Native to southern Europe, wallflowers are the next best thing to pansies. These cool-season plants have a lovely fragrance and come in an abundance of colors. Wallflower is a short-lived perennial or biennial often grown as an annual with a long season of blooms. Sow wallflowers a few weeks before the last frost date for your region to have them bloom the following spring.
Wallflowers come in pale blues, greens, pinks, and creamy yellows, but you can also find them in warmer reds, oranges, hot pinks, and golden yellows. There are even varieties with color-changing blooms, which open bright yellow or orange and fade in shades of pink to a deep purple. When all colors show at the same time, it creates a striking display. Clusters of the four-petal flowers transition to narrow, pendant-shape seeds pods. The foliage is often bright green, narrow, and pointed.
Wallflower Care Must-Knows
Wallflowers grow best when planted in average, dry to medium, and well-drained soils. These plants like well-drained soils so much that it's how they got their common name: Wallflowers could often be found growing out of the mortar between rocks and bricks on the side of the wall. They suit rock gardens, border fronts, raised beds, and containers.
Place wallflowers in an area of the garden where they receive full sun in northern climates. In southern climates, they appreciate some afternoon shade. If you plan on growing them as a perennial, shear them back after initial bloom to promote dense bushy growth. If left too long, they become woody and leggy and will produce fewer and fewer flowers. Pruning also prevents plants from reseeding, but because they are short-lived plants, you may wish to allow them to set some seed.
More Varieties of Wallflower
'Bowles Mauve' Wallflower
'Bowles Mauve' is a classic variety with gray-green leaves, pale purple flowers, and a pleasant fragrance. Zones 6-10
'Fire King' Wallflower
Erysimum 'Fire King' bears striking orange-red flowers on 16-inch-tall plants. Zones 3-7
Wallflower Companion Plants
The delicate peachy-pink flowers of diascia are something a little different. Found with increasing frequency in garden centers, diascia is a snapdragonlike flower gaining popularity because you can plant it so early in the spring. A perennial in the southernmost states, it's a cool-season annual elsewhere. Plant it a few weeks before your region's last frost for early fall color. Diascia is an airy pick that ties other plants together. It blooms in a wide range of pinks—from cool, bubblegum pinks to warmer peach, coral, and salmon. After it blooms in spring, cut it back. It is likely to stop blooming during summer heat hits, anyway. When things cool off, it will rebloom. It has average water needs, so don't over or underwater. Fertilize lightly but regularly.
Snapdragons add easy charm to any garden. They get their name from the fact that you can gently squeeze the sides of the intricately shaped flower and see the jaws of a dragon head snap closed. The flowers come in gorgeous colors, including variations on each flower. Plus, snapdragons are an outstanding cut flower. A cool-season annual, they come into their own in early spring when the warm-season annuals, such as marigolds and impatiens, are just being planted. They're also great for fall color. Plant snapdragons in early spring, a few weeks before your region's last frost date. Deadhead regularly for best blooms and fertilize regularly. Snapdragons often self-seed if not deadheaded, so they come back year after year. But know that hybrid plants might come back with muddy-looking colors. In mild regions, the entire plant may overwinter if covered with mulch.
Plant it in spring several weeks before your region's last frost date; this annual thrives in cool temperatures and stops blooming once hot weather arrives. It's especially wonderful in window boxes and planters at nose level, where its sometimes subtle, spicy scent can best be appreciated. Stock is slightly spirelike and comes in a wide range of colors. It makes a great cut flower, perfuming bouquets as well as the border. It grows best in full sun or part shade and moist, well-drained soil.