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Culture and Use Guide For Western Pennsylvania native Plants

Audubon Center for Native Plants


Text and Photographs© 2008 Audubon Society of Western Pennsylvania


PLEASE NOTE: All plants, native or not, require regular watering until established. Gently loosen roots before planting. Choose an appropriate site according to the plant's individual requirements.

Most, but not all, of the plants on this list are available at the Audubon Center for Native Plants on a regular basis. Please consult the Species List posted on the website prior to each sale regarding current and new species availability. Unless otherwise stated, plants are perennial in nature. Shrub and tree species are small, generally in quart-size containers, and are priced accordingly. Most species offered are native to Allegheny and/or its contiguous counties and are local genotypes.


Click pictures to open an enlarged version in a new window.


Actaea pachypoda - Doll's Eyes


Actaea pachypoda - Doll's Eyes

Small white flowers in May. Fruit a white berry with purplish "eye" in late summer. Bushy. Height: 1-3'. Width: 12-16". Part shade. Medium to moist, rich soil. Nice intermediate height to use between shrubs and groundcover. A good companion to Virginia Bluebells or as a focal point among lower plants. Long-lived. Easily grown. Always attractive. Deer resistant.


Alisma triviale - Northern Water Plantain


Widely-branched sprays of tiny white flowers in summer. Large, shiny, oval leaves. Height: 3'. Part sun. Moist to wet, rich soil. Native wetland species for shallow ponds, stream margins, marshy or muddy areas.


Allium cernuum - Nodding Onion


Allium cernuum - Nodding Onion; photo jberckbickler; click to enlarge

Dainty, with slender, grass-like leaves and nodding, purplish-pink flowers on wiry stems in July and August. Height: 12-18". Width: 1'. Sun to part sun. Average, well-drained soil. Drought tolerant. Effective when massed behind lower-growing plants, in a rock garden or a wild garden. Will grow on steep, rocky banks. Self-sows aggressively. Deadhead to prevent. Bulbs multiply. Flowers at a time when few other plants are in bloom. Carefree. Hummingbird plant. Rain garden plant. Deer resistant.


Allium tricoccum - Ramps; Wild Leek.


Lily-of-the-valley-like foliage dies back in June and is followed by small, roundish heads of white bells on leafless, 6-18" stalks. Shiny, round, black seeds in dried clusters may remain through winter. Height: 6-12". Width: 8". Part-shade. Rich soil. Moist, especially in spring. An interesting woodland groundcover, often grown for its very strong, leek-like flavor. Slowly forms colonies. Deer resistant.


Amsonia tabernaemontana - Common Bluestar


Clusters of small, blue, star-shaped blossoms in spring. Foliage remains attractive through the season and turns gold in fall. Shrubby. Height and width: to 3'. Full sun to bright shade. Average to moist soil. May take up to 2 years to establish, but then long-lived and drought tolerant. Woody rootstocks may be divided in fall. Use in perennial border or wild garden. Excellent for massing or as a low hedge. Adaptable and carefree. Butterfly plant. Rain garden plant. Deer resistant.


Andropogon gerardii - Big Bluestem; Turkeyfoot


Andropogon gerardii - Big Bluestem; Turkeyfoot

Clump-forming, strongly vertical grass. Purplish inflorescence in late summer followed by 3-pronged seed head. Plants turn orange-brown in fall. Height: 3-7'. Width: 3-5'. Sun. Average, well-drained soil. Keep clump free of weeds until well established. Cut back in March. Combine with Blazing Star, goldenrods, sunflowers, Joe-Pye and ironweeds in meadow and informal plantings. Rain garden plant. Deer resistant.


Anemone virginiana - Thimbleweed


Anemone virginiana - Thimbleweed; photo jberckbickler; click to enlarge

Blooms greenish-white on stiff stems above leaves in early summer. Erect. Leaves widely spaced in levels along stems producing an appealing architectural effect. Ornamental, thimble-shaped seed heads last through winter. Height: 2-3'. Width: 12-16". Part shade. Medium to dry, average soil. Wood edge, or in open woods where Wild Geranium is a good companion. Self-sows freely. Deadhead to prevent.


Antennaria plantaginifolia - Plantain-leaved Pussytoes


Antennaria plantaginifolia - Plantain-leaved Pussytoes

Semi-evergreen groundcover forming ever-expanding, dense mats. White blossoms in early spring. Small, closely-clustered flower heads resemble cats' paws. Foliage dark green above, silvery below. Height: 3-6". Part sun. Average soil. Excellent drainage a must. Will not tolerate competition from other plants. Shear after flowering for neat appearance. Sections may be dug and moved in summer. Use in rock gardens, near paving stones or on banks. Deer resistant.


Aquilegia canadensis - Wild Columbine


Aquilegia canadensis - Wild Columbine

Elegant, yellow and red, spurred blossoms on stiff stems above leaves in late spring. Height: 2'. Width: 1'. Part shade, especially in the afternoon. Average soil, moist in spring. Good drainage. Individuals may be short-lived, but plant self-sows. Use in rock gardens, massed or scattered here and there along a wood edge. Plants die back but do not disappear in summer. Cut back to basal foliage for neat appearance. Hummingbird plant.


Aralia nudicaulis - Wild Sarsaparilla


Aralia nudicaulis - Wild Sarsaparilla

Greenish-white, round flower clusters on separate stalks held under umbrella-like leaves in late spring. Purplish-black berries follow. Height: to 15". Part shade. Average to dry soil. May be aggessive. Best for naturalizing in larger woodland gardens.


Aralia racemosa - Spikenard


Aralia racemosa - Spikenard

Shrubby, but dies back to the ground in fall. Greenish-white flower clusters in summer. Bold-textured foliage. Dark purple berries attractive to wildlife in fall. Black stems. Large, heart-shaped leaflets. Height and spread: 3-6'. Part shade or at wood edge. Moist, rich soil.


Arisaema triphyllum - Jack-in-the-Pulpit


Arisaema triphyllum - Jack-in-the-Pulpit; photo jberckbickler; click to enlarge

Green and brown or mahogany striped hood around fleshy spadix in spring. Red fruits on vigorous individuals in late summer. Height: 12-28". Width: 12-16". Part shade. Moist, rich soil. Forms colonies. Bold leaves. Nice when grown with Creeping Phlox or White Wood Aster to fill in bare spots since weaker plants disappear by midsummer. Woodland, pond or streamside gardens. If any plant develops orange rust, remove and discard. (Do not compost.) Shadier rain garden plant. Deer resistant.


Aruncus dioicus - Goat's-beard


Aruncus dioicus - Goat's-beard; photo jberckbickler; click to enlarge

Fine-textured, creamy white, astilbe-like plumes in June. An imposing plant. Height: 4'. Width: 3'. Part shade. Moist, rich soil. Will not do well in dry soil. Nice between shrubs, behind lower perennials, at a wood edge or massed on a slope or stream bank. Male and female individuals. Males a bit showier, but females develop attractive seed heads in fall. Clip off spent blooms to prevent self-sowing. Excellent nectar plant.


Asarum canadense - Wild Ginger


Asarum canadense - Wild Ginger

Deciduous groundcover. Bold, heart-shaped foliage. Inconspicuous, maroon, jug-shaped blooms under leaves in spring. Height: 6-8". Part shade. Moist, rich soil. Spreads moderately fast. Good stabilizer for a woodland slope or under shrubs. Nice contrasted with fine-textured foliage plants such as ferns. Carefree. Shadier rain garden plant. Deer resistant.


Asclepias exaltata - Tall or Poke Milkweed.


Elegant clusters of drooping, greenish-white flowers in summer. Blooms earlier than common milkweed. Leaves similar to those of common milkweed, but this is a clumping form and is thus better suited to suburban yards. Height: to 5'. Width: 2'. Part sun. Moist soil. Butterfly plant.


Asclepias incarnata - Pink or Swamp Milkweed


Asclepias incarnata - Swamp Milkweed; photo jberckbickler; click to enlarge

Flat clusters of rosy-pink flowers on stiff stems in July and August, followed by interesting seed pods. Height: 3-4'. Width: 2'. Sun. Medium to very moist, average soil. Clumping habit. Never needs dividing. Plant in a permanent location and allow to die back naturally. Self-sows. Deadhead to prevent. Use in a meadow, beside a pond or stream or massed in an informal garden. Butterfly plant. Rain garden plant. Deer resistant.


Asclepias syriaca - Common Milkweed


Asclepias syriaca - Common Milkweed; photo jberckbickler; click to enlarge

Purple and green blooms in summer followed by interesting seed pods. Height: 3-4'. Sun or part sun. Average soil. Allow for wide-spreading, running root system and permit to die back naturally. An aggressive plant best used for naturalizing in fields and meadows. Forms extensive colonies. Butterfly plant.


Asclepias tuberosa - Butterflyweed


Asclepias tuberosa - Butterflyweed; photo jberckbickler; click to enlarge

Compact, bushy plant with brilliant orange flowers in mid-summer. Height: 2-3'. Width: 2'. Sun to bright shade. Sandy to average soil. Good drainage. Will not tolerate wet soil. Mark locations as plants break dormancy late. To avoid empty spots in early summer, plant among earlier bloomers. Long-lived. Deep taproot makes transplanting difficult. Avoid digging close to plants because roots, if damaged, are easily infected. Choose a permanent location and allow to die back naturally. Mulch to prevent frost heaving. Nice with native grasses and coreopsis species. Long-lived. Butterfly plant.


Asimina triloba - Pawpaw


Deciduous, suckering, multi-stemmed, small tree. Blooms maroon in spring. Flowers foul-smelling. Large, edible fruits in fall when long, drooping leaves turn yellow. Height: to 30'. Width: to 10'. Taproot makes transplanting large specimens difficult. Best when contain-grown and 3-6' in height. Full sun to bright shade. Suckers less and produces more fruit if grown in sun. Forms loose colonies in shade. Moist, rich soil. Best sited a distance from the house in sun, or by a pond or stream or in moist woods. Butterfly and wildlife plant. Deer resistant, but protect until well-established and sizeable.


Baptisia australis - Blue False Indigo


Baptisia australis - Blue False Indigo

Inch-long, blue-violet blossoms on spikes in late spring. Blue-green foliage stays attractive through the season. Height: 3-4'. Width: 3'. Sun to part sun. Average, well-drained soil. Extensive woody rootstock takes several years to develop. Shrubby. Allow enough space for mature size as species resents transplanting. Excellent foliage backdrop for smaller plants or among low groundcovers. Adaptable and carefree. Butterfly plant. Deer resistant.


Caltha palustris - Marsh Marigold


Caltha palustris - Marsh Marigold

Loose clusters of yellow-gold, 1-1½" blooms in early spring. Shiny, round leaves. Height: 1-2'. Width: 1'. Part sun. Moist to wet, rich soil. Clumping habit. Will grow in shallow water, but requires very moist soil at least in winter and spring. Mulch well. Good beside ponds or streams or in boggy spots that are shaded in summer. Older plants may go dormant after seed set, but reappear in fall. Rain garden plant.


Campanula americana - Tall Bellflower


Campanula americana - Tall Bellflower; photo jberckbickler; click to enlarge

Annual or biennial. Blue, star-shaped flowers on leafy spikes in summer and early fall. Basal rosettes appear first, followed by tall stems and blooms. Self-sows where happy. Height: 2-6'. Part sun to light shade. Average soil. Nice for naturalizing in combination with White Wood Aster or Blue, Heart-leaved Aster. Often found growing on steep banks along roadsides. Shadier rain garden plant.


Cardamine concatenata - Cut-leaf Toothwort


Cardamine concatenata - Cut-leaf Toothwort

Spring ephemeral. Flower clusters white tinged with pink on short spikes in early spring. Finely cut foliage. Forms colonies. Height: 3-5". Part shade. Rich, moist soil. Nice to scatter in a woodland garden, especially around plants that emerge later such as ferns. Butterfly plant. Deer resistant.


Carex pensylvanica - Pennsylvania Sedge


Carex pensylvanica - Pennsylvania Sedge

Inflorescence red-purple in very early spring. Appears as a tuft of grass. Height: 8-16". Width: 1-2'. Part to full shade. Spreads by underground stolons and self-sows. A grass substitute for dry, shady areas under trees. Never needs cutting unless to tidy. Spaces between tufts can be planted with bulbs such as fall or spring blooming crocus. Also nice in shady rock gardens or on rocky slopes. Deer resistant.


Carya ovata - Shagbark Hickory


Medium to large tree. Blooms yellow-green in spring. Edible nuts and gold leaves in fall. Distinctive, peeling, gray bark. Trunk typically narrow and straight with branching that begins half-way up. Height: to 70'. Width: to 35'. Full to part sun. Rich, moist soil, but adaptable. Must have good drainage. Site carefully. Deep taproot makes transplanting of all but young seedlings impossible. Butterfly and wildlife plant. Nipped seedlings will resprout vigorously, but protect until well-established and sizeable.


Caulophyllum thalictroides - Blue Cohosh


Caulophyllum thalictroides - Blue Cohosh

Emerging foliage deep, smoke-purple followed by greenish-yellow or purplish flowers where leaflets join stems in spring. Fully expanded leaves blue-green and airy looking. Large, blue berries in summer. Height: 2-3'. Width: 2'. Shade. Moist, rich, near-neutral soil. Dust soil occasionally with horticultural lime. Long-lived. Division possible in spring or fall, but not usually necessary. Often found in large stands on moist woodland slopes. Good in combination with Doll's Eyes. Also nice as an accent plant or as a step-down layer between shrubs and shorter plants. Deer resistant.


Celtis occidentalis - Hackberry; Sugarberry


Medium to large tree. Inconspicuous blooms in early spring. Green fruits ripen to purple berries in fall. Height: 40-60'. Similar spread. Part to full sun. Average soil. Important provider of food and shelter for birds and mammals. Attracts many butterflies. Mites may cause twig clusters to form at branch ends, but this does not kill the tree. An adaptable species and a good choice for difficult sites. Protect from deer until well-established and sizeable. Rain garden plant.


Cephalanthus occidentalis - Buttonbush


Cephalanthus occidentalis - Buttonbush

Deciduous shrub. Creamy white flower balls in summer. Large, bold foliage. Height: 3-10'. Width: 3-6'. Part to full sun. Moist to wet soil. Plant in standing water, at the very edge of a pond or stream or in soil that stays moist. Will not tolerate drought. Apply a little balanced fertilizer in spring. Cut back to 1' in winter for lower, rounded growth, pruning to one or two trunks and removing dead twigs, or allow to die back naturally for a rougher, more natural appearance. Butterfly plant.


Cercis canadensis - Eastern Redbud


Cercis canadensis - Eastern Redbud

Small tree for understory or wood edge. Bright pink blooms all along branches in spring before large, heart-shaped leaves emerge. Height: 12-25'. Spread: 10-20'. Part sun. Moist, average soil. Fast grower. Leaves turn yellow in fall. Nice near a patio or second story window. Rain garden plant. Deer resistant, but protect until well-established and sizeable.


Chelone glabra - White Turtlehead


Flowers white tinged with pink and clustered among top-most leaves in late summer. Height: 3'. Width: 2'. Part sun. Moist to wet, average soil. Good for somewhat shady spots, but blooms best with at least a few hours of sun. Adaptable, but cannot tolerate drought. Pinch tips in June to control height and promote bushiness. Easy to divide and transplant in spring. Foliage will remain attractive into October with enough moisture. Difficult to confine to neat clumps due to wide-ranging rhizomes, so best used for naturalizing. Cardinal Flower and Great Blue Lobelia are nice companions. Trouble free. Shadier rain garden plant. Deer resistant.


Cimicifuga racemosa - Black Cohosh


Cimicifuga racemosa - Black Cohosh; photo jberckbickler; click to enlarge

Tall, wand-like, white spikes in summer. Attractive foliage. A large, stately plant. Height: 3-5'. Width: 2-4'. Part shade. Moist but well-drained, rich soil. Long-lived. Division seldom necessary but should be done in spring. Easily transplanted. Dust soil occasionally with horticultural lime. Self-sows, but not aggressively. Deadhead to prevent. Keep free of aggressive competitors. Best used in groups of 3 or more plants. Excellent background plant for shade gardens behind ferns and groundcovers. Also effective in front of evergreens or other dark backgrounds, massed at the edge of a pond or stream or at the edge of woods. Carefree. Deer resistant.


Clematis virginiana - Virgin's Bower


Clematis virginiana - Virgin's Bower; photo jberckbickler; click to enlarge

Vine. Produces masses of fragrant white flowers in late summer. Seed heads are clusters of silky hairs, attractive into fall. Length: to 30'. Morning sun to bright shade. Moist, average soil. Transplant with care in early spring. Stems are brittle. One to two years required to adapt to new location. Provide support. This is an aggressive species best used for naturalizing among shrubs or to grow over a strong pergola or along a fence. Shadier rain garden plant.


Collinsia verna - Blue-eyed Mary


Collinsia verna - Blue-eyed Mary; photo jberckbickler; click to enlarge

Annual. Charming, blue and white flowers in spring. Height: 6-18". Part sun in spring. Moist, near-neutral, rich soil. Dust soil occasionally with horticultural lime. Plants emerge in fall, stay green through winter, bloom in late April and May, set seed and die. Self-sows. Lovely under deciduous trees. Deer resistant.


Conoclinium coelestinum - Mistflower


Blue-violet flower clusters in late summer. Resembles ageratum. Height: 1-3'. Part shade. Moist, rich soil. Very aggressive and so is best used for naturalizing in woods, on stream banks, in meadows and fields. Butterfly plant. Deer resistant.


Coreopsis tripteris - Tall Tickseed


Coreopsis tripteris - Tall Tickseed; photo jberckbickler; click to enlarge

Blooms yellow, 2" wide, daisy-like flowers on strong stems in mid-summer. Height: 4-7'. Width: 3'. Sun to part sun. Moist to wet, average soil. A clumping plant. Divide in spring every 3-5 years. Cut back by half in June to control height and promote bushiness. Impressive species for back of border or to mix with tall grasses and asters in a meadow. Self-sows. Deadhead to prevent. Rain garden plant.


Cornus amomum - Silky Dogwood


Deciduous, suckering shrub. Blooms creamy white in flat-topped clusters in spring. Bright blue berries in late summer. Foliage turns deep red in fall. Height: 3-10'. Part sun to bright shade. Moist to wet, average soil. Forms colonies and may be aggressive, so best used for naturalizing in wetter areas. Clumps can be rejuvenated with hard pruning. Divide when dormant by cutting back to 6" and digging sections from clump edge. Dense stands provide cover and food for birds and other wildlife. Rain garden plant.


Cornus racemosa - Gray Dogwood


Cornus racemosa - Gray Dogwood

Deciduous, suckering shrub. Similar to Cornus amomum, above, but with white berries with red stems in late summer. Will tolerate somewhat drier soils. Culture and use information the same. Wildlife plant. Rain garden plant.


Corydalis flavula - Yellow Harlequin


Corydalis flavula - Yellow Harlequin

Biennial. Pale yellow, tubular flowers about ¼" long in spring. Foliage pale green and finely divided. Height: 6-15". Part shade. Rich, moist soil. Self-sows here and there. A filler plant for the woodland garden, open woods or wood edge. Deer resistant.


Delphinium exaltatum - Tall Larkspur


Delphinium exaltatum - Tall Larkspur

Blooms blue-purple on tall spikes in summer. Exquisite cut foliage. Height: 3-6'. Width: 16-24". Part sun to bright shade. Moist, near-neutral, rich soil. Dust soil occasionally with horticultural lime. Takes time to develop into sizeable clump, but rugged and long-lived. Must be protected from slugs beginning late June. Move only in early spring. Division not recommended. Easily grown. Good tall accent in a border or naturalized in a meadow.


Delphinium tricorne - Dwarf Larkspur


Delphinium tricorne - Dwarf Larkspur

Spring ephemeral. Showy, large purple blooms above deeply cut foliage. Height and width: 1'. Part shade. Moist but well-drained, near-neutral soil. Dust soil occasionally with horticultural lime. Plants go dormant soon after bloom. Mark site well so as not to disturb roots. Interplant with other species such as ferns, Wild Ginger or White Wood Aster to follow. May be moved in early spring, but do not divide woody crown. Lovely at wood edge, near a stream or in a rock garden.


Dicentra canadensis - Squirrel Corn


Dicentra canadensis - Squirrel Corn; photo jberckbickler; click to enlarge

Spring ephemeral. White, heart-shaped flowers dangle on stiff stems above a mound of finely cut, blue-green foliage. Height: 5". Width: 1'. Part shade. Moist, well-drained, near-neutral, rich soil. Dust soil occasionally with horticultural lime. Bulblets may be dug and divided or moved only when plants are dormant in summer. Nectar plant for bumblebees. Deer resistant.


Dicentra cucullaria - Dutchman's Breeches


Dicentra cucullaria - Dutchman's Breeches; photo jberckbickler; click to enlarge

Spring ephemeral. Similar to Dicentra canadensis, above, except flowers have pointed rather than rounded lobes and plant blooms a little earlier. Culture the same. Nectar plant for bumblebees. Deer resistant.


Doellingeria umbellata - White flat-topped Aster


Flat clusters of white flowers with yellow-green centers in late summer. Clean foliage. Bushy. Needs space. Height: 3-7'. Width: 3-4'. Part sun. Moist, average soil. Cut back by half in June to control height. Self-sows aggressively. Deadhead to prevent. Divide every 4-5 years. One of the earliest blooming asters. Adaptable and easy. Good fall nectar source and food plant for butterfly larva. Rain garden plant.


Elymus hystrix - Bottlebrush Grass


Bristle-like inflorescence in summer. Turns tan in fall. Height: 2-5'. Width: 18". Part sun, but will tolerate quite a bit of shade. Average soil. Keep clump free of weeds until established. Cut back in March. Use in meadow gardens or open woods. Will self-sow, but not aggressively. Rain garden plant. Deer resistant.


Elymus riparius - Riverbank Wild Rye. (Grass)


Grass. Wide-leaved tufts. Short, bristle-like inflorescences in mid-summer. Turns tan in fall. Height: 4-5'. Part sun. Moist soils only. Cut back in March. Best for naturalizing by a pond or stream. Self-sows. Rain garden plant. Deer resistant.


Elymus virginicus - Wild Rye


Grass. Grows in tufts. Height: 2-5'. Width: 1'. Stiff and straight. Turns tan in fall. Sun to part sun. Moist, average soil. Nice near ponds and streams. Self-sows. Rain garden plant. Deer resistant.


Eupatoriadelphus fistulosus - Joe-Pye Weed; Trumpetweed


Eupatorium fistulosum - Joe-Pye Weed; photo jberckbickler; click to enlarge

Blooms in flat clusters of mauve flowers in late summer. Height: 4-8'. Width: 3-4'. Part to full sun. Moist to wet, fertile soil. Emerges late in spring. Pinch plants to promote fullness, or cut back by up to half in June to control height. Use at back of border, in butterfly and wild gardens, in meadows or at edges of ponds or streams. Easy and trouble-free except for some minor foliage damage from insects. Excellent nectar plant. Rain garden plant.


Eupatoriadelphus maculatus - Spotted Joe-Pye Weed


Similar to Eupatoriadelphus fistulosus, above, but with purple or purple-spotted stems. Culture and use information the same. Excellent nectar plant. Rain garden plant.


Eupatorium perfoliatum - Boneset


Eupatorium perfoliatum - Boneset; photo jberckbickler; click to enlarge

Blooms in hazy, white, flat heads in late summer. Height: 2-4'. Width: 2'. Part sun. Moist to wet, average soil. Foliage interesting as stem appears to pierce leaves. Emerges late in spring. May be short-lived but self-sows. Lovely massed or used in meadows, wild gardens or at the edges of ponds or streams. Good in combination with Joe-Pye Weed and ironweeds. Lovely with cattails. Good cut or dried flower. Excellent nectar plant. Rain garden plant.


Euphorbia corollata - Flowering Spurge


Euphorbia corollata - Flowering Spurge; photo jberckbickler; click to enlarge

Blooms baby's breath-like, dainty white flowers in summer. Height: 2-3'. Width: 1-2'. Sun to part sun. Average soil. Very adaptable. Long taproot, so do not disturb once established. Stem sap may be mildly irritating. Use in rock gardens or in dry meadows, or for a softening effect among bright flowers such as Butterflyweed or Blazing Star. Also, plant here and there among other species to unify a garden. Leaves turn colors in fall. Good cut flower. A tough, carefree species. Deer resistant.


Eurybia divaricata - White Wood Aster


Eurybia divaricata - White Wood Aster

White flowers with rose centers in fall. Bushy plants if they have good strong light. Height: 1-3'. Width: 1-1½'. Morning sun to bright shade. Average soil. Spreads by rhizomes and self-sows. Deadhead to prevent. A good transition plant between woodland or shrubs and lawn. An alternative for dry shade. Nice mixed with mainly foliage plants such as Coral Bells. Adaptable and easy. Good fall nectar source and food plant for butterfly larva. Deer resistant


Fragaria virginiana - Wild Strawberry


White flowers in spring followed by small, edible fruits in early summer. Spreads aggressively by runners. Height: 6-8". Sun to part sun. Moderate to dry, average soil. Loose groundcover for meadows among grasses and other meadow plants, or for open woods. Provides food for birds and small mammals.


Gaultheria procumbens - Wintergreen


Gaultheria procumbens - Wintergreen

Evergreen groundcover. White-tinged-pink, bell-shaped flowers in summer. Shiny, bright green leaves. Edible, red berries in fall often remain on plants through winter. Height: 3-6". Spreads by underground runners to form loose colonies. Guide above-ground stems to produce more cohesive patches. Morning sun to bright shade. Moist to dry, humusy, acidic soil. Fertilize lightly in spring. An alternative for dry shade. Deer resistant.


Gentiana clausa - Bottle Gentian


Gentiana clausa - Bottle Gentian

Deep, blue-purple blooms in late summer. Flowers remain closed in a bottle shape, as if still in bud. Height: 14-18". Width: 2-3'. Part sun. Moist to wet, fertile soil. Clumping habit. Water very regularly throughout the first season. Do not disturb roots once established. Scatter in a border, mass or use as an edger. Pollinated by bumblebees burrowing down inside bloom. Rain garden plant.


Geranium maculatum - Wild Geranium


Geranium maculatum - Wild Geranium; photo jberckbickler; click to enlarge

Blooms purplish-pink in spring. Deeply cut foliage which may turn red-purple in fall. Height: 14-18". Width: 1'. Part shade. Moderately fertile soil that stays moist, at least in spring. Readily self-sows and so is best used as a groundcover or filler in woodland gardens or at the wood edge. Smothers weeds. Spreads too quickly for a planned border. Rust may disfigure leaves but plants survive. Thimbleweed is a good companion plant as it can compete. Tough and adaptable. Easy. Shadier rain garden plant.


Helenium autumnale - Helen's Flower; Common Sneezeweed


Helenium autumnale - Helen's Flower; Common Sneezeweed

Daisy-like yellow flowers with squared-off edges bloom on stout stems in late summer. Height: 3-5'. Sun to part sun. Moist to wet, average soil. Transplant only in spring. Pinch plants in mid-May and again in early June for more compact growth and more flowers, or cut back by half in June. Deadheading prolongs bloom. Individuals short-lived, but plant self-sows freely. Nice with other tall, late-blooming moisture lovers such as New England Aster and New York Ironweed. Rain garden plant. Deer resistant.


Helenium flexuosum - Helen's Flower (purple-headed)


Similar to Helenium autumnale, above, but flowers have red-brown or purple centers. Height: 3-4'. Culture and use information the same. Rain garden plant. Deer resistant.


Helianthus decapetalus - Thin-leaved Sunflower


Yellow, 2-4" wide, daisy-like flowers in late summer and early fall. Height: 2-5'. Part shade. Moist, average soil. Spreads aggressively by underground rhizomes. Circle clump with a sharp spade in spring and pull out undesired stems. Best used for naturalizing, especially on banks. Bird and butterfly plant. Shadier rain garden plant.


Helianthus divaricatus - Woodland Sunflower


Helianthus divaricatus - Woodland Sunflower

Yellow, 2-4" wide, daisy-like flowers in small clusters in summer. Height: 2-5'. Width: 3-6'. Moist, fertile to average soil. Part shade. Culture as for Helianthus decapetalus, above. Use for naturalizing in open woods or on banks. Bird and butterfly plant. Shadier rain garden plant.


Helianthus giganteus - Tall Sunflower


Yellow, 2-3" wide, daisy-like flowers from mid-summer to fall. Height: 6-10'. Width: 4-5'. Sun to part sun. Moist to wet, rich to average soil. Culture as for Helianthus decapetalus, above. Plant may be cut back by half in June to control height and promote bushiness. Dramatic at the back of a border or among tall grasses in a wild garden or meadow. Bird and butterfly plant. Rain garden plant.


Heliopsis helianthoides - Oxeye; False Sunflower


Heliopsis helianthoides - Oxeye; photo jberckbickler; click to enlarge

Yellow, 2-3" wide blooms from mid-summer to fall. Height: 3-5'. Width: 3'. Part sun. Average soil. Forms thick, non-spreading clumps. Use in the middle of a border, in a meadow with grasses, in open woods or at the wood edge. Long-blooming, easily grown and transplanted. Carefree. Bird and butterfly plant. Rain garden plant.


Heuchera americana - Coral Bells; Alumroot


Small, green or purplish flowers held on stiff stems high above the foliage in early summer. Height: 1-2'. Width: 12-16". Part shade, especially in the afternoon. Moist, rich soil. Good drainage. Do not plant in heavy clay. Fertilize in April and May. Dust soil occasionally with horticultural lime. Crowns may heave over winter. Mulch with pine boughs for winter and press crowns gently back into soil in early spring. Mainly a foliage plant. Use at the front of a border as an edger, massed in sweeps or as a groundcover. Also nice around rocks or at the wood edge in groups. Good native substitute for Japanese pachysandra. Drought tolerant once established. Good companions are White Wood Aster and Wild Stonecrop.


Hibiscus moscheutos - Swamp Rose Mallow


Large, white or pink flowers with darker centers in late summer. Height: 4-7'. Width: 3-4'. Sun to part sun. Must have moist to wet, fairly rich soil. Plant emerges late in spring and grows very fast. Long-lived. Forms large clumps over time, so allow space. Mulch to retain moisture in summer and to protect roots in winter. Japanese beetles may be a problem. Use at pond edge, in low, wet spots or water deeply and consistently in summer. Rain garden plant.


Hieracium venosum - Rattlesnake Weed


Hieracium venosum - Rattlesnake Weed

Interesting, red-veined, hairy leaves that hug the ground, forming mats. Small, yellow flowers on stiff, mostly leafless stalks through summer. Flower height: 1-2'. Morning sun. Moist, fertile soil. Grows in moss at the base of trees in wild areas. Acts more like an annual than a perennial, with many, fast-germinating self-sows, but winter survival only by stronger plants. Deer resistant.


Houstonia caerulea - Bluets


Houstonia caerulea - Bluets; photo jberckbickler; click to enlarge

Dainty, light blue flowers with yellow centers in spring. Charming, diminutive plants form tight clumps only 1-4" high. Part sun, light shade or dappled light. Requires moist, but well-drained, open ground. Will not tolerate competition. Favors places where moss grows, as between shaded patio stones. Does well planted in damp sand in rock gardens. Adding a little peat moss to the soil when planting, and mulching lightly are beneficial. Plants may be short-lived but will self-sow in open soil or moss where happy.


Hydrangea arborescens - Wild Hydrangea


Deciduous, suckering shrub. Blooms creamy white in flat-topped clusters in early to mid-summer. Large, bold leaves. A woodland understory species. Height: 5'. Width: 10'. Part shade. Fairly moist, fertile soil. Often grows on moist, rocky banks in wild areas. Add a little balanced, organic fertilizer when planting. Benefits from cutting to the ground each year after leaves drop in fall. Shadier rain garden plant.


Hydrophyllum canadense - Maple-leaved Waterleaf


Violet, bell-like flowers in clusters held above leaves on stiff stalks in spring. Attractive, silver-gray waterspotting on emerging, maple-like leaves, fading as foliage expands. Height and width: 10-16". Part shade. Moist, rich soil. Self-sows aggressively. Deadhead to prevent. Cut back in summer when foliage deteriorates. Re-emerges in fall. Best in an informal woodland garden or in shade near ponds or streams. Shadier rain garden plant. Deer resistant.


Hydrophyllum virginianum - Virginia Waterleaf


Hydrophyllum virginianum - Virginia Waterleaf

Similar to Hydrophyllum canadense, above. Culture and use information the same. Shadier rain garden plant.


Hypericum prolificum - Shrubby St. John's-wort


Deciduous shrub. Yellow flowers with many stamens in summer give blooms the look of little exploding fireworks. Twiggy, with blue-green foliage. Height and width: 3-6'. Part sun. Well-drained soil. Will tolerate drought after well established. Fertilize lightly in spring. Remove ¼ of outer twigs in winter. Self-sows readily. Deadhead to prevent. Excellent nectar source. Rain garden plant. Deer resistant.


Iris versicolor - Northern Blue Flag


Iris versicolor - Northern Blue Flag

Blooms blue-violet to purple in late spring. Height: 2-3'. Part sun to bright shade. Moist to wet soil, even in shallow water. Will tolerate drier soils, but not extended drought. This is a robust species. Clean up all dead foliage around plants in March to discourage borers. Streaks or necrosis on leaves may indicate a virus. Remove and discard infected plants. (Do not compost.) Fertilize in spring. Divide every 3-5 years in summer. Nice beside ponds or streams or in any area that stays fairly moist. Shadier rain garden plant. Deer resistant.


Jeffersonia diphylla - Twinleaf


Jeffersonia diphylla - Twinleaf; photo jberckbickler; click to enlarge

Blooms white, very briefly, in early spring. Mainly a foliage plant. Leaves resemble large butterfly wings. Height and width: 12-16". Part shade. Moist, near-neutral, rich soil. Dust soil occasionally with horticultural lime. Use as a taller groundcover under deciduous trees or in a woodland garden, setting plants one foot apart, or combine with finer foliage plants such as ferns for a nice texture contrast. Self-sows. Deer resistant.


Liatris spicata - Blazing Star


Liatris spicata - Blazing Star; photo jberckbickler; click to enlarge

Bright, pink-purple blooms on tall spikes in summer. Height: 2-4'. Width: 18". Sun to part sun. Moist to wet, average soil. Good drainage. Drought tolerant after established. Do not over-fertilize. May need staking. Long-lived. Takes up to two seasons to develop into a large plant. Use as a vertical accent in borders, meadows or wild gardens. Combine with sunflowers, goldenrods, silphiums and other yellow composites for nice color contrast. Seeds attract birds. Butterfly plant. Rain garden plant. Deer resistant.


Lilium superbum - Turk's Cap Lily


Lilium superbum - Turk's Cap Lily

Multiple, orange blooms with strongly recurved petals on tall stems in July. Whorled leaves. Height: 8'. Width: 18". Part sun. Consistently moist, but not wet, soil, especially during active growth period. Incorporate plenty of compost to improve water retention and drainage. Plant bulb no deeper than 6", depending on size. Best to protect from rodents with underground cage of hardware cloth or with coarse gravel mixed into surrounding soil. Top growth must be protected from rabbits and deer. Mulch to keep roots cool, or plant so roots will be shaded. Elegant near water, in a moist meadow or scattered in a border. Dig and divide bulbs after foliage declines in fall.


Lindera benzoin - Spicebush


Lindera benzoin - Spicebush; photo jberckbickler; click to enlarge

Multi-stemmed, deciduous, understory shrub. Subtle yellow blooms along stems in spring. Red berries on female plants in fall. Exudes spicy scent when bark is scratched or leaves are crushed. Height: 8-15'. Spread: 6-15'. Part shade. Best in moist, fertile soil, but adaptable. Butterfly plant. Rain garden plant. Deer resistant, but protect until well-established and sizeable.


Lobelia cardinalis - Cardinal Flower


Lobelia cardinalis - Cardinal Flower

Blooms red (occasionally white or salmon) on a spike from an evergreen rosette in mid-summer. Height: 2-4'. Width: 1'. Part sun. Moist, well-drained, rich soil. Protect offsets for next year's growth by keeping plants free from heavy mulch and all weeds in fall. Mulch with pine straw or other light material in winter, but pull back early in spring to prevent rot. Water during drought. Striking in borders or near a pond or stream. Self-sows where happy. Hummingbird and butterfly plant. Rain garden plant.


Lobelia cardinalis x siphilitica "Beechwood Blend"


Natural cross between red and blue lobelias. Large magenta blooms on a spike from an evergreen rosette in late summer. Height: 3-4'. Width: 1'. Part sun. Moist, well-drained, rich soil. Culture same as for Lobelia cardinalis, above. This plant will only come true from its offsets, which may be divided in spring. Clip off some buds and deadhead spent blooms to encourage offset production. Seed will produce parent plants. Hummingbird and butterfly plant. Rain garden plant.


Lobelia siphilitica - Great Blue Lobelia


Lobelia siphilitica - Great Blue Lobelia; photo jberckbickler; click to enlarge

Blooms blue on a thick spike from an evergreen rosette from mid-summer to early fall. Height: 2-4'. Width: 12-16". Sun to part sun. Moist to wet, rich soil. Dust soil occasionally with horticultural lime. Easier to grow than Cardinal Flower. Nice contrasted with it, or with the yellow of goldenrod. Self-sows freely. Deadhead to prevent. Hummingbird plant. Rain garden plant.


Lonicera sempervirens - Trumpet Honeysuckle.


Deciduous vine. Clusters of 1-2" long, red, tubular blossoms throughout the growing season. Red berries. Paired leaves pierced by the stem. Requires strong support, but vines become thicker and woodier with age. At least part sun for longer blooming season. Rich, moist soil. Prune to several large stems and remove most suckers at the plant base in late fall. Aphids may be a problem. Use a strong spray of water to dislodge, but, in general, avoid overhead watering. Lovely along a fence. Great wildlife plant, especially for hummingbirds.


Luzula acuminata - Hairy Woodrush


Blooms white in early spring. Strappy, half-inch wide leaves which hold up well and may persist through winter. Height and width: 6-12". Part shade. Moist to moderately dry, average soil. Spreads by rhizomes to form a patchy groundcover. Also self-sows, but not aggressively. Clumps may be divided after bloom in spring. Often found on slopes in open woodlands. Use as an edger or groundcover in a woodland or shady rock garden. Also nice at pond edge or on stream banks. Shadier rain garden plant. Deer resistant.


Lysimachia ciliata - Fringed Loosestrife


Inch-wide, yellow flowers with fringed petals growing from the axils on erect plants. Height: 1-4'. Part sun. Moist, average soil.


Maianthemum canadense - Canada Mayflower


Maianthemum canadense - Canada Mayflower; photo jberckbickler; click to enlarge

Deciduous groundcover. Resembles lily-of-the-valley. Blooms white in spring. Red berries taken by birds in fall. Height: 2-4". Spread: 1'. Part sun to full shade. Average soil. Extremely adaptable. A rapid spreader. Nice interplanted with taller species, or under trees and shrubs, but does not like competition. Deer resistant.


Maianthemum racemosum - False Solomon's Seal


Smilacina racemosa - False Solomon's Seal; photo jberckbickler; click to enlarge

White flowers in clusters at the ends of arching stems in late spring. Berries which turn from white to red follow. Height: 1-3'. Moist, rich soil. Part shade. Forms colonies over time. Foliage benefits from extra water. Combines well with Wreath Goldenrod, Wild Ginger or Bloodroot.


Matteuccia struthiopteris - Ostrich Fern


Fiddleheads unfurl bright green in spring. Brown, fertile fronds appear in mid-summer. Height: 2-4'. Width: 3-6'. Part sun to shade. Moist to wet, near-neutral soil. Dust soil occasionally with horticultural lime. Good foundation planting as plants receive a bit of lime leached from the concrete. Spreads by underground rhizomes to form extensive colonies. Dig and transplant daughter rhizomes which grow near mother plants while dormant, or just as fiddleheads begin to emerge in early spring. Easy. Deer resistant.


Mertensia virginica - Virginia Bluebells


Mertensia virginica - Virginia Bluebells; photo jberckbickler; click to enlarge

Spring ephemeral. Pink in bud, light blue in bloom in spring. Flowers bell-shaped and in clusters. Height: 14-20". Width: to 16". Part shade to shade. Moist, rich soil. Dust soil occasionally with horticultural lime. Just after bloom, leaves turn yellow and plants go dormant. Plant with other species such as ferns, Wild Ginger or White Wood Aster to follow. Will grow well under deciduous trees and shrubs. Use in shade borders, woodland gardens and for naturalizing in low areas. Easy to grow. Multiplies steadily. Long-lived. Shadier rain garden plant. Deer resistant.


Mimulus ringens - Monkey Flower


Mimulus ringens - Monkey Flower; photo jberckbickler; click to enlarge

Blooms light violet in mid-summer. Height: 2-4'. Width: 1'. Part shade. Moist to wet, rich, near-neutral soil. Dust soil occasionally with horticultural lime. Individuals may be short-lived, but plant self-sows aggressively. Deadhead to prevent. Site with other moisture lovers in borders, low areas or near ponds or streams. Shadier rain garden plant. Deer resistant.


Mitchella repens - Partridgeberry


Mitchella repens - Partridgeberry; photo jberckbickler; click to enlarge

Evergreen, slow-spreading groundcover. Sparse white blooms from spring into summer. Tiny, round, dark, shiny leaves. Red berries, also sparse, through winter. Height: 1-2". Spread: to 16". Part to full shade. Acidic, moisture-retentive soil. Does not like competition and resents leaf cover in winter. Slow to establish, but will form a thick patch in time. Must have adequate moisture until well-established. Use around shaded stepping stones or under acid-loving deciduous and evergreen trees and shrubs. Incorporate plenty of well-moistened sphagnum peat into planting soil and mulch with pine needles. Deer resistant.


Mitella diphylla - Mitrewort; Bishop's Cap


Spires of dainty, white blooms in spring. Height: 6-12". Width: 8". Part to full shade. Moist, rich, near-neutral soil. Good drainage. Dust soil occasionally with horticultural lime. Keep free of accumulating leaves. Naturally grows on banks or steep slopes, often with trillium and violet species, or on mossy logs. Lovely as a groundcover under deciduous trees in a woodland garden. May be hard to establish.


Monarda clinopodia - Basil Balm


Monarda clinopodia - Basil Balm; photo jberckbickler; click to enlarge

White to pinkish flowers in summer. Height: 2-4'. Width: 18". Morning sun to bright shade. Moist, fertile soil. Allow plenty of room as plants spread moderately fast by shallow rhizomes. Drier, less fertile soils will slow spread. Foliage susceptible to powdery mildew. Cut back to clean foliage and discard. (Do not compost.) Divide every 3 years. Good for naturalizing at the wood edge, in front of shrubs or in a low spot. Hummingbird and butterfly plant. Shadier rain garden plant. Deer resistant.


Monarda didyma - Bee-balm; Oswego Tea


Monarda didyma - Bee-balm; photo jberckbickler; click to enlarge

Blooms red in summer. Height: 3-4'. Width: 18". Sun to part sun. Moist, fertile soil. See Monarda clinopodia, above, for cultural information. Combine with other Monarda species for color contrast. Hummingbird and butterfly plant. Rain garden plant. Deer resistant.


Monarda fistulosa - Wild Bergamot


Monarda fistulosa - Wild Bergamot

Blooms violet in summer. Height: 3-4'. Width: 18". Part sun. Will tolerate drier soils than the other Monardas. See Monarda clinopodia, above, for cultural information. This species is very nice in combination with Monarda media, or with the many yellow composite species which bloom at the same time. Hummingbird and butterfly plant. Deer resistant.


Monarda media - Purple Bergamot


Monarda media - Purple Bergamot; photo jberckbickler; click to enlarge

Blooms magenta in summer. Similar to Monarda didyma, above. See Monarda clinopodia, above, for cultural information. Butterfly and hummingbird plant. Rain garden plant. Deer resistant.


Nyssa sylvatica - Tupelo


Inconspicuous greenish blooms in spring attract bees. Leafs out late. Glossy, dark green foliage turns shades of deep red in early fall. Blue-black fruits on female individuals. Height: 30-60'. Spread: 20-35'. Sun. Moist soil. Fertilize lightly in spring with a balanced, organic fertilizer while tree is young. Deep roots allow for underplantings of shrubs and wildflowers. Specimen or street tree. Berries attract birds. Rain garden plant. Protect from deer until well- established and sizeable.


Oclemena acuminatus - Sharp-leaved or Whorled Aster.


White or purple-tinged, daisy-like flowers to 2" wide in fall. Leaves appear to be whorled around stems. Height: 8-36". Part shade to shade. Rich soil. Average moisture. Prune tips in late spring to control height. Deadhead after flowering to prevent self-sowing. Provides fall color for the woodland garden. Good fall nectar source and food plant for butterfly larva.


Onoclea sensibilis - Sensitive Fern


Light green fronds, usually deeply lobed. Height: 1-2'. Width: 2-3'. Part shade. Moist, fertile soil. Establishes, then spreads quickly to form large colonies. Grows continually through the season and stays looking fresh till first frost. Self-sows aggressively. Great in masses as a groundcover, at the wood edge or mixed with other aggressive ferns such as Ostrich Fern. Easy. Shadier rain garden plant. Deer resistant.


Osmorhiza longistylis - Aniseroot


Small, white flowers from spring to early summer. Leaves fern-like. Height: 1-3'. Part shade. Moist, rich soil. A lovely filler to mix with showier woodland plants. Self-sows, but easy to control. Deer resistant.


Panicum virgatum - Switchgrass; Panic Grass


Clump-forming, with much natural color and size variation. Airy, elegant seedheads turn tan in fall. Height: 3-6'. Width: 2-5'. Sun to part sun. Average soil. Divide clumps every 5 years. Use for massing or as a specimen plant in a border. Allow stems to remain up through winter to provide food and cover for birds. Cut back in March. Easy. Rain garden plant. Deer resistant.


Penstemon digitalis - White Beardtongue


Penstemon digitalis - White Beardtongue; photo jberckbickler; click to enlarge

White, tubular blossoms on tall, stiff stems above the foliage in late spring and early summer. Height: 2-4'. Width: 14-18". Sun to light shade. Moist, average soil. Clumping habit. Semi-evergreen. Fertile soil encourages heavy bloom. Use in borders, open woods, meadows or on slopes. Can be an aggressive self-sower. Deadhead to prevent. A showy, yet low maintenance plant. Bowman's Root is a nice companion. Rain garden plant. Deer resistant.


Penstemon hirsutus - Hairy Beardtongue


Airy clusters of lavender and white, 1" long, tubular flowers on stiff stems above the foliage from spring into summer. Semi-evergreen. Height: 12-18". Width: 12". Sun to part sun. Well-drained, average soil. Use in mixed plantings and for naturalizing, especially on dry, rocky banks. Can be an aggressive self-sower. Deadhead to prevent. Easy. Deer resistant.


Phlox divaricata - Wild Blue Phlox


Phlox divaricata - Wild Blue Phlox; photo jberckbickler; click to enlarge

Lavender blue flowers in spring. Evergreen foliage. Height and width: 12-16". Part shade. Moist but well-drained, rich soil. Mulch to protect shallow roots. Flower stems die after bloom and seed set. Clip back to lower leaves. Forms ground-covering drifts. Good companions are Foamflower, later-blooming Creeping Phlox or spring bulbs. Mats may be lifted and moved in early spring. Fragrant. Easily grown but not deer or rabbit resistant. Shadier rain garden plant.


Phlox maculata - Meadow Phlox


Blooms pink to lavender in summer on stiff stems. Height: 2-3'. Width: 2'. Morning sun or dappled light. Moist, rich soil. Fertilize in spring. Water during drought. Spreads to form colonies over time. Use in borders, moist meadows or open woods. Shadier rain garden plant. Butterfly plant.


Phlox paniculata - Summer Phlox; Garden Phlox; Perennial Phlox


Phlox paniculata - Summer Phlox; photo jberckbickler; click to enlarge

Blooms pink, lavender or white in late summer. Height: 3-5'. Width: 2-3'. Morning sun or dappled light. Evenly moist, very fertile soil. This plant is usually found on floodplains. It will not survive drought. May develop powdery mildew. Allow space for air circulation and avoid overhead watering to help prevent. The native species is more vigorous and disease resistant than the cultivars. Shadier rain garden plant. Butterfly plant.


Phlox stolonifera - Creeping Phlox


Phlox stolonifera - Creeping Phlox; photo jberckbickler; click to enlarge

Evergreen, woodland groundcover. Blooms rose-pink in spring. Height: 6-10". Spread: to 2'. Part shade to shade. Moist, acidic, rich soil. Seed heads may be cut off after bloom for neat appearance. Remove leaf litter in winter as it can smother plants. Cannot survive drought. Transplant in early spring. Plant among other low woodlanders such as Foamflower. Nice at wood edge.


Physocarpus opulifolius - Ninebark


Physocarpus opulifolius - Ninebark; photo jberckbickler; click to enlarge

Deciduous, suckering shrub. White flower heads in late spring to early summer. Layers of peeling bark, attractive if plant is pruned to expose. Attracts many pollinators. Height: 6-12'. Spread: 6-10'. Part sun. Average to moist soil. Very adaptable. Best used for naturalizing, screening or to stabilize soil. Provides good protection and nesting sites for birds. Cut back hard in winter once every few years for fresh growth. Rain garden plant.


Pinus strobus - Eastern White Pine


Evergreen tree. Long, soft needles. Fine-textured. Height: to 90'. Width: to 40'. Sun to part sun. Average soil. Adaptable. Provides food and shelter for birds and small mammals.


Podophyllum peltatum - Mayapple


Podophyllum peltatum - Mayapple

Deciduous, woodland groundcover. Bold, umbrella-like leaves shade single, 2" white flowers in spring. A few apple-like fruits loved by box turtules may develop. An aggressive, colony-forming, woodland groundcover for larger, shady places or under shrubs. Height: 8-16". Spread: 4-6'. Part to full shade. Best in moist, fertile soils, but will grow under dry conditions after established. Nice with large stands of Virginia Bluebells or Wood Poppies on a floodplain. Use gloves when handling rhizomes as sap can irritate eyes and skin. Evergreen ferns are good companion plants since Mayapple goes dormant in late summer. Carefree. Deer resistant.


Polemonium reptans - Spreading Jacob's Ladder; Greek Valerian


Polemonium reptans - Spreading Jacob's Ladder; photo jberckbickler; click to enlarge

Blooms in clusters of blue, bell-shaped flowers over attractive, fern-like foliage in spring. Clump-forming. Height: 10-16". Width: 1-2'. Morning sun or dappled light. Moist, fertile soil. Shear back hard after seeds are shed to tidy plants and encourage new growth. Self-sows, but not aggressively. Woodland gardens. Always attractive. Easy. Shadier rain garden plant.


Polygonatum biflorum - Solomon's Seal


Polygonatum biflorum - Solomon's Seal

White, bell-shaped flowers tipped in green dangle beneath elegant, arching foliage in spring. Blue-black fruits taken by wildlife in late summer. Height: 1-3'. Width: 16-24". Part shade. Moist, well-drained, rich soil. Intermingle with large-leaved groundcovers such as Bloodroot or Wild Ginger, or with ferns to add height. Divide every 5 years.


Polygonatum canaliculatum (commutatum) - Giant Solomon's Seal

Polygonatum canaliculatum (commutatum) - Giant Solomon's
Seal

Similar to Polygonatum biflorum, above. Height: 6-7'. Cultural information the same. A spectacular addition to a woodland garden or massed on a moist bank.


Polystichum acrostichoides - Christmas Fern


Polystichum acrostichoides - Christmas Fern

Dark, leathery, evergreen fronds. Forms clumps. Often grows on slopes. Height: to 30". Width: to 2'. Part shade. Moist, rich, acidic soil. Use to cover bare spots left by spring ephemerals or as an accent plant, groundcover or edger. Deer resistant.


Porteranthus trifoliatus - Bowman's Root


Porteranthus trifoliatus - Bowman's Root; photo jberckbickler; click to enlarge

Blooms star-like, white flowers with a tinge of pink in early summer. Bushy. Nice fall foliage color. Height: 2-3'. Width: 2-3'. Part sun. Moist to dry, rich soil. Transplant only in spring. Fertilize in spring. Cut back in fall. Good as a specimen or in mass plantings. Use in the mixed border, on slopes or at the wood edge. Nice, airy texture to contrast with large flowers. White Beardtongue is also a good companion. Tough, long-lived plant. Drought tolerant. Never needs dividing. Deer resistant.


Pycnanthemum virginianum - Virginia Mountain Mint


Blooms white in roundish heads in mid- to late summer. Minty fragrance. Height: 2-3'. Width: 2-3'. Sun to part sun. Average soil. Needs space as it spreads aggressively on rhizomes. Use for naturalizing in a meadow or wildlife garden, especially a butterfly garden as the plants are excellent nectar sources. Tough. Drought tolerant. Rain garden plant. Deer resistant


Rhododendron arborescens - Sweet Azalea


Deciduous shrub. White, fragrant, tubular blossoms with red styles in early summer. Glossy, dark green leaves. Rounded growth habit. Height: 5-10'. Width: 4-8'. Moist, humusy, acidic soil. Morning sun, dappled light or bright shade. Add plenty of well-moistened sphagnum peat, compost and pine needles to soil when planting. Yearly mulching with acidic, organic material is the only fertilization recommended. Remove dead stems when dormant. Use as a specimen, in a shrub border, as a foundation planting or at the wood edge.


Rhododendron maximum - Rosebay


Rhododendron maximum - Rosebay

Massive, slow-growing, evergreen shrub. Blooms light pink in early summer. Height: 6-15'. Width: 4-15'. Cultural requirements similar to those of Rhododendron arborescens, above, but will tolerate somewhat drier soils. Often found growing on steep, rocky, wooded slopes or stream banks in wild areas. Best used for naturalizing on larger properties. Shadier rain garden plant.


Rosa carolina - Pasture Rose; Carolina Rose


Rosa carolina - Pasture Rose; Carolina Rose

Deciduous shrub. Fragrant, pink blooms in summer followed by dark red hips. Height: 3'. Spreading, but easily controlled by circling clump with a sharp spade in spring. Sun to part sun. Well-drained, average, even rocky soil. Apply a little organic fertilizer in spring. Prune just after bloom, as flowers are produced on older canes. Provides important winter food for birds. Drought tolerant. Deer resistant.


Rubus odoratus - Purple-Flowering Raspberry


Rubus odoratus - Purple-flowering Raspberry; photo jberckbickler; click to enlarge

Deciduous, suckering shrub. Fragrant, 2", rose-purple blooms in summer followed by edible, red fruits. Large leaves shaped like those of a maple tree. Height: 3-6'. Width: 3-8'. Part shade, especially in the afternoon. Moist, rich soil. Use at wood edge or streamside. Prune occasionally to remove dead canes (which have no thorns). Fertilize lightly in spring with compost or organic fertilizer.


Rudbeckia laciniata - Green-headed Coneflower; Cut-leaf Coneflower


Rudbeckia laciniata - Green-headed Coneflower; photo jberckbickler; click to enlarge

Light yellow flowers with green centers in summer to early fall. Height: 3-9'. Width: 3-4'. Part sun. Moist, well-drained, moderately fertile soil. Cut back by half in June to control height, plant among tall grasses for support, or stake. Self-sows aggressively. Deadhead to prevent. Divide occasionally in spring. Nice with ornamental grasses, other coneflowers, Blazing Star, ironweeds or Culver's Root in a meadow or wild garden. Also good at the back of a border. Seeds attract birds. Rain garden plant.


Rudbeckia triloba - Three-lobed Coneflower; Brown-eyed Susan


Rudbeckia triloba - Three-lobed Coneflower; photo jberckbickler; click to enlarge

Blooms gold with brown centers in mid- to late summer. Flowers a bit smaller than Black-eyed Susans. Height: 2-4'. Width: 1-2'. Same cultural requirements as for Rudbeckia laciniata. Short-lived but self-sows readily, so is nice for naturalizing in a meadow. In a garden, deadhead most but not all flower heads, or allow them to remain up through winter for the birds and pull out unwanted plants in spring. Rain garden plant.


Salvia lyrata - Lyre-leaved Sage


Blooms violet on a spike rising to 18" from a ground-hugging rosette of scalloped green or reddish leaves in late spring. Part sun. Well-drained, rich soil. Mainly a foliage plant. Will create a groundcover in time if allowed to self-sow. Nice in a rock garden or in an open woodland garden.


Sambucus canadensis - Common Elderberry


Deciduous, fast-growing, suckering shrub. Flat-topped, creamy white flower clusters in early summer followed by edible, deep purple berries. Height: 5-12'. Spread: to 12' or more. Part sun. Moist, average soil. Best used in informal garden situations and for naturalizing, especially at the wood or meadow edge. Prune back old or weak canes to trunk near the ground in winter every few years. Flowers provide nectar and birds love the fruit. Rain garden plant.


Sambucus racemosa ssp. pubens - Red-berried Elder


Sambucus racemosa ssp pubens - Red-berried Elder; photo jberckbickler; click to enlarge

Deciduous, fast-growing, suckering shrub. Similar in leaf to Sambucus canadensis, above, but blooms earlier in spring and produces bright red fruits in early summer. Height: 4-10'. Spread: 3-8' or more. Cultural requirements same as for Sambucus canadensis. Quite showy in fruit which, though edible, needs to be well-cooked. Flowers provide nectar and birds love the fruit. Rain garden plant.


Sanguinaria canadensis - Bloodroot


Sanguinaria canadensis - Bloodroot; photo jberckbickler; click to enlarge

Blooms briefly in spring. Flowers white with yellow stamens. Leaves large, roundish, with wavy, lobed edges. Attractive foliage lasts in good condition into fall with enough moisture. Height: 5-12". Width: 12-16". Part shade to shade. Moist, rich, well-drained, near-neutral soil. Dust soil occasionally with horticultural lime. Add a little organic fertilizer in spring. Mulch only lightly to prevent stem rot. Mass for a groundcover in shade, or plant among spring ephemerals to cover bare spots. Deer resistant.


Saxifraga pensylvanica - Swamp Saxifrage


Greenish-white flowers in branched clusters on stout, 1-4' high stalks in spring. Leaves are basal rosettes. Part shade. Wet soil. A dramatic plant for use in standing water near the edge of a pond or stream, or in a swampy area. Produces offsets which may be divided with a sharp knife after bloom.


Saxifraga virginiensis - Early Saxifrage


Saxifraga virginiensis - Early Saxifrage

Small, white flowers bloom in clusters successively up lengthening stems and branches in early spring. Leaves are basal rosettes. Height: 4-12". Part to full shade. Moist, well-drained, rich, near-neutral soil in rock crevices or on damp, rocky banks or slopes; or create a slightly raised area with a few rocks at the edge of some trees. Dust soil occasionally with horticultural lime.


Schizachyrium scoparium - Little Bluestem


Clump-forming grass. Emerges blue-gree, turns brownish-red in fall. Height: 2-3'. Width: 1-2'. Sun. Average soil. Keep clump free of weeds until well-established. Use as a vertical accent in a border or in mass between wild and cultivated areas, especially on hillsides. Mixes micely with yellow composites. Cut back to 6" in late March. Seeds attract birds. Deer resistant.


Scirpus cyperinus - Wool Grass or Rush


Strongly vertical. Inflorescence radiates out from one point, then radiates again, like an exploding firework. Matures to fuzzy, brown, dangling seed balls late summer to fall. Height: 3-5'. Width: 2'. Part to full sun. Moist to wet soil, but quite adaptable to damp, open areas. Grows naturally in clumps in wet places. Deer resistant.


Scutellaria incana - Downy Skullcap


Scutellaria incana - Downy Skullcap

Blooms violet-blue or pink on spikes in mid- to late summer. Clumping habit. Height: 2-3'. Width: 12-16". Part shade. Moist to dry, average soil. Adaptable. Deadhead after flowering for neater appearance. Foliage may be slightly disfigured by a tiny moth. Best if scattered among other perennials in borders, or used in groups in meadow gardens or open woods. Self-sows. An alternative for dry shade. Deer resistant.


Sedum ternatum - Wild Stonecrop


Sedum ternatum - Wild Stonecrop; photo jberckbickler; click to enlarge

White, star-like blooms in spring. A fleshy plant. Height: 4-8". Spread: to 12". Morning sun to shade. Moist, well-drained, average soil. Easy to grow, evergreen groundcover. Spreads to form large mats. Use in rock crevices or in rocky soil, near stone walks or paths or under shrubs and trees. Also nice in pots. Deer resistant.


Senecio aureus - Golden Ragwort


Senecio aureus - Golden Ragwort; photo jberckbickler; click to enlarge

Gold flowers held on stiff stems above foliage in May. Height: 1-3'. Width: 1'. Part shade. Very moist, rich soil. Ever-widening clump needs occasional division. Self-sows. Deadhead to prevent. Good for naturalizing in shady, wet areas beside ponds and streams or in low spots. Shadier rain garden plant.


Senna hebecarpa - Northern Wild Senna


Senna hebecarpa - Wild Senna; photo jberckbickler; click to enlarge

Clusters of yellow flowers in summer. Attractive seed pods. Height: 3-7'. Width: 4-6'. Sun to part sun. Moist to moderately dry, rich soil. Drier, leaner soils produce shorter, less floppy plants. Choose planting site carefully as it is difficult to move or divide. Self-sows. Use for vertical impact in large borders or as a screen. Seeds attract birds. Rain garden plant. Deer resistant.


Silene stellata - Starry Campion


Nodding, ¾", white flowers with fringed edges in summer. Height: 2-3'. Plant is taller than wide. Part shade. Average to dry, moderately rich soil. Use in borders or in dry, open woods, especially along paths or at the wood edge. Will self-sow but not excessively. A delicate-looking yet rugged, undemanding plant.


Silene virginica - Fire Pink


Silene virginica - Fire Pink; photo jberckbickler; click to enlarge

Blooms crimson, star-like flowers in summer. Height: 8-14". Width: 12". Part sun. Moist, but very well-drained, rich soil. Add generous amounts of sand and humus to soil when planting. Usually found growing on steep slopes or in open woods. May be short-lived due to heavy bloom. Deadhead at least half the spent flowers to prevent seed production and promote growth of new crowns. Division of clump after bloom may also spur strong new growth. Self-sows when conditions are right. Move new plants in spring. Cut back if affected by thrips or powdery mildew. Good rock garden plant.


Silphium trifoliatum - Whorled Rosinweed


Silphium trifoliatum - Whorled Rosinweed; photo jberckbickler; click to enlarge

Clusters of yellow, daisy-like blooms in mid-summer. Height: 3-6'. Width: 2-3'. Sun or part sun. Moist to dry, rich soil. Drought tolerant once established. Choose planting site carefully as it is difficult to divide. Whole plants can be moved. Be sure to get the entire taproot out or it may resprout. Nice at the back of an informal border or in meadows. Seeds attract birds.


Sisyrinchium angustifolium - Blue-eyed Grass


Star-shaped blooms at the tips of grass-like blades in late spring through early summer. Blooms only when in sun. A miniature member of the Iris Family. Height and width: 10-16". Part sun only. Moist, well-drained, rich soil. Individuals may be short-lived but new seedlings may form at the base of mature plants. Also self-sows here and there. Nice among low groundcovers or rocks, in low, moist meadows or as an edger. Also combine with spring or fall-blooming crocus. Shadier rain garden plant.


Goldenrods (Solidago spp.)

Goldenrods play important roles in native ecosystems, stabilizing soil on hillsides and banks, providing excellent nectar sources as well as food and shelter for wildlife.

Solidago bicolor - Silverrod

Silver-white blooms along a spike in late summer and fall. Height: 2-3'. Width: 2'. Morning sun to light shade. Average soil. Will self-sow. A rugged plant, especially in drier soils. An alternative for dry shade, even under evergreen trees.

Solidago caesia - Wreath Goldenrod
Yellow flowers circle arching stems in fall. Height: 1-3'. Width: 1-2'. Morning sun to light shade. Moist to dry, rich soil. Transplant in spring to early summer only. Occasionally rust can be a problem. Remove affected plants and discard. (Do not compost.) Use at wood edge or in open woodland. Mix with asters and ironweeds for nice color contrast in meadows and borders. Can be used as a taller groundcover.

Solidago flexicaulis - Zigzag Goldenrod

Blooms yellow-gold in fall. Stems zigzag from leaf to leaf. Height: 1-3'. Width: 2-3'. Average soil. Part shade to shade. A species to brighten the woodland garden in fall. Goes well with the purples and blues of other fall-blooming species. Occasionally may develop rust. Remove badly infected plants and discard. (Do not compost.)

Solidago rugosa - Rough-stemmed Goldenrod
Solidago rugosa - Rough-stemmed Goldenrod Blooms yellow in late summer to fall. Height: 2-6'. Width: 3'. Sun to part sun. Cultural requirements same as for Solidago caesia, above. This is an aggressive species best used for naturalizing in large areas such as meadows and fields. Forms large clumps. Rain garden plant.


Sorghastrum nutans - Indiangrass


Tall, arching and clump-forming. Coppery colored inflorescence in late summer and fall. Height: 3'. Width: 2-3'. Sun. Average soil. Use as a specimen in borders or in meadows. Self-sows. Cut back in March. Excellent wildlife plant. Deer resistant.


Spiraea alba - Meadowsweet


Shrub. Frothy clusters of white blooms in mid- to late summer. Height and width: 2-5'. Width: 2-5'. Part sun. Medium to moist, average soil. Best for naturalizing in meadows or for mixed plantings. May be cut back yearly when dormant. Excellent nectar source. Rain garden plant. Deer resistant.


Staphylea trifolia - American Bladdernut


Deciduous, suckering shrub/small tree. Drooping clusters of white, bell-shaped flowers in spring. Interesting, 2-3" long, inflated papery pods containing large seeds which rattle inside when dry. Height: 4-15'. Part shade. Moist, rich soil. Use at shady pond edge or on stream or riverbank. Shadier rain garden plant.


Stylophorum diphyllum - Wood Poppy


Stylophorum diphyllum - Wood Poppy; photo jberckbickler; click to enlarge

Large yellow-gold blooms in spring. Flowers light up shady areas. Height: 12-18". Width: 1'. Part shade, especially under deciduous trees. Moist, rich soil. Older individuals will go dormant after flowering. Ferns can be used to hide bare spots. Self-sows freely. Deadhead or remove seed pods to prevent. Best for naturalizing in woodland gardens in light shade. Good companions are Virginia Bluebells, Foamflower and Mayapple. Shadier rain garden plant. Deer resistant.


Symphotrichum cordifolium - Blue Heart-leaved Aster


Clusters of 1" wide, blue, pink or white flowers along arching stems in fall. Height: 2-4'. Width: 18". Average soil. Part shade. Lovely in a woodland garden. Competes well with tree and shrub roots. Readily self-sows. Deadhead to prevent. Nice on steep banks where Tall Bellflower is a good companion. Good fall nectar source and food plant for butterfly larva.


Symphotrichum novae-angliae - New England Aster


Aster novae-angliae - New England Aster_jberckbickler.jpg; photo jberckbickler; click to enlarge

Showy clusters of 1-2" wide, violet-purple to pink flowers with orange centers in fall. Height: 3-7'. Width: 2-3'. Part sun. Moderate to moist, average soil. Forms thick clumps in time. Cut back by half in June to promote bushiness and control height, or stake. Readily self-sows. Deadhead to prevent. Divide every 3 years in spring. Often suffers from leaf blight on lower stems. Plant shorter species in front to hide. Good fall nectar source and food plant for butterfly larva. Rain garden plant.


Symphotrichum prenanthoides - Crooked-stem Aster


Symphotrichum prenanthoides - Crooked-stem Aster

Pale violet, 1-2" wide flowers in fall. Stem zig-zags. Height: 1-3'. Part shade. Moist, rich soil. Readily self-sows. Deadhead to prevent. Good fall nectar source and food plant for butterfly larva. Shadier rain garden plant.


Symphotrichum puniceum - Purple-stemmed Aster


Symphotrichum puniceum - Purple-stemmed Aster

Pale violet, 1-2" wide flowers in fall. Height: 2-8'. Part sun. Moist, rich soil. Readily self-sows. Deadhead to prevent. Good fall nectar source and food plant for butterfly larva.


Symphotrichum shortii - Short's Aster


Inch-wide, pale violet flowers in fall. Height: 1-4'. Part shade. Average to dry, rich soil. Readily self-sows. Deadhead to prevent. Good fall nectar source and food plant for butterbly larva. Shadier rain garden plant.


Symplocarpus foetidus - Skunk Cabbage


Symplocarpus foetidus - Skunk Cabbage

Large, maroon and white, hooded blooms in late winter to early spring. Huge, tropical-looking leaves follow. Plants go dormant by mid-summer. Height and width: to 3'. Part to full shade. Mucky to wet soil, at least in spring. The wetter the soil throughout the season, the more sun the plants will tolerate. Site carefully as huge rhizome makes it hard to eradicate once established. Best for naturalizing in swampy areas. Deer resistant.


Thalictrum dioicum - Early Meadow Rue


Tassel-like, yellow-green blooms in spring. Fine-textured foliage dies back in summer. Bushy. Height: 1-2'. Width: 1½'. Part shade. Average or even rocky soil that stays moist, especially in spring. Use as an accent plant in a woodland garden, on a rocky bank or as an airy groundcover under deciduous trees. Deer resistant.


Thalictrum pubescens - Tall Meadow Rue


Thalictrum pubescens - Tall Meadow Rue; photo jberckbickler; click to enlarge

White, airy blooms in summer. Fine- textured foliage. A tall, graceful species. Height: 3-9'. Width: 2'. Part sun to light shade. Moist to wet, rich soil. Easy to grow and long-lived with plenty of moisture. Use as a vertical presence in borders, moist meadows, at the edge of woods, in open woods or beside a pond or stream. Nice filler for tight spaces. Blends well with other tall species. Shadier rain garden plant. Deer resistant.


Thalictrum thalictroides - Rue anemone


Thalictrum thalictroides - Rue anemone; photo jberckbickler; click to enlarge

Dainty, white to pink blooms in spring and early summer. Will continue blooming longer with moisture. Height: 4-8". Width: to 12". Part shade to shade. Moist, but very well-drained, near neutral-soil. Dust soil occasionally with horticultural lime. Add compost and sand to improve drainage. Use in a woodland garden, a shady rock garden or under deciduous shrubs. Best in drifts. Self-sows. Delicate-looking but tough. Deer resistant


Tiarella cordifolia - Foamflower


Tiarella cordifolia - Foamflower

Spires of white flowers above maple-like leaves in spring. Height: 3-10". Width: to 2'. Dappled sun to shade. Moist, rich, near-neutral soil. Dust soil occasionally with horticultural lime. Semi-evergreen. This is a running form. Plant in spring and shear back after seeding. Use as a groundcover under deciduous trees or in drifts in wooded areas. Nice mixed with Christmas Fern, Virginia Bluebells or Creeping Phlox.


Tradescantia virginiana - Spiderwort


Blooms deep blue-violet in spring at the ends of leaves (really bracts) similar to those of day lilies. Flowers open in sun for one day only, but blooms over several weeks. Height and width: 1-2'. Part sun to light shade. Moist, rich soil. May go dormant in summer and re-emerge in fall. This is an aggressive species, spreading via stolons and seedlings. Fertilize in spring and cut down after flowering. If any plant develops rust, remove and discard. (Do not compost.) Use in borders, in mass plantings and for naturalizing near ponds and streams. Shadier rain garden plant.


Trautvetteria caroliniensis - Tassel Rue


Trautvetteria caroliniensis - Tassel Rue; photo jberckbickler; click to enlarge

Flat clusters of white flowers with long stamens produce a tassel-like effect above large, lobed leaves. Blooms early summer. Height: 2-3'. Taller than wide. Morning sun to bright shade. Moist, rich soil. Use near a pond or stream or in an open woodland garden. Shadier rain garden plant.


Trillium erectum - Purple Trillium; Wake Robin


Trillium erectum - Purple Trillium; Wake Robin

Three-petaled, maroon blooms held above 3-leaved plants in spring. Height: to 18". Moist, well-drained, acidic soil. Part shade or dappled light. Plant container bulbs at the same level as in the pots. Add organic mulch in spring. Dig and divide older plants when they begin to go dormant.


Trillium grandiflorum - White Trillium


Trillium grandiflorum - White Trillium

Large, white, 3-petaled, showy blooms which fade to pink as they decline. Flowers held well above 3 leaves. Height: to 20". Moist, well-drained, near-neutral soil. Dust soil lightly with horticultural lime each fall. Morning sun to bright shade. Other cultural requirements the same as for Trillium erectum, above.


Trillium sessile - Toadshade


Trillium sessile - Toadshade

Deep red, bud-like, 3-petaled flowers held close to the center of 3-leaved plants. Foliage mottled. Height: to 12". Other cultural requirements the same as for Trillium erectum, above. Often found growing on slopes with Trout Lily in wild areas. This is the most deer resistant trillium species.


Vaccinium angustifolium - Lowbush Blueberry


Vaccinium angustifolium - Lowbush Blueberry

Deciduous shrub. White-tinged-pink, bell-shaped blooms in spring. Edible, blue fruits in mid-summer. Leaves turn reddish in fall. Forms colonies. Height: to 2'. Spread: to 3'. Well-drained, acidic soil. Mix plenty of well-moistened sphagnum peat, compost and pine needles into planting soil. Sun to bright shade. Mulch yearly with acidic, organic material. Feed lightly in spring with a balanced, organic fertilizer. Take divisions from edges of clump in early spring before growth begins. Plant several for more fruit. Excellent wildlife plant.


Vaccinium staminium - Deerberry


Deciduous shrub. Clusters of greenish-white bells with flared edges in spring. Height and width: 3-6'. Bluish berries which may be somewhat bitter in mid-summer. Open, airy growth habit. Well-drained, acidic soil. Mix plenty of well-moistened sphagnum peat, compost and pine needles into planting soil. Part sun. Found in open woods in wild areas. Excellent wildlife plant.


Verbena hastata - Blue Vervain


Verbena hastata - Blue Vervain; photo jberckbickler; click to enlarge

Blooms dark, blue-violet on stiff, upright stems from summer to fall. Height: 2-6'. Width: 12-16". Sun to part sun. Moist to wet, moderately fertile soil. Forms clumps. Self-sows. Deadhead to prevent. Use at edge of pond or stream or in a moist meadow. A nice companion to yellow-blooming meadow species and other blue-purple late bloomers such as Joe-Pye-Weed and ironweeds. Rain garden plant. Deer resistant.


Vernonia gigantea - Tall Ironweed


Intense purple flower clusters in late summer. Height: 4-10'. Width: 2-3'. Sun to part sun. Moist to wet, rich soil. Somewhat drought tolerant after established. Self-sows. Deadhead to prevent. Plant emerges late. Use for vertical accent or anchor plant in large borders, or for screening or naturalizing in moist meadows or near ponds or streams. Nice in low spots with Joe-Pye Weed and Boneset, or with tall yellow composites. Choose planting site carefully as plant is hard to move or divide. Easy. Long-lived. Rain garden plant.


Vernonia noveboracensis - New York Ironweed


Vernonia noveboracensis - New York Ironweed; photo jberckbickler; click to enlarge

Very similar to Vernonia gigantea, above, but somewhat shorter. Culture and use information the same. Rain garden plant.


Veronicastrum virginicum - Culver's Root


Veronicastrum virginicum - Culver's Root; photo jberckbickler; click to enlarge

Long, white flower spikes above whorled leaves in mid-summer. Height: 3-6'. Width: 2'. Sun to part sun. Moist, moderately fertile soil. Forms clumps. Divide every 3-5 years in spring before plant emerges. Roots are thick. Elegant, vertical plant to grow with other meadow plants such as asters, ironweeds, goldenrods, Joe-Pye-Weed, coneflowers and Blazing Star. Nice massed or in groups of 5 or more as a background plant in a perennial or mixed shrub border. Shows up nicely in front of a dark background. Rain garden plant.


Viola canadensis - Canada Violet


Viola canadensis - Canada Violet; photo jberckbickler; click to enlarge

White blooms tinged purple with yellow centers throughout spring and well into summer. Height: 10-16". Width: 12". Part shade. Moist, fertile soil. An erect species. Forms mounds. Good as a groundcover for woodland gardens or for naturalizing. Also good in partly shaded rock gardens or as a filler in an awkward corner. Cut back when foliage declines. Self-sows readily. Good wildlife plant.


Viola pubescens - Downy Yellow Violet


Yellow blooms in spring. Forms clumps with 3" long, heart-shaped leaves. Height: 8-12". Part shade. Moist, rich soil. Self-sows. New plants easy to move in spring or may be divided. Plants may be affected by thrips and mildew over the growing season. Cut back and they will recover for next spring. Use as a woodland groundcover, in a shady rock garden or for naturalizing. Good wildlife plant.


Viola rostrata - Long-spurred Violet


Viola rostrata - Long-spurred Violet

Pale blue blooms with dark centers in spring. One of the showiest native violets. Flowers have half-inch long, slender spurs which may attract hummingbirds. Height: 6". Shade or dappled light. Moist, fertile soil. Self-sows. Good wildlife plant.


Viola striata - Creamy Violet


Viola striata - Creamy Violet; photo jberckbickler; click to enlarge

Blooms white with violet lines on lower flower petals in late spring. Forms rather erect mounds. Height: 8-12". Width: 8". Part shade. Moist, fertile soil. Self-sows aggressively. Best used for naturalizing. Good wildlife plant. Shadier rain garden plant.


Waldsteinia fragarioides - Barren Strawberry


Waldsteinia fragarioides - Barren Strawberry; photo jberckbickler; click to enlarge

Blooms yellow in spring. Strawberry-like, semi-evergreen foliage. Height: 3-7". Spread: 12" or more. Morning sun to bright shade. Moist to dry, rich soil. Fertilize in spring by top-dressing soil with compost. Water regularly during the first year to establish. Excellent groundcover, spreading about one foot per year. An option for dry shade. Nice on open, wooded slopes, under shrubs or in rock gardens.


Zizia aurea - Golden Alexanders


Zizia aurea - Golden Alexanders; photo jberckbickler; click to enlarge

Flat clusters of small yellow flowers in spring, similar to Queen Anne's Lace. Height: 1-3'. Width: 12-16". Part shade, especially in the afternoon. Moist to wet, moderately fertile soil. A naturalizing species for open woods or meadows. Best in groups. Can be used as a medium height groundcover. Easy. Shadier rain garden plant. Deer resistant.


Bibliography