Idaho has a wide range of temperatures and the flowers in Idaho are a hearty bunch, able to stand up to cold winter temperatures and survive in the hot summer sun. Wild flowers that are native to Idaho or came from similar climates and made themselves at home on the prairies are excellent choices for the gardener who wants to create a true Idaho garden.
Western columbine (Aquilegia formosa) is a perennial that grows from two to three feet tall and produces blue-green leaves and yellow-red flowers that hang from the ends of the branches above the leaves from May through August. The plant does well in full sun or partial shade and a rocky soil that is dry or moist, but not wet. The plant is a favorite of butterflies.
Common yarrow (Achillea millefolium) is also known asa milfoil, sneezewort and soldier's friend. The plant grows from one to three feet tall and produces lacy, aromatic gray-green leaves and small flowers that resemble those of the daisy and grow in clusters of 50 or more. The plant needs full sun and moist, but well-drained, soil. Common yarrow needs room to spread out and should be planted two feet apart. It can be used in a wildflower or butterfly garden. It makes a good ground cover. The flowers grow tall enough to be used as cut flowers and in dried-flower arrangements.
Pearly-everlasting (Anaphalis margaritacea) grows from one to three feet tall and produces narrow gray-green or white leaves and flowers with white petals surrounding a yellow center that grow in clusters on the top of the stems from July through October. It can grow in full sun or partial shade and needs a dry sandy or gravely soil. Pearly-everlasting is used as a cut flower or in dried-flower arrangements and is a food source for the painted lady butterfly.
Prairie smoke (Geum triflorum) is also known as old man's whiskers and purple avens. It grows from six to 18 inches high and 12 inches wide. The plant produces blue-green hairy leaves that resemble a fern and turn a deep red in the fall. Red-purple, bell-shaped flowers grow in groups of three in April and May and feathery pink-gray fruit that lasts throughout the summer. Prairie smoke is very adaptable. It can take full sun, partial shade or full shade and soil that is moist or dry, but not wet. It is also a favorite food source for butterflies.