Slow Start to Vancouver Rooftop Wildflowers

Bunch of pink / purple lupines on a Vancouver roof

Wildflower seeds were planted last fall in hopes of having blooms in early spring to support mason bee populations on our building rooftop. While plants sprouted shortly after last frost, growth stalled for several weeks and only now are we seeing any actual blooms. This may be part of the reason that bee appearances seem to have dropped off given their only options for the past several weeks have been dandelions, strawberry flowers and currant, blueberry and gooseberry blooms. Not a terrible set I guess, but not enough to compete with streets lined with cherry blossoms at street level. 

We’re mid-May now and things have started to look up. The first California poppy bloom is out, a few wild roses and an explosion of lupines have added to the flower options at elevation. Additionally what I believe is Euphorbia cotinifolia (Caribbean Copper Plant) is threatening to bloom and despite its tiny flowers seems to attract bees of various types.

Fingers crossed this year won’t be a mason bee bust… but only time will tell.

Mason bee landing on a purple lupine
Mason bee about to land on a purple lupine.


Wild rose about to bloom on a Vancouver rooftop.
Brief flowering of pink wild roses about to start on the roof of a Vancouver condo.


Wildflowers: Lupines (or Lupins)

Pink lupins

Buy lupine seeds – US

Buy lupine seeds – Canada

One of the first wildflowers to bloom this year is a flower we haven’t seen before. Lupines, or Lupins… Lupinus either way. I’m not sure what’s the correct name. I assume their seeds just didn’t germinate the year they were spread, and are only showing up now. 

We’re lucky to have 3 distinct colors on the roof. A large clump of purples, a smaller clump of lavender and a healthy dose of pink. Unfortunately it doesn’t appear that the flowers last very long as the first spears are already turning from petals to seed pods, but they were nice while they lasted!

For those interested, I’m assuming they arrived in one of the packets of wildflower seeds we purchased from West Coast Seeds and scattered last year. 

Buy lupine seeds – US

Buy lupine seeds – Canada

Purple lupins
Purple lupins blooming on our Vancouver roof.

A Handful Of Wildflowers Seeds Makes All The Difference

Transitioning the rooftop from the original lambs ears, creeping thyme and various others to fruits and vegetables has been a gradual transition. The original plants showed mixed levels of success, and where they faltered, unsightly weeds quickly took hold. While we have attempted to pull the weeds as they arrived, they were quick and plentiful, so this year we took a different approach.

After an initial clearing of vegetation (both what remained of the original plantings, and the early weeds) we scattered wildflower seeds in the most visible, and not yet tackled planters. What resulted was better than we’d hoped with bursts of colour presenting all season long.

We purchased our seed mix from, spreading their Beneficial Insect Blend, Bee Garden Blend, and Pacific Northwest Blend with decent germination across the board. I should also mention that we tested a single packed last season, and found the flowers had self-seeded impressively this year.  Projecting forward, 2019 will be colourful indeed.