Gardening in USDA plant hardiness zone 5 can present certain challenges, as the growing season is relatively short and winter temperatures can drop to -20 F. (-29 C.) However, there are many cold hardy wildflowers that provide a bright splash of color, frequently lasting from early spring until the first frost.
Wildflowers for Zone 5 Gardens
Here is a partial list of cold hardy wildflowers for zone 5.
- Black-eyed susan (Rudbeckia hirta)
- Shooting star (Dodecatheon meadia)
- Cape marigold (Dimorphotheca sinuata)
- California poppy (Eschscholzia californica)
- New England aster (Aster novae-angliae)
- Sweet william (Dianthus barbatus)
- Shasta daisy (Chrysanthemum maximum)
- Columbine (Aquilegia canadensis)
- Cosmos (Cosmos bipinnatus)
- Wild bergamot (Monarda fistulosa)
- Bottle gentian (Gentiana clausa)
- American blue vervain (Verbena hastata)
- Penstemon/beard tongue (Penstemon spp.)
- Turk’s cap lily (Lilium superbum)
- Scarlet flax (Linum grandiflorum rubrum)
- Fringed bleeding heart (Dicentra eximia)
- Swamp milkweed (Asclepias incarnata)
- Yarrow (Achillea millefolium)
- Cardinal flower (Lobelia cardinalis)
- Rocky mountain bee plant (Cleome serrulata)
- Swamp sunflower (Helianthus angustifolius)
- Foxglove (Digitalis purpurea)
- California bluebell/desert bells (Phacelia campanularia)
- Bigleaf lupine (Lupinus polyphyllus)
- Bachelor’s button/cornflower (Centaurea cyanus)
- Scarlet sage (Saliva coccinea)
- Oriental poppy (Papaver orientale)
Tips on Planting Wildflowers in Zone 5
When choosing zone 5 wildflowers, consider not only hardiness but factors such as sun exposure, soil type and available moisture, and then choose seeds suitable for your specific conditions. Most wildflowers need well-drained soil and plenty of sunlight.
When planting wildflowers in zone 5, keep in mind that some types of wildflowers can be aggressive. Your local Cooperative Extension office or a knowledgeable nursery or garden center can advise you about wildflowers that may be problematic in your area.
A wildflower seed mix consisting of perennials, biennials and self-seeding annuals are generally easy to grow and provide the longest possible blooming season.
Mid- to late autumn is prime time for planting wildflowers in zone 5. This may seem counter-intuitive, but cold weather and moisture will promote germination the following spring. On the other hand, spring-planted wildflowers that aren’t well-established by autumn may be killed by winter freezes.
If your soil is badly compacted or clay-based, add organic matter such as compost or well-rotted manure into the top 6 inches of soil before planting.