Happy Earth Day everyone!
To celebrate the beautiful world we live in, I visited my local nature preserve and and gathered some pictures of five cool native plants that are underutilized in the garden setting. I will keep the writing brief – this will be a mostly visual post. Here we go!
Cinnamon Ferns thrive in any garden given some shade and moist soil. In their native habitat, they can reach over four feet tall, usually topping out at two to three feet in a typical garden setting.
I discovered a patch of Carolina allspice (Calycanthus floridus) growing along the woodland edge by a trailhead. This shrub makes beautiful, somewhat fragrant flowers in mid-spring. The rest of the year it has round green leaves that change to a soft golden yellow in autumn. It would make a great addition to an informal shrub border, woodland edge, or shade garden.
False Indigos (Pictured: Baptisia alba var. macrophylla) make a great native alternative to the more finicky lupines. If you’re interested, check out the amazing selection of cultivars available through Plant Delights Nursery.
To me, no garden is complete without the addition of Louisiana Irises. You might be surprised to know that most varieties are hardy to zone 5, meaning they can be grown in almost three quarters of the US. They also boast the greatest selection of colors out of any Iris group – almost every known color but pure black.
True Spider Lilies (Hymenocallis sp.) are only marginally hardy (USDA zones 7-10), but deserve an honorable mention. Even if you’re out of their native range, consider growing them in pots and overwintering them under cover – they will reward you with a show unlike any other bulb I know of.
Well, there you have it! Five underutilized and deserving natives that you can grow in your garden today.
There is an ever-increasing need to preserve our native plants from destruction – one of the best options being cultivation in our gardens. If you’re new to growing natives or are hesitant because of their wild reputation (pun intended 😉 ), give them a try!
What about you? What are your favorite natives to grow in the garden? Let’s hear it in the comments below!