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The 10 Best Native Flowers to Grow in the Pacific Northwest Region

  |  Homecare & Lifestyle, Your Place

You may have heard that it’s a good idea to plant native plants in your yard — but why, exactly?

Well, for starters, native plants do not require fertilizers and require less pesticides than lawns. They also need less water and can develop deep root systems, which can help prevent soil erosion. And they help reduce air pollution by removing carbon from the air. Plus, native plants provide shelter and food for wildlife and pollinators, contributing to the overall success of the ecosystem. And the list goes on!

In a nutshell, native plants are beneficial for both the environment and you. Because native plants tend to thrive in their natural habitat, you don’t have to exert as much time, energy and resources (like water!) to help them grow year after year.

If you’re looking to plant some native flowers in your yard, look no further! We dug around to find the best native flowers for the Pacific Northwest. This list includes a wide variety of flowers that come in all shapes, sizes and colors, all of which grow well throughout the region. Plus, we included some drought-tolerant plants for those drier climates, such as Central Oregon.

Together, we can help promote biodiversity in our landscape — one flower at a time!

 

Broadleaf Lupine

Lupinus latifolius

Broadleaf Lupine

The drought-tolerant broadleaf lupine produces stunning blue-violet flowers perfectly arranged along tall, thin spires, which emerge in late spring. This evergreen perennial does well in full sun and in soil that drains well, but can also survive in low-fertility soils. It is a perfect addition to the back of a garden bed or along a fence, as it can grow up to 4 feet tall. The broadleaf lupine can commonly be seen all throughout the Pacific Northwest, including the Siskiyous Mountains, Olympic National Park, Mount Rainier National Park, the Gorge, Crater Lake National Park, North Cascades National Park, and more.

 

Broadleaf Stonecrop

Sedum spathulifolium

Broadleaf Stonecrop

This gorgeous succulent is the perfect addition to gardens in more dry climates, like Eastern Washington or Central Oregon. The broadleaf stonecrop displays a wide variety of colors that change over time, from bright yellow flowers providing nectar for insects in the middle of spring, to pink to red leaves during the summer, and finally, green in the winter. This interesting succulent thrives in well-drained sandy soil, so once it is established, it doesn’t require additional watering during the heat of summer. It is commonly used as an attractive groundcover in rocky regions along the west coast, from British Columbia all the way to Southern California.

 

Camassia

Camassia quamash

Camassia

Add a streak of blue to your gardenscape with some camassia, which produces bright blue star-shaped flowers in late spring on stems that can reach 3 feet tall. When Lewis and Clark first discovered the common camas, Lewis reported, “The color of its bloom resembles lakes of clear water.” And it truly does! But if you’re looking for more variety, the camassia also comes in white, cream and purple. You’ll see large meadows filled with camassia all throughout the PNW, as it does well in full sun and partial sun, and can tolerate plenty of moisture — which we sure have plenty of!

 

Coast Rhododendron

Rhododendron macrophyllum

Coast Rhododendron

As the state flower of Washington, the coast rhododendron does well in the state’s varied landscape. This large evergreen shrub can reach anywhere from 7 to 30 feet tall, so be sure you have the space for it to flourish and grow! The name rhododendron macrophyllum literally translates to “rose tree with big leaves,” which so perfectly describes this shrub with rose-like flowers. The coast rhododendron grows as far north as the U.S.-Canadian border and as far south as Monterey Bay in California, and is commonly found in the Coast Mountains and the Cascade Range. In the garden, it makes for a particularly attractive shrub option and adapts well to different settings — even doing well along roads and in deforested wildlands!

 

Common Blanket Flower

Gaillardia aristata

Common Blanket Flower

The common blanket flower has one of the most striking combinations of colors, almost like a sunset burst, from a dark amber center fading to bright orange, and finally, to sunflower-yellow petal tips. As the name implies, the blanket flower can cover a garden like a blanket as it is drought-resistant and fairly easy to grow. Plus, it is one of the longest blooming perennials extending from spring through summer — as long as you deadhead them regularly!

 

Henderson’s Shooting Star

Dodecatheon hendersonii

Henderson's Shooting Star

This unique delicate flower goes by many names, including broad-leaved shooting star, Henderson’s shooting star, mosquito bills, and sailor caps. You won’t want to miss their quick bloom during the spring, when the plant emerges as a clump of soft green leaves, transforming into a slim flower stalk, and then eventually, becomes pink/magenta or white flowers swept backwards — almost as though they have just been in a heavy windstorm. And as quickly as they arrived, the shooting stars go dormant shortly after flowering. This stunning flower grows in nearly every climate (typically in partial shade) on the western side of the Cascades, from Vancouver Island, B.C. all the way to northern California.

 

Lewisia

Lewisia

Lewisia

One of the region’s most gorgeous wildflowers, the lewisia displays a variety of colors, including pink, red, white, orange and yellow. Named after Meriwether Lewis, who encountered the species in 1806, the lewisia originated on north-facing cliffs along the west coast of North America. It has evergreen foliage, which provides year-round interest and a long flowering season extending through the spring and summer. Reaching about 1 foot tall, the plant prefers full sun and well-drained soil, and can even do well in rock gardens, which mimics its native habitat. The lewisia comes in a variety of species and varieties — 19, to be exact! And many gardeners consider it a must-have in any PNW garden.

 

Miniature Hollyhock

Sidalcea malviflora

Miniature Hollyhock

Also called checker blooms, prairie mallows and garden mallows, the miniature hollyhock makes an excellent addition to your garden. Don’t be confused with old-fashioned hollyhocks, which can grow up to 8 feet tall! Miniature hollyhocks are just that — miniature — typically only reaching up to 2 feet tall and 2 feet wide. This perennial plant produces soft leaves and gorgeous flowering stalks with pink, red and lavender petals. While biennial hollyhocks are native to Asia and Europe, miniature hollyhocks are native to western North America — and can be found all over this region. They do well in full sun to partial shade, needing a bit more care and attention in hotter, dry climates.

 

Oregon Grape

Mahonia aquifolium

regon Grape

Also called the holly-leaved barberry, the Oregon grape is a flowering evergreen shrub native to western North America. It can grow to be anywhere from 3 to 10 feet tall and up to 5 feet wide. It produces clusters of yellow flowers in early spring, which are replaced by dark blue berries that the birds love to nibble on! The berries are well-loved by humans as well, although they are very tart. They can be eaten raw and used to make jelly — and even wine! The Oregon grape can be found all throughout Oregon and its neighboring states; after all, it is the state flower of Oregon!

 

Pacific Bleeding Heart

Dicentra formosa

Pacific Bleeding Heart

A droopy, dramatic and romantic addition, the pacific bleeding heart is a shade-loving perennial with pink, purple, yellow or cream flowers. Reaching up to 18 inches tall and 24 inches wide, the plant blooms from spring all the way through summer — as long as you keep the flowers picked! A magnet for hummingbirds in search of nectar, the dangling heart-shaped blossoms give the plant its “bleeding heart” name. It does well in full or partial shade next to other shady plants, like ferns or primroses. The brilliant flowers are accompanied by lacy, fern-like foliage.

 

What Are Your Favorites?

What native flowers are growing in your yard? Tell us all about them!

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