15 Plants With Big, Beautiful Flowers

Giant Sunflowers

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How big can a single flower blossom be? The rare corpse flower of Indonesia can be up to 3 feet across, but it is not a plant that most gardeners can (or would want to) grow. But there are far more appealing giant flowers you can grow in your landscape, which will create a dramatic landscape statement as well as quickly fill up flower vases with cut flowers.

Here are 15 big blooms to consider for the soil, light, and climate conditions of your garden.

Gardening Tip

Although there are exceptions, plants with large, dramatic flowers typically need more water and fertilizer than is the case with more modest plants. Watch your plants carefully, and if the blooms are not up to your expectations, the plants may be asking for more regular feeding.

  • 01 of 15

    Tree Peony (Paeonia suffruticosa)

    Tree Peony Mrs. Fry

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    ​Bush peonies with bomb-type flowers make a statement in the spring garden, but tree peonies can sport blooms up to 10 inches across on woody stems that do not die back to the ground in winter. Tree peonies like the 'Mrs. Fry' cultivar are slow to mature, but the spectacle of a 5-foot tree peony with 50 blooms is worth the wait. Deeply divided foliage adds to the character of these plants. 

    • USDA Growing Zones: 4 to 8
    • Color Varieties: White, red, pink, purple, yellow
    • Sun Exposure: Full sun to part shade
    • Soil Needs: Fertile loam
  • 02 of 15

    Oriental Poppy (Papaver orientale)

    Oriental Poppy

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    These fiery red poppies go by the moniker 'Goliath'! Oriental poppies send long tap roots into the soil, helping them establish a long life in your spring garden. Blooms in excess of 7 inches in diameter are not unheard of with happy plants. To pamper your poppies, full sun and excellent drainage are the most important requirements. 

    • USDA Growing Zones: 3 to 9
    • Color Varieties: Orange, red, pink, purple, white, peach, maroon, salmon
    • Sun Exposure: Full sun
    • Soil Needs: Fertile, well-drained soil with average moisture
  • 03 of 15

    Hydrangea (Hydrangea spp.)

    White Hydrangea

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    In the world of hydrangea hybridizing, the big blooms just keep getting better. This genus of plants has several species commonly used in landscaping, all of which are famous for having large flowers. For example, Hydrangea arborescens 'Annabelle' has 12-inch flower heads that are a stunning staple in many shade gardens. However, 'Incrediball' has increased in popularity, as it also blooms on new wood but its stems will not flop under the weight of rain-soaked blooms. In addition to the cultivars of H. aborescens, varieties of H. macrophylla, H. serrata, H. paniculata, and H. quercifolia are all known for their impressive blooms.

    A sheltered site with some shade will help your hydrangeas shine throughout the growing season. 

    • USDA Growing Zones: 3 to 9 (depends on species)
    • Color Varieties: Blue, pink, white, red, purple
    • Sun Exposure: Full sun to part shade
    • Soil Needs: Rich, porous, rich soil; pH can affect bloom color of some species
  • 04 of 15

    Dinner-plate Dahlia (Dahlia hybrids)

    Dahlia Hamari Gold

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    The term "dinner-plate dahlia" is used to describe any dahlia variety with large, impressive flowers. Most commercially available dinner-plate dahlias are hybrid cultivars. If you have successfully grown dahlias in the past, your quest to grow a dinner-plate cultivar like 'Hamari Gold' will be easy. Like many large flowers, dahlias like more of everything: more sun, more water, more feeding. Remove side buds to enable plants to direct all energy into producing one giant flower. Stake plants for support, and expect the blooms to mature in late summer. 

    • USDA Growing Zones: 8 to 11; often grown as an annual
    • Color Varieties: White, pink, red, yellow, orange, purple, bi-colors
    • Sun Exposure: Full sun (some afternoon shade helps in very warm climates)
    • Soil Needs: Rich, well-draining soil
    Continue to 5 of 15 below.
  • 05 of 15

    Giant Water Lily (Nymphaeaceae Genera)

    Giant Water Lily Flower

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    The plants known as water lilies include about 70 species within at least five different genera. They are found across the world, but those most often sold commercially are tropical species. Most species have fairly large flowers, but those known as giants have genuinely enormous blooms and leaves. For example, the night-blooming flowers of Victoria amazonica strive to keep up with its incredible 10-foot leaves, which can support a small person's weight. Its basketball-sized flowers only live for a few days to carry out their reproductive destiny.

    Although you cannot cultivate this plant in a typical water garden, you can admire healthy examples of the giant water lily in botanical gardens like Longwood Gardens in Pennsylvania. 

    • USDA Growing Zones: 10 to 11 (V. amazonica)
    • Color Varieties: White to pink/purple
    • Sun Exposure: Full sun
    • Soil Needs: Submerged rich loam
  • 06 of 15

    Orienpet Lily (Lilium Hybrids)

    Orienpet Lily

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    Hybrids of trumpet and Oriental lilies, Orienpet lilies are increasing in popularity as new cultivars continually hit the market. Fragrant 10-inch blooms appear in late summer on sturdy 5-foot stems. Try 'Big Brother', a pale yellow variety that lives up to its name. Like most lilies, orienpets are best planted in late fall or early spring. In neutral or alkaline soils, watering with an acid-enhanced fertilizer will help them thrive.

    • USDA Growing Zones: 4 to 8
    • Color Varieties:  White, yellow, pink, apricot, burgundy, red, and bi-colors
    • Sun Exposure: Full sun to part shade
    • Soil Needs: Medium-moisture, well-drained soil; thrives in slightly acidic soil
  • 07 of 15

    Amaryllis (Hippeastrum group)

    Amaryllis Flowers

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    Red amaryllis blooms are popular during the winter holidays, but this gift plant comes in a number of colors and forms. Larger bulbs produce larger plants and flowers, so splurge on premium bulbs from trusted sellers. 'Double Record' with red and white streaking will produce 8-inch flowers for indoor enjoyment. The amaryllis bulbs sold commercially are all cultivars derived from hybrids of various Hippeastrum species, developed over many years. Amaryllis is best grown in a relatively cool room (60 to 65 degrees Fahrenheit), under bright, indirect lighting.

    • USDA Growing Zones: 8 to 10; normally planted as an annual, even in warm climates, since a winter chilling period is required
    • Color Varieties: Red, pink or white 
    • Sun Exposure: Full sun to part shade
    • Soil Needs: Humusy, well-drained potting soil; rich, well-drained soil when planted in the garden
  • 08 of 15

    Common Sunflower (Helianthus annuus)

    Large Sunflower Variety

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    Sunflowers may set the standard for giant blooms in the flower garden, but not all sunflowers are created equal when it comes to size. 'Mammoth' is an heirloom variety that reliably produces 12-inch flower heads packed with oil-rich seeds. 'Sunzilla' is a newer hybrid bred to grow a sturdy 16-foot stalk capable of supporting the giant blooms. Although sunflowers are drought-tolerant, constant moisture and rich soil will yield the largest flowers. 

    • USDA Growing Zones: NA; these are true annuals in all climates
    • Color Varieties: Yellow (browns and burgundies also available)
    • Sun Exposure: Full sun
    • Soil Needs: Well-drained soil rich in nutrients
    Continue to 9 of 15 below.
  • 09 of 15

    Hardy Hibiscus (Hibiscus moscheutos)

    Hardy Hibiscus

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    The common potted hibiscus plants are tropical species that won't tolerate even a whiff of frost, but exotic flower lovers can rejoice—the hardy mallow plant Hibiscus moscheutos will survive zone 4 winters while still boasting flower diameters in excess of 10 inches. Some varieties feature bronze or purple foliage to boost the ornamental value, like the gorgeous pink-flowered 'Summer Storm'. In cold regions, protect the roots over winter with mulch or straw, especially when the plants are young.

    • USDA Growing Zones: 4 to 9
    • Color Varieties: White, red, pink, blue
    • Sun Exposure: Full sun
    • Soil Needs: Well-drained loam
  • 10 of 15

    Moonflower (Ipomoea alba)

    Moonflower

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    Only night owls will be able to appreciate the nocturnal blooms of the moonflower, which swirl open at dusk to reveal 6-inch white flowers. If you nick or soak the seeds, germination may occur in as little as a week. Combine the fast-growing vines with morning glories, and you will please hummingbirds and hummingbird moths alike. 

    • USDA Growing Zones: 10 to 12; usually grown as an annual
    • Color Varieties: White, purple
    • Sun Exposure: Full sun
    • Soil Needs: Tolerates any soil type
  • 11 of 15

    English Rose (Rosa hybrids)

    English Rose

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    If roses have not been your go-to choice for large blooms in the past, it is time to get acquainted with English roses—a class of roses developed from heirloom varieties by breeder David Austin with the goal of large, full blooms with a heavy fragrance. With petal counts of 140 or more per bloom, these large-cupped flowers are vase-fillers with old-world fragrance to spare. The lemon-hued 'Charles Darwin' and the 200-petal count 'Spirit of Freedom' are repeat bloomers, yielding 6-inch flowers all season. Roses can be prone to fungal diseases in moist conditions, so give them plenty of air circulation and avoid watering the foliage when irrigating them.

    • USDA Growing Zones: 4 to 11 (varies, depending on variety)
    • Color Varieties: White, yellow, red, pink, orange, and bi-colors
    • Sun Exposure: Full sun
    • Soil Needs: Well-drained loam
  • 12 of 15

    King Protea (Protea cynaroides)

    King Protea

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    Protea plants lend an exotic flair to any tropical flower arrangement, and king protea (Protea cynaroides) plants produce the largest flower heads of them all. Also known as sugar bush, these South African natives may grow outdoors as evergreen shrubs in USDA zones 9 and warmer. The artichoke-like flowers may grow up to a foot across. Make sure to water the plants deeply on a weekly basis for the first two years; after this, they are relatively low-maintenance plants.

    • USDA Growing Zones: 9 to 12
    • Color Varieties: Red, pink, creamy white
    • Sun Exposure: Full sun
    • Soil Needs: Average to rocky very well-drained soil; prefers acidic soil
    Continue to 13 of 15 below.
  • 13 of 15

    Cockscomb (Celosia argentea var. cristata)

    Cockscomb Flower

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    The otherworldly coral shapes of cockscomb Celosia argentea var. cristata make it a garden focal point, but add to that the velvety texture and footlong size, and you have a staple for the cut flower garden. Cockscomb plants are easy to grow from seed (they self-seed readily), and they tolerate humidity as well as dry soil. 

    • USDA Growing Zones: 2 to 11; normally grown as an annual
    • Color Varieties: Orange, red, purple, yellow, pink
    • Sun Exposure: Full sun
    • Soil Needs: Rich, moist, well-drained soil; tolerates dry soil
  • 14 of 15

    Butterfly Bush (Buddleja davidii)

    Butterfly Bush

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    A single flower panicle of Buddleja davidii may be up to 18 inches in length, with each panicle comprised of hundreds of densely packed florets. The nectar-rich flowers will attract an endless parade of butterflies over its blooming cycle, which usually stretches into four months. Beware of the possibility of rampant spreading; this plant is known to be invasive in some regions.

    • USDA Growing Zones: 5 to 9
    • Color Varieties: Purple; pink, yellow, and red cultivars are also available
    • Sun Exposure: Ful sun
    • Soil Needs: Average, well-drained soil
  • 15 of 15

    Camellia (Camellia spp.)

    Pink Camellia

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    For southern gardeners, there is nothing quite like the charm of a camellia bush in the late winter garden. For the biggest flowers, plant a cultivar of the Camellia japonica species. Disbudding will help you achieve 6-inch flowers on varieties like the pale pink 'Debutante'.

    • USDA Growing Zones: 7 to 9
    • Color Varieties: White, pink, red, yellow, lavender
    • Sun Exposure: Part shade
    • Soil Needs: Moist, acidic, well-drained soil