Missing Early Summer Color in Your Native Wildflower Garden? 12 Forbs to Include

Liatris Punctata buds

Since there’s often a little lull in blooms in early summer, I thought to share my favorite early summer blooming plants to give you some ideas for your own native wildflower garden! I do think everything bloomed a little earlier this year in our area due to the early, hot spring weather, so some years they may not be quite as early.

Bee Balm (Monarda fistulosa). Mine always get powdery mildew, but I’ve just learned to ignore it and simply admire the flowers. The bees don’t seem to mind either.

Showy Aster (Eurybia conspicua) and Smooth Aster (Symphyotrichum Laeve). Such cute tiny flowers!

Spike Goldenrod (Solidago simplex). This goldenrod blooms earlier than most and isn’t as spready! It provides a lovely patch of bright color.

Fireweed (Chamerion augustifolium). It’s apparently highly aggressive but I haven’t had any issues so far. Maybe it helps that it’s in really poor, dry soil.

Blazing Star (Liatris puncata). Not quite open on these photos but it’s blooming now! That is cotton blown from the nearby trees that you see on the plant, not spider webs.

Giant Hyssop (Agastache foeniculum)

Harebell (Campanula alaskana). (Not to be confused with Creeping Bellflower, which is a noxious weed in Alberta and next to impossible to get rid of, once you have it!)

Prairie Coneflower (Ratibida columnifera). A short-lived plant that loves dry conditions.

Purple Prairie Clover (Dalea purpurea). A lovely, delicate little wildflower, pictured here in our swale where there are thousands currently blooming!

Sticky Purple Geranium (Geranium viscosissimum). Check out all those dead bugs inside the flower! A bit creepy but also beautiful, somehow…

Common Yarrow (Achillea millefolium). I love yarrow but it is aggressive, so use with caution!

Blackeyed Susan (Rudbeckia hirta). These guys spread rapidly by seed but the seedlings are easy to pull. I love the cheer they bring to any space they occupy!

Aaand…some non-native salvia as a backdrop for the bright green oregano. I adore this combo!

A few other suggestions: blue flax and forget-me-nots. I don’t have photos and actually I don’t even have forget-me-nots, but I saw them while on vacation a few weeks ago and they were adorable! Let’s just say I’m eager to get my hands on some for my own gardens.

I hope this quick roundup helps with your native gardening plans, or if you already have a garden but need a burst of color in early summer, peruse this list to see if any will work for your space!

Happy Gardening!