British Wild Flowers. This country wouldn’t be half as beautiful without them.
Anyone who’s stumbled upon a surprise patch of bluebells tucked underneath a canopy of ancient Oaks will know full well how special these little splashes of colour can be.
We love all things Wild Flower here at the EcoGeeks, and thought we’d put together a quick guide to British Wild Flowers by month.
Hopefully it’ll give a peek into the amazing diversity of beauty our untamed countryside has to offer, and perhaps add a touch of extra excitement to your next woodland stroll.
British Wild Flowers Of January
My personal favourite British Wild Flower and perhaps the only thing which can cure that lingering festive hangover on sight – The Snowdrop.
This wonderfully delicate British Wild Flower traditionally signifies the first signs of spring, bringing with it a promise of warmer weather and a long-desired break from central heating and wooly-mittens not far over the horizon.
A hardy perennial with a far tougher constitution than its delicate exterior would suggest, the Snowdrop provides a vital source of early nectar for patient pollinators. They’re very easy to plant and require basically no maintenance.
Snowdrops aren’t particularly fussy when it comes to placement or soil-condition, however prefer a reasonably well-drained soil if possible. Simply plant your bulbs out during Spring once they’ve finished flowering, splitting your bulbs after a year or two if you fancy a bit of propagation.
A perennial favourite British Wild Flower to lift even the dreariest of winter glooms. What a treat.
Honorable Mention – Winter Aconites (Eranthis Hyemalis)
British Wild Flowers Of February
Wild Primrose (Primula Vulgaris)
Interested in attracting Pollinators to your Garden? Check out our guide to the best Pollinator Friendly Perennials here for some easy to follow tips.
Another of the brave few British Wild Flowers to peek its head above the frosty curtain ahead of Spring’s arrival, Wild Primrose was once a common sight throughout native woodlands across the country.
A dainty little Wild Flower with attractive yellow & white petals, the Wild Primrose is an essential source of early forage for nocturnal pollinators such as moths.
The Wild Primrose thrives in the shade, especially in areas where the soil isn’t prone to drying out. It’s for this reason that they thrive under thick canopies of native broadleaf, loving nothing more than making a home at the feet of these ancient trees.
When growing at home, be sure to overcome the dormancy period of around 2-3 months built into Wild Primrose seeds. We prefer to sow outdoors during Autumn in order to naturally stratify the seeds as they would in the wild, however feel free to use a fridge for this process if you’d like to grow outside of this window.
Honorable Mention – Sweet Purple Violet (Viola Odorata)
British Wild Flowers Of March
Wild Daffodil (Narcissus pseudonarcissus)
Now as a proud Welshman I may be a little biased here, but surely the Wild Daffodil has to take the spot as the most anticipated British Wild Flower of March.
Popping up in clusters seemingly overnight, the Daffodil’s trumpets of bright yellow are a sure sign that Spring is rolling into town.
Once a common sight across the UK, the Wild Daffodil’s numbers have gradually declined throughout the 20th century, due to the familiarly dreary tale of widespread habitat loss.
Daffodils love damp, partly shaded areas (No surprise that they’re so at home in Wales then). A perennial with a habit of growing in tightly packed clusters, plant your Wild Daffodil bulbs in Autumn while the ground is still soft and you’ll be in for a real treat come Spring.
What’s more, propagating these beautiful British Wild Flowers is as easy as pie – Simply dig up your bulbs once they’ve finished flowering in Summer, separate them into individual sections and leave in a cool, dark spot until ready for planting in Autumn.
Burying them in a bucket of sand will help to keep them fresh during this period of storage, if you’d like to go the extra mile.
A truly beautiful addition to the rich tapestry of British Wild Flowers, who wouldn’t love a patch of Wild Daffodil at the end of the garden?
Honorable Mention – Wood Anemone (Anemone Nemorosa)
British Wild Flowers Of April
Bluebell (Hyacinthoides non-scripta)
Fancy attracting Ladybirds to the garden and reaping the many rewards of their Organic pest-hunting abilities? Check out our article on How To Attract Ladybirds here for the low-down.
April, what a wonderful month for British Wild Flowers. With Spring truly springing, you can expect to see a burst of life across Wildflower meadows in every pocket of our little island, with numerous sleepy British Wild Flowers finally raising their heads towards the sun.
Another national favourite which has taken a beating over the last century or so as a result of widespread habitat loss, the Bluebell certainly has a place among the top table of British Wild Flowers.
A lover of the shade, Bluebells thrive under dense canopies of native British woodland. You’ll find them nestled in pockets under old Oak trees, or spread like a violet carpet across broadleaf woodland banks. It really is a sight to behold, walking unawares into a field of Bluebells in full bloom.
Unlike Spanish varieties, our native British Bluebell has a delicate fragrance to it, unmistakable once you’ve been lucky enough to stumble across it. They grow as short perennials, and are suitable for naturalisation among grassland or pasture.
If looking to grow your own collection of this wonderful British Wild Flower, you have a choice between raising seeds or splitting bulbs. Personally, we prefer to plant a patch of Bluebell bulbs, allow a couple of years for them to truly get established and then separate and multiply them from there.
Seeds are of course an option, however can take exceedingly long to germinate (9-24months) and will take another four years or so from here to begin flowering. While patience is no doubt a virtue, we’d advise opting for bulbs with this majestic British Wild Flower.
Honorable Mention – Lesser Spearwort (Ranunculus Flammula)
British Wild Flowers Of May
Scarlet Pimpernel (Anagallis Arvensis)
If you thought April was a busy month for the British Wild Flower, May’s arrival will really knock your socks off. There is just such abundance in the wildflower world throughout May that it’s painful to have to pick one stand-out highlight.
We’ve plumped for one of our personal favourite British Wild Flowers which makes its first appearance during May – the Scarlet Pimpernel.
Also known as the ‘Poor Man’s Barometer’ or ‘Poor Man’s Weather Glass’ due to its flowers’ tendency to close with the setting sun, this unique annual wildflower can be found across a range of habitats, including waste-ground, dunes and arable land.
It’s unique mixture of purple, orange and red colouring has led it to be a prized ornamental around the world, while its spreading habit can add a touch of natural beauty to any garden.
We love the Scarlet Pimpernel not only for its beauty, but also for the sheer amount of cultural history tied up in its dainty little blooms.
It was once thought to cure madness, and was known as the ‘Laughter Bringer’ around Western English counties, has lent its name to both famous books and films and in Scotland, is a rare insult whereby you compare the accused to the digestive tract of a bird.
Quite the history for such a little British Wild Flower.
In terms of propagation, Scarlet Pimpernels can be easily grown from seed, germinating in around 20 days. Simply prick them out and pot them up in your desired location once they reach a decent size, and you’ll be enjoying their uniquely beautiful blooms all summer long. They thrive best in a well-drained, sunny location.
Honorable Mention – Foxglove (Digitalis)
British Wild Flowers Of June
Field Poppy (Papaver Rhoeas)
Lend a helping hand to Endangered Butterflies and enjoy their colourful wanderings around your garden with our Top Tips To Attract Butterflies here.
With an array of British Wild Flowers popping up this month alongside the multiple survivors from earlier in the year, June is a particularly colourful month for wildflower enthusiasts.
It’s tough to pick a highlight from such an explosively exciting month of new growth, but for us it has to be the Field Poppy.
Once a common sight across much of the UK, the Field Poppy’s numbers have taken hit after hit over the course of the last century, due to pressure from modern farming practices and loss of suitable habitat.
They’d traditionally be found dotted throughout corn fields, their vibrant scarlet blooms peeking above the endless seas of gold.
And this association between the Field Poppy and Corn is no new thing – The Roman Goddess of Corn (They were really thorough when assigning roles in the Roman pantheon apparently) actually being depicted with a wreath of these Scarlet beauties.
Although each flower lasts for only one day, this productive British Wild Flower can produce up to five hundred individual flowers during its short life! Making for a terrific bang for your horticultural buck.
What’s more, each flower serves to attract and nourish a huge range of local wildlife, making this British Wild Flower a source of both beauty and utility.
If you’re interested in propagating a few Field Poppies (Or have a corn field going spare), you shouldn’t have too much trouble getting results. Field Poppies love tilled ground, so sowing in place is usually best.
Simply disturb the soil where you’re looking to plant your seeds and then spread them over the area in natural drifts. A sunny, well-drained location is ideal here, and you should start to see signs of life within the month. Sow in Spring for same year flowering, or late Summer / Autumn for next-year.
Honorable Mention – Meadow Buttercup (Ranunculus acris)
British Wild Flowers Of July
Yellow Loosestrife (Lysimachia Punctata)
The theme of abundance continues throughout July, with many of the British Wild Flowers of previous months still going strong alongside a raft of fresh-faced new arrivals.
We’ve plumped for the Yellow Loosestrife as our wildflower of the month, a uniquely beautiful perennial British Wild Flower with the ability to thrive across a diverse mixture of environments.
The Yellow Loosestrife is no doubt a heavyweight in the world of British Wild Flowers, reaching its bright yellow rhizomes to the dizzying height of 90cm, with a spread of up to 50cm over the course of a season.
What’s more, the abundant pollen provided from these sweeping rhizomes are a rich source of forage for local pollinators. Not just a pretty face then, the Yellow Loosestrife.
In terms of soil-requirements it’s decidedly unfussy, thriving in boggy areas along the sides of rivers & ponds, all the way to well-draining soil in full sun.
If anything, it’s overly dry soil which will trouble the Yellow Loosestrife. So for optimal growing conditions we’d suggest planting in a reasonably moist area with dappled / full sun.
Propagation is straight forward enough. Yellow Loosestrife does have a tendency to spread quite actively if left to thrive, so it’ll serve your garden’s diversity well to split your plans occasionally regardless.
We take these splits and propagate onwards as a natural process, which after not too long will provide ample free plants to play with.
Seed of course is also an option. Germination can be unpredictable, and you should make sure to account for the 30-90 day required cold stratification.
As with other British Wild Flower seeds, it works well to plant up your seeds in Autumn and allow the cold weather to do the hard work for you, then care for the seedlings as needed from here.
Honorable Mention – Zigzag Clover (Trifolium Medium)
British Wild Flowers Of August
Meadow Saffron (Colchicum autumnale)
Despite the profusion of wildflowers on show throughout August, a surprisingly small number of plants begin around this time of the year with most being survivors from previous months.
One of our favourites which – if you’re lucky enough – you may spot springing up during August however is the Meadow Saffron, a now extremely rare British Wild Flower confined to the meadows of Central & Southern England.
This increasingly rare wildflower is (despite the name) actually a form of lily. It’s beautifully delicate purple foliage thrives amongst damp, fertile meadows, dying back towards the end of Summer.
Caution should be exercised when handling the Meadow Saffron, as all parts of the plant are highly toxic due to its high levels of Colchicine.
Propagation is best carried out using seed, however germination rates can be unreliable. Best planted out during late Summer / early Autumn to overcome their deep dormancy period.
Honorable Mention – Agrimony (Agrimonia Eupatoria)
British Wild Flowers Of September
Harebell (Campanula Rotundifolia)
With things beginning to wind down for the year, September marks the last chance to spot many of our favourite British Wild Flowers in their pomp.
But fear not, as some of the toughest of our wildflower collection will still be flying the flag around the country, including our choice for September – the Harebell.
Commonly known as the ‘Scottish Bluebell’, the Harebell is in fact a completely different species to the common Bluebell, despite the aesthetic similarities.
And you shouldn’t be fooled by the Harebell’s delicate lilac foliage into thinking it’s a bit of a horticultural lightweight – This British Wild Flower is as tough as they come.
And they need to be, when you look at where they choose to call home! From barren meadows to windswept hillsides, the Harebell stands up to just about anything our erratic weather can throw its way.
Propagation using seed is generally straightforward with reliably high germination rates, although you’ll often need to shop around a bit to find a supplier as they’re a bit of a niche market.
A beautiful perennial addition to any wildflower garden.
Honorable Mention – Eyebright (Euphrasia Nemorosa)
British Wild Flowers Of October
Devil’s Bit Scabious (Succisa pratensis)
Talk about a fantastic name – Devil’s Bit Scabious. I never get tired of saying it.
A uniquely attractive British Wild Flower who’s purple blossom is often compared to a Pincushion, Devil’s Bit Scabious serves as a valuable source of Autumnal forage for our hard-pressed pollinators.
In fact, this unique wildflower is thought to be the main food plant of the ‘Marsh Fritillary’ butterfly, a native species under increasing threat due to widespread habitat loss.
It prefers relatively damp soils where possible, which is evidenced by it’s natural inclination to grow freely among marshes and riverbanks.
It’s pretty adaptable though, and will get on just fine in any cooler patch of the garden you can afford it. Make sure to water well until it has established though as the young roots do not recover well from drying out.
Grows very reliably from seed, which should be planted out between MArch / April, with an expectation of germination within around four-weeks.
The perfect addition to add a touch of legitimacy to the garden water-feature.
Honorable Mention – Soapwort (Saponaria Officinalis)
British Wild Flowers Of November
Common Knapweed (Centaurea Nigra)
As the months drag on, inevitably our British Wild Flowers will begin to fade away for the time being, one by one.
By November, with its long nights and lingering frosty mornings, there won’t be all that many wildflowers left standing – no matter how diligently you search.
However! A brave few do remain throughout these frigid months. Common Knapweed will be a, well, common sight to most of us Brits.
It peaks it’s head out between cracks in the pavement, along the borders of unkempt lawns or at the feet of countryside hedgerows. They’re such a common sight for us these days that many consider them weeds.
They are, however, a staple of the wildflower world, and a hugely beneficial one at that.
They mainly serve as a much needed source of nectar to those pollinators still out and about at this time of the year (Brave souls), while being a beacon of vibrant pink light to raise the spirit during these often murky months.
Some may say weed, I say valuable addition to our nation’s cherished Wild Flowers collection.
British Wild Flowers Of December
Winter Aconites (Eranthis Hyemalis)
Last but certainly not least – The Winter Aconite.
The woodland member of the Buttercup family, Winter Aconite sprouts between December – February into magnificent golden blooms, spreading gradually over the years until a thick carpet of their vibrant foliage covers the woodland floor. It’s quite a sight to see, and a real lift to the spirit during the darkest days of winter.
Easily pleased and practically maintenance free, the Winter Aconite is a favourite of our native pollinators. They thrive best in fertile, moist soil, ideally in dappled shade (akin to their natural home at the base of deciduous trees).
Propagation is easy once you have a base of plants to work with. Simply wait for them to spread naturally over the course of the year, then remove and replant as necessary. Seed is also a viable option, best sown during late autumn.
A true winter-warmer.
Some Interesting Reading
- British Wild Flowers: A photographic guide to every common species (Collins Complete Guide)
- The Wild Flower Key (Revised Edition) – How to identify wild plants, trees and shrubs in Britain and Ireland