink
Sun Exposure: Full Sun to Partial Shade
Soil Requirements: Rich, Loamy, Acidic
Water Needs: High

The White Water Lily, scientifically known as Nymphaea odorata or Nuphar luteum, is a spectacular wildflower that thrives in the aquatic habitats of our natural world.

Its heart-shaped foliage and beautiful flowers make it a standout in any garden setting.

What makes the White Water Lily special is its ability to attract butterflies. It serves as a perennial source of pollen, contributing to the ecosystem by encouraging pollination.

This wildflower is not only a sight to behold but also a valuable player in nature’s cycle.

Any gardener should consider growing the White Water Lily for its unique beauty and ecological benefits. It’s a native plant that’s adapted to various climates, and it can transform ordinary meadows into a haven for butterflies.

10. Wild Cosmos (Cosmos bipinnatus)

Pink flowers of Wild Cosmos (Cosmos bipinnatus)Pink flowers of Wild Cosmos (Cosmos bipinnatus)

USDA Hardiness Zones: 2-11
Color Varieties: Pink, Purple, White, Red
Sun Exposure: Full Sun
Soil Requirements: Well-drained, average to poor soil
Water Needs: Moderate

The Wild Cosmos, or Cosmos bipinnatus, is a beautiful wildflower native to the meadows of Mexico. This perennial plant is a favorite among butterflies and other pollinators, making it an excellent choice for a natural habitat garden.

What makes the Wild Cosmos special is its delicate, feathery foliage and beautiful flowers that bloom from summer until the first frost.

Its tall, graceful stems make it an ideal choice for floral arrangements and bouquets, adding a touch of the natural world to any celebration.

Any gardener should consider growing Wild Cosmos for its easy care, drought resistance, and its ability to attract pollinators.

11. Chicory (Cichorium intybus)

Blue flowers of Chicory (Cichorium intybus)Blue flowers of Chicory (Cichorium intybus)

USDA Hardiness Zones: 3-9
Color Varieties: Blue
Sun Exposure: Full Sun
Soil Requirements: Well-drained, sandy to gravelly soil
Water Needs: Low

Chicory, scientifically known as Cichorium intybus, is a perennial wildflower native to Europe but has naturalized across North America.

This unique plant is known for its striking blue flowers and distinctive, dandelion-like foliage.

Chicory’s special charm lies in its vibrant blue flowers, which bloom in the morning and close by mid-day. These beautiful flowers can be used to create a unique bouquet of beautiful blooms for any unique occasion.

Gardeners should consider cultivating Chicory for its low maintenance requirements and its ability to thrive in various climates.

Chicory is also a great source of pollen for bees and other pollinators, making it a valuable addition to any garden aiming to support the ecosystem and the natural world.

12. Oxeye Daisy (Leucanthemum vulgare)

Selective focus on Oxeye Daisy (Leucanthemum vulgare) flowersSelective focus on Oxeye Daisy (Leucanthemum vulgare) flowers

USDA Hardiness Zones: 3 – 8
Color Varieties: White petals with yellow centers
Sun Exposure: Full sun to partial shade
Soil Requirements: Well-drained, can tolerate a wide range of soil types
Water Needs: Moderate

The Oxeye Daisy (Leucanthemum vulgare) is a perennial wildflower native to Europe but has since made its home in North America. This beautiful flower is a familiar sight in meadows, roadsides, and even in some gardens.

Its bright white petals surrounding a vibrant yellow center have made it a favorite among many gardeners and flower lovers.

What makes the Oxeye Daisy special is its resilience and adaptability. It can thrive in various climates and soil conditions, making it a versatile choice for any garden.

It is also a vital part of the ecosystem, attracting butterflies and other pollinators with its pollen-rich blooms.

Any gardener should consider growing Oxeye Daisy not only for its beautiful flowers but also for its contribution to the natural world.

Its hardy nature makes it a low-maintenance addition to any garden, and its long blooming period ensures a constant display of vibrant foliage.

13. Bee Balm (Monarda didyma)

Pink Bee Balm (Monarda didyma) flowersPink Bee Balm (Monarda didyma) flowers

USDA Hardiness Zones: 4-9
Color Varieties: Red, pink, purple, white
Sun Exposure: Full sun to part shade
Soil Requirements: Moist, well-drained
Water Needs: Regular watering

Bee Balm, also known as Monarda didyma, is a beautiful perennial wildflower native to North America. Its vibrant colors and unique shape make it a standout in any garden.

What makes Bee Balm special is its ability to attract pollinators. Its rich, nectar-filled flowers are a favorite among butterflies and bees, making it an essential addition to any habitat garden.

The plant’s leaves also have a pleasant aroma when crushed, adding another sensory element to your garden.

Any gardener should consider growing Bee Balm not only for its beautiful flowers but also for its contribution to the ecosystem. It thrives in meadows and varying climate conditions, and its foliage provides a lush green backdrop for other plants.

Bee Balm’s pollen-rich flowers are perfect for creating floral arrangements and bouquets, making every celebration or unique occasion even more special with a bouquet of beautiful blooms.

14. Common Evening Primrose (Oenothera biennis)

Yellow flowers of Common Evening Primrose (Oenothera biennis)Yellow flowers of Common Evening Primrose (Oenothera biennis)

USDA Hardiness Zones: 4-8
Color Varieties: Yellow
Sun Exposure: Full Sun
Soil Requirements: Well-drained, sandy
Water Needs: Moderate

The Common Evening Primrose (Oenothera biennis) is a perennial wildflower native to North America. This beautiful flower is known for its vibrant yellow blooms that open in the evening and close in the morning.

Its unique blooming cycle has made it a favorite among gardeners and admirers of the natural world.

What makes the Common Evening Primrose special is its ability to attract butterflies with its abundant pollen, contributing to the local ecosystem.

It thrives in meadows and other habitats where it can enjoy full sun exposure. The plant’s foliage is also attractive, adding an appealing texture to the garden.

Any gardener should consider growing it not only for its beauty but also for its benefits to the environment. It’s a great choice for those who want to support native plants and the overall health of the local climate.

15. Common Milkweed (Asclepias syriaca)

Flower clusters of Common Milkweed (Asclepias syriaca)Flower clusters of Common Milkweed (Asclepias syriaca)

USDA Hardiness Zones: 3-9
Color Varieties: Pink to mauve
Sun Exposure: Full sun
Soil Requirements: Well-drained soil, tolerates poor soil conditions
Water Needs: Moderate to low, drought-tolerant

The Common Milkweed, a perennial native to North America, is a staple in the natural world. This wildflower is a critical part of the ecosystem, providing a habitat for a variety of insects, particularly butterflies.

Its beautiful flowers produce a rich supply of pollen, attracting pollinators and contributing to biodiversity in meadows and gardens alike.

What makes the Common Milkweed special is its role in the life cycle of the Monarch butterfly. The foliage of this plant serves as the primary food source for Monarch caterpillars, making it an essential element in their habitat.

Any gardener considering growing this plant should understand the significant role it plays within the ecosystem.

Not only does it contribute to the beauty of a garden with its vibrant pink blooms, but it also supports the local wildlife, making it a truly beneficial addition.

16. Dogtooth Violet (Erythronium americanum)

Blooming yellow flowers of Dogtooth Violet (Erythronium americanum)Blooming yellow flowers of Dogtooth Violet (Erythronium americanum)

USDA Hardiness Zones: 3-9
Color Varieties: Yellow
Sun Exposure: Partial Shade
Soil Requirements: Well-drained, rich in organic matter
Water Needs: Regular

The Dogtooth Violet, also known as Erythronium americanum, is a unique perennial wildflower native to North America. It is a harbinger of spring, often being one of the first wildflowers to bloom.

Its beautiful flowers are a bright, cheerful yellow and its foliage is attractively mottled, adding interest to any garden.

What makes this wildflower special is its appeal to butterflies. These beautiful creatures are drawn to the pollen-rich blooms, turning your garden into a vibrant habitat for them.

Any gardener should consider growing the Dogtooth Violet, not just for its beauty, but also for its contribution to the ecosystem. It thrives in a variety of climates and is a great addition to meadows or naturalized areas.

17. Dooryard Violet (Viola sororia)

Focus shot on a purple flower of a Dooryard Violet (Viola sororia)Focus shot on a purple flower of a Dooryard Violet (Viola sororia)

USDA Hardiness Zones: 3-7
Color Varieties: Purple, Blue, White
Sun Exposure: Full Sun to Partial Shade
Soil Requirements: Well-drained, loamy or sandy soil
Water Needs: Moderate

The Dooryard Violet, or Viola sororia, is a native plant that graces the natural world with its beautiful flowers. This perennial wildflower is a common sight in meadows, where its vibrant foliage provides a colorful contrast to the green landscape.

What makes the Dooryard Violet special is its ability to attract butterflies. The pollen-rich flowers provide a vital habitat for these beautiful creatures, contributing to the ecosystem’s balance.

The Dooryard Violet is also very resilient, able to adapt to a variety of climate conditions.

18. Ironweed (Vernonia gigantea)

Ironweed (Vernonia gigantea) purple flowersIronweed (Vernonia gigantea) purple flowers

USDA Hardiness Zones: 5-9
Color Varieties: Purple
Sun Exposure: Full sun to partial shade
Soil Requirements: Well-drained
Water Needs: Moderate to high

Ironweed (Vernonia gigantea) is a stunning perennial wildflower native to the meadows and prairies of North America. Its vibrant purple blooms and tall, sturdy stems make it a standout in any garden landscape.

What makes Ironweed special is its resilience and adaptability. It thrives in a variety of climates, from the humid southeast to the cooler northern regions.

Its beautiful flowers not only add color and texture to your garden, but they also serve a vital role in the ecosystem, attracting butterflies and other pollinators with their abundant pollen.

Any gardener should consider growing Ironweed for several reasons. First, its striking foliage and beautiful flowers make for stunning floral arrangements, perfect for any unique occasion or celebration.

It’s a native plant that enhances the natural world of your garden, providing a habitat for various species and contributing to biodiversity.

19. Prairie Gentian (Eustoma grandiflorum)

Violet Prairie Gentian (Eustoma grandiflorum) flowerViolet Prairie Gentian (Eustoma grandiflorum) flower

USDA Hardiness Zones: 8 – 10
Color Varieties: Pink, White, Purple
Sun Exposure: Full Sun to Partial Shade
Soil Requirements: Well-drained, fertile soil
Water Needs: Regular watering, but drought tolerant once established

The Prairie Gentian, also known as Eustoma grandiflorum, is a perennial wildflower native to the meadows and prairies of North America. Its beautiful flowers and lush foliage make it an attractive addition to any garden.

What makes this plant special is its ability to attract butterflies, enhancing the natural world of your garden ecosystem.

The Prairie Gentian is also a robust pollinator, its pollen-rich flowers providing a vital habitat for various insects.

Any gardener should consider growing the Prairie Gentian not only for its aesthetic appeal but also for its adaptability to different climates.

This plant’s resilience and low maintenance requirements make it a perfect choice for both beginner and experienced gardeners.

 

 





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