It will come as no surprise that the world of flowers, trees, shrubs, and vines is a vast one. With so many choices around us, it can seem impossible at times to narrow down the selection to just a few plants! Luckily for us, a plant’s needs, maintenance levels, and even “look” play a huge role in whether or not they belong in our gardens.
This short and sweet list of flowers that begin with the letter N, will hopefully help you to make an informed choice when it comes to including them in your outdoor space. Each of these wonderful plants has varying characteristics, growth habits, colors, and more, and each description should help you to determine at a glance if they belong in your garden!
#1 Narrowleaf Angelon
The narrowleaf angelon is sometimes referred to as the summer snapdragon or angelonia. Its Latin name is Angelonia angustifolia, and it is a vigorous growing herbaceous perennial that is often grown as an annual in colder climates. They have showy, two-lipped flowers that are similar to snapdragons and come in a variety of wonderful shades including white, pink, purple, blue, and variegated.
Narrowleaf angelons are summer bloomers that will grow as tall as 4 feet with a spread of 1 foot. They grow well in containers making them fantastic for container gardens, patios, and balconies! Their beautiful flower spikes also make good cut flowers making them perfect for indoor flower displays.
Nasturtiums are extremely versatile plants that are both well-loved garden ornamentals, as well as culinary herbs! They belong to the genus Tropaeolum, with two main types, T. majus and T. minus. T. majus is a trailing species that can be trained to climb up trellises or spread across the ground, whereas T. minus is a more clump-forming, bushy type.
These wonderful plants have vivid colored flowers and their edible, lily-like leaves taste like watercress, making them perfect for salads. They grow well both in containers and beds and prefer full sun conditions although they will tolerate some light shade. Nasturtiums are fantastic companion plants in vegetable gardens and are often planted in herb gardens!
These delightful plants are short-lived perennials that are often grown as annuals. They are mostly native to parts of southern Africa and have proved themselves to be favorites as cool-weather annuals in countries like the US. Nemesias have a long flowering season, from spring through to fall, and their compact growing habit makes them an ideal candidate for bedding, containers, and baskets!
Their showy and lightly scented flowers are two-lipped and come in a variety of lovely shades! They may be white, cream, yellow, pink, red, orange, purple, brown, and blue, and sometimes have two colors and contrasting light or dark centers. Nemesias will reach a final height and spread of 1 foot, and do best in full sun conditions.
Nepeta, also known as catmint or catnip, is a group of species in the Nepeta genus and the mint family Lamiaceae. They are herbaceous perennials that originally come from temperate Eurasia, Macaronesia, and tropical areas of Eastern Africa, although several hybrid cultivars exist today. Their common names are derived from their strong scent which is known to be attractive to cats!
These plants require good drainage and full sun conditions and are drought tolerant once established. They make fantastic companion plants for vegetable gardens as their scent is known to repel pests like aphids and squash bugs. Nepetas have short spikes adorned with delicate sprays of small flowers that can be lavender, white, or blue. Their flowers look at home in meadow, cottage-style, and container gardens, and will also do well in rocky areas.
Nerines, otherwise known as Guernsey lilies, are bulbous perennials that are a top choice for adding a splash of color late in the growing season! They have a late summer to fall bloom and will grace the garden with masses of small, delicate flowers. Native to Zimbabwe and South Africa, these vividly colored plants prefer hot and dry areas that receive partial shade.
In cooler climates, tender varieties should be grown in pots and brought indoors over winter, whereas the more hardy types should be given some added protection by being placed against a southward-facing wall. Their flowers can grow between 1 and 3 inches across and are funnel-shaped. They have 6 petals, are showy, and come in bright shades of white, pink, red, yellow, and orange. Grow them in cottage-style borders, or as container plants in patios.
#6 New Guinea Impatiens
Impatiens hawkeri, also called the New Guinea hybrids or the New Guinea impatiens, is a herbaceous perennial that will grow as tall as 15 inches. They are extremely versatile plants, suiting a range of garden themes and styles, including coastal, cottage-style, container, patio, and more! They look especially impressive when planted en-masse along walkways, or in large pots.
They have a long bloom time from spring to fall, and showy, 4-5 petal flowers that come in white, pink, red, purple, and orange. New Guinea impatiens can grow in partial to deep shade and will tolerate full sun conditions, but only if given sufficient water. However, over-watering may result in root rot, so care should be taken.
#7 New Zealand Flax
These striking plants are native to New Zealand and are clump-forming, tender perennials. Their Latin name is Phormium tenax, which translates as strong or tough mat, referring to their use as woven garments or baskets by the Maori people. New Zealand flax is low-maintenance and will grow as tall as 6 feet with a speed of 3 feet.
They have sturdy, sword-shaped leaves that are bright green edged with red-orange, although several attractive cultivars exist with pink, purple, orange, or red, edging. Their flowers grow in panicles atop 12-inch flower spikes and are narrow, tubular, and dull red. Their flowers are highly attractive to hummingbirds, but those that grow in containers rarely flower. Grow them as a specimen plant in container or patio gardens!
Nicotianas or tobacco plants can be annuals, biennials, perennials, or shrubs, with a few individuals in this large group being extremely popular garden ornamentals, treasured for their long-lived color! They have long tubular blooms that open up to form starry flowers which grow in attractive clusters. Their flowers may be white, pink, red, purple, yellow, and green.
Many of these plants have flowers that only open at night, releasing a distinctive musky fragrance. Nicotianas may grow to heights of over 5 feet, making them ideal for adding height to summer borders and cottage-style displays. They grow well in containers so are also suited for patios and city gardens!
Nierembergia plants are native to Argentina and are a part of the nightshade family, Solanaceae. The most well-known of the group is N. scoparia, a herbaceous perennial commonly known as the cup flower. These plants are a top choice for edging, rock gardens, containers, hanging baskets, and borders.
Cup flowers are low growing, only reaching as tall as 8 inches, with a long blooming time from May until the frosts. These showy flowers are often grown as annuals in cooler climates. They have starry, cup-shaped flowers that come in blue-purple or white, depending on the cultivar, with bright yellow centers. Cup flowers are extremely heat tolerant and their flower color won’t fade, even in bright sunshine.
Nigellas are a small group of 15 species in the genus Nigella. Their genus name comes from the Latin word “Niger” referring to their black seeds. N. damascena or love-in-a-mist is a popular annual that comes from northern Africa and parts of southern Europe. They have showy flowers that are good freshly cut for the home or dried flower displays!
These whimsical plants grow between 1 and 2 feet tall and are suited for mixed beds and borders in cottage-style gardens or containers. Their flowers are commonly a delicate shade of blue and are borne on solitary stems atop sprays of fine, lacy foliage. Several cultivars exist, some with double flowers, or in wonderful shades of pink, purple, and white.
#11 Night Phlox
Zaluzianskya ovata, or night phlox, is a low-growing, evergreen, alpine perennial that originally comes from southern Africa. They are revered for their delicate flowers that open at night, hence the name, to produce a sweet fragrance! Their lovely flowers are white with crimson backs and grow to just under 1 inch across.
Night phlox flowers from mid to late summer, and perform best in full sun conditions and well-drained soils. They grow well in containers and look fantastic combined with other sweet-scented night bloomers such as nicotianas and summer phlox. Plant them in patio gardens or balconies to add some intoxicating fragrance to warm summer nights.
#12 Nodding Wakerobin
The nodding wakerobin, Trillium flexipes, or the drooping trillium, is a clump-forming herbaceous perennial that will reach a maximum height of 2 feet. They are showy spring bloomers with 3-petaled flowers that can reach 1-3 inches across. Their petals are white and are accompanied by 3 green sepals that almost overlap with the petals. As the flowers age, they begin to bend closer to the ground and become hidden by foliage.
Nodding wakerobin plants prefer dappled sunlight to deep shade, making them ideal for woodland gardens. Plant them along shady walkways or naturalized gardens, where they will attract many pollinators including bees, moths, and small mammals!
Nolanas are a large group of around 80 flowering plants that are known as the Chilean bellflower and come from Chile and Peru. Their native habitats are dry and hot environments, lending nolanas as popular plants for rock gardens! Of the group, Nolana paradoxa in particular is a well-loved ornamental garden plant, perfect as edging or for hanging baskets.
These plants are a great alternative to petunias and have a low-growing, creeping habit, only growing 8 inches high. Their flowers are funnel-shaped pale purple-blue, with sunshine yellow throats.
Nymphaea belong to the waterlily family Nymphaeaceae. They are a group of 46 species often called water nymphs. The most common Nymphaea species are the American water lily N. odorata and the European water lily N. alba. Both have large, white, lightly fragrant flowers. Other species and hybrids in the genus can have white, pink, red, yellow, or blue flowers!
Water nymphs prefer to be grown in non-moving water such as a pond or fountain and most do best in full sun conditions although some will tolerate some light shade. Shorter varieties are better for containers, and they look incredible when planted en-masse!
Check our types of flowers list to learn more.