Wallflower

The blooms of this plant will put on quite a show in your garden during the spring.

Wallflower Overview

Description 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.
Genus Name Erysimum
Common Name Wallflower
Plant Type Annual, Perennial
Light Part Sun, Sun
Height 1 to 3 feet
Width 1 to 2 feet
Flower Color Blue, Orange, Pink, Purple, Red, White, Yellow
Foliage Color Blue/Green
Season Features Fall Bloom, Spring Bloom, Summer Bloom
Special Features Fragrance, Good for Containers, Low Maintenance
Zones 10, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9
Propagation Seed, Stem Cuttings

Colorful Combinations

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. Even varieties with color-changing blooms open bright yellow or orange and fade to shades of pink to a deep purple. When all colors show simultaneously, it creates a striking display. Clusters of the four-petal flowers transition to narrow, pendant-shaped seed 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 they're named for it: 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 the 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 you may wish to allow them to set some seeds because they're short-lived.

More Varieties of Wallflower

'Bowles Mauve' Wallflower

wallflower erysimum
Nancy Rotenberg

'Bowles Mauve' is a classic variety with gray-green leaves, pale purple flowers, and a pleasant fragrance. Zones 6-10

'Fire King' Wallflower

'Fire King' Wallflower
Justin Hancock

Erysimum 'Fire King' bears striking orange-red flowers on 16-inch-tall plants. Zones 3-7

'Orange Bedder' Wallflower

wallflower erysimum
Nancy Rotenberg

Erysimum 'Orange Bedder' bears bright clusters of orange flowers on compact, 1-foot-tall plants. Zones 3-7

Wallflower Companion Plants

Diascia

pink diascia
Justin Hancock

The delicate peachy-pink flowers of diascia are unique. Found with increasing frequency in garden centers, diascia is a snapdragon-like 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.

Snapdragon

red snapdragons
Lynn Karlin

Snapdragons add easy charm to any garden. They get their name because 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.

Stock

tall columns of multicolored stock flowers
Julie Maris Semarco

Plant stock 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 and the border. It grows best in full sun or part shade and moist, well-drained soil.

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