Glorious Yellow Coneflowers and Prairie Blazingstars!!!
Window Shopping for Wildflowers
If, like me you’ve got an addiction to the beauty and low maintenance ways of wildflowers you’re constantly scoping out native plants to feed your wildflower need. Late summer is loaded with wildflower beauty!! Allow me to enable your wildflower addiction with the following 10 wildflower recommendations:
These beauties demonstrate enormous vigor and versatility. All are long-blooming and happy to grow in sun or shade. Not fussy in the least, these easy going plants thrive in sandy soil, loam and even compacted clay.
Oxe-Eye Sunflowers bloom prolifically all summer long and make excellent cut flowers.
Oxe Eye Sunflowers (Heliopsis helianthoides) Bright eyed and bushy tailed these perennial native sunflowers bloom their hearts out for you all the live-long summer.
Monarda, Bergamot or BeeBalm – are all common names for Monarda fistulosa.
Bergamot (Monarda fistulosa) Thriving on neglect, these pollinator magnets smell delicious. Their soft, mauve blossoms belong in every garden.
You can’t go wrong with Wild Quinine!
Wild Quinine (Parthenium integrifolium) I’ve often confessed my allegiance to Wild Quinine in my many public speaking presentations and in my book, Taming Wildflowers and with good reason. Thick, wide, cream-coloured blossoms on a sturdy stem make Wild Quinine the perfect plant to include in any garden or vase. Wild Quinine serves equally well as the primary design element in an all-white garden or soft colored bouquet or as a background blossom that highlights brightly colored flowers. I LOVE Wild Quinine.
Yellow Coneflower are stunning in the summertime garden!
Yellow Coneflower (Ratibida pinnata) Magnificent plants in the summertime garden, Yellow Coneflower’s cheery bright yellow petals brighten a late season garden immeasurably!!
Wildflowers for Super Sunny Sandy Spots
There’s something magical and downright impressive about plants that grow in pure gravel. With zero need for watering, these high performance plants are perfect for rockeries, scree and sand dune gardens. Here are a few of my favourites:
A colourful wave of pink delight – that’s Wine Cups!
Wine Cups (Calliroe involucrata) If you enjoy cascading waves of bright pink flowers that bloom all summer long in the blazing heat and never require watering then you will adore Wine Cups! Deep tap roots help wine cups bloom prolifically all summer long. I grow them in my hilly rock garden, also called a scree. If I had a stone wall in a sunny spot of my garden I’d plant wine cups and enjoy their pink cascading waves of beauty enhancing my handsome stone wall all summer long.
Delicate Dotted Mint thrives on neglect.
Dotted Mint (Monarda punctata) Happy to miraculously grow in pure gravel, I am blown away by Dotted Mint’s oh so subtle interplay between soft pink and cream petals. Check out the complexity of its three-tiered blossom – a masterpiece of floral engineering. Dotted Mint is a structural marvel. How awesome!!!
After the first hard frost Little Bluestem’s colour turns to a subtle shade of dusty pink.
Little Bluestem’s blades are blue, green, grey and a bit of turquoise in just the right light.
Little Bluestem (Schizachyrium scoparium)– My go-to decorative native grass, Little Blue Stem contributes visually to any and all gardening styles. If you have a relaxed, meadow style garden plant Little Blue in swaths. I’ll often design it into sleek, highly structured decorative grass gardens and include swaths of bright orange Butterfly Weed which grows to approximately the same height as Little Blue. I see hints of turquoise in Little Blue’s handsome blue, green, grey blades. In fall Little Blue transforms into an ethereal dusty pink mass that sways in the wind.
Loam and Damp Dirt Lovers
If you’ve got luscious dark and loamy soil you owe it to yourself to grow swaths of these three exquisite wildflowers:
Ironweed (Vernonia fasciculata) Ironweed boasts the richest, boldest deep purple flowers imaginable. End of story.
Ironweed has very strong stems and a stunning purple flower.
Great Blue Lobelia (Lobelia syphilitia) Great Blue Lobelia sports blue spikes that are vastly easier to grow than its finicky sibling the red Cardinal Flower. And who doesn’t appreciate blue in the garden?
Great Blue Lobelia is beautifully easy to grow!
Dramatic purple spikes of Prairie Blazingstar, the tallest of the Blazingstar family.
Prairie Blazingstar (Liatris pycnostachya) Like all Liatris, Prairie Blazingstar blooms from the top down. This gorgeous purple spike offers drama and vivid color in the summer garden.
To find more wildflowers that will love your soil, sun and moisture conditions you’ll appreciate this handy wildflower seed selector tool:
Plant wildflower seeds in late fall and let nature do the heavy lifting! When wildflower seeds fall to the ground, their shells get roughed up all winter then they can successfully germinate in moist, warm spring soil. Nature programs many wildflowers to require winter sowing or cold moist stratification before they’ll begin to grow. This fall simply plant wildflower seeds into a pot or into the ground and let snow and freezing temperatures do the rest. Or, instead, you can replicate winter conditions by planting wildflower seeds in a damp growing medium in small pots. Refrigerate the planted seeds for 4-6 weeks then place them in warm, moist, spring like conditions and they’ll germinate for you!!! If you’d like to learn more about germinating wildflowers from seed check out the chapter on “Making Wildflower Babies” in my book, Taming Wildflowers.