Stunning, striking, sweet, splendid, sumptuous … numerous adjectives that begin with S can be used to describe the wonderful attributes of flowers. We can also talk about their subtle beauty, simple care, scented blooms, or surprising qualities. Beyond words to describe them, there are many flowers that start with S! Here is just a sampling to get you started.
Annual Flowers that Start with S
1. Safflower (Carthamus tinctorius)
Perhaps best known for the oil extracted from its seeds, safflower is also a lovely ornamental plant. Its spiny leaves provide a uniquely textured backdrop for the round, golden flowers that bloom in summer. Plant in a cutting garden for use in both fresh and dried bouquets, or add it to an herb plot as a saffron alternative.
Safflower is happiest in a sunny location with moderate moisture.
2. Salvia (Salvia sp.)
The different species of salvia, or sage, are commonly grown for culinary, medicinal, and ornamental uses. Many feature aromatic foliage as well as spires of small tubular flowers in bold shades of blue, red, pink, or white. All salvias attract hummingbirds and other pollinators.
Preferred growing conditions vary by species, but salvia tends to grow well in hot, dry areas.
3. Snapdragon (Antirrhinum majus)
Adults appreciate snapdragon’s bright spires of blossoms, children enjoy playing with its dragon head-shaped flowers, and bees benefit from sipping its sweet nectar. This classic annual has a place in nearly every garden, from containers on the patio to cut flower beds.
Although they don’t mind a bit of chilly weather, snapdragons may stop blooming in the extreme summer heat, so plan to bring them inside in midsummer if you live in the South, or provide them with a bit of afternoon shade. Otherwise, they should be in full sun.
4. Spider flower (Cleome hasslerana)
Spindly, spidery blossoms give spider flower its name. These pink, purple, or white flower clusters bloom until the first frost and attract hummingbirds, butterflies, and other pollinators throughout the season. Growing as tall as five feet, spider flower is perfect for back borders and along fences, especially in cottage gardens, as it readily reseeds.
Plant spider flower in fertile, well-draining soil and full sun for dense growth and continuous blooms.
5. Sunflower (Helianthus annuus)
Known for their giant, sunny blooms on remarkably tall stalks, sunflowers provide cheer to onlookers as well as tasty seeds for birds and humans alike. And if 10-foot behemoths are more than your garden can accommodate, dwarf varieties have been developed, as well.
Sunflowers can be grown in any sunny location with well-draining soil.
6. Sweet alyssum (Lobularia maritima)
This dainty, cool-season flower produces globes of white blooms above small mounds of foliage in spring and fall. The lightly scented flowers of sweet alyssum can also sometimes be found in shades of pink and purple. In milder northern climates, they may continue to bloom throughout the summer.
Plant sweet alyssum in full sun, providing some afternoon shade in warmer southern regions.
7. Sweet pea (Lathyrus sp.)
A classic cottage garden vine, sweet pea graces any outdoor space with its sweet fragrance. Its delicate blossoms, typically pink, bloom in spring and early summer and make a lovely addition to fresh bouquets.
Grow sweet pea near a bench or walkway where its perfume can be enjoyed, and make sure to provide it with a trellis, fence, or other support. For the best blooms, plant in full sun and fertile, well-draining soil.
Perennial Flowers that Start with S
8. Saffron (Crocus sativus)
Known for the precious spice made from its dried and ground stigmas, saffron also produces small but lovely papery, purple blossoms. This fall-blooming crocus grows to just six inches tall and three inches wide. Plant saffron bulbs along the front border of a flower bed or in a perennial herb garden.
Saffron prefers full sun and well-draining soil.
9. Scented geranium (Pelargonium graveolens)
Although they bloom in the spring or summer with delicate pink or white flower clusters, scented geraniums are loved for their perfumed foliage. The leaves come in a variety of shapes and hues as well as scents, including fruits, flowers, and spices.
Grow them in the ground as annuals or plant them in pots that can be brought inside during the winter, but make sure to place them where they can be frequently brushed up against to release their lovely fragrance.
Scented geraniums prefer full to part sun and moist, well-draining soil, though they tolerate dry conditions.
10. Sedum (Crassulaceae sp.)
This popular succulent can often be found serving as a groundcover in rock gardens or growing around – or even through – stone walls. Upright varieties form tight clumps that lend themselves well to division. Sedum foliage comes in a wide range of shapes and colors, as do the flowers, which attract bees and butterflies.
Being a succulent, sedum prefers full sun and dry conditions.
11. Shasta daisy (Leucanthemum x superbum)
The cheerful Shasta daisy is a wonderful addition to any garden, as well as containers. The classic white petals and yellow centers have a long vase life, making these flowers a great choice for cutting gardens. They also require little care and will tolerate some drought once established.
Plant Shasta daisies in full to part sun and well-draining soil.
12. Shooting star (Dodecatheon meadia)
A North American woodland native, shooting star features small, nodding white or pink flowers that grow in loose clusters like tiny chandeliers. This ephemeral plant blooms in the spring before going dormant by midsummer. It grows well in woodland gardens, wildflower gardens, and any moist, rocky areas.
For best results, plant shooting star in partial to full shade and moist, well-draining soil.
13. Skullcap (Scutellaria sp.)
A relative of mint, this wildflower has square stems topped by clusters of pink or purple tubular flowers. Each blossom has two “lips”: the upper forms a narrow hood over the lower, flared lip, which is often a contrasting white.
Skullcap is hardy to USDA zone 7 or 6, depending on the variety, but may be grown as an annual further north.
Easy to care for, skullcap prefers light, well-draining soil in full to part sun, and it will tolerate some drought.
14. Sneezeweed (Helenium autumnale)
Also known by its genus, helenium, sneezeweed blooms from midsummer through fall with daisy-like, yellow to red flowers. And despite the misleading common name, it does not trigger allergies. Rather, sneezeweed serves as a wonderful cut flower and attracts bees, butterflies, and other pollinators.
For long-lasting color, plant sneezeweed in full sun and evenly moist, slightly acidic, well-draining soil.
15. Snowdrop (Galanthus nivalis)
This graceful, early spring flower features nodding white blossoms with a subtle, sweet fragrance. Though it grows only a few inches tall, the snowdrop is a welcome sight in the garden after the long winter months. Mix snowdrops in a bed with daffodils, crocus, and other spring bulbs for a colorful intro to the growing season.
Despite their delicate appearance, snowdrops are remarkably easy to grow in any shady location with well-draining soil.
16. Soapwort (Saponaria sp.)
Soapwort will brighten any garden with a carpet of cheery little pink or white blooms from late spring into fall. Traditionally grown as a soap ingredient, today this low-growing plant is commonly used as a decorative groundcover in cottage gardens, rock gardens, and other flower beds, as well as to fill and spill over containers.
This vigorous grower appreciates full sun and poor, well-draining soil and will even do well in rocky or sandy conditions. It can become invasive, so look for tamer varieties, cut it back as soon as it finishes blooming, and/or plant it in containers only.
17. Solomon’s seal (Polygonatum sp.)
Perfect for shade gardens, this woodland wildflower sends up attractive green wands in early spring that soon leaf out for a lovely fernlike appearance. Its dainty, bell-shaped flowers, typically white with green tips, dangle along the undersides of the arched stems. Once they finish blooming, the flowers give way to pretty green berries that age to purple and then black.
Once established in a shady location with moist soil and plenty of organic matter, Solomon’s seal is easy to care for and will even withstand brief droughts.
18. Speedwell (Veronica sp.)
This European genus includes a range of plant types, from creeping groundcovers to two-foot bushy plants. Regardless of growth habit, speedwell produces masses of small, bell-shaped flowers in shades of blue, pink, or white that attract butterflies. Plant in borders or rock gardens or, for trailing types, between stepping stones.
Speedwell prefers full sun and low to moderate moisture, depending on the variety.
19. Star-of-Bethlehem (Ornithogalum sp.)
Also called by its genus, ornithogalum, star-of-Bethlehem blooms in the spring. Its white, starry flowers each have six petals spread around six stamens. A good woodland garden groundcover, star-of-Bethlehem tolerates some shade and spreads readily.
Plant star-of-Bethlehem bulbs in moist, fertile, well-draining soil in full sun to light shade.
20. Sundrops (Calylophus sp.)
Native to the southwestern U.S. and northern Mexico, sundrops add a burst of sunshine to rock gardens and other hot, dry spaces. Their showy, bright-yellow blossoms bloom from spring through fall for long-lasting color. Unfortunately, sundrops rhizomes can easily take over a bed, so make sure to plant them in a contained area or sink metal edging around them.
Sundrops thrive in full sun to light shade, plenty of heat, and soils with excellent drainage.
So many stunning flowers begin with the letter S! Sample a few of these striking beauties and enjoy smelling their sweet scents and smiling over their sunny blossoms throughout the season.