20 Sunny Yellow Flowers for Your Garden

20 sunny yellow flowers

Discover Cheerful Yellow Flower Names—With Pictures!

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Yellow is the color of sunlight, capable of brightening the darkest moods… just like the flowers in our garden! Consider adding a touch of yellow to your flowerbeds to evoke even more happiness and joy. Our Top 20 List of Yellow Flowers for the Garden includes annuals, perennials, bulbs, and shrubs that incorporate yellow into your landscaping and container gardens.

How to Use Yellow Flowers in the Garden

Yellow is highly visible and the color our eyes see first. Hues can range from creamy, soft, and buttery to screaming school bus yellow and rich gold. A primary color, there is a bit of yellow in many other colors, including shades of orange and green. Yellow is eye-catching, so use bright yellow for focal points or to lighten up a dark corner. Soft yellow is easy to blend in with other colors.

Try not to get too carried away, though, and use too much yellow since it blurs details and can be overwhelming. Blue with yellow is a popular color combo, and yellow and purple - its complementary opposite on the color wheel - also work well together in both flower and foliage colors. 

Bright Yellow Flowers for the Garden

Plant some sunshine in your garden with these flowers:

Bulbs with Yellow Flowers

1.    Winter Aconite 

This early bloomer arrives around the same time as snowdrops (one of our favorite white flowers). Winter Aconite (Eranthis hyemalis) is in the buttercup family; ferny green leaves ring each of its yellow cup-like flowers. Great for rock gardens or for naturalizing under deciduous trees and shrubs or in the lawn. The low-growing clumps of greenery go dormant in summer. Plant the tubers in the fall just like a bulb.

•    3-6 inches tall
•    Full sun to part shade
•    Zones 4-7
•    Blooms early spring

Aconite blooms so early that it often pops up through the snow.

2.    Daffodils 

Daffodils ring in spring! They can come in mixed color combinations of yellow, orange, white, and even pink. For large, traditional, solid yellow flowers in the spring, look for bulbs of ‘King Alfred’ or ‘Dutch Master’ to plant in the fall. Check out our daffodil growing guide.

•    14-16 inches tall
•    Full sun to part shade
•    Zones 3-8
•    Mid-spring flowers

What could be better than a patch of daffodils on a spring day?

Annuals With Yellow Flowers

Annuals bring long-lasting color to your garden. Deadhead the fading blossoms to prolong the show. The following annuals should bloom all summer into fall.

3.    Calendula 

This is a beautiful flower—and a useful one as well. Calendula blossoms produce a resin used in herbal medicine to make healing salves, hand creams, and lip balms. Learn more about the healing properties of Calendula. The petals can be used as an edible garnish or in a salad, and the flowers are a pollinator magnet. 

There are many varieties to choose from, sporting yellow, orange, or cream-colored single, double, or semi-double blossoms. Some petals are tipped with red or have red underneath. For straight yellow, try ‘Lady Godiva’ or ‘Pacific Beauty Yellow.’ 

•    12-24 inches tall
•    Full sun
•    Blooms all season until heavy frost
•    Direct sow or transplant

Bees and other pollinators are drawn to calendula’s sunny yellow flowers.

4.    Signet Marigolds 

These cheery flowers are the dwarf cousins of the Marigold family.  Yellow ‘Lemon Gem’ bears tiny, 1-inch wide, edible flowers on low-mounding plants. Both the lacy foliage and the flowers are lemon-scented. Perfect for containers or the front of the flower bed. 

•    12-18 inches tall and wide
•    Full sun
•    Blooms from early summer to fall
•    Can be directly sown, but transplanting is recommended for earlier blossoming

‘Lemon Gem’ in flower.
Photo Credit: Maria Papworth

5.    Sunflowers 

Sunflowers (Helianthus annuus) are the quintessential flower of summer! Their large daisy-like blossoms come in a range of colors, including maroon, orange, red, burgundy, yellow, and bi-colors. 

The plants themselves range from 12-inch tall dwarfs with multiple branches to towering 16-foot tall single stems. For fully double yellow blossoms, try ‘Goldy Double’ or ‘Lemonade.’ Both are branching plants that produce many pollen-less 5-7 inch wide flowers perfect for cutting. For classic, tall, yellow sunflowers with brown centers, look for heirloom ‘Mammoth,’ which produces huge 12-14 inch diameter seedheads for you - and the birds - to enjoy.

•    Height varies depending on variety
•    Full sun
•    July-Sept. depending on variety
•    Direct sow

Sunflowers in bud will track the sun across the sky, returning to face east at night, ready for the next day.

6.    Bidens 

These are the perfect “spiller” for your hanging baskets or mixed planters. Bidens have ferny, blue-green foliage and small daisy-like flowers that blossom non-stop, spring until frost. If they become too leggy mid-season, just cut them back a bit, and they will pump out new growth and more flowers. There are many new colors to try, but for pure sunny yellow, look for ‘Goldilocks Rocks’ or ‘Yellow Sunshine.’

•    12 inches tall and 1-3 feet wide
•    Full sun 
•    Blooms May-Oct
•    Transplant

Bidens ferulifolia looks incredible planted together with other plants in a pot.
Photo Credit: Tunatura

7.    Celosias 

These are long-lasting cut flowers with plumes in shades of pink, red, and yellow. Celosias can be used fresh or dried for winter arrangements. Look for ‘Sunday Gold’ with 4-8 inch tall feathery plumes. The more you cut, the more it will produce… making them fantastic for cutting gardens.

•    30-40 inches tall
•    Full sun
•    Mid-July to frost
•    Transplant

Lovely plumes of celosia brighten up the garden and any bouquet they are part of.

Vines with Yellow Flowers

8.    Black-eyed Susan Vine 

The Black-eyed Susan Vine(Thunbergia alata) bears small yellow flowers with brown centers that resemble its namesake. This fast-growing annual vine will twine its way up a trellis or teepee and will be covered with blossoms all season. There are many varieties offering colors such as pink, cream, red, apricot, white, salmon, and orange. For yellow with a dark center, look for ‘Canary Eyes.’ 

•    6-8 feet tall
•    Full sun to part shade
•    Mid-summer to frost
•    Transplant

The Black-eyed Susan Vine is a quick cover for a post, tuteur, or fence.

Perennials with Yellow Flowers

9.    Golden Alexanders 

Golden Alexanders (Zizia aurea) are early-blooming natives, perfect for your pollinator garden. Their 3-4 inch wide yellow blossoms provide nectar and pollen for early-season bees, and they are also a host plant for black swallowtail butterflies.

•    3 feet tall
•    Full sun – part shade
•    Zones 3-8
•    April-June

Eastern tiger swallowtail butterfly female (papilio glaucus) on golden alexanders.
Photo Credit: Kevin Collison

10.     Yarrow 

Yarrow (Achillea millefolium) is a rugged native plant that thrives in poor soil and in hot, dry locations. The species has white flowers, but there are cultivars with pink, red, or yellow blossoms. Varieties such as ‘Coronation Gold’ and ‘Moonshine’ offer brilliant yellow flowers atop gray-green foliage. Learn more about how to grow yarrow.

•    2-3 feet tall
•    Full sun
•    Zones 3-8
•    Blooms early summer – early fall

 Yarrow is a bee magnet, and butterflies love the broad, flat landing pads the flowerheads provide.

11.     Black-eyed Susan 

Black-eyed Susan (Rudbeckia hirta) is a short-lived native perennial, but it will self-seed. It attracts all kinds of pollinators, and birds love its seeds. Heat and drought-tolerant, it is also a host plant for several types of butterflies.
•    2-3 feet tall
•    Full sun
•    Zones 3-7
•    Blooms June-Sept.

Black-eyed Susans are a common sight in most gardens since they are so easy to grow.

12.     Goldenrod 

Goldenrod (Solidago) gets a bad rap from people who believe it causes their seasonal allergies when ragweed is really to blame. A North American native with over 25 species, there are shade-loving ones along with those that thrive in full sun. 

The goldenrod family supports many beneficial insects, hosting hundreds of butterfly and moth species, as well as bees. There is a goldenrod for almost any situation. Look for a well-behaved sweet goldenrod (S.odora) to add to your flowerbed. It forms neat clumps and won’t take over.

•    3 feet tall and wide
•    Full sun – part shade
•    Zones 4-9
•    Blooms Aug.-Sept.

Goldenrod does not get the respect it deserves!

13.     Globeflower 

Globeflower(Trollius europaeus) is in the buttercup family and bears two 2-inch diameter, round, fully double, lemon-yellow blossoms in late spring. The finely cut leaves form a neat, compact plant that is attractive even when not in bloom. It likes cool weather and moist soil, so it is not a good choice for hot, arid locations.

•    1 ½ - 2 feet tall and wide
•    Part - full shade
•    Zones 3-6
•    Blossoms May-July

Bright yellow Bathing suit flowers on the background of a red brick wall. Yellow Trollius europaeus is a spherical flower, family Ranunculaceae. A wild plant on a summer day
Globeflower is a cheery yellow plant that is sure to bring a smile to your face!
Photo Credit: Lurii Kosintsev

14.     Leopard Plant 

‘The Rocket’  (Ligularia przewalskii) is 3 feet tall and wide with large heart-shaped leaves but sends up flower spikes covered with small yellow blossoms that easily rise another 2 feet above the plant. Appreciates moist soil and is perfect for a shady rain garden.

•    Up to 5 feet tall in bloom
•    Part shade 
•    Zones 4-8
•    Flowers June-Aug.

The Rocket Golden Ray (Ligularia stenocephala). The Rocket is a great plant for moist, shady gardens. Blooms In mid-summer, huge bright yellow flower spikes that are fragrant. Favorite for hummingbird
The Rocket is a great plant for moist, shady gardens.
Photo Credit: Karel Bock

15.    Coreopsis

Threadleaf coreopsis, also known as tickseed, has bright yellow daisy-like flowers and finely textured leaves. Shear plants back after flowering to promote a second flush of flowers in the fall. Native to the eastern US, it is attractive to bees, birds, and butterflies. For named varieties, look for ‘Moonbeam’ or ‘Zagreb.’

•    2-3 feet tall
•    Full sun
•    Zones 3-9
•    Blooms June-Sept.

Coreopsis verticillata zagreb many yellow flowers
The coreopsis flower (tickseed) is a long-blooming perennial that flowers from early summer until fall frost.
Photo: Mizy

16.  Daylilies

Lemon lily (Hemerocallis lilioasphodelus) is the first daylily to bloom each spring. It has very fragrant, 4-inch wide, lemon-yellow trumpet-shaped blossoms that only last one day. Fear not, the plant produces lots of buds to keep the blooms coming for a few weeks. See how to plant and grow daylilies.

•    2-3 feet tall
•    Full sun to part shade
•    Zones 4-10
•    Blossoms May-June

I wait all year for the early-blooming lemon lilies. Their fragrance is delicious!

17.     Perennial Sunflowers

Helianthus microcephalus ‘Lemon Queen’ is a perennial sunflower with light yellow, 2-3 inch wide daisy-like blossoms. Its size makes it an excellent backdrop plant, perfect for the rear of the flowerbed or along a fence. A naturally occurring hybrid, it is native to the Midwest, tolerates a wide range of soil conditions, and attracts bees and butterflies.

•    5-8 feet tall and 3-4 feet wide
•    Full sun
•    Zones 4-9
•    Blooms July to Oct.

The perennial sunflower Helianthus 'Lemon Queen'
The perennial sunflower Helianthus ‘Lemon Queen.’
Photo Credit: Wiert Nieuman

Shrubs with Yellow Flowers

18.     Witch Hazel 

Witch Hazel  (Hamamelis virginiana) flowers when there is not much else in bloom. Native to the eastern US, it bears fragrant, ribbon-like yellow blossoms in late fall or very early spring. It attracts early bees and butterflies and is a host plant for the caterpillars of Spring Azure butterflies. Many hybrids that are crossed with Asian varieties and have different bloom times are available, including the popular ‘Arnold Promise’ and ‘Pallida.’ 

•    15-20 feet tall and wide
•    Full sun to part shade
•    Zones 3-8
•    Blooms Oct-Dec

Witch hazel blooms so late in the season that it often gets hit with snow.

19.     Spicebush 

Spicebush(Lindera benzoin) offers clusters of small, fragrant yellow blossoms in early spring before they leaf out. Blooming around the same time as forsythia, it is called the forsythia of the wilds. Learn how to force bloom your spicebush.

Native to the eastern US and Canada, it is the larval host for the Eastern Tiger Swallowtail and Spicebush Swallowtail butterflies.

•    6-12 feet tall and wide
•    Full sun to part shade
•    Zones 4-9
•    Flowers in April

Not only are the flowers of spicebush fragrant, but the leaves, when crushed, are too.

20.     Japanese Rose 

Japanese Roses (Kerria japonica) can have single or double rose-like, golden yellow flowers. The initial bloom is in the spring, but it often reblooms in late summer. This is a perfect plant to brighten up your shady garden. Flowers bleach out to a pale yellow in full sun. For double flowers, try ‘Pleniflora.’

•    5-8 feet tall and wide
•    Part shade to shade
•    Zones 4-9
•    Blooms April-May and Aug-Sept

The arching branches of kerria are covered with flowers in the spring and again in late summer.

As you can see, there are many incredible yellow flowers to choose from, and this is truly just the tip of the iceberg! We hope that you will also explore blue flowers, pink flowers, and white flowers.

What is your favorite yellow flower? Tell us in the comments!

About The Author

Robin Sweetser

Robin has been a contributor to The Old Farmer’s Almanac and the All-Seasons Garden Guide for many years. Read More from Robin Sweetser

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