Flowers in the wild are often found growing in pastures and woodlands and along roadways and beaches. Many wildflowers are tough, hardy plants that are often drought- and heat-tolerant. Found prospering throughout specific regions, wildflowers can include native plants as well as non-native plants that have been introduced from another location. To grow your own wildflowers, select species with natural growing requirements that closely match your garden habitat.
New England Aster
A perennial wildflower, New England aster (Aster novae-angliae) is often found growing along meadows, roadsides and thickets. New England asters grow 3 to 7 feet tall and emerge in late summer to last into fall. The bright purple to blue flowerheads on New England asters grow 1 to 2 inches wide in clusters along the erect stems. New England asters have yellow centers and hairy, sticky bracts along the flower stalk. The pale green stalk on New England asters holds the heart-shaped leaves that grow up to 5 inches long.
Chicory (Cichorium intybus) is a wildflower perennial that was first introduced from Europe where the roots were used to make coffee. Chicory wildflowers grow 3 to 4 feet tall, ideal for lining a flower bed or border for height. The bright blue flowerheads on chicory grow 1 inch wide and have a toothed edging fringing each petal. Often seen growing in fields and roadsides, chicory flowers have upright, stiff branches. The lower leaves on chicory are also toothed and range from 3 to 6 inches long. Tapered onto the long stalk, the upper leaves are smaller in size and bright green. Chicory flowers bloom in summer to last through fall, making for a long-lasting growing season. Adaptable, chicory requires full sun and tolerates poor, dry soils.
Prairie zinnia (Zinnia grandiflora) have a moderate growth rate and clumping growth habit. Deer- and drought-tolerant, prairie zinnia is a wildflower bloom that emerges in late summer to last through the fall. A bird and butterfly attractant, prairie zinnia flowers grow less than 6 inches tall and 1 to 3 feet wide, ideal for planting along the front of a flower bed or border. The prairie zinnia produces masses of bright yellow summer blooms. Each prairie zinnia flower sits atop the green, erect top that grows 4 inches tall. Prairie zinnia flowers prefer full sun and well-drained, fertile soil. Adaptable, prairie zinnia tolerates a variety of soil types, including dry soil. To promote flowering on the prairie zinnia, remove the spent blooms as soon as they are noticeable.