If you are going to Minnesota, there might be a few things that you want to see while you are there and not just cafes in the inner city.
If you are a nature fan, then there is plenty of flora and fauna that is completely unique to The Gopher State.
From the Large-Leaved Lupine to the Blue Columbine, there are plenty of wildflowers in Minnesota of all great shapes and sizes.
But with so many flowers to seek out, how can you possibly know what they look like or what they are called when you do eventually find them?
Well, this is why having a guide can really come in handy. If you see a large white flower with large petals and a yellow part in the middle, then you might be able to make an educated guess and identify it as a Large-Flowered Trillium.
Interested? Well, let’s delve deep into the 45 most common types of wildflowers in Minnesota.
1. Large-Leaved Lupine (Blue Violet)
During the summer then you might see fields of this beautiful purple and violet wildflower going on for miles and miles.
This type of wildflower really loves the warm sunshine, so you’ll see them in their full bloom when the warmer weather hits. After the heavy winter, there is nothing like spring breaking in with thousands of Large-Leaved Violet Lupines.
If you are strolling along a creek or in a heavily forested area, then you might have seen some of these wildflowers. Forget-Me-Nots are miniature beauties, coming with small purple petals and a mildly yellow center.
These plants can be seen growing in light shade, so when you cultivate them for your garden, make sure to keep them out of intense direct sunlight.
3. Bachelor’s Button
This is another sun-loving flower, coming with vibrant purple leaves and an alarming shape that really lets you know when it is blooming.
You can find this one in forests, fields and near streams. Just take a walk and you are sure to find a few.
4. Blue Columbine
This is a flower that you’ll find more commonly up in the Northern part of Minnesota, growing in the forests and woods of that area.
The Blue Columbine will generally grow in more humid climates, so you’ll have to wait for those early spring months before you have a chance of spying it.
5. Large-Flowered Trillium (White)
If you go hunting through the forests of Michigan (Also check out Common Types Of Michigan Wildflowers), then the chances are you are going to stumble across a Large-Flowered Trillium, which grow in their millions.
This flower makes its presence known with large white petals and a bright orange and yellow center.
6. Queen Anne’s Lace
If you want to gift a bunch of beautiful flowers to a loved one, then we can think of no better flower than Queen Anne’s Lace. This is a very delicate flower, looking exactly like the white lace in its name.
It can be cultivated and will make an amazing addition to any decorative garden setup, especially when you pair it with yellow sunflowers.
7. Red Columbine
The Red Columbine can be found basking in the sun or lurking in the shade, in either environment, you won’t be able to miss its distinctive red coloring.
The leaves in the center are paler and it has longer stamen sticking out of the middle.
8. Large-Flowered Trillium (Pink)
This is an amazing flower that peppers the floor of a lot of forests up in Northern Minnesota.
This flower really grows in abundance, which is what makes it so beautiful. Large-Flowered Trillium is a great flower to thread through your buttonhole.
9. Large-Leaved Lupine (Pink)
This is another larger flower that you will find hard to miss. It can be found in forests and woods where it really blooms, mostly during the sunlit hours.
They also come in many different shades, some of which we’ll highlight here. You should be able to spot this flower from over one hundred yards away.
This plant is not only beautiful to look at but it has been said to have many medicinal properties. This is said to decrease some of the symptoms of flu and colds, as well as reduce inflammation from laryngitis.
This flower can grow up to 2-4 feet tall, which makes it much easier to spot when you are out in the open.
Now we have a flower that you can eat! That’s right, this flower is perfectly edible and is brimming with vitamins and nutrients that will keep you healthy.
However, we would only recommend that you mix this in with a salad, as the leaves are very bitter. One of the ways to temper the flavor of this leaf is by boiling it first.
12. Blue Vervain
This next flower can resist a lot of extremes, whether it be excessive rain or drought. This will also attract various insects such as butterflies, wasps, honeybees and moths.
This is one of the main foods of the Common Buckeye Butterfly caterpillar than can often be found crawling up the green leaves to feed.
13. Common Blue Violet
This common wildflower can grow in your garden if the conditions are just right.
If this happens, then you might just see your backyard start teeming with life, as this flower attracts a lot of strange and interesting creatures, including ants, mason bees, and caterpillars. It also attracts larger animals like rabbits and deer.
14. Common Periwinkle
This grows in all different types of conditions, whether it is intense sunshine or shade. It is easy to spot by the distinctive hexagonal shape of the purple leaves. This also attracts all sorts of bees and butterflies.
This flower is a prickly customer, coming with a sharp bulb and purple stems. The teasel has lots of medicinal properties such as helping to reduce inflammation in the kidneys and helping to heal broken bones.
This has also been used to help with the treatment of Lyme disease. This is also an important food for Goldfinches during the winter.
16. Virginia Bluebells
This flower can be found all year round and grows in wetlands and on the edges of various woodlands. This flower attracts plenty of hummingbirds and butterflies.
This is probably one of the most unique and attractive flowers that can be found in the Minnesota area. It grows in the thousands, so you’ll be able to see whole forest floors covered with them.
17. Bull Thistle
If you want to attract beautiful birds like the Goldfinch into your backyard, then you can’t really go wrong with the Bull Thistle. This is another spiny purple flower that birds such as this use to line their nests.
This is a great flower for your backyard, as it will help you to attract all sorts of bees and butterflies that will pollinate other plants.
18. Common Burdock
This flower can be found in so many different locations, from open prairies to hayfields and roadsides. This flower is a deep purple color and is easy to spot.
The head of this plant develops a sticky texture that allows it to adhere to human clothing. This is the main way that they pollinate.
19. Clasping Venus’ Looking Glass
You can see this flower coming from a mile away, with its vivid purple coloring and rounded leaves. It attracts a lot of insects and it self-pollinates.
You can find this unique-looking plant in disturbed areas like construction sites and derelict buildings.
20. Bee Balm
This is another vivid purple flower that can be found along the roadsides of Minnesota. It gives out plenty of nectar, making it a sought-after spot for many birds and bees, particularly hummingbirds.
In fact, a lot of people use this flower to draw in hummingbirds and find that they no longer need their regular sugar feeders!
21. Creeping Charlie
This is another one that attracts a lot of bees, as it produces a lot of pollen. It can be found in semi-shaded areas.
It can also be found in backyards, but make sure that you have a thick pair of gloves when you are removing it, as this one has very strong roots that grow very deep into the ground. You can spot this flower by its rich purple petals.
22. Purple Loosestrife
This flower can be found in more boggy parts of Minnesota, especially along the edge of lakes, rivers and streams.
This plant is particularly aggressive and you might see it overwhelm other plants growing in the same place.
23. Dame’s Rocket
This is another flower that you can put in a salad and eat, as it is actually very high in vitamin C. This flower can only really be found in the springtime, so keep an eye out in partially shaded areas.
This flower is spread all over Minnesota and grows in rich and dense clusters, making it almost impossible to miss!
24. Purple Coneflower
This is another flower that can really withstand harsh conditions, which is why a lot of people voluntarily grow them in their gardens.
This flower is also known to attract rabbits. This comes with lots of different layers, all of which are very rich in nectar, making it a feeding source for a lot of local insects.
As you can tell by the name, this flower has been used in a lot of medicines. You can find it spreading hard and fast in excessively grassy areas, and it often attracts plenty of different insects from butterflies to bees to wasps.
Take a close at this flower and you will see the intricate pattern that it forms.
26. Swamp Milkweed
This is an extremely fragrant flower that you can find along the shores of lakes and on the banks of rivers. Monarch caterpillars devour this strain of milkweed.
You can find Swamp Milkweed in various places, but particularly in wet meadows and along the sides of lakes. This one grows quite tall, which should make it easy to spot.
27. Spreading Dogbane
This flower is called dogbane because it is very poisonous to our canine pals, as well as us too. You can find these along the sandy shore of a lot of lakes.
You can find this one growing along the sandy banks both in the shade and the sunlight. Dogbane gives off a pungent scent that is very similar to lilac.
28. Common Milkweed
There are literally hundreds of insects that feed on this flower, and you can often see, bees, wasps, and butterflies perching on it to savor some of the nectar.
It has a very long stalk and the flower itself is a delightful purple with white cotton fringing around the edges.
29. Joe Pye Weed
Whether it is completely sunny or shady, you will see this perennial plant thriving. It comes with bright purple flowers that will catch your eye if you are ever strolling near a wet meadow.
This plant is considered a weed, but it is not as aggressive when growing near plants as other weeds are.
This wonderful little plant comes with a blend of different colors that makes it a popular choice amongst a bunch of other flowers.
The springbeauty grows during the middle of the summer right through until the late Autumnal months.
31. Wild Mint
This flower comes in a distinctive bell shape, with streaks of lavender, pink, yellow and white running through it. This is seen thriving in wetlands under partial sunlight.
This is a flower that blooms during the late spring and early summer months. It comes with purple and pink barbs and is a feeding ground for hummingbirds, bees and moths.
33. Everlasting Pea
This is a very durable flower that can even withstand some of the harsher frosty temperatures. If you leave this one unattended, it will grow rapidly like a weed, which makes it great for use as a crawler.
34. Crown Vetch
This is another very invasive plant that can pretty much push out any other flower if left to its own devices. It grows on sunny riverbanks and generally wetter areas.
35. Birds-Foot Trefoil
Now we move on to the yellow-streaked flowers. This comes with yellow, orange and red coloring that will be sure to catch your eye.
You can catch this plant at the side of roads, so why not pull over and pick some? This is another great food for bees, butterflies and moths, as it comes with plenty of pollen.
36. St. John’s Wort
You should keep this weed away from livestock, as it can be extremely poisonous when consumed.
This can be found in sand, meadows, wet meadows and dry prairies. It really thrives in full or semi-sunny environments. St. John’s Wort also grows in dense clusters.
These flowers are very similar to daisies and are often cultivated to grow in backyards because of their beautiful yellow and orange coloring.
This flower was often ground into powder to make snuff, which is how it got the sneeze in its name.
38. Black-Eyed Susan
This wonderfully named plant comes with a dark center, which offsets the vivid orange plants that surround it. This blooms from the height of summer through to the dying days of Fall.
You can find it in prairies, woods, forests, and along the side of the road. There are numerous species of insects that visit these flowers.
39. Green-Headed Coneflower
Again, this is a plant that is known for the color of its center. These ones grow in full or partial sunlight and will bloom in the summer through to the Fall.
This is a taller flower that needs plenty of space to grow and flourish. Birds such as songbirds will often eat the seeds of this flower or give them to their young.
40. Wild Parsnip
This is not the same as the parsnips that you might get in your local store and it is in fact deadly to ingest. This flower grows for half of the year and usually starts blooming in the late summer months.
It is a smaller flower with a yellow color that grows in dense clusters, with long and green stems. You can expect plenty of insects to visit this one.
This is another vivid plant that, despite its size, you’ll be able to see growth from over one hundred yards away.
In the wild, it is very unruly, but you can trim and cultivate it for your plant pots. There are many varieties of bees, wasps, butterflies, moths and beetles that depend on this flower for sustenance.
42. Common Sunflower
This type of flower is known all over the world, but in Minnesota, you can find it on the prairies, in woodlands or even by the side of the road.
This flower is mainly cultivated in back gardens for its aesthetic properties. However, there are plenty of insects and small animals that enjoy feeding on its juicy yellow and orange leaves.
43. Common Mullein
This type of plant was more commonly found in Europe, but now it is considered a native plant of Minnesota. These plants grow very fast and start to bloom during the height of summer.
From a distance this plant can look like corn, owing to its curved shape. Mullein is sold in oil and extracts in health stores across the country.
There are a lot of varieties of buttercups that grow all over the world, but there are some species that are only native to Minnesota.
You can find these brilliant and bright yellow flowers in moist areas like fields, meadows and along the roadside. This flower can be pruned and trimmed and kept in your backyard to attract insects.
45. Spiny Sow-Thistle
This is a flower that you can find growing in the most unlikely of places, even a construction site.
However, you might want to be wary about it growing too near your home, as this can dominate and eradicate any other flowers in the area. This one is known for its distinctive spines and yellow petals.
We hope that our guide to the wildflowers of Minnesota has shown you the sheer diversity of plants that grow there. But this list doesn’t even scratch the surface, there are so many other plants for you to discover, so use our list as a starting point!
Frequently Asked Questions
You’ll want to sow your wildflower seeds during the beginning of the spring, ideally during the March and April months.This is when they will get plenty of sunlight and warmth that will help them to germinate quickly and start to bloom in the summer.
Yes, you can. Make sure that you are planting them in the late Autumn. Then they will germinate but stay largely inactive during the winter. If you miss the spring window for planting, then late Autumn is the next best time to sow.
Wildflowers will take around 2 years to develop into fully mature plants. You probably won’t see any flowers in the first year, so you should make sure that you are patient when waiting for blooms.
There are 2 different types of wildflowers: perennials and annuals. Annual flowers bloom a lot quicker, although you will only get one show. Perennials take a lot longer to develop, but they will carry on blooming year in, year out.
Yes, it is. In fact, mowing your wildflower fields is the best way to maintain them, getting rid of the old plants so that new ones have the space to grow. Once they do grow, you won’t need to maintain them much.