There are so many weird and wonderful flowers in the world, that anyone starting a new garden, or giving their garden a much-needed makeover may find themselves wondering where to start! Luckily the light levels, soil type, garden style, and more can help us to narrow down what plants should be included in our garden schemes.
This list of flowers that begin with the letter U, has some truly beautiful plants which may just be what you’re looking to add to your space! You should be able to tell at a glance if they will do well in your garden conditions and match the rest of your plants.
This list has all the flower varieties – annuals, perennials, and shrubs, but one thing to remember is that many tender perennials can be grown successfully in colder climates either with some extra winter care or as annuals!
#1 Ulex europaeus
Ulex europaeus, also known as the common gorse, European furze, or French furze, is an evergreen shrub found in West and Central Europe. They are unusual plants, easily recognized by their very spiny, heavily-branched stems that have simple, dark green leaves. U. europaeus grows well under full sun conditions and in poor, sandy soils. In richer soils, they can become a bit leggy.
They can have a final height and spread of 8 feet making them a good choice for hedges or a privacy screen! Over winter and spring, these shrubs bear solitary, coconut-scented, bright yellow flowers less than 1-inch across. U. europaeus plants are low maintenance, and their sunny flowers and bushy growing habit suits coastal, informal, and wildlife gardens.
#2 Ulex gallii
Ulex gallii or the western gorse, like other members of the Ulex genus, is an evergreen shrub. They can grow between 3 and 6.5 feet tall and bear their pretty flowers in summer and fall. These shrubs have spiny, heavily-branched stems that have simple, dark green leaves. Their fragrant, pea-like flowers are sunshine yellow and grow less than 0.5 inches long. These lovely flowers are a good source of nectar for bees and butterflies, making U. gallii a good choice for bringing pollinators into the garden!
Grow U. gallii in sandy soils under full sun conditions. Plant them in beds and borders of cottage-style, informal, and pollinator gardens, or use them as a hedge or privacy screen. These plants are perfect for low-maintenance gardens, and only need to be pruned every 2-3 years to keep them looking neat.
#3 Umbrella Magnolia
Umbrella magnolia or Magnolia tripetala is a flowering tree native to the eastern US. They can grow to an astonishing 40 feet high and have a spread of 30 feet, but generally grow between 15 and 30 feet tall. Umbrella magnolias are known for their huge, rich green leaves. From mid-spring to early summer, they produce large, bowl-shaped, flowers that can reach as wide as 6-8 inches. Their showy flowers are creamy-white but can have an unpleasant odor!
These trees should be planted in moist, well-drained soils, either in full sun or partial shade, although they can tolerate some deep shade. They make fantastic specimen plants as long as they are planted somewhere sheltered to protect their large leaves from damage. After the blooming season, umbrella magnolia flowers are followed by pink-red cone-shaped fruits that are a good source of food for birds and small mammals!
#4 Umbrella Plant
Cyperus alternifolius also called umbrella plant, umbrella palm, or umbrella sedge is a perennial ornamental grass noted more for its interesting foliage than its modest flowers. Native to tropical Africa, umbrella plants do best in full sun to partial shade and will grow well in consistently moist garden soils but can also be planted in standing water up to 6 inches deep! These clump-forming plants have long upright stems topped with a cluster of leaf-like bracts, and from late summer to fall, these bracts are adorned with sprays of small yellow-brown flowers.
They are tender plants winter hardy in USDA zones 9-12, however, in cooler climates container-grown plants can be cut back to their base and overwintered under glass in a shallow tray of water in temperatures no colder than 41°F. Plant them in patios, along ponds and streams, or in bog and rain gardens.
#5 Upright Prairie Coneflower
The upright prairie coneflower or Ratibida columnifera is an eye-catching perennial wildflower that is winter hardy in USDA zones 4-9. These flowers are native to North America and sometimes are called Mexican hat plants, although beware as many other flowers also go by this common name! They will grow between 1 and 3 feet and are a top choice for sunny borders, cottage-style gardens, or prairie and meadow gardens. They look stunning planted en-masse and will readily self-seed in the right conditions.
Grow upright prairie coneflowers under full sun, in dry to medium well-draining soils. They bloom from late spring to fall, bearing daisy-like flowers that have drooping rust-red petals edges with yellow and a prominent cone-shaped central disk! Their flowers are attractive to butterflies, and in fall and winter, their seeds are a good food source for birds!
#6 Upright Virgin’s Bower
Upright virgin’s bower, also known as Clematis recta, bush clematis, and ground virgin’s bower, is an evergreen or deciduous perennial shrub native to parts of Europe and the Caucasus. These plants can grow as tall as 6 feet and have become naturalized in the northern US and parts of southern Canada. They do best in full sun to partial shade in loamy or clay soils that are well-draining.
Blooming in spring and summer, upright virgin’s bower has white, fragrant, cross or star-shaped flowers. Their flowers grow in panicles and are good for attracting bees and butterflies into the garden. Grow these lovely plants in woodland, cottage-style, or pollinator gardens, although take care as they are poisonous to people and pets! It is also recommended to give them a hard pruning in early spring.
#7 Urn plant
Aechmea fasciata or the urn plant is a Brazilian native tender perennial hardy in zones 10-11. These exotic plants grow between 1 and 3 feet high and have striking flowers! They usually take 3 years to reach maturity producing a single, large pink inflorescence consisting of showy pink bracts housing small purple flowers! Urn plants flower for several months before dying. They reproduce by forming baby plants or “pups” around their base that can be cut away and repotted to make a new plant!
Their common name comes from its rosette of silvery-blue foliage which grows in a rosette and forms an “urn” that collects rainwater. When growing urn plants indoors or in containers outdoors over the summer in warmer climates, they are watered by filling the urn around 1-inch deep with water.
Ursinia flowers are part of the genus Ursinia which is made up of around 40 species of annuals, perennials, and subshrubs. They are native to South Africa and are known for their showy, daisy-like flower heads with vibrant yellow, orange, or red outer rays! U. anthemoides, also called the jewel of the veldt or the common parachute daisy, is a popular garden ornamental within the group.
U. anthemoides is a perennial with a bushy habit, though it is commonly grown as an annual in cooler climates. Their flowers emerge in summer and can grow as wide as 2 inches with golden yellow rays and deep purple disk florets. Their daisy flowers are solitary and sit atop slender, leafless stalks that rise above the deep green foliage. These sunny flowers grow easily in sandy, well-drained soils in full sun conditions, and are well suited for gravel, cottage-style, and informal garden beds and borders!
#9 Ugni molinae
Ugni molinae, sometimes referred to as Chilean guava or strawberry myrtle, are extremely versatile and relatively hardy evergreen shrubs that can survive winters down to USDA zones 8 or 9. These plants are native to Chile and can grow to have a final height of 3 to 6 feet. They make wonderful specimen plants for border shrubs in cottage-style, Mediterranean, and informal gardens. U. molinae can also be grown successfully in containers, so are a good choice for a city or patio garden!
They bloom in spring, producing delightfully fragrant bell-shaped flowers that are white to pale pink. These flowers emerge in the masses and hang down delicately amongst their lush, rich green leaves. Throughout the summer their lovely flowers transform into beautiful little red berries that are edible, either cooked or raw! U. molinae is drought resistant once established and should be grown in well-drained soils in full sun to partial shade.
#10 Uvularia grandiflora
Uvularia grandiflora, commonly known as bellwort or wood daffodil is an eastern and central North American native and a top choice for mass plantings along woodland margins or shady cottage-style garden borders! These plants can grow as large as 2 feet and prefer to be planted in areas with partial to full shade, and humus-rich, well-draining, moist soils.
These pretty plants bloom from mid to late spring, and have drooping, narrow, bell-shaped flowers that grow to 1.5 inches long and are bright, buttery yellow! Their flowers have an unusual twisted appearance which adds to their interest. Plant them alongside trilliums and wood anemones for a wonderful woodland display!