You don’t have to be royalty to have a beautiful garden. With attractively arranged plants appropriate for your location, you can stroll through a spectacular landscape right outside your door. To help you start off on the right foot, here is a list of kingly flowers that start with K. Add some geometric boxwood borders, and off you go!
Annual Flowers that Start with K
1. Kalanchoe (Kalanchoe sp.)
A tropical succulent, kalanchoe will grow happily outdoors in warm climates but will not survive cold winters. Those of us in USDA zones 8 and colder can enjoy its warm-hued blooms and thick leaves by planting it in pots on a porch or patio and bringing it inside to sit in a sunny window when the weather turns cool.
Kalanchoe requires at least eight hours of direct sunlight each day, either outdoors or in a bright, sunny window. Water only when the soil is dry to the touch, and be careful not to break the delicate branches when moving the plant.
2. Kangaroo paw (Anigozanthos sp.)
A unique Australian native, kangaroo paw features velvety, tubular flowers in fanlike rows. The six petals fully open only at the tip of the bud, revealing a light interior, usually greenish white. The outside of the blossoms vary in color depending on the species or subspecies.
Although it grows as a perennial in zones 10 and 11, kangaroo paw must be overwintered indoors or planted as an annual in cooler climates. Well-draining soil will help prevent root rot — sandy soil is ideal — and it should be kept evenly moist, especially during flowering.
For the healthiest plants, place in a location that receives full sun.
3. Kiss-me-over-the-garden-gate (Polygonum orientale)
This cottage garden favorite produces a showy display of pink flower clusters that dangle from tall, slender stems from midsummer until fall. Depending on the cultivar and conditions, it can grow anywhere from three to eight feet tall.
Kiss-me-over-the-garden-gate thrives in fertile, well-draining soil and full sun, though it will tolerate poor soils. Although it does not require deadheading for continuous blooms, the flowers will readily reseed, so remove spent blossoms if you don’t want it to spread.
Perennial Flowers that Start with K
4. Kaffir lily (Clivia miniata)
Although the kaffir lily takes two to three years to begin producing flowers, this slow-growing plant rewards patience with vibrant clusters of orange, trumpet-shaped blooms every spring. This South African native actually belongs to the amaryllis family, with thick, upright stems surrounded by shiny, dark green leaves.
Plant kaffir lilies in fertile, well-draining soil and part shade. In zones 8 and colder, bring the bulbs inside before the first frost or grow them as houseplants.
5. Kerria (Kerria japonica)
The arching stems of this shrub, often called Japanese kerria or Japanese rose, bloom in early spring with small, yellow flowers resembling roses.
Growing three to eight feet tall and just as wide, kerria makes an excellent border plant. It grows equally well in sun and shade and tolerates a range of soils as well as drought, though it prefers rich, moist soil.
Keep in mind that kerria has a clumping habit and will slowly spread.
6. King’s spear (Asphodeline lutea)
Also called Jacob’s rod or yellow asphodel, the king’s spear produces fragrant yellow flowers in late spring and into summer. Its short runners form a dense stand of grassy, blue-green foliage that reaches a height of about 12 to 18 inches, with the stalks of star-like flowers topping three feet.
A native of the Mediterranean region (check out this gorgeous Mediterranean garden), king’s spear thrives in well-draining soils and on rocky slopes with full to part sun, making it perfect for rock gardens. It is hardy down to zone 6.
7. Knautia (Knautia macedonica)
This whimsical, long-blooming flower features small globes of crimson blossoms perched on wiry stems that wave in the breeze.
An excellent candidate for both cottage and cut flowers gardens, knautia is a short-lived perennial but readily reseeds. Plant this delightful flower in a location with full sun and average, well-draining soil.
Protection from wind will prevent its dancing stems from flopping and sprawling.
8. Kunzea (Kunzea sp.)
Ranging from low-growing groundcovers to 32-foot trees, kunzeas will fit in nearly every garden theme. They produce white, yellow, or pink flowers with long stamens that give them a firework appearance and attract hummingbirds and pollinating insects.
Native to Australia and New Zealand, kunzea is hardy in zones 7-10. The easygoing plant grows well in a range of soils but prefers moist, well-draining soil and full to part sun.
Note that some varieties of kunzea can become invasive, so check with your local extension office before planting.
Whether you dream of a well-manicured landscape reminiscent of palace gardens or a charming cottage garden, I hope you found some inspiration among these kingly flowers.
Serena Manickam is a freelance editor and writer and sustainable market gardener in rural Virginia. She holds a BA in environmental science and runs Fairydiddle Farm, a small market garden in which she grows no-spray produce and herbs to sell at a local farmer’s market.