How to Grow Wallflower Plants

Wallflowers are colorful, fragrant, and easy-to-grow

Altgold wallflower plant with orange flowers in sunlight

The Spruce / Evgeniya Vlasova

Wallflowers are attractive, fragrant, easy to grow, and make great additions to any rock, border, or container garden. Their name comes from the fact that they have a habit of sprouting through silty cracks in brick or cement walls: Clearly, they are determined, hardy blooms.

Fast-growing wallflowers (Erysimum) bloom nearly year-round, sporting beautiful four-petalled flowers in colors such as yellow, orange, red, blue, and purple. Most wallflower varieties grow as shrubs, but there are some ground-cover species as well. Plant your wallflower seeds in the spring or fall.

Botanical Name Erysimum
Common Name Wallflower
Plant Type Perennial, annual
Mature Size 1-3 ft. tall
Sun Exposure Full sun, part sun
Soil Type Sandy, well-drained
Soil pH 7.0-9.0
Bloom Time Spring, summer, fall
Flower Color Yellow, orange, purple, pink, blue, red
Hardiness Zones 6-9 (USDA)
Native Area Southern Europe
Toxicity Toxic to human and animals

Wallflower Care

Wallflowers (Erysimum) are a part of the cabbage family, Brassicaceae, which makes them closely related to popular cruciferous vegetables such as broccoli, cauliflower, and kale. They are generally low-maintenance, easy-to-grow plants that are annuals, herbaceous perennials, or biennials.

Altgold wallflower plant with orange flowers closeup

The Spruce / Evgeniya Vlasova

Altgold wallflower plant with yellow and orange flowers in sunlight

The Spruce / Evgeniya Vlasova

Fire king wallflower plant with red flowers and buds closeup
Fire king wallflower plant with red-orange flowers closeup

The Spruce / Evgeniya Vlasova

Light

Wallflowers should be grown in a bright, sunny location. While they can tolerate part shade they will thrive in full sun. Gardeners in northern climates should choose locations that receive direct sun, whereas gardeners in southern climates should plant in places that receive some shade to give the wallflowers a break from the intense southern rays. 

Soil

Well-drained, dry to medium soils are ideal for wallflowers. Planting wallflowers in soil that holds too much moisture will cause them to drown and die quickly.   

Water

Wallflowers are considered drought-tolerant, and as such, they do not require too much water. Water wallflowers regularly as they are becoming established, and then cut back once they have matured. If needed, supplement infrequent rainfall with occasional watering. But be mindful: Wallflowers do not tolerate wet feet, or having their roots sit in standing water, so avoid planting wallflowers in particularly wet areas of your garden. 

Temperature and Humidity

Wallflowers require warm temperatures in order to grow evergreen. They are hardy in U.S. zones 6-9 but can overwinter in areas with colder climates as well. They are very adaptable and can tolerate both dry and moist growing conditions.

Fertilizer

Wallflowers do not require a lot of fertilizer to thrive. For best results, mix compost into the soil when you are first planting and apply an all-purpose fertilizer in the early spring and mid-summer.

Wallflower Varieties

  • 'Bowles’s Mauve': Offers rich, mauve blooms
  • 'Apricot Delight': Has fragrant orange-apricot flowers
  • 'Winter Orchid': Boasts multi-colored flowers on an evergreen mound
  • 'Walberton’s Fragrant Sunshine': Features compact, bushy orange blooms
  • 'Red Jep': Has fragrant red to purple flowers

Pruning

Regular pruning helps wallflowers to thrive. They should be cut back once they have finished blooming, or in the early spring. Prune them so there is only a couple of inches left above the soil, and they will reward you with dense new growth once temperatures warm up again.

Propagating Wallflowers

Wallflowers can be propagated through cuttings. To do: Take cuttings in the late spring, ensuring that each has at least one leaf node. Remove all flowers and flower buds from the cutting and leave only three to four leaves. For best results, dip the cutting in a rooting hormone before planting back in soil or compost.

Growing Tip

Dead-heading is important for keeping wallflowers healthy and full looking. To encourage ongoing blooming, pinch back spent blooms regularly.

How to Grow Wallflowers From Seed

To grow wallflowers from seed, sow the seeds directly into the garden or start them indoors depending on your preference. Wallflower seeds should be planted in the early spring or late autumn. They require light to germinate so if you are starting the seeds indoors be sure to provide adequate light for germination. Wallflower seeds can be surface-sowed and covered with about 1/4 inch of topsoil. If you are starting seeds indoors, wallflowers transplant well once established. 

Potting and Repotting Wallflowers

Wallflowers make excellent container plants as they are low maintenance and don’t require too much water. Growing wallflowers in containers is great for gardeners in colder regions as they can easily be brought indoors for the winter. Ensure your container has adequate drainage as these plants do not tolerate having their roots sit in water.

Common Pests and Diseases

As a part of the Brassicaceae family, wallflowers are susceptible to a host of common garden pests just like their vegetable cousins. These include flea beetles, aphids, and cabbage worms. However, wallflowers are better suited to dry growing conditions than their Brassicaceae relatives, which inadvertently helps to prevent pest infestations. Another way to prevent infestations and diseases in wallflowers is to ensure that you are not planting wallflowers in a garden bed or container that has recently grown other Brassicaceae species as pathogens may remain in the soil from the previous plant.