Tall flowers are a great way to add color, height, structure and interest to the garden. Suitable for a range of planting schemes and garden designs, tall flowers can also be used to mask walls and fences or introduce privacy to open areas.
When planting tall flowers take into account your chosen position. If planted in too windy a position, and without the proper support, some taller specimens may collapse. This is particularly the case if you are planting in loose or wet soil. However, the range of tall flowers on offer means that you are sure to find something to suit your chosen spot in the garden.
The following tall flowers are amongst the most attractive, low maintenance specimens currently available. Many are also versatile plants, suitable for a range of planting schemes and garden styles.
One of the most popular tall flowers, Sunflowers (Helianthus) are typically grown as annuals but you can also grow perennial types. Typically annual Sunflowers are taller than perennial types, some varieties can even surpass 12 ft if planted in well watered, loamy soil. Smaller and dwarf varieties of these popular tall flowers are also available. While yellow is the most common sunflower color, red and cream colored blooming types, usually perennials, are also available.
The Sunflower is one of the most popular tall flowers.
Best planted in full sun, depending on the cultivar, annual Sunflowers are hardy in USDA Zones 2 to 11. Perennial types are usually classed as hardy in USDA Zones 4 to 9. If you want to learn more about growing sunflowers, including how to grow them as tall as possible, our How to Grow Sunflowers guide is packed with useful information.
Whatever type of sunflower you choose to grow, you will notice that the open blooms move throughout the day, following the sun’s progress across the sky.
Enjoying a resurgence in popularity, thanks to its dramatic appearance, Love-Lies-Bleeding (Amaranthus) is a long lasting addition to the garden.
Love-Lies-Bleeding flowers from mid summer, when it has reached its full height, until the first frosts of the year. The tassel-like foliage, in shades of crimson red, green and purple add drama and interest to the flower beds. Some varieties can also develop red foliage towards the top of the plant.
The tassel-like blooms make Love-Lies-Bleeding a standout addition to the garden.
A tender annual, once established Love-Lies-Bleeding thrives in arid and drought prone climates. Achieving a height of 3 to 8 ft, and a spread of up to 2 ft Love-Lies-Bleeding is hardy in USDA Zones 2 to 11. However in cooler or more exposed areas the plants may appreciate being covered with a Planket Frost Blanket during the winter months. This protects the roots and any remaining, visible growth from frost damage.
One of the most colorful tall flowers, Cosmos’ daisy-like blooms with bright yellow centers come in various shades of pink, orange and white. A member of the sunflower family, regular deadheading encourages more bloom to form. With a little help, Cosmos can flower throughout the summer.
The daisy-like blooms of the Cosmos.
Easy to grow, consistent plants, Cosmos also draws pollinators and butterflies to the garden. If the spent blooms are allowed to go to seed, garden birds will also visit. A low maintenance plant, you can grow Cosmos in both flower beds and containers. Reaching a height of around 4 ft, Cosmos is hardy in USDA Zones 6 to 10.
Adding cheerful pops of color to flower beds and container gardens, the ruffled blooms of the Dahlia come in a range of colors. They also vary in size. While some cultivars produce small, button sized blooms, others produce blooms as large as your dinner plate.
These tall flowers also come in a range of colors, including lavender, red, peach, orange, yellow, white and pink. As well as solid, single colored blooms, Dahlia cultivars producing patterned or bi-colored blooms are also available.
Dahlias bring bright pops of color to the garden.
Depending on the cultivar, Dahlias can grow to between 1 and 5 ft in height. Belonging to the same plant family as the Zinnia and Sunflower, Dahlias are best planted in full sun. Hardy in USDA Zones 8 to 10, these plants are sensitive to the cold. In cooler climates either store as an annual or dig up and store the tubers overwinter.
5 Red Hot Poker
The stately Red Hot Poker (Kniphofia uvaria) is an attractive annual that adds drama to the garden. Also known as the Torch Lily, the Red Hot Poker is native to the high slopes of South Africa’s Drakensberg Mountains. Interestingly, it is one of the few tall flowers that struggles in a pot. As long as it is planted in the ground, Red Hot Poker is a low maintenance plant.
The Red Hot Poker is an unusual addition to the garden.
Popular with pollinators, as well as hummingbirds, the Red Hot Poker blooms in shades of yellow and orange as well as red. These colorful tubular blooms sit on long stems that tower of the plant’s sword shaped foliage. Hardy in USDA Zones 5 to 10, the Red Hot Poker typically grows to a height of around 3 ft. If you want to learn more about Red Hot Poker, our growing guide is a good place to start.
Despite being an old fashioned plant, the Snapdragon (Antirrhinum majus) is a standout addition to the flower bed. The tall flowers, which resemble the jaws of a dragon, come in shades of yellow, white, pink and red. Ideal for the middle of the flowerbed, Snapdragon adds color and fragrance as well as height to your planting schemes.
Colorful and fragrant, the Snapdragon is a reliable addition to the flower bed.
Snapdragons typically grow to 3 ft in height. Hardy in USDA Zones 4 to 10, in cooler climates you can also grow Snapdragons as annual plants. Despite their showy blooms, Snapdragons are easy to care for flowers.
A staple of the cottage garden, these tall flowers set their blooms on elegantly long stems. Hollyhocks typically flower throughout the mid summer months. A biennial plant, some Hollyhock cultivars, if planted early enough may flower in their first year and can be regarded as perennials.
Hollyhocks are a staple of the flower garden.
Reaching 5 to 8 ft, the heart-shaped delicate blooms of the Hollyhock plant come in a range of colors including yellow, pink, white and red. Requiring more regular attention than other plants on our list, like many tall flowers, Hollyhocks may require tying to a Bamboo Plant Stake to encourage the flower laden stems to stay upright. Hardy in USDA Zones 2 to 10, when in flower, pollinators and hummingbirds flock to Hollyhocks.
8 Joe Pye Weed
A native flower, don’t be put off by the weed in the name. Joe Pye Weed is an attractive and fragrant addition to the flowerbed.
Reaching a height of 5 to 8 ft, Joe Pye Weed blooms add color, typically the blooms emerge in clusters of up to 7 purple-pink blooms, and fragrance to the garden. When in bloom Joe Pye Weed’s tall flowers emit a pleasing vanilla fragrance.
Butterflies flock to Joe Pye Weed.
Hardy in USDA Zones 4 to 9, Joe Pye Weed has been traditionally used by Native Americans and herbalists to treat ailments and fevers. Joe Pye Weed is an easy to care for, low maintenance plant that will also draw butterflies and hummingbirds to the garden.
One of the most attractive tall flowers, the spiky blooms of the Delphinium flower in a range of colors throughout the summer months. A reliable, showy flower, also known as Larkspur, Delphinium is a staple of the cottage and mixed garden. You can also grow Delphiniums as part of a cut flower garden.
Delphiniums introduce height and color to the flower bed.
Popular with pollinators, the Delphinium is a member of the buttercup or Ranunculaceae family. Once just blue in color, now Delphinium’s tall flowers emerge in shades of pink, white, lavender, red and yellow. Further adding to the attraction there are both single and double flowering varieties. Delphinium flower spikes can reach 2 to 6 ft. however smaller cultivars, ideal for the front of the flowerbed, are also available.
10 Aconite Flower
Aconite (Aconitum) or Monkshood is another of the increasingly popular ornamental tall flowers on our list. The showy hooded blooms commonly flower in shades of purple or blue-purple. Further adding to the attraction, some types of Aconite are also ideal for providing groundcover to shady spots.
Aconite thrives in a range of planting conditions.
Aconite Flower typically reaches 2 to 4 ft in height. Best planted in rich soil the plant is hardy in USDA Zones 3 to 7.
Warning, all parts of the Aconite Flower are poisonous.
The native Goldenrod (Solidago) is a popular background plant, providing color and interest to fall gardens. The golden-yellow blooms which cover Goldenrod provide long lasting, colorful interest. They also draw pollinators and songbirds to the garden.
Goldenrod fills flower beds with color and texture.
Most Goldenrod varieties are classed as herbaceous perennials, dieing back in the fall before returning the following spring. Reaching a height of between 4 and 7 ft, most Goldenrod plants are hardy in USDA Zones 3 to 10. Easy to grow, Goldenrod is best planted in full sun and well draining soil.
Nicotiana is a herbaceous plant belonging to the Solanaceae family. Better known as the Flowering Tobacco plant, when in bloom during the evenings Nicotiana emits a pleasant, jasmine-like fragrance. Preferring to flower later in the day, the flowers can be slow to emerge in the morning.
Nicotiana’s flowering stems can reach up to 6 ft. The blooms emerge in various shades including red, pink and white.
Nicotiana produces distinctive, fragrant tall flowers.
Best planted in partial shade and well draining soil, Nicotiana is hardy in USDA Zones 10 and 11.
One of the most distinctive tall flowers, Cleome or the Spider Flower, not only adds interest to the flower bed, it also draws scores of beneficial insects such as spiders and pollinators. A reliable cut flower, the Cleome blooms in a range of colors and is ideal for mixed flower beds, pots and planters.
Cleome is one of the most distinctive cut flowers.
Native to Central America, Cleome produces blooms on elegant, long stalks which sit above the plant’s rich, green foliage. Flowering for up to 8 weeks during the early summer months, the tall flowers last until early fall if planted in full sun. Depending on the variety, Cleome plants can grow up to 5 ft tall. Many also emit a musky odor. Cleome is hardy in USDA Zones 2 to 11.
A staple of the flower garden, the Zinnia is particularly attractive if used in mass planting schemes. When in flower these easy to grow annuals add bright bursts of color to the flower bed.
A member of the aster family, along with daisies and marigolds, the Zinnia produces long lasting, large blooms in shades of red, orange, yellow and pink. Like many other long lasting tall flowers, Zinnias appreciate an occasional dose of plant food such as Miracle-Gro Bloom Booster Flower Food. This helps to promote flowering and healthy growth.
Zinnias provide an easy way to add color and height to the garden.
Not one of the tallest flowers on our list, Zinnias typically grow to a height of 30 inches. Ideal for hot, dry climates the Zinnia draws masses of butterflies to the garden. A reliable summer annual, the Zinnia is hardy in USDA Zones 3 to 10.
15 Globe Thistle
Popular for its quick growth habits and distinctive appearance, Globe Thistle (Echinops) is one of the most contemporary-looking tall flowers on our list. The spherical blue bundle of thistle petals can be reminiscent of a hedgehog. In fact the genus name Echinops is Greek for hedgehog.
Drought tolerant and deer resistant, Globe Thistle provides a reliable source of nectar for both bees and butterflies. Additionally the spiky foliage provides a good host plant for the painted lady butterfly.
Globe Thistle’s blue blooms sit above spiky foliage.
Ideal for xeriscape gardens, the Globe Thistle reaches a height of 2 to 5 ft and is considered hardy in USDA Zones 3 to 8.
A dramatic, stately plant, Bugbane is also popularly used in herbal remedies. While the foliage can range in color from bronze to deep purple, in late summer small cream white blooms rich in fragrance emerge.
Best planted in partial shade, with regular water Bugbane is hardy in USDA Zones 4 to 8. Bugbane reaches a mature height of 3 to 4 ft.
Be careful when planting Bugbane, some species can contain cardioactive compounds while others constrain compounds that can change the body’s hormonal balance. Bugbane is best planted away from pets and children.
Bellflowers are popular for their attractive cup or bell shaped blooms. These come in a range of colors, most commonly white, pink and purple. One of the easiest to grow plants on our list, the Bellflower provides a great way to add height to a flower bed. Taller varieties such as the Chimney Bellflower can grow up to 5 ft.
Bellflowers add height and color to planting schemes.
Hardy in USDA Zones 4 to 8, the Bellflower is best planted in a sunny or lightly shaded position.
18 Desert Candle
Desert Candle is a drought hardy plant that belongs to the cabbage family. The name Desert Candle refers to the tall cylindrical stalks that resemble large candles. These floral spikes can reach 20 to 30 inches tall. In addition to the elegant, floral spikes, on a warm summer night a pleasant fragrance is also noticeable.
Desert Candle’s tall blooms are popular with pollinators.
A cold sensitive plant, the Desert Candle is hardy in USDA Zones 5 to 9. A good background plant, the Desert Candle is best placed in a sheltered position or close to other flowering shrubs so that they are protected from the wind.
19 Floss Flower
Floss Flower (Ageratum houstonianum) is a popular choice for the flower bed thanks to its clusters of fluffy flowers. These typically emerge in June and can stay until the first frosts of the year. A popular inclusion in butterfly gardens, the blooms, in shades of blue and purple, add both texture and color to the garden. Pink, white and red flowering types are also available.
Floss Flower brings both color and texture to the garden.
Easy to grow in even, well draining soil, Floss Flower plants reach around 1.5 ft in height and can spread between 6 and 18 inches. A low maintenance plant, there is no need to deadhead the spent flower heads. Hardy in USDA Zones 2 to 11, the first frosts of the year often kill any remaining Floss Flower blooms.
Another staple of the flower garden, Foxglove flower spikes can reach 2 to 4 ft tall. Emerging in late spring flowering can continue into late summer, however the plants can start to look a little ragged as fall approaches. When in flower, long tubular blooms sit in groups on tall spikes in colors of white, pink and purple.
The tubular Foxglove blooms.
Best planted in full or partial sun the Foxglove is hardy in USDA Zones 4 to 8. A perennial, if grown from seed the Foxglove won’t flower until the second year.
Handle Foxglove (Digitalis purpurea) with care, the plants contain chemicals such as digitalis which can affect the heart. However, poisoning from Foxglove flowers is incredibly rare.
The tall Verbena, also known as the Brazilian Vervain, is one of the more distinctive tall flowers on this list. Initially the tall Verbena forms low clumps. It then sends up tall stems which tower above the foliage. On these stems sit clusters of lavender or pink-purple flowers.
Floral clusters sit on thin stems.
Flowering from summer until the fall, the Verbena’s tall flowers are popular with butterflies and pollinators. Reaching a height of around 4 ft, these plants tolerate all soil types as long as it is well draining. Hardy in USDA zones 7 to 11, if you fail to deadhead the spent flower heads they can self-seed around the garden.
22 Hardy Hibiscus
The hardy hibiscus or Swamp Mallow is a shrub-like flowering perennial. In the wild it is commonly found growing in wet soils such as on river banks or around ponds. During the summer months, showy white or pink blooms with five overlapping petals emerge.
The large, showy blooms of the Swamp Mallow.
The Hardy Hibiscus typically grows to a height of between 3 and 7 ft and achieves a spread of 2 to 4 ft. Tolerating heat and humidity well, protect your specimen from strong winds and do not let the soil dry out.
23 Canna Lily
The Canna Lily is part of the Canna genus. This includes a number of tropical and subtropical plants, all of which produce wonderfully showy flowers. They are also tall flowers, depending on the variety Canna plants can reach between 1.5 and 8 ft in height. When in flower, the floral spike sits above lush green foliage.
The exotic Canna Lily blooms stretch above the green foliage.
The Canna Lily flowers in a range of attractive colors including red, orange, pink, white and yellow. A selection of these tall flowers is a great way to add warmth to the flower bed. Hardy in USDA Zones 7 to 10, in cooler climates you can also grow Canna Lilies in pots, moving them when the temperature threatens to fall below 40 ℉. Placing the pots on a Bright Creations Metal Plant Caddy enables you to easily move them undercover in the fall.
24 Castor Bean
The Castor Bean (Ricinus communis) is one of the most exotic looking plants on our list. When planted in full sun and rich, well draining soil the Castor Bean plant can reach a height of 6 to 10 ft. Spreading between 2 and 4 ft wide, this is one of the more eye-catching plants on our list of tall flowers.
During the spring and fall months the plant’s oversized glossy, green foliage provides the most interest. While in the summer and fall months insignificant white flowers can emerge it is the red-brown seed capsules that provide more interest.
The Castor Bean plant is hardy in USDA Zones 9 to 11. Elsewhere it is best grown as an annual.
Warning, the Castor Bean contains ricin. This can be toxic if ingested.
Sneezeweed (Helenium autumnale) is an attractive, towering plant which produces numerous flowering heads with delicately toothed, daisy-like petals. The blooms develop in a range of hot colors, including yellows and oranges. These contrast nicely with the eye of the flower, which is amber or dark yellow in color.
The Sneezeweed is so called because during the 19th century it was used in sneezing powders to relieve congestion. Achieving a height of 3 to 5 ft the Sneezeweed is hardy in USDA Zones 3 to 9.
Sneezeweed is popular with pollinators and butterflies.
Planting tall flowers is a great way to introduce height and structure to the garden to a planting scheme. A natural source of drama, many tall flowers also provide a natural means of screening parts of the garden you may wish to hide or make more private. Why not add some tall flowers to your garden today?
Jen is a master gardener, interior designer and home improvement expert. She has completed many home improvement, decor and remodeling projects with her family over the past 10 years on their 4,500 sf Victorian house. She is also a passionate farmer who keeps goats, chickens, turkeys cows and pigs on her farm, and an instructor for her community’s Organic and Sustainable Farming project.