5 Wildflowers to Plant for Summer

Early June is the ideal time to plant wildflowers and native plants in Minnesota. Peter Dziuk, a seasoned horticulturist and contributor to the reference website Minnesota Wildflowers, suggests some easy, native Minnesota flowers to grow.

Quick to Sprout

Spreading Jacob’s Ladder (Polemonium reptans)

This light blue flower succeeds in woodland gardens, partial shade, and moist soil. “It’s a springy ephemeral, and for an early garden plant, it’s just gorgeous,” Dziuk says. Blooming through June, this small plant is a summer kickstarter.



Great Fragrance

Prairie Coneflower (Ratibida columnifera)

Though it’s made for prairie sun and dry soil, the Prairie Coneflower is adaptable. This yellow-flowered perennial grows up to 3 feet tall, blooms June through August, and has a subtly sweet floral scent. “Just wonderful,” says Dziuk.



Best Color

Cardinal Flower (Lobelia cardinalis)

“There are few plants in the world as red as Cardinal Flower,” Dziuk says. A magnet for hummingbirds, this deep, vividly colored flower blooms July through September; its height ranges from 1 to 5 feet. It also tends to stick around—it reseeds and grows persistently.



Longest Flowering

Butterfly weed (Asclepias tuberosa)

“Milkweeds will have their massive bloom and then put up more little blooms later in the season,” Dziuk explains. Vibrant orange butterfly weed does well in a sunny, well-drained spot, and draws monarch butterflies. It flowers from June to September.



Easy to Grow

New England Aster (Symphyotrichum novae-angliae)

New England Aster is a late bloomer that’s worth the wait. With big masses of purple flowers, it blooms late August through October. According to Dziuk, it’s durable and grows to a lanky
4 feet high. Its special benefit is attracting pollinators that benefit the entire garden.