Walking through the British countryside, you can graze past a rainbow of different blooms and herbs. Whether it’s the familiar Bluebell, the Spring-time Daffodil or something a little more exotic. A touch of Goat’s Beard, maybe?
And there’s often the occasions we don’t take the time to appreciate the native blooms of British wildlife enough. So, the team here at The Hobby Kraze thought it was high-time we brought to you an ultimate list of the 52 various different types of flowers through this guide to flowers and botany.
However, before we get going with the growth of British wildflowers as well as how to discern the most popular flowers from the rarest in the blades of green grass glory, there’s a couple of things to note.
For one, there are two types of plants depending on the life cycle.
The first is known in the botanist’s book as an ‘annual’; an annual flower lives its entire life cycle in just one season. So, this means they germinate, flower, seed and die all in one season. A bonus of this would be that they tend to flower like nobody’s business and maintain their blooms until the first frost.
This does, however, mean you’ll need to reseed for the next season but a fair few are self-seeding which is a big help! In fact, the team here at The Hobby Kraze have a soft spot for these as they allow you to try out different plants every year, so your Summer garden always looks that little bit different.
The second type of flower is a ‘perennial’. Instead of living a whole life just in one season of the year, these hardy little blooms bear the cold and will keep appearing in Spring year after year. Of course, this makes for a brilliant long-term investment for the new gardener whose green thumb isn’t glowing quite so brightly, yet. Although don’t expect them to last forever.
The lifespan of a perennial flower can range between 3 and 5 years depending on which of the types of flowers you pick and what care they need. Luckily, with the growth of British wildflowers featuring a bout of evergreen perennials, it can offer a rich green backdrop of foliage to last all Winter long (even after their colourful blooms have faded away).
Now we’ve got the science for the guide to flowers and botany out of the way, we can move onto the best part; looking in awe at the 51 different types of flowers to grow in your great British garden:
Really known in the fields of green as ‘Common Agrimony’, these yellow buds are perennial plants that can grow to about 100cm. Which, as far as the growth of British wildflowers go, is pretty good! Like Chicory, flowers bloom close to the stem and, while they’re not the most popular flowers, are likely to be found throughout UK hedgerows and grassy plains.
Autumn Hawkbit (Scorzoneroides Autumnalis)
Often known as the Fall Dandelion due to its striking similarity to the common Dandelion, these types of flowers are a bright and welcome addition to the colourful garden. As a sprawling grassland perennial, it’s generally found in meadows of dry grassland with acidic soil. However, unlike the Dandelion, it flowers from July to October. It can grow to a height of 25cm and bears bright golden-yellow flower heads.
Betony (Betonica Officinalis)
Betony is more commonly referred to as Common Hedgenettle or Bishop’s Wort and is a tall-standing perennial plant with oblong flower heads atop long square stems branching oval leaves. In the wild, it grows mostly in meadows, hedge banks, open woodlands and grassy heaths with a preference for acidic soil. It can grow to 75cm and the flowers are a dark purple beetroot colour.
Bird’s Foot Trefoil (Lotus Corniculatus)
Bird’s Foot Trefoil gets its name from the seed pods it bears which have a striking resemblance to a bird’s foot or claws. These seed pods hold yellow slipper-like flowers that appear in clusters. They are a low growing perennial family to the pea while thriving in rocky soil and meadows. With this, they can be the perfect addition to gravel and rock gardens.
Bluebell (Hyacinthoides Non-Scripta)
This English woodland favourite goes by many names: Wild Hyacinth, Cuckoo’s Boots, Lady’s Nightcap and – our favourite – Witch’s Thimbles! These fanciful names stem from the bell-shaped petals with upturned tips with a deep violet purple tint but can also have white and pink varieties. This sweet-smelling flower blooms in Springtime and can carpet whole forest floors or just be the perfect garden flowers in the UK for your next journey into botany.
Of course, there’s no way we could miss-out these types of food-preference blooms in the guide to flowers and botany. It’s the childhood favourite: The Buttercup which blooms within a large genus of flowering plants called Ranunculus. The more common term “Buttercup” comes from the glossy yellow hue on each petal. But, unlike real butter, Buttercups are poisonous to cattle and humans so don’t try to spread these on your toast! Despite the toxicity, they are one of the most popular flowers growing wildly as a perennial in meadows, grasslands, woodlands and gardens.
Cheddar Pink (Dianthus Gratianopolitanus)
The Cheddar Pink also goes by the rather flamboyant name of Fire Witch. This ground-hugging and herbaceous perennial has very fragrant pink flowers that bloom from late -Spring onwards. The team here at The Hobby Kraze love this evergreen plant’s versatility because it’s just so easy to grow. Plus, it’s especially ideal for anyone with a rock garden as they grow to a nice 15cm in height.
Chicory (Cichorium Intybus)
Chicory is a herbaceous member of the Dandelion family featuring bright blue flowers (although these aren’t what it is most known for). Chicory is often cultivated for the use of its leaves in Autumn and spring salads. It has quite a bitter taste and can be eaten either raw or cooked. As well as this, its roots are edible and can be ground-up to make a coffee substitute or food additive.
Columbine is an easy-to-grow yet uncommon perennial here in the UK. This type of flower offers seasonal interest throughout much of the year, with its nodding bonnet shaped flowers blooming in a variety of colours in Spring. As a particularly unfussy plant, they can be grown in either full sunlight or shade while still reaching heights of 70cm. So, they could be a pleasant option to expand the growth of your garden of British wildflowers.
Common Knapweed (Centaurea Nigra)
Common Knapweed, otherwise known as ‘Hardheads’, looks fairly similar to a Thistle but is actually part of the Daisy family. A hairy perennial with thick structured stems, it can grow up to a metre in height and is found in all kinds of grasslands. These can include anything from roadside verges to clifftops and lawns, though it tends to avoid acidic soil.
Common Yarrow (Achillea Millefolium)
Common Yarrow is a tough spreading wildflower commonly found in roadsides, grassland and waste ground. This perennial can grow to 90cm with feathery and aromatic leaves while bearing flat flowerheads that are most often white, but sometimes pink. Interestingly, in the past, these types of flowers have been used as a medicinal plant to treat the bleeding of minor wounds, earning it the nickname ‘Soldier’s Woundwort’
Corn Marigold (Glebionis Segetum)
The Corn Marigold is a hardy annual that may flower in the first year but more likely in the second. With a short to medium height, it produces striking bright yellow petals between June and October alongside insecticidal properties. As such, it can be used in gardens to keep pesky invading insects at bay. For this very purpose, it has become one of our most popular flowers for food garden flowers in the UK.
Corncockle (Agrostemma Githago)
The Corncockle is a herbaceous annual in the carnation family. It tolerates a variety of soil types growing to a metre tall. Its attractive pink flowers were once a common sight in cornfields (as the name suggests) but has become a rare sight in the wild as modern herbicides have rendered it virtually extinct. Nonetheless, current growth of British wildflowers means the Corncockle is making a comeback among the garden flowers of the UK!
Cornflower (Centaurea Cyanus)
Cornflowers are hardy annuals offering bright and attractive splashes of blue to many flower beds and gardens. An easy-to-grow wildflower, its upright posture helps it pack into tight spaces. And, as a favourite of pollinators, it’s great to attract bees and butterflies into your collection. With this, it has become one of the most popular flowers that is often referred to as the Bachelor’s Button!
Cowslip (Primula Veris)
This herbaceous perennial belongs in the primrose family and is one of the best-known early-Spring flowers. It has a flat rosette of wrinkled leaves and deep yellow, cup-shaped flowers that nod in bunches at the end of tall stems. Historically the flower of May Day celebrations, it was also a key ingredient in herbal medicines and Cowslip wine. But, with the modern pesticides used today, these types of flowers are in a decline.
Daffodil is one of the most popular flowers and well-known Spring bulbs throughout the UK. Plus, it’s actually the national plant of Wales, replacing the leak vegetable. Easy to grow and reliable, this is yet another of our favourites (we have a lot). They flower for weeks on end and are generally not bothered by deer or other grazers. Their bright yellow trumpets herald the end of Winter and bring a sense of cheer and optimism to any garden or roadside.
The Dandelion is a controversial plant. Known to most as a stubborn weed, botanists consider the Dandelion to be a herb where all parts of this plucky plant can be used for medicinal purposes or in food, teas and poultices. It is a natural diuretic meaning it can be used as a detox for the blood as well as to improve kidney and liver function. So, maybe, not as annoying a weed as first thought! Perhaps it should instead be considered a worthy member among the garden flowers of the UK.
Dog Rose (Rosa Canina)
The Dog Rose, otherwise known as Wild Briar, is a thorny climber reaching heights of 5 metres. Although, it can sometimes reach even higher by using its hooks or curved prickles to climb into the trees. Bursting with delicate pink and white flowers in the Spring, it can form an attractive hedge with a subtle scent. These types of flowers then give way to red rose hips that are a favourite for many of our British birds.
Early Purple Orchid (Orchis Mascula)
As the name suggests, the Early Purple Orchid is one of the earliest to bloom among the orchid family, showing its petals from April through to June. Standing at a height of 40cm, it boasts pinkish-purple flowers (often up to 50 at a time) which are densely packed in a cone atop a spike. Only to be found in non-acidic soils, it is most commonly found in hedgerows, woodland and open grasslands.
Enchanter’s Nightshade (Circaea Lutetiana)
Enchanter’s Nightshade, in spite of its dramatic name, has rather unassuming foliage with small white flowers appearing from pink buds on long stems that rise from dark heart-shaped leaves. It can reach up to 60cm in height and – as a perennial – is most commonly found in moist and rich soils in the woods or at the borders in shade.
Field Poppy (Papaver Rhoeas)
The Field Poppy is the iconic symbol of remembrance. This bright red herbaceous annual prefers the full sun and is often seen along roadsides and field margins. It can grow to a height of 50cm, and the seeds are often a welcome addition to a variety of recipes and pastries. The team here often enjoy a good poppy seed bagel with our lunch!
To find out about the poppyseed bagel and more, have a look at our other article; “The 26 Types of Bagels and How You Can Make Your Own”.
Forget Me Not (Myosotis)
These charming types of flowers bring a splash of blue to any garden. Self-seeding, they are prone to spring just about anywhere. While ultimately preferring shady spots of indirect light with moist soil and cool weather, these darling buds of May can also adapt to direct light when it needs to. The petals are said to resemble a mouse’s ear, presumably in shape rather than colour, as there aren’t many blue mice hiding among the garden flowers in the UK!
Foxgloves are a common wild perennial that thrive in shady areas, most often woodland and hedgerows but can be an attractive addition to your garden flowers in the UK, too. With its easily recognisable large spikes of trumpets, Foxgloves come in an exciting variety of colours such as purple and pink while blooming throughout the Summer months and growing to an impressively statuesque height of 185cm.
Goat’s Beard (Aruncus Dioicus)
Goats Beard is a deceptively named plant; in spite of its rather unfortunate name, it is an attractive plant with upright white cream flowering plumes in the late-Summer. The starry flowers of this pretty perennial rise up and above the dark green foliage at heights of 120cm. These types of flowers have a preference for moist soil and the plants can spread up to 2m across, so make sure your garden has the space!
Heather (Calluna Vulgaris)
Heather is a hardy, low growing perennial plant thriving in areas of full sun or slight shade. They dominate the open moorland and heathland areas while being the types of flowers that can come in a variety of colours such as the most commonly seen pinks, purples, whites and reds. They have a preference for acidic soil but can tolerate very poor and rocky conditions because are generally resilient blooms.
Hemp Agrimony (Eupatorium Cannabinum)
Hemp Agrimony is also commonly known as Holy Rope and is found in damp grasslands, marshes, fens and woodland. This tall herbaceous perennial has frothy pinkish flower clusters that appear between July and September. Interestingly, they are one of the most popular flowers to all kinds of insects, particularly butterflies. And, as such, are rather useful for attracting large numbers in the Summer. It can grow to heights of 120cm and is very robust.
Honeysuckle is an attractive climbing vine most often seen adorning the classic country cottage, throughout the garden, climbing the walls or perhaps in a cultivated arch. These types of flowers bloom throughout the Summer months with flower colours varying from a subtle yellow to dark pink all while bringing a heavy sweet scent that makes it one of the most popular flowers with pollinators and humans alike.
Lady’s Slipper Orchid (Cypripedioideae)
The Lady’s Slipper Orchid is one of Britain’s rarest types of flowers. Taking up to ten years to successfully bloom, this elusive flower sports three large petals of a caramelized yellow that twist elegantly together. Funnily enough, they resemble a lady’s slipper (hence the name), although it’s only one bloom per plant. They prefer shady and dappled areas like they would find in their native woodland with moist soil.
Lavender is a hardy plant that can be grown in pots or flower beds but prefers full sun and a moist soil. As well as its attractive upright purple flowers, lavender is most known for its intense and attractive scent helping to soothe the mind to sleep. This can be dried and used as potpourri or in various crafts as it retains much of its colour and perfume after drying. It must be said that it’s a firm favourite among the garden flowers of the UK.
Lesser Celandine (Ficaria Verna)
Lesser Celandine is a low-growing perennial herb in the Buttercup family. Its bright yellow star-shaped flowers are 3cm in diameter with between 8 and 12 petals and leaves forming dark green rosettes. Flowering in the Spring, it can often be found forming a golden carpet in woodlands, hedgerows, graveyards and parks. Plus, an odd yet somehow fun fact is that it was once used as a cure for haemorrhoids!
Lily of the Valley (Convallaria Majalis)
Lily of the Valley is a deceptive little plant, both in name and appearance. Its sweetly scented bell-shaped white flowers are borne in sprays throughout the Springtime and make quite the attractive pendant-like display against its glossy upright leaves. However, while highly sought-after in the Animal crossing community, this cute woodland dweller is one of the more toxic plants. And, upon ingestion, can prove fatal, especially to children. As such, we suggest that it might not be the best addition to your garden without careful supervision.
Meadow Cranesbill (Geranium pratense)
The most widespread and striking of our native geraniums, the Meadow Cranesbill is a sprawling perennial that can form large clumps in meadows, roadsides and grasslands. Flowering between June and August, its blooms are 2cm across and a striking blue. Though, in Winter, the leaves turn to a dark red colour. This is another of the types of flowers very popular among the butterflies here in the UK.
Musk Mallow (Malva Moschata)
Musk Mallow can be annuals, perennials or even biennials with delicate pale pink types of flowers appearing in July and August. They are most often found on roadsides, verges, hedgerows and pastures and are a celebrated choice for cottage gardens. For the delicacy of its blooms, it is a surprisingly robust plant that thrives in fertile soils and was actually once used as an ingredient in soothing cough syrups.
Pansy (Viola Tricolor Var. Hortensis)
Pansies are a diverse and beautiful perennial hybrid. Lovers of cooler weather, they often bloom when other types of flowers won’t. But they aren’t the biggest fans of the heat and, as such, are great choices to add a touch of cheer to early-Spring or Autumn gardens. Their flowers are also edible and are often used to decorate culinary creations for a little extra colour and flare. Such as that expensive cheesecake you had!
Pasque Flower (Pulsatilla)
The Pasque Flower is a glorious Spring plant, blooming around Easter. The silky foliage is topped with golden-centred purple flowers that give way to sleek silvery seedheads. Plus, this magnificent specimen is one of the easiest types of flowers to cultivate in almost any soil so long as it’s in a sunny position. So, if you’re one of those botanists whose green finger is still learning, this one is for you.
Primrose (Primula Vulgaris)
The Primrose is a woodland perennial growing no higher than 10cm. It flowers between December and May to add a dash of colour among the natural Winter garden flowers in the UK. The leaves are characteristically wrinkly with hairy undersides forming a rosette at the petals base. They are most often found in woodland areas and at the base of hedgerows. As well as this, in Irish folklore, the primrose represents eternal love and was placed around doorways as protection from fairies.
Pyramidal Orchid (Anacamptis Pyramidalis)
The Pyramidal Orchid gets its name from the conical shape of its blooms. This small herbaceous perennial has a head carrying up to 100 densely packed and bright pink flowers between June and July. It mainly grows in chalky grassland, coastal habitats, scrub, old quarries and embankments.
Ragged Robin (Silene Flos-Cuculi)
Ragged Robin is another herbaceous perennial rapidly disappearing from the wild wetland meadows of our countryside. Its dainty pink flowers with ragged petals are an increasingly rare sight as its native areas are drained to make room for agriculture. Hopefully the increased growth of British wildflowers will allow these types of flowers to be a more common spectacle. It thrives under the full sun on the borders of ponds or marshy patches and is one of the most popular flowers among pollinators and other insects.
Red Campion (Silene Dioica)
The Red Campion is both a perennial and a biennial plant that symbolises gentleness. Its plants form clumps of downy leaves which emerge from tall-structured stems growing up to a metre in height. The Red Campion typically flowering in the late Springtime and the blooms have five deeply notched, pink petals despite the name) making them an easy spotter.
Scarlet Pimpernel (Anagallis Arvensis)
Not just a popular musical, the Scarlet Pimpernel is a low-growing annual wildflower member to the Primrose family. The bright red, or sometimes pink flowers, bloom between April and August while typically growing 5 petals on its long square stalk. These petals only open to the sun and will often close in overcast weather, earning the nickname ‘Shepherds Weatherglass’. Its favourite habitat is well-drained sandy soil, in case you were wondering.
Sea Kale (Crambe Maritima)
Related to the cabbage, Sea Kale is an attractive perennial that is extremely visually pleasing as well as edible! Large dark leaves with wavy edges are adorned with many white sweet-smelling flowers between the Summer months of June and August which are a definite draw for pollinators. As its name suggests, it is most often found along seacoasts, working its roots down between the shingle and rocks.
Snake’s Head Fritillary (Fritillaria Meleagris)
The Snake’s Head Fritillary is a real eye catcher. Its nodding pink and purple chequered head resemble scales of a snake. Plus, it certainly strikes an impressive pose between its blooming months of April and May. Once one of the most popular flowers in the UK, it has seen a real decline over the last few decades. But, thanks to the efforts of the Wildlife Trust we can hope to see re-growth of British wildflowers like these.
Stinking Iris (Iris Foetidissima)
The Stinking Iris doesn’t sound like it would be among the most popular flowers, but they aren’t as bad as the name suggests. The blossom, itself, isn’t dangerous but does have a slightly ‘beefy’ scent that can be smelled just by crushing its leaves which has earned it the nickname of the ‘Roast Beef Plant’. So, if you don’t want to smell beef while walking, don’t step on the leaves. However, surprisingly, this misunderstood bloom is robust and easy to grow, making it a pleasant addition to any shady part of your garden.
Sweet Violet (Viola Odorata)
A low-growing perennial, the Sweet Violet is a charming little plant with blooms of blue and violet as the name would suggest. Yet, it’s not just the colour that’s of interest; these types of flowers actually emit a delicious aroma like the Parma Violets sweet. Thriving in shady spots with a rich soil, this quaint little plant is a subtle addition to any garden flowers in the UK.
The Teasel plant is a tall herbaceous biennial that can grow to an impressive 2.5 metres in height! In July and August, the spiky flower heads are green with conical purple flowers that are a favourite to bees. But Teasels are probably best known for their iconic seedheads which stick around long after the plant has withered for the Winter. They are most often found on rough grasslands, roadsides and wastelands.
Thrift (Armeria Maritima)
Thrift is an essential rockery plant that looks good even when not in bloom. Forming a low matt of grassy green foliage, it can spread up to 50cm. As well as this, Thrift can sport a splash of star-like pink flowers in clumps also reaching 50cm high and is a common sight along coastal areas with sea cliffs. Delighting under the full sun, this is a hardy and positive little plant to have.
Traveller’s Joy (Clematis Vitalba)
A rather woody plant, its stem was once used to weave baskets but is most commonly found scrambling up walls and country hedgerows, hence the name. But it can find a home among your garden flowers in the UK. It is perhaps better known as ‘Old Man’s Beard’ due to the scraggly, wispy and almost fluffy appearance of its white-grey seed clusters that appear after the white flowers of Summer have gone.
Viper’s Bugloss (Echium Vulgare)
Another of the most popular flowers among pollinators like bees, the Viper’s Bugloss is a strangely hairy plant. It features clusters of funnel-shaped blue flowers while thriving on well-drained soil. Another strange feature to this plant is that it has been found to grow especially well with a dash of lime and, as such, is found on grass chalkland, sand dunes and cliffs.
Water Avens (Geum Rivale)
This small multicoloured little flower favours damp wet soil and is, therefore, most commonly found beside ponds, streams and waterways. They appear from May to September and are followed by feathery seed heads. Not as flashy as some of the others on our list, Water Avens have a more subtle beauty while actually being a shade lover rather than a sun lover (making it great for the grey days in the UK).
Wood Anemone (Anemonoides Nemorosa)
This herbaceous perennial is also known as Windflower, Thimbleweed and Smell Fox, which is a reference to the musky odour coming from the leaves. It features star-like white blooms that can transform an entire forest floor into a galaxy in early-Spring. As such, these types of flowers prefer dappled shade like it would experience in its native woodland. Growing to a height of up to 15cm, it’s a delight to add among any garden flowers of the UK.
Wood Calamint (Clinopodium Menthifolium)
The final entry in this extensive guide to flowers and botany from the team here at The Hobby Kraze is the rather unusual Wood Calamint. And, although it has nothing to do with wood, it is within the mint family and is commonly grown throughout the native woodlands right here in the UK (but also in Europe, too). It features dark purple blooms that can be compared to trumpet-style flowers, Orchids and Foxgloves, alike while growing natively to 60cm on the Isle of White.
So, there you have it! The top 51 types of flowers to grow in your great British garden. We hope you enjoyed our guide to flowers and botany and hopefully you’re now bursting with ideas and inspiration to spruce-up whatever size, shape and type of garden you desire to support the growth of British wildflowers.
Consider delving into the botany of some of the most popular flowers while sprinkling in the seeds of a few rarer specimens if you’re feeling ambitious.
Don’t forget to share with the team how much you enjoyed this article. And, let us know which of the native types of flowers you’ve been able to identify around your local British woodland as well as in your garden. We’d love to hear from you and find out what you want to see next!
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- 32 Types of Mushrooms, Shrooms, Sprouts, Spores, Ground Fruits and Other Fungi
- A Foodie Guide to the Types of Nuts
- The Types of Trees in The British Woodland and Beyond