No Green Thumb Required: Our 10 Hardiest Wildflowers
Whether you’re new to gardening or are looking for something to plant and forget about, wildflowers are one of my favorite go-tos. Although most wildflowers are fairly low maintenance, there are several varieties that require no green thumb at all and are hardy in most areas around the country.
As Mike our resident 'Seedman' says, “You can’t kill these wildflowers!”
I’ll highlight these ten easy-to-grow wildflowers and why you should add them to your garden.
1. Purple Coneflower
Purple Coneflower, aka Echinacea, is a famous native variety, painting entire meadows pink throughout the country. This summer-blooming wildflower is a true staple of any meadow or garden. Plant purple coneflower once and each year it will multiply and spread, giving pollinators plenty to snack on in the summer months.
This wildflower requires little supplemental water and care; leave the dried seed heads up throughout the winter to feed various birds in your area. Bonus: Echinacea is a spectacular cut flower and even a single stem creates an elegant statement in a vase.
Quick Echinacea Facts: Perennial | Grows to be 24-36” Tall | Prefers Full Sun or Half Sun/Half Shade
Oh, Zinnia. I fell in love with Zinnia this summer after planting a mass garden bed with this easy annual. Besides being one of the easiest and most colorful annuals to grow, Zinnia is a pollinator magnet and will create a parade of buzzing bees and butterflies from summer all the way until frost.
Zinnias these days come in almost any color of the rainbow, making them a versatile choice for any landscape. Experiment with color blocking in a small garden bed. The best part is that you can start all over again next season! Zinnia also make for fantastic summer bouquets and are often used for weddings and other special events.
Quick Zinnia Facts: Annual | Grows to be 24-36” Tall | Prefers Full Sun
Daisies might be one of the most iconic wildflowers out there – I enjoy them so much I even named my dog after them! The best thing about Shasta Daisies is they offer up easy summer blooms but aren’t aggressive or invasive (that’s Ox-Eye daisy).
So whether you’re creating a cottage garden in Maine or looking for a low-maintenance option for an out-of-reach meadow in California, Daisies are a winning choice. Plant on their own or pair with other easy summer options such as Echinacea and Black-Eyed Susan.
Quick Shasta Daisy Facts: Perennial | Grows to be 16-30” Tall | Prefers Full Sun or Half Sun/Half Shade
Marigolds are such a versatile, easy-to-grow annual, I think they have a home in any garden. Not only are they colorful, but they can also help with pest control. Plant marigolds near (or in) your vegetable garden to help deter nematodes that can be destructive to plants.
Marigolds also help in feeding nectar to a variety of pollinators, including a important beneficial bugs, who in turn prey on aphids and other unwanted bugs. Whether you’re vegetable gardening or not, marigolds make a colorful, long-lasting statement in the summer garden and require almost no maintenance once sprouted.
Quick Marigold Facts: Annual | Grows to be 16-30” Tall | Prefers Full Sun or Half Sun/Half Shade
Blanket Flower’s bold, fiery blooms add drama to the summer garden. This native gaillardia is one of the easiest wildflowers to grow and is native to the Plains and Western United States, meaning it’s used to getting by with very little water. If you struggle with deer and rabbits in your garden, this is the perfect perennial for you – they tend to stay away from it. Blanket Flower spreads each year and this bi-colored beauty looks fantastic in a vase.
Quick Blanket Flower Facts: Perennial | Grows to be 18-30” Tall | Prefers Full Sun
Who doesn’t love Sunflowers? The cheery, massive blooms are a signal that summer has finally arrived and pollinators keep busy snacking on the flowers all day. I love using Sunflowers as privacy screens or to create garden “rooms” in my landscape. The sheer height of Sunflowers just adds so much drama I can’t resist them!
This easy-to-grow, native annual is extremely low maintenance and grows in almost any sunny spot. Once the flowers have finished for the season, leave them standing for the birds or harvest the seeds to roast, make homemade suet-seed cakes, or replant. There are endless uses and reasons for sunflowers in the garden, I just can’t name them all!
Quick Sunflower Facts: Annual | Grows to be 40-60” Tall | Prefers Full Sun or Half Sun/Half Shade
This native beauty adds sunshine to any summer garden and creates a statement on its own or paired with other easy summer bloomers like Echinacea and Daisies. Although Rudbeckia is technically a biennial, it self seeds readily and will most likely return year after year. Black Eyed Susan puts out prolific blooms from summer all the way until frost, offering up plenty of nectar for hummingbirds, butterflies, bees, and more.
Although thought to be native to the Midwest, recent research shows this native wildflower can grow wild as far east as Maryland. It will grow in any sunny spot and deer and rabbits tend to steer clear. A fantastic choice for any garden – wild or not!
Quick Black Eyed Susan Facts: Biennial | Grows to be 12-36” Tall | Prefers Full Sun or Half Sun/Half Shade
This annual is on the top of my list to try this season. Morning Glories radiate a certain charm that I think is unparalleled in the garden. Plant seeds in the fall or early spring and give them something (large) to climb on.
Come summer, they’ll be taller than you and bursting with colorful blooms! This easy-to-grow annual comes in a variety of colors and looks magnificent planted along a trellis, fence, post or even a wall if given strings to grow on. The climbing possibilities are endless!
Quick Morning Glory Facts: Annual | Grows to be 96” Tall | Prefers Full Sun
A true workhorse of any wildflower meadow, Lance Leaf Coreopsis’ rich golden blooms illuminate the summer garden, lasting all the way until frost. This native perennial spreads each year and is both rabbit and deer resistant.
Coreopsis is a low-maintenance variety that grows in partial shade, making it a great choice for that hard-to-plant area in your landscape. Looks fantastic on its own or paired with other summer-blooming beauties such as Echinacea and Daisies. Coreopsis blooms also make for fantastic summer bouquets and offer up plenty of blooms for guilt-free cutting.
Quick Lance Leaf Coreopsis Facts: Perennial | Grows to be 18-36” Tall | Prefers Full Sun or Half Sun/Half Shade
Not to be cliché, but I really did save the best for last. Cosmos are a true summer stunner, offering up a multitude of colorful blooms that make an elegant and striking statement in the summer garden. Whether you’re planting acres of land or growing wildflowers in a small city plot, there is always room for Cosmos.
Offering up continuous blooms for months at a time, you’ll enjoy a parade of pollinators to your garden with plenty of chances for spectacular photos. This annual favorite also thrives in containers and requires little supplemental water or care once sprouted. Coming in a rainbow of different colors and sizes, Cosmos are a fabulous addition to any landscape!
Quick Cosmos Facts: Annual | Grows to be 36-72” Tall | Prefers Full Sun or Half Sun/Half Shade
So there you have it: 10 of our favorite, hardiest wildflowers that require absolutely no green thumb to grow! Make room in your garden for these easy beauties and you’ll enjoy effortless blooms all season long.