Yellow Flowers: Pictures for Garden Inspiration

Examples of Perennials, Annuals, Bulbs, Shrubs, and Trees

Yellow daffodils blooming in a garden

Eerik / Getty Images

Yellow flowers bring ​the sunshine to a landscape, even on a cloudy day. If you're thinking in terms of color combinations, yellow flowers work especially well with red flowers and/or black flowers. Let these pictures of yellow flowers provide you with ideas for your planting beds.

Yellow daffodils (Narcissus) are one of the most popular bulb plants of spring (there are also white daffodils). In addition to their beauty, what's nice about daffodils is that squirrels tend to leave them alone. Daffodils are ​poisonous plants, and squirrels are no fools.

Another selling point for daffodils is their longevity. The growth of some bulb plants peters out over the years, and the plants die off. But, through bulb division and seed production, your daffodils should spread as time goes by. Daffodils can be grown just about anywhere in the U.S., except for some areas in the extreme South.

Because they are early bloomers, daffodils can be grown under deciduous trees. While the latter is still bare, daffodils will be taking in nutrients from the sunshine via photosynthesis. Even after the deciduous trees come into leaf, daffodils will continue to store nutrients for next year, so resist the temptation to cut back the plants' foliage after the flowers have faded and died. As long as the foliage stays green, your daffodils are sending nutrients to the bulbs underneath them. These nutrients will be important for the next year's growth. But when the foliage begins to turn yellow, you can cut it off.

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    Yellow Archangel

    Yellow archangel with yellow flowers and bicolored leaves.
    David Beaulieu / The Spruce

    Yellow archangel (Lamiastrum galeobdolon) is similar to dead nettle plants (Lamium genus) but has yellow flowers. This zone-4-to-8 perennial thrives in shade gardens. The leaves are variegated and may be its best feature. Its worst feature is that it is invasive.

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    Perennial Alyssum: Ground Cover With Yellow Flowers

    Yellow alyssum in bloom with phlox in the background.
    David Beaulieu / The Spruce

    Spring blooming yellow alyssum (Aurinia saxatilis) is a ground cover with yellow flowers. Grow it in full sun and in zones 3 to 7.

    Don't confuse yellow alyssum, which is a perennial and quite cold-hardy, with white alyssum (Lobularia maritima), which is treated as an annual in the North. 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.

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    Golden Chain: Tree With Yellow Flowers

    Golden chain flowers
    ilbusca / Pixabay

    Golden chain trees (Laburnum spp.) flower in late spring. In the northeastern U.S., golden chain trees (partial sun, zones 5 to 7) are valued as one of the relatively few flowering trees with yellow flowers. Their main drawback is that they offer little interest outside of their blooming period.

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    Witch Hazel: Light Yellow Flowers

    Witch hazel in bloom.
    Hamamelis x intermedia 'Aurora' has more orange in it than most witch hazels. Sue Bishop / Getty Images

    Some witch hazel plants (they can be "small trees" or "shrubs") bear light yellow flowers before anything else is in bloom in the garden. For example, Hamamelis x intermedia 'Arnold Promise' blossoms in late winter to early spring, depending on where you live. It is suited to zones 5 through 8. It likes full sun to partial shade.

    There are other types of witch hazel plants that bloom in late fall.

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    Kerria: More Than Yellow Flowers

    Closeup of Kerria japonica flowers on a branch.
    Manuel / Flickr / CC BY-SA 2.0

    In addition to the pure beauty of its yellow flowers (more golden, really), Kerria japonica boasts long, if somewhat uneven blooming periods. The result is some degree of floral color, at least, from spring to fall. In winter, it's easy to pick out the Kerria shrubs on people's properties when you're out driving around: If you see kelly green to greenish-yellow arching branches, complemented by smaller branches in a zigzag pattern, it's most likely Kerria.

    The shrub's main drawback is that it spreads vigorously, meaning extra work for you if you want to control its spread. Grow it in partial shade, in zones 4 to 9.

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    Forsythia Shrubs

    Forsythia Shrubs
    Kapa65 / Pixabay

    Forsythia shrubs are truly a herald of the spring. Once they bloom, you know the spring is fully underway. They flower best in full sun. Forsythia is best-suited to zones 5 to 8. Like Kerria japonica shrubs, forsythia does spread over time: When its branches make contact with the ground, they put down roots. A large stand of the shrubs can develop this way, over time. That's great if you are using them to prevent erosion on a big slope. But if you have a small yard, you'll need to control their spread.

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    Marsh Marigolds

    Marsh marigolds in bloom.
    David Beaulieu / The Spruce

    Marsh marigolds (Caltha palustris), also called cowslips, are common streamside and swamp plants. They perform best in full sun to partial shade and prefer a soil with a neutral pH. Marsh marigolds grow one to two feet high and bear yellow blooms in (depending on your region) March to June. These potential water garden plants have shiny, succulent leaves.

    But don't let the beauty of those leaves fool you: Marsh marigolds can cause skin irritation. Some people eat the leaves, but they should never be eaten raw (bring to a boil, throwing out the first couple of pots of water). Marsh marigolds (zones 3 to 7) are native to 33 states in the eastern and midwestern U.S. and West Coast, including Alaska.

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    Yellow Iris

    Yellow iris
    Ftanuki / Pixabay

    The iris plant (full sun to partial shade) 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. You have various options for yellow irises, including some bearded irises (Iris germanica). Yellow flag (Iris pseudacorus) is a type of iris and it grows all over North America (except for in the Rocky Mountain states), but it's generally frowned upon for being an invasive plant.

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    Stella d'Oro Daylily

    Stella d'Oro Daylily
    Rusty Clark / Flickr / CC By 2.0

    Some gardeners love Stella d'Oro. For one thing, it stays relatively short. This is not the case with many other daylilies, which are tall and flop over in the face of high winds unless they are properly staked. Hemerocallis 'Stella d'Oro' does not require staking.

    Stella d'Oro daylily also blooms earlier than many other daylilies, is a long-blooming perennial, and is capable of reblooming. Another fact that accounts for its popularity is that it's not fussy about the conditions in which it grows. Add fragrance and the good looks of its buttery-golden blossoms to the equation, and it's not hard to figure out why so many gardeners grow Stella d'Oro.

    A daylily flower lasts only one day; the flower of a true lily lasts longer. So if you wonder why the individual flowers of your Stella d'Oro die so quickly, take comfort in the fact that you're not doing anything wrong: This attribute is in the plant's genes. Another flower will come along shortly to replace the one that has faded.

    Suited to zones 3 to 9, this herbaceous root plant will bloom best in full sun.

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    Yellow Yarrow

    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 (full sun, zones 3 to 8). Besides yellow, it is commonly found in white or red.

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    Sunflower

    Sunflower
    Pexels

    Known to bird watchers as the flower that produces seeds adored by such species as the cardinal and the blue jay, sunflowers (Helianthus annuus) are also attractive annuals in their own right. There are many types. Not all of them have yellow flowers. Grow sunflowers in full sun.

    The giant sunflower is one of the most popular types. Cultivars such as 'Mammoth Russian' can become 12 feet tall.

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    Black-Eyed Susans

    Black-eyed susan
    Sapaulson / Pixabay

    Black-eyed Susan (Rudbeckia hirta) reminds you of a miniature sunflower or a yellow daisy. The flowers bloom from early summer to autumn. The plants will reach a height of two to three feet. Grow black-eyed Susan flowers in full sun. Black-eyed Susan is a cold-hardy perennial and can be grown in zones 3 to 10.

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    Yellow Centaurea

    Yellow Centaurea flower.
    TonyBaggett / Getty Images

    C. macrocephalus (zones 3 to 8, full sun) is a perennial and provides a fuzzy flower texture. Better-known Centaurea flowers are the blue annual bachelor buttons (Centaurea cyanus) and the purple perennial bachelor buttons (the 'Amethyst Dream' cultivar).

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    Poppies With Yellow Flowers

    Yellow poppy
    Travnell / Pixabay

    Not as well known as the poppy plants with red or orange blossoms, such as are commonly found on the oriental poppy plants, yellow poppies do exist, and they are quite striking. Look for "Iceland" poppies (Papaver nudicaule) when shopping for a yellow poppy flower. Iceland poppies are hard to grow and treated as annuals. Give them full sun.

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    Goldenrod Flowers

    Goldenrod plant with bee on it.
    Mark Nistico / Getty Images

    There are many varieties of goldenrod, but our favorites are those that bloom in late summer or early fall, such as rough-stemmed goldenrod (Solidago rugosa). Just as forsythia heralds spring with masses of yellow flowers, so the aptly named "goldenrod" ushers in the fall.

    Native to North America, it is drought-tolerant, along with many other natives such as Coreopsis spp. Goldenrod likes full to partial sun. Some types are very hardy: The Canada goldenrod (Solidago canadensis) grows in zones 2 to 9.

    Goldenrod has several medicinal applications. Goldenrod's uses include using it as an expectorant, for soothing inflamed tissues, and respiratory and kidney issues.

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    Yellow Azaleas

    'Golden Oriole' azalea in bloom.
    'Golden Oriole' has quite a bit of yellow in it. David Beaulieu / The Spruce

    Azaleas are members of the Rhododendron genus and come in many flower colors. Rhododendron 'Narcissiflora' (full sun to partial shade, zones 5 to 9), a Ghent hybrid azalea, bears yellow flowers in June. Rhododendron 'Golden Oriole' (full to partial sun, zones 5 to 8) starts orange but then develops a yellow color.

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    Yellow Potentilla

    Yellow Potentilla in bloom.
    David Beaulieu / The Spruce

    It does come in other colors (mainly pink and, especially, white), as well, but many prefer the yellow cinquefoil (Potentilla fruticosa). It also goes by the common name of "bush cinquefoil." The "bush" specification is to distinguish it from the various other cinquefoils out there, some of which are ground-hugging weeds. Cinquefoil shrubs are in the rose family. 

    "Cinquefoil, " the other part of the common name, refers to the fact that it has five leaves. It is made up of two words: "cinque" and "foil." "Cinque" means five, while "foil" (as in "foliage") means leaf. Perhaps you've also come across the common name of "trefoil," as in bird's-foot trefoil (Lotus corniculatus), in which case the plant in question has three leaves.

    A very hardy plant, some report cold-hardiness extends to growing zone 2 for yellow Potentilla. Grow this shrub in full sun and cut it right down to the ground in early spring (it blooms on new growth) to keep it compact. Such trimming will also promote flowering.

    At 1 to 4 feet tall, with a similar or somewhat larger spread, yellow 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.

    But this bush is grown mainly for its flowers, which bloom right through the summer. The flowers are small (1 to 1 1/2 inches across) but numerous. A star shape is etched into the middle of the blooms, giving them more character (although this is noticeable only when they're viewed up-close).

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    Yellow Marigolds

    Yellow marigolds in container.
    Sujata Jana / Getty Images

    Yellow is one of the most popular colors for marigolds (Tagetes), along with orange. Yellow marigolds brighten a spot in the garden all summer long. Since yellow is a fall color, yellow marigolds are also great to have around for early-autumn decorating schemes. For example, pumpkins look all the better on a porch when flanked by container gardens filled with yellow marigolds. Grow these annuals in full sun for best results.