Our Top Ten Flowering Plants for Spring + Summer

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Australia is a bluster of colour and sculptural shapes in the spring and summer months. We’re spoilt for choice for decorating our homes, from distinctive wildflowers to delightful imports…

We’ve selected just a handful of our favourite flowers with showy foliage to share with you. Let’s blur the boundaries between outside + in and embrace the warmer temperatures!

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Magnolia 1 Print Art from Americanflat, available online at Zanui, and magnolias in the wild. Image sourced: pixabay.com

Magnolia

Magnolias are over 20 million years old. They’ve been in existence since BB – before bees.

Featuring a distinctive goblet shape, the flowers are most commonly creamy-white or tinged pink but also come in vibrant fuscia, butterfly + gold finch yellow, and purple hues. There are over 200 varietals in existence.

They introduce a classical elegance and opulent sophistication to your interiors, iconic of summer.

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From L to R: Artificial Magnolia Wreath (Set of 2) by Rogue, Magnolia Cushion by j.elliot HOME and Artificial Grand Magnolia Stem (Set of 2) by Rogue available online at Zanui.

Found on: tall hardy trees/shrubs with rich green leaves, mostly evergreen.

Renowned for: their contribution to Chinese medicine (both bark and flower are used), their association with that character-driven film by Paul Thomas Anderson and the alpha-femme-filled Steel Magnolias.

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Images sourced L to R: en.wikipedia.org and oz.wikia.com

Poppy

This alluring fleur captured the hearts + minds of poets + artists past, not just for its reckless beauty but also for its ability to transport. The edible seeds of the Papaver somniferum are used to produce opium!

Poppies are hirsute. Their petals emerge crumpled from hairy buds on cute hairy stems in late spring to early summer. Their beauty is distinctive, fusing masculine and feminine elements to seductive effect.

Scatter scarlet and multi-coloured blossoms throughout your home for unpretentious elegance and vibrant pops of colour.

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From L to R: Field Poppy Conical Mug, 400ml (Set of 4) by Casa Domani, Poppy Mix Print Art (Set of 3) by Prints To Frame and Power Poppies Wool Designer Rug by Dash & Albert, available online at Zanui.

Found on: herbaceous plants that can be annual, biennial or perennial

Renowned for: fuelling Samuel Coleridge’s penning of his ode to subconscious kingdoms – see the poem Kubla Khan. The poppy carried him to quite the paradise. And also as a symbol of remembrance for the lives lost in WWI due to their presence on the bloodied battlefields of Flanders.

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Renowned for their scent – gardenia is used in Wedgwood’s Little Luxuries Butterfly Bloom Gardenia And Peony Scented Candle, available online at Zanui.

Gardenia

Gardenias are a part of the coffee (!) family, named after one Dr Alexander Garden, an aptly named Scottish-American naturalist from the 18th century.

This predominantly indoor plant gifts your space generous, blowsy blossoms in crisp white just begging to be spritzed with beads of H2O! They introduce a flirty femininity and a relaxed grace to your home.

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From L to R: Organic Body Bar Soap and Reed Diffuser in Vintage Gardenia from Palm Beach Collection, available online at Zanui.

Found on: lush evergreen shrubs or small trees, and can be a little high-maintenance! If your thumb is on the not-so-green side perhaps a good imitation is a better option. Pretty and not dead. Win-win.

Renowned for: its intoxicating perfume.

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Images sourced from L to R: csrsr.ncu.edu.tw and flickr.com

Kapok or Silk Cotton

The Bombas ceiba has many names. In addition to the above too, it’s also known simply as the cotton tree, producing an ovoid pod of white fibres (not cotton!).

Showcasing five luscious petals and a prominent stamen, these cup-shaped flowers appear in spring on bare branches before its foliage springs forth.

Their strong branches sport multiple fleurs introducing height + flashes of rich colour for sculptural flourishes in your home. These make a great choice for entertaining.

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Found on: tropical deciduous trees found in Asia. These tall proud figures lose their leaves in winter.

Renowned for: being used in Nam Ngaio, a spicy noodle soup (!) and other Asian dishes. The spikes on its stem can also be ground and used as acne ointment – although we wouldn’t advise that you try this at home.

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Kangaroo Paw Canvas Print from Urban Road, available online at Zanui. And Pink Joey Kangaroo Paw in the wild! Image sourced: pinterest.com

Kangaroo Paw

Distinctive and sculptural in shape, Kangaroo Paw are native to Western Australia. There are no prizes for guessing why these wildflowers get their common name. Also known as Cat’s Paw and Australian Sword Lily, there are just eleven different species.

Their vibrant, hairy flowers are a favourite with the birds, ranging from brassy yellow, orange, mauve and black in colour.

Idiosyncratic and statuesque, they add a touch of charisma to your space. Plant them indoors and enjoy their tubular flowers all year round.

Found on: semi-deciduous to evergreen shrubs with long flower stalks that rise above the sword-like foliage.

Renowned for: their fantastic names – look out for the Bushranger, Pink Joey, and Dwarf Delight varieties!

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Image sourced: en.wikipedia.org

Bird of Paradise or Strelitzia

Native to South Africa, Birds of Paradise are named for their appearance of birds in flight. Striking orange and indigo-blue flowers open in succession from beak-like bracts on these iconic flowers.

Their strident stems and slender form are reminiscent of the svelte feminine figures that frequent the catwalks. (At least we think so! Strong shoulders and a slender line of body.)

Introduce exotic notes to your décor with these brightly coloured flowers – they have a touch of the genius about them!

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From L to R: Artificial Strelitzia Plant (Set of 2) and Artificial Giant Bird of Paradise Plant (Set of 2) from Rogue, available online at Zanui.

Found on: a species of evergreen perennials with long-stalked, large oblong leaves.

Renowned for: symbolising freedom, loving thoughtfulness, and a balanced perspective. Quite the trifecta.

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New Country Roses Rectangular Tablecloth by Royal Albert, available online at Zanui. Image sourced: imgion.com

Rose

Roses are synonymous with romance. But no list would be complete without their presence. With over 100 species and literally 1000s of varieties, their appearance is infinitely changeable yet constant.

We drink + eat their petals + buds, we gift them to lovers, paint, sculpt, even perfume ourselves with them. Roses are steeped in tradition and common lore – associated with the likes of Shakespeare’s Juliet and Exupery’s Little Prince.

Roses introduce a traditional beauty to your home. Opt for miniature roses to create a point of difference. (We love the Café Olé and Si miniatures.) Or simply indulge in their undeniable allure!

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From L to R: Desert Rose Cushion Cover by Xavier & Me, Kaffe Fassett Bed of Roses Wool Designer Rug by Dash & Albert, Rose Wall Decal by Campfire Graphics, and Artificial Potted Garden Rose Bush by Rogue, available online at Zanui.

Found on: stoic shrubs and climbers capable of reaching 7 metres in height – frequently located in prickly company! Watch your fingers if you’re thieving your neighbours’ blossoms for your vase!

Renowned for: representing the intimate relationship between love and calamity. The youngest Bronte sister, Anne, once warned: “He who dares not grasp the thorn / Should never crave the rose.”

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Frangipani Painted Canvas Wall Art by United Artworks, available online at Zanui. Image sourced: en.wikipedia.org

Frangipani

Frangipani flowers draw to mind tropical holidays in beach locations, with many a happy traveller crowned with frangipani leis. Frangipanis are native to sultry locations like the Caribbean, Mexico, and Brazil. Their posh name is plumeria which we think is rather pretty, too.

Their blossoms are voluptuous yet innocent in their rich yellow centres and silky white petal form. Frangipanis also come in gorgeous sunset colours.

They marry decadence and purity, creating a sensual addition to your interiors with their perfume – most potent in the evening hours.

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From L to R: Frangipani Scented Soy Candle by Blisume and Wild Frangipani Madison Jar Candle by Ecoya, available online at Zanui.

Found on: deciduous shrubs and small trees.

Renowned for: bearing forth the Mexican gods. Lakandon myth has it that the gods were born from Frangipani flowers!

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Image sourced: wallpapercave.com

Cherry Blossom

Synonymous with Japan, the cherry blossom is celebrated in the art and culture of that country.

Cherry blossoms are believed to symbolise clouds – due to the appearance of their blossoms en-masse, like a gathering storm – and the ephemeral nature of life – due to their short-lived yet intense beauty. As quickly as they arrive, they seem to fall.

The cultural practice of picnicking beneath the ume blossoms is centuries old, dating back as far as the year 710. These intricately formed fine flowers are infused with fragile beauty. Their branches by contrast appear gnarled and strong.

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From L to R: Flowers Pink 2 Print Art and Flowers Pink 3 Print Art from Americanflat, available online at Zanui.

Found on: the sakura – any of several flowering trees in the Prunus genus.

Renowned for: their associations with mortality (see above). They were also exploited to evoke nationalistic impulses amongst the Japanese during World War II.

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Botanical Lotus Blues Canvas Print by Botanical Collection, available online at Zanui. And a lotus blossom in bloom. Image sourced:

Lotus Flower

The lotus roots lodge in riverbanks and at the bottom of ponds, whilst its leaves and flowers float on top of the water. Like frangipanis, lotus blossoms make a striking décor accent floating in a bowl.

Found on: this aquatic perennial can grow up to one metre square, with the Nelumbo nucifera flowering for just two months of the year in high summer.

Renowned for: sacred in both Buddhist and Hindu religions, lotus blossoms are used as examples of divine beauty.

Kay is a feature, blog and copywriter. She collects empty jam jars, academic degrees and tawdry dreams in the hopes of turning them into something useful someday. Her work has been published in ACP magazines, ABC fiction, Overland, Brittle Star, Seizure, trade publications and online forums. Her creative writing has won several awards.