Top 10 Wildflowers for Gardens

By Mary H. Dyer | October 22, 2016
by Mary H. Dyer
October 22, 2016

Who doesn’t love wildflowers popping up through the garden? These hardy plants are great for bringing in pollinators while filling the area with loads of color, form and texture. Below are our top 10 picks for wildflowers in the garden.

1. Beard tongue (Penstemon spp.) – A summer bloomer that loves hot, sunny weather, Penstemon needs dry, well-drained soil. This fast-growing plant, suitable for growing in USDA plant hardiness zones 6 through 9, is a hummingbird favorite.

2. Butterfly milkweed (Asclepias tuberosa) -A perennial wildflower hardy to zones 3 through 9, butterfly milkweed, also known as butterfly weed, thrives in full sun and average, well-drained soil. This important native plant is a source of food for Monarch and other butterflies.

3. California poppy (Eschscholzia mexicana) – Also known as Mexican poppy, California poppy produces fern-like, bluish-green foliage and bright, yellow-orange blooms that appear en masse in late winter through spring. California poppy prefers arid or semi-arid areas and grows best in the warm climates of zones 9 through 11.

4. Purple coneflower (Echinacea purpurea) – Purple coneflower is a durable, drought-resistant plant that produces long-lasting, rose to magenta blooms from mid-summer to mid-autumn. Poor soil is fine, but soil must be well-drained.

5. Coral bells (Heuchera sanguine) – Heuchera is a versatile plant with an amazing range of foliage and leaf color. This plant, suitable for zones 3 through 8, prefers sun or partial shade, depending on the variety, and tolerates extreme weather. Heuchera needs rich, well-drained soil.

6. Black-eyed Susan (Rudbeckia hirta) – This old-fashioned favorite is a prolific bloomer that features big, splashy, golden blooms for weeks and weeks. Black-eyed Susan thrives in poor to average, well-drained soil. Suitable for zones 4 through 8 or 9, depending on the species.

7. Sneezeweed (Helenium autumnale) – Common sneezeweed, related to the sunflower, displays bright yellow flowers with pronounced center cones from August to October or November. Sneezeweed, suitable for zones 3 through 8, requires average, moist soil.

8. Yarrow (Achillea spp.) – This hardy, North American native is related to the aster family. It is appreciated for its fern-like foliage and big clusters of blooms in colors of pink, red, salmon, yellow or white from midsummer into fall. Yarrow is a butterfly magnet and likes average well-drained soil and prefers sun but tolerates light shade. Suitable for zones 3 through 9.

9. Wild bleeding heart (Dicentra eximia) – Wild bleeding heart is a tough, but delicate-looking forest and mountain plant that grows zones 3 through 9. Rosy pink to reddish-purple blooms decorate the plant from spring to midsummer. Wild bleeding heart prefers moist, organic soil and partial shade.

10. Bee balm (Monarda didyma) – A member of the mint family, bee balm produces vivid red, tube-shaped blooms in mid- to late summer. This fragrant, showy plant, which prefers full sun to partial shade, attracts butterflies and hummingbirds to the garden. Best for growing in zones 4 through 9.

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