15 Northwest Wildflowers

Grow a living bouquet of versatile native wildflowers.
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©2011, Dorling Kindersley Limited

Photo By: Image courtesy of www.PerennialResource.com

Photo By: Image courtesy of American Beauties Native Plants

©2008, Dorling Kindersley Limited

©2008, Dorling Kindersley Limited

Photo By: Image courtesy of Bailey Nurseries, Inc.

©2008, Dorling Kindersley Limited

©2011, Dorling Kindersley Limited

Photo By: Image courtesy of www.PerennialResource.com

©2011, Dorling Kindersley Limited

Cornus Canadensis Spreads Rhizomes in Acidic Soil

Cornus canadensis is a low growing perennial spread by rhizomes creeping just under soil surface. It has whorls of leaves at top of each stem, topped in late spring with showy white bracts surrounding cluster of tiny flowers.

Cardinal Flower (Lobelia cardinalis)

Cardinal flower is a hummingbird favorite and ideal for moist spots that receive sun to part shade. Although plants are hardy in Zones 4 to 8, they’re not true perennials because plants die once they set seed. Offset or young plants form at the point where lower leaves join the stem. These offsets quickly produce roots and establish themselves. Plants grow 24 to 48 inches tall and 12 to 24 inches wide.

Wild Bergamot (Monarda fistulosa)

Roll out the welcome mat for pollinators—including bees, butterflies, moths and hummingbirds—by including wild bergamot in your garden. Flowers bloom with an explosion of pink to lavender petals from midsummer into fall. Showy and versatile, bergamot tolerates dry to moist soil and full sun to part shade. Plants are hardy in zones 3 to 9 and 24 to 48 inches tall and 24 to 36 inches wide. Harvest wild bergamot leaves to dry for tea.

Goatsbeard (Aruncus dioicus)

Goat’s beard earns its name from the foot-long feathery flower spikes that appear in late spring. Plants prefer moist spots in partial shade, but can grow in sunny sites with consistent moisture. Place this deer-resistant perennial where you want it—plants form thick roots that often require a saw to cut. If you want more plants, dig young shoots around the mother plant for transplanting. Plants grow 4 to 6 feet tall and 2 to 4 feet wide and are hardy in zones 3 to 7.

Baby Blue Eyes (Nemophila menziesii)

Simple blue flowers with pale blue to white centers appear from spring to fall frost in regions with cool summers. Plants thrive in soil enriched with organic matter. Give this native full sun in cool-summer areas; provide afternoon shade in warmer regions. Use baby blue eyes as an edging plant or in a rock garden. This dainty beauty grows 3 to 6 inches tall and 6 to 12 inches wide. It’s hardy in zones 2 to 11.

Sun or Shade

Columbine has delicate red, orange, and yellow flowers. It's happy in full sun or full shade. Aquilegia Formosa; Delicate red, orange, and yellow flowers. Happy in full sun or in full shade. H 24–36 in (60–90 cm); S 18 in (45 cm).

Swamp Rose-mallow Hibiscus moscheutos (Hibiscus palustris)

Dinner-plate size white blooms make hardy hibiscus a conversation starter in the landscape. Flowers appear from July to September. Blue River II is a cultivar of the native wildflower, but like all hardy hibiscus, it performs best when soil stays consistently moist and full sun bathes the plant. Cut plants back to 3 to 4 inches in late fall. This hibiscus is hardy in zones 4 to 9; provide winter protection in coldest zones.

Blue Flax (Linum perenne)

This blue bloomer is originally native to Eurasia, but has established and spreads easily through the Northwest. Flowers open for one day only, and the plant itself is short-lived. Happily, blue flax self-sows, so once it’s in a garden, you can count on its appearance. Plants grow 12 to 24 inches tall and 9 to 18 inches wide. Give blue flax full sun to part shade in medium, well-drained soils. Plants are hardy in zones 5 to 8.

Yarrow

Achillea millefolium is a perennial that does well in temperate regions of the Northern Hemisphere.

Camass Lily (Camassia leichtlinii)

This native lily sends up spires of white, blue, cream or purple star-shaped blooms in mid-spring. While camass lilies prefer sun to part shade and moist soils, they also grow well in drier soils. This bulb bloomer is definitely not deer-resistant—it’s a favorite food for deer, moose and elk in early spring. Plants grow 36 to 48 inches tall and 12 to 24 inches wide. Camass lilies are hardy in zones 5 to 8.

California Poppy (Eschscholzia californica)

Bright orange or golden-orange flowers appear in late spring to early summer on this eye-catching wildflower. Plants typically grow in average to poor, sandy, well-drained soils—this is a plant for tough spots. California poppy forms a loose mound that grows 12 to 18 inches tall and wide. It’s hardy in Zones 6 to 10, but acts like a short-lived perennial in zones 8 to 10. This is the state flower of California and readily self-sows if you let a few seedheads ripen.

Pacific Bleeding Heart (Dicentra formosa)

The nectar-rich blossoms on this spring wildflower beckon butterflies and hummingbirds. Pacific bleeding heart is a tough woodland perennial that’s rabbit- and deer-resistant. Plants spread readily to form colonies—it makes a nice spring ground cover. Give Pacific bleeding heart sun in areas with cool summers; shade in warmer places. Plants grow 6 to 12 inches tall and 12 to 36 inches wide and are hardy in zones 4 to 8.

Garden Phlox (Phlox paniculata)

A perennial favorite in cottage and cutting gardens, this native is an easy-growing beauty. Plants open flowers from midsummer into fall. Butterflies frequently blanket the blossom-packed flower heads. The native phlox typically grows from 24 to 36 inches tall and 12 to 18 inches wide. Many hybrids are available in assorted heights and flower colors. Garden phlox is hardy in zones 4 to 8. The cultivar shown is 'Bright Eyes'.

Monkey Flower

Mimulus, or monkey flower, likes really wet spots. It is popular with bumble bees. It does spread, but can not grow where there is no water. Confine it in a wet spot. It prefers sunny locations.

Bigleaf Lupine (Lupinus polyphyllus)

This member of the pea family stages an eye-catching display in late spring to early summer and is a bee favorite. Deep green leaves form a mound topped with spikes of blooms, usually in purple shades. Plants require evenly moist, acidic soil and frequently sprout alongside streams. Hardy in zones 2 to 7, bigleaf lupine spreads easily and is considered invasive in some areas. Hybrids of the native type come in a variety of flower colors, including bright jewel tones and pastels.