18 Yellow-Flowering Plants for Your Garden

Mollis Witch hazel plant with spiky yellow flowers on branches

The Spruce / Evgeniya Vlasova

Yellow flowers bring ​the sunshine to a landscape, even on a cloudy day. There is room in virtually any garden design for the many shades of yellows found in spring bulbs, flowering shrubs, and herbaceous plants.

Here are 18 great choices for bulbs, annual, perennials, and shrubs with gorgeous yellow blooms.

Caution

Yarrow is toxic to dogs, cats, and livestock. In some individuals, touching the plant may cause skin irritation or rashes.

  • 01 of 18

    Daffodils (Narcissus spp.)

    Daffodils_1500
    Daffodils are associated with luck and unrequited love. Photo Credit: Nicolette Wells/Moment/Getty Images

    No listing of great yellow flowers would be complete without daffodil (Narcissus spp.), which in many regions is the spring kick-off flower, along with tulips. Unlike many bulbs, daffodil bulbs can last for decades, even spreading as time goes on. Daffodils can be grown just about anywhere in the U.S., except for some areas in the extreme South.

    Daffodils are sometimes naturalized in lawns, creating drifts of color in the early spring before turf grasses take over.

    • USDA Growing Zones: 3–8
    • Color Varieties: Yellow, white, red, orange
    • Sun Exposure: Full sun to part shade
    • Soil Needs: Rich, moist
  • 02 of 18

    Yellow Archangel (Lamiastrum galeobdolon)

    Yellow archangel with yellow flowers and bicolored leaves.

    The Spruce / David Beaulieu

    Yellow archangel (Lamiastrum galeobdolon) is similar to the dead nettle plant (Lamium genus) but has yellow flowers. This perennial plant thrives in shade gardens, growing 1 to 2 feet tall and blooming in early summer. The leaves are variegated and may be its best feature. Its worst feature is that it is can be invasive in some regions.

    If you have planted a named cultivar of this plant, the many volunteer seedlings may not come true to the parent plant. Over time, this may cause the look of the plants to degrade.

    • USDA Growing Zones: 4–8
    • Color Varieties: Yellow blooms, flecked with brown
    • Sun Exposure: Part shade to full shade
    • Soil Needs: Dry to medium moisture, well-drained
  • 03 of 18

    Yellow Alyssum (Aurinia saxatilis)

    Yellow alyssum plant with clustered yellow flowers on extended stems

    The Spruce / Evgeniya Vlasova

    A perennial cousin to the popular annual alyssum (Aurinia maritima), yellow alyssum (A. saxatilis) is a spring-blooming ground cover that flowers in spring. Yellow alyssum looks great planted with creeping phlox (Phlox subulata), another ground cover. Having the two of them sprawling over a stone wall can be a breathtaking sight in spring. Such ground covers can beautify even the plainest of hardscape structures.

    These plants do not do well in hot, humid weather, so in hot climates, some gardeners find it easiest to grow this plant as an annual, removing old plants as they fade in late summer and planting new ones in late fall or early spring.

    • USDA Growing Zones: 3–7
    • Color Varieties: Yellow
    • Sun Exposure: Full sun
    • Soil Needs: Dry to average moisture, well-drained
  • 04 of 18

    Golden Chain Tree (Laburnum × watereri)

    Golden chain flowers
    ilbusca / Pixabay

    The golden chain tree is a deciduous tree growing 15 to 25 feet, blooming with yellow flowers in late spring. The foliage is light green, and while this tree is not all that attractive at other times of the year, the pendulous cascades of golden yellow blooms in spring make it all worthwhile. This is one of the few trees with yellow flowers. This plant produces plentiful suckers that should be removed as they appear if you want to keep the tree-like appearance.

    • USDA Growing Zones: 5–7
    • Color Varieties: Golden yellow flowers
    • Sun Exposure: Full sun to part shade
    • Soil Needs: Medium moisture, rich, well-drained
    Continue to 5 of 18 below.
  • 05 of 18

    Hybrid Witch Hazel (Hamamelis x intermedia)

    Vernalis witch hazel branch with yellow stringy flowers closeup

    The Spruce / Evgeniya Vlasova

    The various hybrid witch hazels (Hamamas x intermedia) are deciduous shrubs or small trees that are the first plants to bloom in many regions. They flower in late winter or very early spring with ribbon-like yellow flowers before the leaves even appear. Remove root suckers as they appear to prevent the plant from colonizing and spreading.

    One popular form is 'Arnold Promise' (Hamamelis x intermedia 'Arnold Promise'), which has fragrant yellow flowers and yellow-to-orange-to-red fall color. There are other types of witch hazel plants that bloom in late fall, though the blooms are not as spectacular.

    • USDA Growing Zones: 5–9
    • Color Varieties: Yellow (sometimes orange or red) blooms
    • Sun Exposure: Full sun to part shade
    • Soil Needs: Moist, well-drained, acidic
  • 06 of 18

    Japanese Rose (Kerria japonica)

    Kerria Japonica
    Lemanieh / Getty Images

    In addition to the pure beauty of its yellow flowers (more golden, really), the Japanese rose (Kerria japonica) boasts long, if somewhat uneven blooming periods. The Kelly-green arching branches with a zig-zag pattern make it easy to identify this deciduous shrub at any time, and it's truly unmistakable when covered with yellow chrysanthemum-like blooms in early spring.

    This plant flowers on previous year's wood, so if pruning is needed, do it immediately after flowering is finished.

    • USDA Growing Zones: 4–9
    • Color Varieties: Yellow blooms; greenish-yellow bark
    • Sun Exposure: Part shade
    • Soil Needs: Medium moisture, well-drained
  • 07 of 18

    Forsythia (Forsythia spp.)

    Forsythia Shrubs
    Kapa65 / Pixabay

    Forsythia is a deciduous shrub that is truly a herald of spring in many regions. These shrubs grow 2 to 10 feet tall, depending on variety, with upright arching stems that become covered with yellow blooms in early spring. Like Kerria japonica shrubs, forsythia does spread over time: When its branches make contact with the ground, they put down roots. If you have a small yard, you'll need to control the spread of this plant.

    • USDA Growing Zones: 5–8
    • Color Varieties: Yellow
    • Sun Exposure: Full sun to part shade
    • Soil Needs: Loose, medium moisture, well-drained 
  • 08 of 18

    Marsh Marigold (Caltha palustris)

    Marsh marigolds in bloom.

    The Spruce / David Beaulieu

    Marsh marigold (Caltha palustris), also called cowslip, is a low-growing perennial with yellow flowers that bloom above dark-green, rounded leaves in spring. As the name suggests, these are common along streams and in swamps, and they work well in moist areas of the landscape. Although the foliage is very attractive and is sometimes cooked to eat, the raw leaves are slightly toxic and can cause skin irritation. Marsh marigolds are native to 33 states in the eastern and midwestern U.S. and West Coast, including Alaska. In hot summer climates, don't be surprised if the plant goes dormant during the hottest months of the year.

    • USDA Growing Zones: 3–7
    • Color Varieties: Yellow blooms; dark green foliage
    • Sun Exposure: Full sun to part shade
    • Soil Needs: Damp
    Continue to 9 of 18 below.
  • 09 of 18

    Iris (Iris spp.)

    Yellow iris
    Ftanuki / Pixabay

    Perennial iris of all types—bearded iris, Dutch iris, crested iris, Siberian iris, Japanese iris— are available in cultivars that have yellow blooms. The iris plant received its name from the rainbow goddess of Greco-Roman myths, a reference to the vibrancy of the flowers and vast array of floral colors found in this genus. Iris have pointed sword-like leaves, from which taller flower stalks emerge in early spring to early summer.

    Care needs differ widely depending on the type, but one common denominator is that all iris need soil that drains well. Even the moisture-loving forms do not do well when planted in dense soils high in clay content.

    • USDA Growing Zones: 3–9
    • Color Varieties: Yellow, blue, purple, lavender, white
    • Sun Exposure: Full sun to part shade
    • Soil Needs: Varies, depending on variety
  • 10 of 18

    Stella d'Oro Daylily

    Stella D'Oro Daylilly in Bloom
    Purdue9394 / Getty Images

    There are many yellow cultivars of perennial daylily (Hermerocallis spp.), but 'Stella d'Oro' is one of the most popular, thanks to its long bloom period and repeat-blooming habit. All daylilies are known for blooms that last just one day, but good performing daylilies produce so many blooms that you can usually count on color for at least two or three weeks. 'Stella' is even more productive in that regard, reliably blooming from early summer to midsummer, then again for two or three weeks in late summer and early fall.

    'Stella' has other admirable qualities. It is a short-statured plant that doesn't require staking to support the flower stalks. It is not at all fussy about its soil conditions and usually thrives without feeding and with little water other than available rainfall.

    • USDA Growing Zones: 3–9
    • Color Varieties: Golden yellow
    • Sun Exposure: Full sun; tolerates some afternoon shade
    • Soil Needs: Medium moisture, well-drained; tolerate poor soils
  • 11 of 18

    Yarrow (Achillea millefolium)

    Yellow Yarrow
    Tappancs / Pixabay

    Yarrow (Achillea millefolium) was long used as a medicinal herb. Nowadays, we care more about it as an ornamental perennial. From our earliest days as children, we are intrigued by the "flat-top" look of yarrow's flower heads. Yarrow is a very easy-care plant that requires little water and no feeding. It has a very long bloom period—from June to September.

    Yarrow can spread somewhat uncontrollably when growing in an ideal location so be prepared to remove self-seeded volunteers.

    • USDA Growing Zones: 3–8
    • Color Varieties: Yellow, pink, red
    • Sun Exposure: Full sun
    • Soil Needs: Dry to medium moisture, well-drained
  • 12 of 18

    Sunflower (Helianthus annuus)

    Sunflower
    Pexels

    Known to bird watchers as the flower that produces seeds adored by cardinals, blue jays, and many other birds, sunflowers (Helianthus annuus) are also attractive garden annuals in their own right. There are many types of sunflowers, ranging from 3 feet tall with dainty, daisy-like flowers, to towering 12-foot giants like 'Mother Russia', with huge, pan-shaped flowers. These plants grow very quickly, making them especially popular with children, who love to see results. Seeds sown into garden soil in spring will shoot up many feet and produce spectacular flowers by mid-summer. Left to dry on the stalk, the flower seeds will provide a banquet for birds.

    Be wary about allowing these plants to go to seed if you live in one of the regions where it is considered invasive. In several Midwestern states, for example, common sunflower is considered a noxious weed.

    • USDA Growing Zones: Grown as annuals in all zones
    • Color Varieties: Yellow, orange, mahogany, bi-colors
    • Sun Exposure: Full sun
    • Soil Needs: Average moisture, well-drained; good tolerance for dry soils
    Continue to 13 of 18 below.
  • 13 of 18

    Black-Eyed Susans (Rudbeckia hirta)

    Black-eyed susan
    Sapaulson / Pixabay

    One of the easiest and most rewarding of the Rudbeckia species is R. hirta, commonly known as the black-eyed Susan. It is sometimes called brown-eyed Susan, although most experts assign that common name to another very similar plant, Rudbeckia triloba, which also has yellow flowers.

    The main selling feature of the black-eyed Susan is that it is very easy to grow and has one of the longest bloom periods of any perennial flower—from early summer into mid-autumn. Growing to a height of 2 to 3 feet, the flowers resemble yellow daisies or small sunflowers—which is no surprise, since all of these flowers are members of the huge Asteraceae (daisy) family of plants.

    Because it will flower in its first year when grown from seed, this short-lived perennial is often grown as an annual. It will also self-seed readily, perpetuating itself with new plants.

    • USDA Growing Zones: 3–10
    • Color Varieties: Yellow to orange-yellow; brown centers
    • Sun Exposure: Full sun
    • Soil Needs: Medium moisture, well-drained; good tolerance for dry conditions
  • 14 of 18

    Globe Centaurea (Centaurea macrocepha)

    Yellow Centaurea flower.
    TonyBaggett / Getty Images

    Closely related to the Centaurea species commonly known as bachelor buttons or cornflowers (which usually have blue or lavender flowers), the globe centaurea (C. macrocephala) is a perennial species with yellow flowers. It is exceptionally easy to grow—so easy that it is considered invasive in parts of the Northwest U.S. Plants have an upright growth habit with stalks up to 4 feet tall and thistle-like yellow flowers that appear for two to three weeks in mid-summer. The flowers remain attractive as they dry and are great for dried flower arrangements.

    • USDA Growing Zones: 3–8
    • Color Varieties: Yellow
    • Sun Exposure: Full sun
    • Soil Needs: Dry to medium moisture, well-drained; good tolerance for arid soils
  • 15 of 18

    Arctic Poppies (Papaver nudicaule)

    Yellow poppy
    Travnell / Pixabay

    The familiar red or orange poppy with the papery flowers is the oriental poppy, belonging to the species Papaver orientalis. A similar plant with yellow flowers is Papaver nudicaule, which is known as the arctic or Iceland poppy. Although these are perennial plants, there are very short-lived and are more often grown as annuals or biennials. The croceum variation of the species has orange-red flowers.These cold-weather plants are easily grown from seeds sown into the garden several weeks before last frost.

    Arctic poppies grow 1 to 2 feet tall and bloom in late spring and early summer. The slender leafless flower stalks extend up from low-growing foliage, causing the papery flowers to seemingly float.

    • USDA Growing Zones: 2–7; usually grown as annuals or biennials
    • Color Varieties: Yellow; some variations are orange, salmon, rose, pink, cream, or white 
    • Sun Exposure: Full sun
    • Soil Needs: Rich, evenly moist, well-drained
  • 16 of 18

    Azaleas (Rhododendron spp.)

    'Golden Oriole' azalea in bloom.

    The Spruce / David Beaulieu

    Azaleas are members of the Rhododendron genus of woody shrubs and are more often deciduous plants, not evergreen like many rhododendrons. And azaleas have more cultivars with yellow flowers. In regions where the soil has a heavy clay content, azaleas are best grown in raised beds with soil that is amended for good drainage.

    • Narcissiflora azalea (Rhododendron 'Narcissiflora') is a Ghent hybrid azalea that bears yellow flowers in June. It is hardy in zones 5-9.
    • Rhododendron 'Golden Oriole' starts orange but then develops a yellow color. It is grown in zones 5-8.
    • Golden Lights azalea (Rhododendron 'Golden Lights') is hardy in zones 3-8. The flowers are golden yellow.
    • Solar Flare Sunbow azalea (Rhododendron 'Solar Flare Sunbow') is hardy in zones 5-9. The flowers have an unusual honeysuckle fragrance.
    • Admiral Semmes Native Azalea (Rhododendron 'Admiral Semmes' ) is a native North American azalea with bright yellow fragrant flowers. It is hardy in zones 5-9.

    Although the hardiness range depends on the variety, all azaleas have similar cultural needs:

    • USDA Growing Zones: 3–9 (depends on variety)
    • Color Varieties: Yellow, red, purple, pink, white,
    • Sun Exposure: Part shade
    • Soil Needs: Humusy, well-drained, acidic
    Continue to 17 of 18 below.
  • 17 of 18

    Shrubby Cinquefoil (Potentilla fruticosa)

    Yellow Potentilla in bloom.

    The Spruce / David Beaulieu

    Shrubby cinquefoilI (Potentilla fruticosa) is sometimes known simply by its genus name, Potentilla. It is a deciduous shrub growing 2 to 4 feet high with prickly stems, befitting its membership in the rose family of plants. The leaves are a medium green or bluish-green, and the 1- to 11/2-inch yellow star-shaped flowers bloom throughout the summer in most regions. The pure species form of the plant has yellow flowers, but there are also cultivars with white, pink, or orange flowers.

    This is a very hardy plant, thriving as far north as zone 2. If you wish, you can cut it right down to the ground in early spring to keep it compact. This hard pruning does not affect flowering, as this plant blooms on new growth.

    Potentilla is a good candidate where you're looking to create a low shrub border. Its leaves have a fine texture, useful for creating contrasts with plants of a coarse texture.

    • USDA Growing Zones: 2–7
    • Color Varieties: Yellow; pink, white, and orange cultivars are also available.
    • Sun Exposure: Full sun to part shade
    • Soil Needs: Medium moisture, well-drained
  • 18 of 18

    Marigolds (Tagetes spp.)

    Yellow marigolds in container.
    Sujata Jana / Getty Images

    The annual marigolds that so commonly brighten gardens all summer long and well into fall include several species in the Tagetes genus and their many cultivars. These flowers are well known for their warm colors, which include many shades of yellow, orange, and mahogany red.

    The most common species for gardening are the African marigolds (T. erecta), and French marigolds (T. patula). The African marigold cultivars can be much larger plants, growing as high as 4 feet with large double flowers up to 4 inches across. French marigolds are more petite, growing no more than 1 foot tall with single or double flowers 1 to 2 inches across.

    Both types have fragrant foliage and flowers that are said to deter destructive garden insects. Marigolds are often planted among vegetables in organic gardens. Deer are also repelled by the scent of marigolds.

    • USDA Growing Zones: Grown as annuals in all zones
    • Color Varieties: Yellow, orange, mahogany red, white
    • Sun Exposure: Full sun
    • Soil Needs: Evenly moist, well-drained

Garden Design Tip

Shades of yellow look particularly good when juxtaposed with blue and purple flowers, as these are complementary (opposite) hues on the color wheel. Another strategy is to mix them with orange, red, and brown flowers for a true warm-color garden.