Native wildflowers to grow - snake's head fritillary

20 British native wildflowers to grow

Discover 20 gorgeous native wildflowers to sow and grow, including annual and perennial choices.

British wildflowers are some of the most reliable and beautiful plants you can grow. Being native, all of them have some benefit to wildlife, be it flowers for pollinators or leaves for caterpillars and other larvae.

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All of the flowers we’ve chosen are popular plants for bees and butterflies, so by growing them you’ll contribute to an increase in biodiversity in your garden.

If you’re short of space, you can still grow wildflowers by planting up a wildflower container.

More on growing wildflowers:

Browse our list of British native wildflowers, below.


1

Ox-eye daisy

Native wildflowers to grow - ox-eye daisy
Native wildflowers to grow – ox-eye daisy

Ox-eye daisies have tall stems, with flowers from June-August. Happy on most garden soils in sun. Can be invasive.

Height x Spread: 890cm x 60cm.


2

Ragged robin

Native wildflowers to grow - ragged-robin
Native wildflowers to grow – ragged-robin

Ragged robin, Lychnis flos-cuculi, is a striking wildflower, native to damp, wetland meadows. It’s a valuable nectar source for pollinators.

H x S: 75cm x 80cm


3

Corn cockle

Native wildflowers to grow - corn cockle
Native wildflowers to grow – corn cockle

Corn cockle (Agrostemma githago) is a cornfield annual, bearing deep-pink flowers from June to August. Will grow happily in any reasonable soil in sun. Try the cultivar ‘Alba’ for white flowers.

H x S: 70cm x 30cm


4

Corn marigold

Native wildflowers to grow - corn marigolds
Native wildflowers to grow – corn marigolds

The corn marigold (Glebionis segetum) is an annual that thrives on newly cultivated soil in full sun. The yellow wildflowers flowers look especially pretty when growing among other wildflowers like cornflowers and ox-eye daisies.

H x S: 80cm x 30cm


5

Bellflower

Native wildflowers to grow - bellflowers
Native wildflowers to grow – bellflowers

Campanula glomerata and Campanula trachelium will flower much of the summer if grown in moisture-retentive soil. Campanula trachelium thrives in partial shade, while Campanula glomerata requires a more open situation.

H x S: 50cm x 1m


6

Betony

Native wildflowers to grow - betony
Native wildflowers to grow – betony

Betony (Stachys officinalis) is a beautiful long-lived perennial, with purple flowers that are popular with butterflies and bees.

H x S: 60cm x 20cm


7

Hemp agrimony

Native wildflowers to grow - hemp agrimony
Native wildflowers to grow – hemp agrimony

A tall, marvellous native perennial, hemp agrimony (Eupatorium cannabinum) thrives in damp, semi-shaded habitats, including woodlands, hedgerows, rivers and ponds. It’s a great nectar plant for butterflies.

H x S: 1.5m x 1.5m


8

Viper’s bugloss

Native wildflowers to grow - viper's bugloss
Native wildflowers to grow – viper’s bugloss

Viper’s bugloss (Echium vulgare) is a colourful biennial that prefers a sunny, dry position. Wait for it to set seed in late summer before cutting down.

H x S: 75cm x 50cm


9

Common knapweed

Native wildflowers to grow - knapweed
Native wildflowers to grow – knapweed

Common knapweed, Centaurea nigra, will do well in a variety of situations, from damp to dry, though dense woodland and wetland conditions are best avoided. Leave the seedheads on over winter to provide seeds for birds.

H x S: 70cm x 50cm


10

Bugle

Native wildflowers to grow - bugle
Native wildflowers to grow – bugle

Bugle, Ajuga reptans, can be grown in both sunny and shady conditions, though damp soil is always needed for it to grow well.

H x S: 20cm x 80cm


11

Primrose

Native flowers to grow - Primula vulgaris
Native flowers to grow – Primula vulgaris

Our native primrose, Primula vulgaris,  heralds spring with its pale yellow flowers with a darker yellow centre. The flowers are an important source of nectar and pollen for a number of pollinators, while its leaves are eaten by the caterpillars of  number of moth species.

H x S: 20cm x 35cm


12

Honeysuckle

Native wildflowers to grow - honeysuckle
Native wildflowers to grow – honeysuckle

Our native honeysuckle, Lonicera periclymenum, bears fragrant pink, yellow and white blooms with long flower tubes. A magnet for long-tongued pollinators such as some bumblebees and moths. Its leaves are used as a caterpillar foodplant for the 20-plume moth.

H x S: 7m x 3.5m


13

Forget-me-not

Native wildflowers to grow - forget-me-not
Native wildflowers to grow – forget-me-not

Forget-me-not is a pretty biennial wildflower that thrives in shade. Its flowers are a magnet for a number of pollinators and its leaves are eaten by the caterpillars of many moth species. Perfect for edging paths and the front of borders.

H x S: 20cm x 15cm


14

Lily of the valley

Native wildflowers to grow - lily of the valley
Native wildflowers to grow – lily of the valley

Lily of the valley, Convallaria majalis, bears arching racemes of bell-shaped, white flowers with an extremely rich fragrance, from late spring. Plants spread quickly in shady positions, making it an excellent choice for a woodland garden or shady border.

H x S: 30cm x 20cm


15

Snake’s head fritillary

Native wildflowers to grow - snake's head fritillary
Native wildflowers to grow – snake’s head fritillary

Snake’s head fritillary, Fritillaria meleagris, bears bell-shaped flowers in various shades of purple and occasionally white, always with a pronounced checked pattern all over. Plants are extremely hardy and trouble-free, and are ideal for growing in a variety of situations including containers, sunny spring borders and in wildflower meadows or areas of long grass. The Royal Horticultural Society has given it its prestigious Award of Garden Merit (AGM).

H x S: 30cm x 5cm


16

Pasque flower

Native wildflowers to grow - pasque flower
Native wildflowers to grow – pasque flower

The pasque flower, Pulsatilla vulgaris, is a beautiful spring flower, traditionally a sign that Easter has arrived. The silky buds open to light purple, cup-shaped flowers which mature to develop a star shape. As the flowers develop, ferny foliage starts to appear at the base of the stems, which continues to look good after the flowering season has finished.

Grow Pulsatilla vulgaris in well-drained soil in full sun. It takes a while to become established and resents being disurbed. If growing in the right conditions, it will self-seed, so leave the seedheads to allow colonies to build up. The Royal Horticultural Society has given it its prestigious Award of Garden Merit (AGM).


17

Dog rose

Native wildflowers to grow - dog rose
Native wildflowers to grow – dog rose

The dog rose, Rosa canina, bears an attractive burst of lightly scented, usually pink flowers in summer. These are followed by a terrific show of bright red hips. It’s fast growing and its stems are incredibly prickly, making it a good choice for an informal mixed hedge. It’s a great wildlife plant, attracting bees, butterflies, moths and birds. The density of its growth habit provides shelter for birds and small mammals such as hedgehogs.

H x S: 4m x 3m


18

Wood anemone

Native wildflowers to grow - wood anemone
Native wildflowers to grow – wood anemone

The wood anemone is native to, and associated with, ancient woodland. It flowers between March and May and spreads via its roots.

H x S: 25cm x 10cm


19

Stinking hellebore

Native wildflowers to grow - stinking hellebore
Native wildflowers to grow – stinking hellebore

Helleborus foetidus is a compact, evergreen perennial with more finely divided, elegant foliage than most hellebores. In spring its almost ferny clumps are joined by clusters of nodding, lime-green flowers held on thick stems just above the tops of the foliage. The Royal Horticultural Society has given it its prestigious Award of Garden Merit (AGM).

H x S: 80cm x 45cm


20

Foxglove

Native wildflowers to grow - foxglove
Native wildflowers to grow – foxglove

Foxglove, Digitalis purpurea is a native European foxglove woodland plant with spikes of tubular purple flowers with a spotted throat. It’s a popular biennial for a shady spot and looks fantastic when grown en masse at the back of a border. Its blooms are extremely attractive to bumblebees.

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H x S: 1.5m x 45cm