Known for its fabulous colors, the wallflower comes in many forms, grown across the world for its beauty and fragrance.
You can get annual types, sub shrubs, and perennials. The perennials are so short-lived and susceptible to disease that they are often grown as biennials.
These tough little plants will flower during spring and summer, depending on when you plant them, and what type you pick.
They are available in many colors, including white, red, pink, and orange, and are a favorite of pollinators.
The wandflower, wandplant, beetleweed, or Galax urceolata, comes from the Diapensiaceae plant family.
It hails from the southeastern parts of the US, found in large numbers in the Appalachian mountains, in shady woodland.
This herbaceous perennial produces bright white flowers in late spring or early summer, above a rosette of thick foliage, which rarely gets higher than ground level.
The foliage also changes color depending on the season and conditions. These heart-shaped leaves adopt a deep red color in winter sun, and revert to a vivid green in spring and summer.
The better you can mimic its woodland environment, the better this plant will thrive, such as under large shrubs or trees.
It will remain a perennial plant in USDA zones 6 through to 8, and will not tolerate alkaline soil, or dry and hot weather for long.
Water avens, or Geum rivale, is a lovely perennial with showy pendant flowers in mid-spring and summer, in shades of orange and pink.
The stems are also red in spring and summer, adding to this plant’s attractiveness.
This plant invites many pollinators into your garden, as well as frogs and toads, if you plant it in a wet site.
It likes constantly moist soil, and will thrive in chalk, loam, or sand. You can even grow it on the edge of ponds, streams, or lakes, as part of a bog garden, where it can attract dragonflies.
It does well in exposed or sheltered sites, as long as it gets at least partial sunlight during the day.
Water avens need to be divided every few years to stop overcrowding, as this plant will spread.
Geum rivale is hardy in zones 3 through to 7, and gets to a maximum height of 18 inches tall.
It was once believed that water avens could cure all diseases, hence the common name, cure all.
Instantly recognizable, the waterlily has been cultivated since ancient times, and is one of the most popular ornamental plants in the world, inspiring not only gardens but religions, folklore, and works of art.
There are about 58 species of waterlilies, some of which are labeled as invasive, as they spread easily.
Many varieties of waterlilies produce beautiful blooms, coming in many sizes and a variety of colors.
Most are native to Asia, although there are a number of species that originated in North America.
As you might guess, they need to be planted in water to survive. Some will tolerate small, ornamental containers as habitats, while others need full-size ponds in order to thrive.
Watsonia, or the bugle lily, comes from the Iris plant family, and is a very attractive flowering bulbous perennial, featuring trumpet shaped flowers in late spring and summer.
They are commonly known as ‘bugles’, because of their unique shape.
These plants are easy to recognize, and come in a wide range of colors.
Watsonia is usually found growing in tropical climates, but can be grown in temperate regions too, as they are half-hardy, meaning that they need to be planted outside once all risk of frost is over.
Watsonias are hardy in USDA zones 8 through to 10, and will mature to a maximum of 5 feet high, requiring full sunlight and well-draining soil.
The wax plant, or Hoya, is a succulent plant with glossy dark green leaves, and produces clusters of star-shaped flowers which look like they are made from wax or porcelain (see also How To Grow The Shooting Star Hoya).
You may have seen these plants in botanical gardens, or maybe you’re familiar with them as houseplants.
Hoyas need lots of indirect light, in a position where the humidity is high.
These plants are capable of being very long-lived to the extent that you may need to provide some care tips to the generation after you!
You can grow them outside, but only in the warmest of places which feature some humidity.
Sphagneticola trilobata, the Singapore daisy, wedelia, or creeping-oxeye is one of those plants you will absolutely love, or hate.
It produces bright yellow flowers, helpful as a ground cover, as this plant creeps across the surface of the soil.
However, it has a very aggressive growth habit, and is classed as invasive in many areas.
It can get up to 30cm tall, and all stems can grow up to 40cm long, spreading across the ground and rooting quickly.
If you do decide you want to grow this plant, and it’s not on the banned list in your area, grow it in a sunny position, in moist, well-draining soil.
A flowering shrub in the honeysuckle plant family, Caprifoliaceae, the weigela is a great ornamental plant for most gardens.
Weigela can reach about 2.5 meters tall, spreading about the same.
It’s not a demanding plant, and it flowers profusely.
It features large pink, yellow or white blooms, appearing close to the glossy leaves in late spring and early summer.
Weigela likes full sunlight and moist, well-draining soil. It will grow in dappled shade if that’s all you have, though you’ll probably see fewer flowers.
Once the flowers have finished, it could do with a good prune, which will encourage fresh, healthy growth.
It’s a robust plant in zones 4 through to 8, and will invite plenty of pollinators into your garden.
Whipple’s Cholla Flower
Cyclindropuntia whipplei, or whipple’s cholla cactus, can reach 6 feet tall as a shrub in the wild. It can also grow as a low, mat-forming plant, too.
It’s a tough plant, capable of withstanding frosts, deterring any hungry animals with its long spines.
This striking cactus provides greenish yellow flowers in the first few months of summer.
It requires full sunlight and freely draining soil, perfect for rockeries or containers.
It will withstand the majority of weather in USDA zones 5 through to 10.
Also known as beeblossom or gaura, the whirling butterflies plant comes from the Onagraceae plant family, or the willowherb family.
The name ‘whirling butterflies’ refers to the way the flowers sit in the middle of the stem, often swaying in the wind.
The flowers are usually white, but there are other colors available.
They like full sunlight, and soil which remains on the drier side, as these plants are very resistant to drought, but not to constantly damp soil.
Gaura comes in perennial, annual and biennial types, and the perennial versions are hardy in zones 5 through to 9.
Depending on the type you choose, gaura plants may get between 2 and 3 feet tall.
Also known as the species rose, the wild rose is one that is not a result of hybridization, and occurs naturally in the wild (for a cultivated rose that is just as beautiful, try the Westerland Rose).
Most feature very thorny stems, with very perfumed flowers during early summer.
These flowers eventually turn into rose hips, which are great not only for birds, but for jam making, too.
The majority of wild roses (see also Wild Rose Guide) like moist soil that doesn’t allow water to pool at the roots for too long, and a position of full sunlight.
Viola sororia, the common violet, or wild violet, is a member of the Violaceae plant family, or the pansy family.
It comes from the eastern parts of North America, and is grown across the world as an ornamental plant.
It prefers moist soil, and grows best in partial shade.
Its flowers come in shades of blue, purple and white, and they’re generally fragrant.
The flower heads appear in spring and summer.
While some violets are very short-lived, the wild violet can live for 10 years, making it a very attractive option for beds and borders.
Campanula persicifolia, or the willow bell, is a lovely perennial which can grow up to a meter tall.
It has small, nodding flowers, and is naturally found in the mountainous parts of Europe, including the Alps.
It likes well drained soil, and full sun, or partial shade.
As you can imagine, it can tolerate lower temperatures that other plants simply cannot stand.
It’s a hardy plant in USDA zones 3 to 7, and makes the perfect accent plant to break up a border or bed which otherwise might seem too planned, or too rigid.
Winged Monkey Flower
The winged monkey flower, sharpwing monkeyflower, or mimulus alatus, is a striking perennial which comes from North America.
It blooms in shades of pale blue, purple, or white during summer. If you look at the flowers closely, you’ll see a monkey’s face made up of the upper and lower petals.
Torenia fournieri, the wishbone flower (see also Wishbone Flower Guide), is a good choice for any partially shaded bed.
It has a compact growth habit, and will tolerate the hottest temperatures of summer as long as you plant it in partial shade.
This lovely annual will bloom in summer, continuing until the frost kills it off.
It can reach about 31cm tall at the most, perfect for the front of a shaded border or in a container.
It also helps that this plant will grow well in zones 2 through to 11, making it a versatile plant.
Wisteria is a whole genus of flowering plants which come from the pea family, Fabaceae.
Wisteria is a vigorous vine which produces beautiful blooms in shades of blue, white, lilac, and pink.
If you don’t give them enough support, you’ll soon find them clambering on other plants and structures!
Most wisterias need a sheltered position (see also How To Grow Wisteria), away from frosts, and preferably in full sunlight.
Asian species of wisteria tend to flower in spring, while American varieties open into color in summer.
Coming from the Hamamelidaceae plant family, the witch hazel is sometimes known as winterbloom.
These fabulous plants have been used by herbalists since ancient times for a number of ailments, though they are not supported by science today.
These plants prefer a sunny spot with rich, moist soil, but do fine in partial shade.
Their leaves turn yellow in autumn, and they drop during winter, allowing the perfumed flowers to be the star of the show.
They can grow up to 20 feet tall once mature, or you can keep them at a more manageable height with regular pruning before summer.
Wax begonias are one of the most popular begonia types, also known as Begonia x semperflorens.
Most varieties are tender perennials, and they are mainly used as summer bedding plants, treated as annuals.
Most are purchased as plug plants or adult plants, as growing them from seed takes a long time.
You can also grow wax begonias inside if you prefer, but make sure you provide plenty of light and water.
White Evening Primrose
The white evening primrose, Oenothera speciosa, is a great addition to any garden.
It grows best in full sun, in moist soil, and it weathers drought without any problems. This variety is very easy to grow, and will get to a maximum of 24 inches tall
Its flowers are gorgeous, starting off in white, and fading to a bright pink.