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15 Northeast Wildflowers to Try

Grow a variety of native wildflowers to give your yard season-long color.
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Turk’s Cap Lily (Lilium superbum)

Spotted orange petals peel back on the blooms of this eye-catching native bulb. Turk’s cap lily grows to heights of 7 feet in ideal conditions—with moist soil and full sun. Flowers appear atop stems in midsummer and beckon hummingbirds. Gardeners typically draft this easy-growing native for cottage or rain gardens. Plants are hardy in Zones 5 to 8.

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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.

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Bottle Gentian (Gentiana clausa)

Striking blue flower buds never open on bottle gentian, which gives rise to its other name, closed gentian. Bumblebees are the only pollinators with strength to push past the closed petals. Flowers appear in autumn. Bottle gentian is hardy in Zones 3 to 7 and carefree once established. Deer, rabbits and underground varmints all leave this bitter plant alone.

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Swamp Sunflower (Helianthus angustifolius)

Classic golden daisy-like blooms open on this native wildflower in fall and linger until frost. Swamp sunflower blooms best in full sun but can grow in part shade, although plants will be lanky. This perennial grows 36 to 72 inches tall and wide and thrives in moist soil but can survive in well-drained soil, provided you water occasionally. Plants are hardy in Zones 6 to 9, but readily seen to Zone 3.

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