Five Native Plants You Should Be Growing
I am a fan of native plants. If you want to create a beautiful, safe haven for a variety of beneficial pollinators, like the butterfly pictured above, here are a few fun native plants to add to your property:
5. Aromatic Aster (September - November): Aster blooms in mounds of beautiful light purple or pink flowers, and a tea made from the plant’s roots are also known to treat fevers. Aromatic aster is great for ground cover in sunny places with dry soil. The flowers attract many pollinators and its leaves play host to several caterpillar species and other beneficial insects.
4. Mountain Mint (June – September): This plant is a favorite of various pollinators because of its small white clustered flowers, and the leaves which can also be added to tea. Mountain mint prefers full to partial sun and wet to medium dry soil. This plant comes in a variety of species which vary in height and some which can even act as a natural insect repellent.
3. Ironweed (July – September): With a vibrant purple flower and a tall stem from which it gets its name, ironweed attracts many pollinators and is the host plant for the American Painted Lady butterfly (pictured above). It thrives in average garden soil and full sun. Ironweed creates fluffy seed heads later in the season which can make the plant spread rapidly, but it can be managed by removing the flower beforehand.
2. Lupine (May - July): Blooming in a variety of colors including pink, blue, yellow, and purple from spring to summer, this beneficial flower is ideal for the garden. Lupines require less than an hour of care per month, and as members of the pea family they can fix nitrogen in the soil. These flowers thrive in well-draining soil and full sun but can also grow in partial shade.
1. Hepatica (February - April): Also called liverleaf or liverwort because of the shape of its leaves. This plant blooms white, pink, or purple flowers in early spring and attracts pollinators early in the season. Hepatica can self-pollinate when the weather is too cold for insects. Found mostly in woodlands, this low-maintenance plant can be grown in rich shady soil.
Milkweed: Most commonly known as a host plant for monarch butterflies, this native plant blooms several kinds of flowers ranging from large clusters of light pink, orange, yellow, white, and red flowers.
Interested in native plantings to up the beneficial pollinators in your yard? Let us know! We'd love to help you pick plants to benefit your people, property, and the planet.
Kirk, S., & Belt, S. (2009, January). Aromatic Aster Plant Fact Sheet [PDF]. Beltsville, MD: USDA.
Pycnanthemum virginianum - Mountain Mint. (n.d.). Retrieved June 30, 2020, from https://www.prairiemoon.com/pycnanthemum-virginianum-mountain-mint-prairie-moon-nursery.html
Ironweed. (n.d.). Retrieved June 30, 2020, from https://www.prairienursery.com/ironweed-vernonia-fasciculata.html
McIntosh, J. (2019, September 5). How to Grow and Care for Lupine Flowers. Retrieved June 30, 2020, from https://www.thespruce.com/growing-lupine-flowers-1316034
Mahr, S. (2013, April 12). Hepatica. Retrieved June 30, 2020, from https://wimastergardener.org/article/hepatica/