Learn about Michigan’s official state flowers (when they bloom and where to see them!)
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Key Points Michigan has two state flowers, the dwarf lake iris and the apple blossom. The apple blossom is the state flower. It blooms in May and June and grows wild throughout the state. The dwarf lake iris is the state wildflower. It blooms in May and June and can grow near cedar forests near the shores of the lake. It’s an endangered species in Michigan, so don’t choose one!
Michigan is the 11th most populous state in the United States, located in the Great Lakes and Midwest regions of the country. It borders four other states: Wisconsin to the west, Illinois to the southwest, Indiana to the south, and Ohio to the east. Michigan is home to two peninsulas – the Lower Peninsula and the Upper Peninsula – connected by an 8-mile bridge called The Mackinac Bridge.
This state has a variety of natural landscapes with over 12 million acres of forest land, numerous lakes and rivers, and beaches along its three major lakeshores! Michigan’s economy relies heavily on tourism due to its abundance of outdoor activities like skiing, fishing, and hunting, making it one of the top tourist destinations in the United States.
Detroit is also known as the “Motor City” due to its long history in automobile production, which today constitutes a large part of the state’s industry.
Michigan State FlowersState Flower – Apple Blossom (Pyrus coronaria)State Wildflower – Dwarf Lake Iris (Iris lacustris)Apple BlossomApple Blossom, Pyrus is the official state flower of Michigan.
An apple blossom (Pyrus coronaria) is a small pink and white flower that grows on an apple tree. The petals of the flower are delicate and have a pleasant fragrance, like sweet apples. Michigan chose it as its state flower in 1897 because of its statewide abundance and beautiful appearance. This tree is native to Michigan and grows wild throughout the state.
Pyrus coronaria, or the common or northern crabapple, is Michigan’s official state flower. It typically blooms in May and June in Michigan with its small, pink-tinged white flowers. The petals of these fragrant flowers have five-petalled clusters and a yellow center. These trees can be found in the Michigan countryside, as well as near rivers, streams, lakes, and ponds. They are also found more frequently in areas formerly inhabited by Native Americans, such as around old farms or abandoned villages. With their beautiful spring blooms, these trees create perfect photo opportunities for nature lovers!
Where to see them
Apple blossom can be seen in many parts of Michigan. The best places to see them are parks and botanical gardens, which specialize in their cultivation. For example, Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park in Grand Rapids features a large collection of Pyrus coronaria on display from April through June each year. Another great place to see these beautiful flowers is the Matthaei Botanical Garden and Nichols Arboretum in Ann Arbor. Additionally, you can find smaller clusters of Michigan State Flowers along hiking trails or other outdoor recreation areas throughout the state during their blooming season (April/May).
make them grow
You can see these beautiful trees growing wild all over the state. They thrive best in full sun and moist soil conditions with a neutral pH level. To grow Pyrus coronaria from seed, collect seeds from existing trees or buy them online.
Plant the seeds outdoors during fall or winter in shallow trenches at least 1 inch deep. Keep the soil consistently moist but not wet until the seedlings have reached an inch or two in height. Then water less often, allowing the topsoil to dry out between waterings.
Once the seedlings have reached about 8 inches in height, fertilize them with a balanced fertilizer such as 10-10-10 according to package directions. Prune young trees regularly for optimal growth and shape, immediately removing dead branches as soon as you notice them.
Dwarf Lake IrisThe dwarf lake iris (Iris lacustris) is one of Michigan’s official state flowers.
©Joshua Mayer from Madison, WI, USA, CC BY-SA 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons – License
The dwarf lake iris is a perennial wildflower native to the Great Lakes region and Michigan in particular. It has a long, slender stem with showy lavender-blue flowers comprising three petals and three sepals. The lower petal of the flower is marked with yellow or orange spots in the center, which makes it look eye-catching among other wildflowers. This flower was designated Michigan’s state wildflower in 1998 due to its unique beauty and abundance within state borders. Its flowering period begins from late spring to summer when these beautiful flowers grow along the shores of the lake, wet meadows, swamps and ditches.
The dwarf lake iris is Michigan’s official state wildflower and blooms from May through June. The flower grows best in moist, sandy areas near lakes and rivers, such as on the shores of the Great Lakes. It can also be found in some wooded areas of Michigan. The dwarf lake iris is difficult to spot when not in bloom because the leaves look like thick blades of grass. But in the spring, you can keep your eyes peeled for lavender flowers. To witness this magnificent bloom for yourself, visit one of Michigan’s many beaches in late spring!
Where to See Them Dwarf lake irises are often found along the shores of Lake Michigan and other coastal wetlands.
©Joel Trick, USFWS, Public Domain, via Wikimedia Commons – License
The dwarf lake iris, or Iris Lacustris, can be found in several areas of Michigan. It is usually found on the shores of Lake Michigan and Lake Huron, as well as other coastal wetlands. It is found in areas with shallow, moist soil composed of calcareous sands and gravels. They tend to occur near woods with white cedars, often hidden behind sand dunes or beach ridges.
The species is listed as endangered and has special status under the US Endangered Species Act and Canada’s Species at Risk Act. Whatever you do, don’t pick them up or dig them up! In 1988, the dwarf lake iris was declared a federally threatened species and as threatened in Michigan and endangered in Wisconsin. Over time, its habitat has been considerably reduced due to the construction of residences or second homes on its shore, the widening of roads, the use of chemicals and salt and the destruction caused by the off-road vehicles.
Although it is not easy to find these flowers in the wild due to their rarity, they are sometimes cultivated by private gardeners who specialize in rare plants. To find them in their natural habitat, you should take a trip to one of Michigan’s many nature preserves along its coasts. There, you may be lucky enough to see this beautiful flower bloom where the trees meet the dunes.
make them grow
You can grow dwarf lake iris in your garden. These beautiful wildflowers are native to Michigan and thrive in moist soils and areas with full sun. To ensure successful growth, plant the seeds right away in a soil-rich compost. Cover the seeds with a thin layer of compost or gravel, making sure the depth is proportional to their size. You can sow the seeds anytime, and they can germinate faster if kept at temperatures between 60 and 68 degrees Fahrenheit. It’s often best to sow them in an unheated greenhouse and let nature take its course, as some seeds have built-in dormancy periods and don’t germinate until spring, giving them a full growing season.
After planting, fertilize them with a balanced fertilizer once a month throughout the growing season. Dwarf Lake Iris requires minimal maintenance but benefits from regular watering when conditions are dry for long periods. Once established, they will bloom every year from mid-May to early June and make a great addition to any flower bed or garden!