How many times have you been stopped in your tracks by a unique flower, paused to admire its singular beauty? How many times have you longed to bring that wonder into your own garden? While there are innumerable striking flowers to choose from, here are 17 remarkable flowers that start with R to help you start your dream garden.
Annual Flowers that Start with R
1. Ranunculus (Ranunculus asiaticus)
Available in a wide range of colors, ranunculus features stunning, rose-like blossoms that add beauty to flower beds as well as fresh bouquets. This genus comprises about 250 species ranging from aggressively spreading groundcovers to soaring 12-foot plants.
Although technically a perennial, ranunculus is often treated as an annual in USDA zones 7 and colder, where it cannot survive the winter.
Plant ranunculus in a sunny location with well-draining soil or in a container with soilless potting mix.
2. Rocket larkspur (Consolida ambigua)
The blue-violet flowers of rocket larkspur bloom like fairy bonnets along with tall spires for up to two months during the spring and summer. A lovely cottage garden plant, larkspur grows quickly and commonly spreads by self-sowing. Although not often persistent, this Mediterranean native will sometimes escape the bounds of the garden.
Rocket larkspur thrives in average to moist, fertile, loamy soil and full sun.
3. Rocktrumpet (Mandevilla sp.)
Also known by its genus, Mandevilla, rocktrumpet features large white, pink, or red flowers that bloom throughout the summer amid shiny oblong leaves. Although technically a perennial, this tropical vine doesn’t tolerate freezing winters and thus will need to be replanted each year or brought inside during the colder months in all but the southernmost regions.
Plant rocktrumpet in fertile soil in a location that receives full sun.
Perennial Flowers that Start with R
4. Rain lily (Zephyranthes candida)
Named for its tendency to bloom just after a good rain, this lovely little lily has grassy foliage and white, pink, or orange star-shaped blossoms. At just six to 12 inches tall, rain lily works well in front borders or along the edges of paths.
Plant rain lily bulbs in a sunny location with average to dry soil. In zones 6 and cooler, the bulbs need to be dug up and brought inside before the first frost.
5. Red hot poker (Kniphofia sp.)
Also called torch lily, the fun, whimsical red hot poker blooms from late spring until fall in fiery shades of red, orange, and yellow. Its tall, bold flower spikes reach three to eight feet tall and pair well with mounding plants that have rounded leaves and blossoms.
Despite its tropical appearance, red hot poker is surprisingly hardy and easy to care for. It grows best in full sun and moist, well-draining soil.
6. Restharrow (Ononis sp.)
Resembling pea blossoms, the small, pink flowers of restharrow bloom in late summer, from around July through September. This low, creeping herb grows wild in grasslands and coastal areas of the UK. It attracts bees and pairs beautifully with other prairie flowers.
A hardy plant, restharrow thrives in full sun and well-draining, neutral to acidic soil.
7. Rock cress (Arabis sp. and Boechera sp.)
With more than 100 species, rock cress varies in height, shape, color, and place of origin. While most fall under the genus Arabis, many North American species have been reassigned to Boechera.
This lovely little herb tends to have an erect or mounded habit with white, pink, or purple, four-petaled blossoms. True to their name, these low-growing plants do well in rock gardens.
Plant rock cress in a sunny location with excellent drainage.
8. Rockrose (Cistus incanus)
A fast-growing evergreen shrub, rockrose features soft, green foliage and large, fragrant blossoms the bloom in late spring and early summer. The ephemeral flowers last one day and tend to be pink, white, or yellow, though new blooms continue to appear for about a month.
Native to the Mediterranean, this small shrub does well in xeriscaping and sandy coastal areas. Rockrose thrives in full sun and will tolerate poor soils.
9. Roman chamomile (Chamaemelum nobile)
Shorter than its German counterpart, low-growing Roman chamomile makes an excellent groundcover, especially in rock gardens or along flagstone walkways. It blooms from early summer through fall with fragrant daisylike flowers. This attractive herb also makes a calming tea and has a stronger flavor than German chamomile.
Roman chamomile prefers sandy, well-draining soil in full to part sun. It can spread aggressively given ideal conditions, so take care to keep it well contained.
10. Rose (Rosa sp.)
A list of flowers that begin with R would hardly be complete without this classic garden plant. There are myriad varieties of roses, from compact shrubs to climbing vines and from white to vibrant red, but all feature the elegant, ruffled blossoms so many of us know and love.
Most roses require well-draining soil, though their preference for full or part sun will depend on the specific variety.
11. Rose of Sharon (Hibiscus syriacus)
A member of the hibiscus genus and not a rose at all, rose of Sharon blooms in late summer and fall with large, crepe-like blossoms. Colors include white, pink, purple, red, and blue, often with a dark center.
Native to Asia, this easy-to-grow shrub prefers moist, well-draining soil and full to part sun, though it tolerates a range of conditions.
12. Rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis)
Although typically grown as a kitchen herb, rosemary also offers small but lovely flowers to grace any garden. Plant this silvery herb in pots or in the ground and enjoy its strong fragrance as you brush past it.
The shape of the plant ranges from creeping groundcover to a shrub appropriate for hedges, and its delicate flowers bloom along the branches in shades of white, pink, purple or blue.
A Mediterranean native, rosemary requires very well-draining soil and full sun.
13. Round-leaved sundew (Drosera rotundifolia)
This unique North American carnivorous plant is best known for its small round leaves covered in red, sticky hairs that trap insects. In midsummer, the tightly curled flowering stem unfurls, and tiny white flowers bloom up it in ascending order.
Native to boggy areas, round-leaved sundew grows well in soggy, sandy soil and full to part sun.
14. Rudbeckia (Rudbeckia sp.)
Also known by the common names black-eyed Susan and brown-eyed Susan, flowers in the genus Rudbeckia most often have golden petals surrounding a dark center. Native to North American prairies, rudbeckia is easy to care for and produces a mass of blooms in late summer.
Rudbeckia grows well in a variety of soils and prefers full sun to light shade.
15. Rue (Ruta graveolens)
A shrubby, aromatic herb, rue has lovely blue-green foliage that lends itself well to knot gardens and other neat hedges. It produces clusters of little yellow flowers throughout the summer, which should be cut for fresh bouquets or deadheaded to prevent reseeding and spreading.
Rue needs good drainage and full sun but requires little care and will tolerate some light shade as well as drought.
16. Rue anemone (Anemonella thalictroides)
This delicate North American woodland plant grows to just nine inches high. Its small, white or pink flowers bloom in early spring, with some varieties featuring double blooms that resemble tiny roses. As an added bonus, deer don’t seem to enjoy munching on rue anemone.
Perfect for woodland or other shade gardens, rue anemone prefers partial to full shade and average moisture.
17. Russian sage (Perovskia atriplicifolia)
A tall, bushy perennial, Russian sage features slender spires of purple blooms above attractive, often serrated or wavy, silvery foliage. It resembles lavender and is equally fragrant, smelling predictably like a cross between sage and lavender. This low-maintenance plant is excellent as part of a privacy border or in a cut flower garden.
Russian sage requires full sun and tolerates drought once established.
So many remarkable flowers to choose from! I hope at least a few on this list have caught your eye as striking additions to your own unique garden. Happy planting!
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.