11 Plants That Start With Y

If you’re new to gardening, the vast array of information available on the subject can be overwhelming. It helps to get familiar with as many types of plants as you can, or at least all the main differences between them. Here are 11 plants that start with the letter Y (spoilers: most of them start with ‘yellow’).

Yarrow (Achillea Millefolium)

A flowering herbaceous perennial, yarrow is grown in both herb gardens and flower beds. It’s almost entirely maintenance free, and tends to be propagated through division.

They should be planted between 12 to 24 inches apart (if you’re planting more than one, of course), and the seeds should be sowed in well drained and moist potting soil that should barely cover the seeds.

Yarrow grows best in a location that’s both warm and sunny. The seeds tend to take between 14 and 21 days to germinate- this can change depending on their conditions. 

Using plastic wrap to cover the pot will help to keep in both heat and moisture. You only need to do this until the seeds have sprouted, though, at which point you should remove the wrap. While they thrive most in soil that’s well drained, they’re quite versatile, and can often grow in low quality, dry soil. 

Yellow Archangel (Lamium Galeobdolon)

Native to Europe and western Asia, the yellow archangel is a perennial that is often found on woodland floors and within hedgerows. Their foliage is a fairly standard green while their flowers, which bloom once the bluebells have come to an end, tend to be yellow or golden-yellow. 

They spread via underground rhizomes, which can quite quickly form dense colonies that attract an abundance of pollinators, like bees. Yellow archangel works best in partial shade or dappled shade as ground cover, in either a wild garden or woodland, and should be grown in well drained and moist soil. 

Yellow Poinciana (Peltophorum Dubium)

The yellow poinciana is a pioneer species, with fragrant flowers whose aroma is somewhat similar to that of grapes. They tend to attract a substantial amount of bees.

It’s part of the legume family, and much like others of its ilk (like orchid trees, cassias, and sennas), it’s a very fast grower; within their first three years, they can grow up to 30 feet.

They provide an abundance of shade quite rapidly, but their wood is rather brittle, and their root systems are often shallow. This means they don’t hold up well against storms, or even strong winds. 

Their drought tolerance is high, though, and they’re well suited to urban environments. They usually grow annually, and their flowering time is from the late spring months to the summer months. 

Yellow Bells (Tecoma Stans)

A semi-evergreen small tree or shrub, yellow bells grow droopy, long branches with trumpet shaped, bright yellow flowers.

They tend to bloom from spring until frost, unless they’re in regions with warmer climates, in which case they’ll grow all year round). The narrow, bean-like blossoms are somewhat fragrant, and can attract both hummingbirds and butterflies. 

The leaves of yellow bells are a shade of bright green, with toothed leaflets. The plant is tolerant to both drought and heat (once established), and is quite popular as a landscaping plant, usually grown for a shrub border. 

It can grow to between 10 to 25 feet and 10 to 20 feet wide, although some gardeners prefer to keep it under eight feet tall and eight feet wide.

It thrives most in organically rich, fertile and well drained soil, either in partial shade or in full sun. You should let the plant get completely dry between waterings. It’s almost entirely resistant to pests and diseases. 

Yellowroot (Xanthorhiza Simplicissima)

Yellowroot is a perennial shrub known for its green and glossy foliage that becomes yellow or red-purple during the fall. In the winter the only remaining leaves will be tan-colored. The flowers of the yellowroot are small, purple-brown, and shaped like stars, and they grow in crowded clusters. 

Their fruit is a dry follicle with a yellow hue. The plant grows to between one and three feet, and its flowers bloom between April and May. It requires shade to grow, and it’s best suited to silts, gravels, and sands. It’s most efficiently propagated by division, but June shoot cuttings, as well as root cuttings, will work as well. 

Yellow Coneflower (Echinacea Paradoxa)

Also known as bush’s purple coneflower or Ozark coneflower, the yellow coneflower is the only plant of the Echinacea species whose flowers are yellow and not purple. A herbaceous perennial native to North America, it grows large flowers similar to daisies, that tend to be four inches across.

Their cone shaped, chocolate colored central cone is surrounded by drooping, gold-yellow rays. Its combination of colors make it a more attractive prairie perennial than most, and its foliage is also easy on the eyes, with its narrow leaves a shade of dark green and with linear veining. 

It’s extremely tolerant to most conditions, and its blooms last from early summer through to early fall. Most suited to borders and beds, meadows, naturalized areas, wildflower gardens, and prairies, it pairs well with the crimson beardtongue, and the blue Russian sage.

It’s a low maintenance plant that grows best in full sunlight and well drained, dry to medium soil. it’s highly tolerant of poor soil, though, as well as deer, humidity, heat, and drought.

Yew (Taxus Baccata)

This evergreen perennial plant is known for its dark green foliage that’s very easy to maintain, making it an ideal hedge for formal displays.

It’s very dense, making it an effective hedge for the purpose of privacy and to reduce noise. The plant can grow to up to 60 feet tall in maturity, and 20 feet across. Its exact height depends on the variety, of which there are multiple. 

Yew grows best in partial shade, full shade, or full sun, as well as in moist, loamy, and well drained soil. The plant is native to Africa, Asia, and Europe.

If you’re growing yew, the plant will be relatively low maintenance, so long as you’re watering occasionally as well as pruning and fertilizing once a year. It should be noted that their needles, bark, and fruit are all toxic to humans and pets.


A popular houseplant, there are actually over 20 species of yucca. Their coloring can range from green to blue, and there are variegations of yellow, white, and cream. This all just depends on the cultivar. Yucca plants can grow on large woody stems, or on canes.

They’re very low maintenance, so long as they’re located in an area that’s partially shaded from bright but indirect sunlight. While potted yuccas are capable of growing in full sun, their tips may brown, and white spots might appear on the leaves. 

Whether outdoors or indoors, yucca plants don’t require much water, and some species are even tolerant to drought.

While light fertilization may help to establish the plant if you’re growing it in containers, no fertilization is required once it’s established. Its ideal soil will be well drained, and while the yucca can grow in poor quality soil, it must be heavy enough that the plant stays upright. 

Yellow Flag Iris (Iris Pseudacorus) 

The yellow flag iris, also known as just ‘flag’, is common across North America. While it’s not native (rather it comes from Europe, western Asia, and northwest Africa), it naturalizes easily in the region, so much so that in some parts of North America it’s considered an invasive species (although there are types of yellow irises that are not considered invasive).

Its flowers are an attractive yellow, and its leaves are green-gray and shaped like swords. 

It’s a low maintenance plant (otherwise it probably wouldn’t be considered invasive!), and is often used as an ornamental plant around ponds. It’s far more capable of growing in wet areas than a lot of other plants.

In maturity it tends to reach about three feet in height, and its ideal conditions are full sun to partial sun, as well as medium to wet soil with average fertility. 

Yellow Woodsorrel (Oxalis Stricta)

While it may look like clover, yellow woodsorrel is actually a very different plant from the common weed. Native to North America, it’s a plant most commonly found across the eastern United States and in Canada.

A perennial weed, it grows leaflets shaped like hearts, and spring through fall it grows yellow flowers with five petals. The plant has several benefits in food preparation; it can be a tea, and used as flavoring in various dishes, such as salads, stews, and soups. 

Yerba Buena (Clinopodium Douglasii)

Sometimes used to make tea, yerba buena is a creeping perennial that can grow up to three feet. It’s most common in woods along the coast from Los Angeles over to British Columbia.

It’s an ideal ground cover without being aggressive, and can often be found in rock gardens amongst boulders. It thrives in clay and sand soils, and while during the summer it requires very little water, it’ll look its best with a small amount of additional moisture. The yerba buena grows best in shade, but can tolerate full sun. 

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