Planting Sunshine with Yellow Flowers

Don't be afraid of the boldness of yellow in your garden. Embrace its sunny disposition.


Yellow can be brash and bold, but it deserves a place in every yard. When used sparingly and in combination with contrasting colors, this golden hue can light up a garden. You can intensify yellow's bold tendencies by pairing it with red, orange, or lavender. Or group it with pink or green for a more subtle combination.

Hues of yellow are at their best in the spring, fall, and winter. The blazing summer sun often causes yellow to appear washed-out and drab. The lower light intensity of the other three seasons is friendlier toward golden hues and they respond by practically glowing.

Related Slide Show: Favorite Yellow Flowers

Spring abounds with yellow. From cheery daffodils to tiny crocus peeking through the snow, bulbs offer many yellow hues. Shrubs such as forsythia can also be counted on for yellow spring blossoms.

Summer offers up many yellow annuals and perennials, including yarrow (Achillea millefolium), sunflowers (Helianthus), sundrops (Oenothera perennis), and lilies.

Fall is ablaze with yellow leaf color. For yellow flower color, look to coneflower (Rudbeckia), tickseed (Coreopsis), and goldenrod (Solidago).

Winter is a time when colorful yellow barks really shine. Dogwood (Cornus stolonifera 'Flaviramea') and willow (Salix alba var. vitellina) both have yellow winter shoots. And when left standing, ornamental grasses will turn a deep gold color.

The Yellow Top 10

When you want yellow in the garden, you have a wide variety of annuals and perennials to choose from. Here are our picks for the easiest to grow:

Enlarge Image Black-eyed Susan vine.
  • Zinnia (Zinnia elegans). This cut-flower favorite is easy to grow from seed sown in the garden, and stands up well to heat.
  • Black-eyed Susan vine (Thunbergia alata). Although it resembles its earth-bound cousin, this fast-growing vine produces flowers from spring through fall.
  • Pot marigold (Calendula officinalis), an orange-yellow cool-season annual.
  • Dalberg daisy (Thymophylla tenuiloba). This ferny-leafed annual produces cheery yellow blooms all summer.
  • Basket of gold (Aurinia saxatilis). Low-growing plant covered with tiny gold flowers in early spring.
  • Primrose (Primula auricula). In cooler climates, grow these as annuals for summer bloom. In the far south, they bloom throughout the winter.
  • Cushion spurge (Euphorbia polychroma). This low-maintenance summer-flowering perennial features blue-green or variegated leaves that look great even when the attractive flowers are done blooming.
  • California poppy (Eschscholzia calilfornica). This spring-blooming flower is grown as an annual in most locations. It is most at home in a rock garden or naturalized in a meadow.
  • Leopardsbane (Doronicum). Pretty yellow daisy-like flowers appear in May. During hot weather, the plant may appear to die back, but it will return.
  • Painted tongue (Salpiglossis sinuata). Imagine petunia flowers with veins of contrasting color running through the blooms and you'll have a picture of this annual.

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