Plant Options

Well Behaved Plants for Gardens and Landscaping

Amorpha canescens Leadplant

Aquilegia canadensis Columbine

Asclepias incarnata Swamp Milkweed

Asclepias tuberosa Butterfly Weed

Aster linariifolius Stiff Aster

Aster sericeus Silky Aster

Baptisia, either species Wild Indigo

Campanula rotundifolia Harebell

Dodecatheon amethystinum Amethyst Shooting Star

Dodecatheon meadia Shooting Star

Echinacea pallida Pale Purple Coneflower

Eryngium yuccifolium Rattlesnake Master

Fragaria either species Wild Strawberry

Geum triflorum Prairie Smoke

Heuchera richardsonii Prairie Alum Root

Hypoxis hirsuta Yellow Star Grass

Liatris aspera Rough Blazing Star

Liatris cylindracea Dwarf Blazing Star

Liatris pycnostacha Prairie Blazing Star

Lilium philadelphicum Wood Lily

Mitella diphylla Miterwort

Oenothera perennis Sundrops

Petalostemum candidum White Prairie Clover

Petalostemum purpureum Purple Prairie Clover

Phlox pilosa Downy (Prairie) Phlox

Polemonium reptans Jacob’s Ladder

Potentilla arguta Prairie Cinquefoil

Rudbeckia subtomentosa Sweet Black-Eyed Susan

Silphium laciniatum Compass Plant

Silphium terebinthinaceum Prairie Dock

Sisyrinchium campestre Blue Eyed Grass

Solidago rigida Stiff Goldenrod

Solidago speciosa Showy Goldenrod

Thalictrum dasycarpum Purple Meadow Rue

Thalictrum dioicum Early Meadow Rue

Veronicastrum virginicum Culver’s Root

Zizia aurea Golden Alexanders

Andropogon scoparius Little Bluestem

Carex radiata Starry Sedge

Carex vulpinoidea Fox Sedge

Sporobolus heterolepis Prairie Dropseed

Acer rubrum or saccharum Native maples

Amelanchier laevis Juneberry

Carpinus caroliniana Musclewood

Carya ovata Shagbark Hickory

Ceanothus americanus New Jersey Tea

Celtis occidentalis Hackberry

Cornus alternifolia Pagoda Dogwood

Red, White and Bur Oaks


Aggressive Plants to be aware of

Many of these are fine in landscaping, as long as their tendencies are taken into account. Others are only suited for restoration work.

Anemone canadensis Canada Anemone Clonal. Roots must be contained.

Asarum canadense Wild Ginger Clonal--spreads slowly, but inexorably.

Asclepias syriaca Common Milkweed    Very clonal—but great food for Monarch caterpillars, and excellent nectar source for hummingbirds, butterflies and bees.

Aster novae-angliae New England Aster   Valuable nectar plant, but aggressive self seeder.

Aster oblongifolius Savory-Leaved Aster    Clonal.

Aster prenanthoides Crooked Stemmed Aster    Another clonal aster, but less of an issue.

Aster puniceus Red-Stemmed Aster  Clonal, but unlikely to spread outside of wet areas.

Aster sagittifolius Arrow-Leaved Aster   In the absence of deer this may be a vigorous self-seeder.

Coreopsis palmata Prairie Coreopsis   Clonal. May or may not be a problem.

Fragaria vesca and virginiana Wild Strawberries   Spread vigorously, but short-statured and seldom hard to control.

Galium boreale Northern Bedstraw   Seeder, clonal, and suppresses the growth of other plants.

Helenium autumnale   Helenium    Self-sows readily. Seedlings should be easy to control.

Helianthus occcidentalis Western Sunflower   Clonal. Other Helianthus species are far more aggressive

Heliopsis helianthoides Ox-Eye   Self seeds readily, and seedlings grow fast.

Iris shrevei Wild Iris    Clonal, but spreads fairly slowly.

Pedicularis canadensis Wood Betony    Clonal. May suppress other plants’ growth

Polygonatum biflorum Solomon’s Seal Clonal.

Silphium integrifolium Rosin Weed Self sows vigorously. Not recommended.

Silphium perfoliatum Cupplant Self sows vigorously. Not recommended.

Smilacina racemosa False Solomon’s Seal   Clonal. May be hard to contain.

Smilacina stellata Starry False Solomon’s Seal    Clonal. May be hard to contain.

Solidago flexicaulis Zigzag Goldenrod   Clonal. Usually stays small, but I’ve heard occasional reports of it spreading aggressively.

Solidago graminifolia Grass-Leaved Goldenrod   Clonal. Hard to contain. Not recommended.

Vernonia fasciculata Ironweed    Clonal. Extremely vigorous when soil is moist enough to be happy.

Andropogon gerardi Big Bluestem   Self-sows vigorously. May be hard to contain.

Calamagrostis canadensis Blue Joint Grass    Clonal. Not for gardens.

Hierocloë odorata Sweet Grass    Clonal. Roots must be contained but might not spread to dry ground.

Sorghastrum nutans Indian Grass   Self-sows vigorously. May be hard to contain.

Spartina pectinata Prairie Cord Grass   Clonal. Only for restoration plantings.

Amorpha fruticosa Indigo Bush   Self-seeds aggressively.

Celastrus scandens Native Bittersweet   Sends up many sprouts from the roots.    All bittersweets are somewhat dicey in garden settings.

Clematis virginiana Wild Clematis (Virgin’s Bower)   Aggressive vine that roots wherever it touches the ground.

Corylus americana American Hazelnut     Many root sprouts.

Prunus americana Wild Plum Clonal. Sprouts can be contained with the lawn mower.

Rubus occidentalis    Black Raspberry Needs to be kept pruned.

Sambucus canadensis Elderberry    Sends up root sprouts--not for small spaces.


Rock Garden type plants

Anemone patens Pasqueflower
Antennaria neglecta Pussytoes
Antennaria plantaginifolia Pussytoes
Asters linariifolius or sericeus
Campanula rotundifolia Harebell

Dodecatheon meadia Shooting Star
Dodecatheon amethystinum Amethyst Shooting Star
Geum triflorum Prairie Smoke
Heuchera richardsonii Prairie Alum Root
Hypoxis hirsuta Yellow Star Grass

Liatris cylindracea Dwarf Blazing Star
Mitella diphylla Miterwort
Oenothera perennis Sundrops
Penstemon pallidus White Penstemon
Phlox pilosa Downy (Prairie) Phlox

Potentilla arguta Prairie Cinquefoil
Sisyrinchium campestre Blue-Eyed Grass
Solidago nemoralis Old-Field Goldenrod
Solidago speciosa Showy Goldenrod
Thalictrum dioicum Early Meadow Rue

Bouteloua curtipendula Side Oats Grama
Koeleria cristata Junegrass

Butterfly Plants Good sources for larval food or nectar

Asclepias incarnata, syriaca, or tuberosa Any milkweed is consumed by Monarch caterpillars

Antennaria Both species are consumed by the American Painted Lady caterpillars

Asters Pearl Crescent larva Aster novae-angliae (New England Aster) in particular is a superb nectar plant

Cassia hebecarpa (Wild Senna) Sleepy orange and cloudless sulfur larvae

Other legumes such as Amorpha (leadplant and indigo bush) and Lespedeza (bush clovers) are larval food for the showy Silver Spotted Skipper

Chelone glabra (Turtlehead)  Baltimore larvae

Violets various fritillaries

Warm Season grasses Common Wood Nymph and various Skippers

Various other butterflies develop on Black cherry, Hackberry, Oaks, aspens, pines,  and willows.

Hops feed young Commas (“Hop Merchants”), Red Admirals, and Question Marks

Nettles (in addition to being good for us!) provide food for the caterpillars of  Red Admirals, Milbert's Tortoise Shells, Question Marks, and Commas

Bergamot, Pycnanthemum (Mountain Mint), Echinacea, and all Blazing stars, Rudbeckias, Eupatoriums, and goldenrods are good nectar producers


Hummingbird Flowers

Aquilegia canadensis Wild Columbine

Asclepias species—all millkweeds

Aster species

Astragalus canadensis Canada Milk-Vetch

Baptisia species—the Wild Indigos

Epilobium angustifolium Fireweed

Heuchera richardsoni Alum Root

Liatris species—the Blazing Stars

Lilium species—Michigan and Wood Lilies

Lobelia cardinalis Cardinal Flower

Monarda fistulosa Bergamot

Pedicularis canadensis Wood Betony

Penstemon species

Silene virginica Fire Pink

Silphium laciniatum Compass Plant

And quite a few more!

Also Apple, Raspberry and currant flowers


Rain Garden Plants

Rain Garden plants have to be able to tolerate both dry periods and standing water, although an established rain garden shouldn’t have rainwater standing for more than a day or so following a storm. Most of these are plants that could be found in the wild on wet meadows or floodplains.

Flowers

Allium cernuum Nodding Wild Onion

Asclepias incarnata Swamp Milkweed

Aster novae-angliae New England Aster

Aster prenanthoides Crooked Stemmed Aster

Astragalus canadensis  Canada Milk Vetch

Baptisia leucantha White Wild Indigo

Cacalia suaveolens Sweet Indian Plantain

Cassia hebecarpa Wild Senna

Chelone glabra Turtlehead

Dodecatheon meadia Shooting Star

Epilobium angustifolium Fireweed

Eupatorium maculatum Wetland Joe-Pye

Fragaria virginiana Wild Strawberry

Geranium maculatum Wild Geranium

Helenium autumnale  Helenium

Heliopsis helianthoides Ox-Eye

Heuchera richardsonii Prairie Alum Root

Hypericum pyramidatum Great St. John’s-wort

Iris shrevei Wild Iris

Krigia biflora Cynthia (False Dandelion)

Liatris pycnostachya Prairie Blazing Star

Lilium philadelphicum Wood Lily

Liparis loeselii Loesel's Twayblade

Lobelia cardinalis Cardinal Flower

Lobelia siphilitica Great Blue Lobelia

Mimulus ringens Monkey Flower

Monarda fistulosa Bergamot

Oenothera perennis Sundrops

Phlox pilosa Downy (Prairie) Phlox

Polemonium reptans Jacob’s Ladder

Pycnanthemum virginianum Mountain Mint

Ratibida pinnata Yellow Coneflower

Rudbeckia laciniata Wild Golden Glow

Rudbeckia subtomentosa Sweet Black-Eyed Susan

Silphium terebinthinaceum Prairie Dock

Solidago rigida Stiff Goldenrod

Solidago speciosa Showy Goldenrod

Spiranthes cernua Nodding Ladies’ Tresses

Thalictrum dasycarpum Purple Meadow Rue

Tradescantia ohiensis Spiderwort

Vernonia fasciculata Ironweed

Veronicastrum virginicum Culver’s Root

Zizia aurea Golden Alexanders


Grasses and Grass-like Plants for the Rain Garden

Andropogon gerardi Big Bluestem

Carex vulpinoidea Fox Sedge

Elymus canadensis Canada Wild Rye

Elymus riparius Riverbank Wild-Rye

Hierocloë odorata Sweet Grass

Sorghastrum nutans Indian Grass

Sporobolus heterolepis Prairie Dropseed


Woody Plants for a Rain Garden

Amelanchier laevis Juneberry

Amorpha fruticosa Indigo Bush

Carpinus caroliniana Musclewood

Ribes americanum American Black Currant

Sambucus canadensis Black Elderberry


GROUND COVER PLANTS Because sometimes you want a solid stand of something low-growing

Anemone canadensis Canada Anemone

Antennaria neglecta Pussytoes

Asarum canadense Wild Ginger

Fragaria vesca Woodland Wild Strawberry

Fragaria virginiana Wild Strawberry

Geum triflorum Prairie Smoke

Helianthus occidentalis Western Sunflower

Heuchera richardsonii Alum Root

Lysimachia lanceolata Savanna Loosestrife

Maianthemum canadense Canada Mayflower

Pedicularis canadensis Wood Betony

Carex pensylvanica Pennsylvania sedge

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