12 Splendid Flowers That Start with S for You to Grow This Year + Growing Guides

Sweet and stylish, a stunning sun-drenched flower garden always soothes and succors. I know my stress shrinks once the selection in my suburbs all spring into flower simultaneously.

Each superb bloom not only shines with sweet serenity but serves as a support for vital insects in the garden. Without pollinators and other beneficial insects, the garden suffers, but the solution is simple. More flowers!

Purple Shooting Star Flowers
Purple Shooting Star Flowers

I’m working my way through my favorite flowering plants, letter by letter. In case it skipped by you, we’re up to the letter S! Shall we?


1. Sand phlox (Phlox bifida)

Sand
Sand Phlox

Sand phlox is a sweet little perennial ground cover no more than half a foot tall. It sprouts from a tap root and produces cheerful arrays of star-shaped blooms. They tend towards pale blue blossoms, but pale purple or white are not uncommon.

Phlox is self-seeding and will form creeping colonies that will eagerly fill the empty space around them over time. This makes them a great choice for rock gardens, where they spread between cracks and crannies with ease.

Botanical Name:Phlox bifida
Growth Rate:Moderate
Native Range:Central United States
Hardiness Zones:4 to 8
Dangers:None recorded
Soil Needs:Dry, well-draining soils, tolerates rocky or sandy soil
Exposure:Full sun to partial shade
Ease of Care:Medium
Diseases:Disease resistant; some mildew if kept too wet
Propagation:Seed, producing trailing stems
Fertilizer:Low
Pests:Pest resistant
Blooming Period:Spring
Pruning:To shape as desired
Water needs:Low to moderate; drought tolerant
Sand Phlox Growing Guide Chart

2. Sage (Salvia nemorosa)

Sage
Sage

There are many types of Sage, but the sage Salvia nemorosa is a spectacular ornamental with breathtaking spears of flowers. They produce pink, purple, or mauve blossoms, but their biggest fans – pollinators – don’t care about color.

No matter what variety, this type of sage is one of the best for filling your garden with beautiful butterflies and busy bees.

Botanical Name:Salvia nemorosa
Growth Rate:Fast
Native Range:Europe
Hardiness Zones:3 to 8
Dangers:None
Soil Needs:Well-drained moist soils
Exposure:Full sun
Ease of Care:Moderate
Diseases:Gray mold
Propagation:Seed, divide in fall
Fertilizer:Low
Pests:Aphids, spider-mites, whitefly, slugs
Blooming Period:Cut back late fall then mulch heavily to overwinter
Pruning:As desired for shape
Water needs:Moderate. Drought resistant once established
Sage Growing Guide Chart

3. Sea thrift (Armeria maritime)

Sea thrift
Sea thrift

Sea thrift is sometimes referred to as Sea Pink, for its gorgeous frothy pink flowers. They grow in dense globes atop long stems and range from their signature hue to purple, white, or red.

They’re a fantastic choice for rock gardens or desert landscaping, as they need little water and thrive in soil with poor fertility. In fact, they’ve been known to rot away entirely if overfed.

Botanical Name:Armeria maritime
Growth Rate:Slow
Native Range:Seed, division, or from cuttings
Hardiness Zones:4 to 8
Dangers:None recorded
Soil Needs:Dry, low fertility soil, avoid heavy or clay soil
Exposure:Full sun
Ease of Care:Easy
Diseases:Prone to fungal rot if kept too moist
Propagation:Seed, division or from cuttings
Fertilizer:Very low, do not fertilize
Pests:None
Blooming Period:Mid-spring
Pruning:Avoid pruning
Water needs:Low
Sea thrift Growing Guide Chart

4. Sea holly (Eryngium planum)

Sea holly
Sea holly

Sea holly is a fantastically strange plant. This coastal specialist produces almost perfectly round flowers that range from green to purple and even bright blue. They’re spiky and vibrant, a standout flower for those of us after something unusual for a feature plant.

Sea Holly loves sandy soil and is excellent for parts of the garden that may otherwise be challenging to fill.

Botanical Name:Eryngium planum
Growth Rate:Slow
Native Range:Eastern Central Europe including Mongolia
Hardiness Zones:5a to 9b
Dangers:Spiky, wear gloves when handling
Soil Needs:Well-drained Sandy or loamy soils
Exposure:Full sun
Ease of Care:Moderate
Diseases:Prone to rot in wet conditions
Propagation:Division
Fertilizer:Low
Pests:Aphids, slugs, snails.
Blooming Period:Summer
Pruning:Deadhead as needed, prune back once summer concludes.
Water needs:Low, drought tolerant
Sea Holly Growing Guide Chart

5. Serbian Bellflower (Campanula poscharskyana “Stella”)

Serbian Bellflower
Serbian Bellflower

Serbian bellflower is a sprawling ground cover with a fondness for warm weather. While it’s hardy to USDA Hardiness Zone 3, it’s best grown in gentler climates. It has charming star-shaped blooms in a deep violet blue, with older flowers often appearing more purple.

They’re especially delightful planted in rock gardens or along the top of garden walls, where they tumble down in cascading waves of green and blue.

Botanical Name:Campanula poscharskyana “Stella”
Growth Rate:Fast
Native Range:Northern Balkans
Hardiness Zones:3 to 8
Dangers:None recorded
Soil Needs:Moist, well drained soil
Exposure:Full sun to partial shade
Ease of Care:Easy
Diseases:Disease resistant
Propagation:Seed, division
Fertilizer:Low to moderate
Pests:Low risk of snails or slugs
Blooming Period:Summer
Pruning:Prune to shape
Water needs:Low
Serbian Bellflower Growing Guide Chart

6. Shasta Daisy (Leucanthemum × Superbum)

Shasta Daisy 1
Shasta Daisy

Shasta Daisy is a cute and classic daisy that was developed in 1890 by the horticulturist Luther Burbank.

It’s named after Mount Shasta, located in California. Both are snowy white. It’s a hardy, easy-to-grow perennial that does well in most conditions.

Botanical Name:Leucanthemum × Superbum
Growth Rate:Moderate
Native Range:Hybrid; no natural range
Hardiness Zones:4 to 9
Dangers:None recorded
Soil Needs: Moist, well draining, tolerates sand, loam, clay
Exposure:Full sun to partial shade
Ease of Care:Easy
Diseases:Disease resistant
Propagation:Seed, division
Fertilizer:Low
Pests:Disease resistant
Blooming Period:Spring, summer
Pruning:As needed for shape
Water needs:Low
Shasta Daisy Growing Guide Chart

7. Sneezeweed (Helenium autumnale)

Sneezeweed 1
Sneezeweed

Sneezeweed has a more charming name – Helen’s Flower, after Helen of Troy. They too have a face beautiful enough to launch a thousand ships, with gorgeous gold, orange or red blooms.

Their name comes from the old practice of adding the dried flower to snuff. It was believed that the flowers would cause anyone inhaling to sneeze out any evil spirits they may have picked up.

Botanical Name:Helenium autumnale
Growth Rate:Fast
Native Range:Continental United States
Hardiness Zones:3 to 8
Dangers:Mildly toxic, can cause skin irritation
Soil Needs:Rich, moist soil, tolerates clay and boggy conditions
Exposure:Full sun
Ease of Care:Moderate
Diseases:Largely disease resistant, some powdery mildew
Propagation:Seeds, division
Fertilizer:Fertilize once in spring; excess restricts flowering
Pests:Pest resistant
Blooming Period:Late summer to fall
Pruning:Deadhead to promote fresh blooms. Pinch to encourage shorter, sturdier plants
Water needs:Moderate to high. Not drought tolerant
Sneezeweed Growing Guide Chart

8. Snow-in-summer

Snow in summmer
Snow in summer

The ground cover plant snow-in-summer lives up to its name. Imagine a radiant swathe of white flowers that grow so thickly above the leaves that it looks like a snowdrift, even in the height of summer.

They’re so easy to grow that they often break out of gardens and become invasive, so check before you plant.

Botanical Name:Cerastium tomentosum
Growth Rate:Moderate
Native Range:Italy, Sicily
Hardiness Zones:3 to 7
Dangers:Invasive, plant with caution
Soil Needs: Dry, sandy soil. Tolerates rocky soil
Exposure:Full sun
Ease of Care:Medium
Diseases:Disease resistant; Some damping off in high humidity conditions
Propagation:Seed, division, cuttings
Fertilizer:Low
Pests:Pest resistant
Blooming Period:Late spring to summer
Pruning:Deadhead after bloom to reduce seeding, and promote growth. Large areas can be machine mown with a high-set blade.
Water needs:Low
Snow in summer Growing Guide Chart

9. Solomon’s Seal (Polygonatum)

Solomons Seal
Solomon’s Seal

Solomon’s Seal is an elegant wildflower well suited to damp, shady parts of the garden. They have an ethereal quality, with fine arching stems bearing a delicate string of sweet opalescent flowers.

It’s been used in herbal medicine for thousands of years and is believed to ease bruises and promote healing when applied as a poultice.

Botanical Name:Polygonatum
Growth Rate:Moderate
Native Range:Temperate Europe and Asia
Hardiness Zones:3 to 9
Dangers:Fruits are toxic
Soil Needs:Moist, organically rich soil.
Exposure:Partial to full shade
Ease of Care:Easy
Diseases:Occasional leaf spot or rust
Propagation:Seed, division
Fertilizer:Low
Pests:Occasional leaf spots or rust
Blooming Period:Spring
Pruning:Not required
Water needs:High
Solomon’s Seal Growing Guide Chart

10. Snapdragon (Antirrhinum)

Snapdragon
Snapdragon

Snapdragon is a classic cottage garden bloom. Available in a wide variety of cultivars in many different colors, all feature a characteristic lance of dual-lobed flowers.

My kids love their ‘little mouths’, and as they’re non-toxic they make a great family-friendly feature. Their seed pods are just as magical, but a bit more grim, as they resemble tiny skulls.

Botanical Name:Antirrhinum
Growth Rate:Moderate
Native Range:South-Western Europe and the Meditteranean
Hardiness Zones:7a to 10b
Dangers:None recorded
Soil Needs: Well drained, organically rich soil
Exposure:Full sun to partial shade
Ease of Care:Medium
Diseases:Well-drained, organically rich soil
Propagation:Seeds
Fertilizer:Fertilize once when flowers appear
Pests:Aphids, mites, leaf miners, cutworms.
Blooming Period:Early summer to fall.
Pruning:Deadheaded as needed, pinch for bushier growth if desired
Water needs:Moderate to high, not drought tolerant.
Snapdragon Growing Guide Chart

11. Scarlet Sage (Salvia Splendens)

Scarlet Sage
Scarlet Sage

For fast-growing color, it’s hard to beat scarlet sage. This perennial is native to Brazil and quickly hits a height of three feet (1m).

They produce dense clusters of bright red tubular flowers that bees and butterflies just can’t get enough of, and they produce them for a huge swathe of the year. They bloom early and often, right through to late fall, and are a vital food source for beneficial insects.

Botanical Name:Salvia Splendens
Growth Rate:Fast
Native Range:Brazil, Mexico, Southern US
Hardiness Zones:10a to 11b
Dangers:None recorded
Soil Needs:Well drained soil, moist soil
Exposure:Full sun to partial shade
Ease of Care:Easy
Diseases:Disease resistant
Propagation:Seed, cuttings
Fertilizer:Low
Pests:Pest resistant
Blooming Period:Spring to Fall
Pruning:Deadhead as desired
Water needs:Moderate
Scarlet Sage Growing Guide Chart

12. Shooting Star Flower (Dodecatheon media)

Shooting Star
Shooting Star

Shooting Star Flower is an exquisite, dainty purple wildflower that grows from a soft roseate of lance-shaped leaves.

They’re also known as the American cowslip, roosterhead or prairie pointers. They love gently shaded open ground and are an excellent addition to any wildflower garden.

Botanical Name:Dodecatheon meadia
Growth Rate:Very slow
Native Range:Central and Eastern United States
Hardiness Zones:4 to 8
Dangers:None recorded
Soil Needs:Moist, sandy, rocky or organically rich soil
Exposure:Partial shade to full shade
Ease of Care:Moderate
Diseases:Disease resistant
Propagation:Seed, division
Fertilizer:Low
Pests:Pest resistance
Blooming Period:Late spring
Pruning:Not required
Water needs:Moderate
Shooting Star Growing Guide Chart

Final thoughts

Whether you’re seeking a supplemental species or a specific show-stopper, there’s always something to showcase each year in the garden. When we slow down and survey the scene, we see a sweet and sensual delight worth savoring. Sensational!

Discover More Ways To Grow 👇

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