10 Native Plants to Improve Your Garden’s Health


wishbone flower

Native plants comprise the understory of many forested ecosystems across the United States and possess traits that have evolved over time to increase their survivability in these regions. This makes them perfect choices for use in sustainable landscapes. Here are 10 native plants that improve plant health by supporting natural biological processes, which can also help keep your garden’s ecosystem balanced and healthy.

1) Black-eyed Susan

A vase filled with purple flowers

The native wildflower black-eyed Susan is a popular choice for drought-tolerant, low-maintenance gardens. It has a deep taproot that penetrates the soil quickly to reach moisture and nutrients not available to shallow-rooted plants. This allows it to thrive in dry conditions and help prevent soil erosion by anchoring the soil around it. Its long flowering period gives gardeners months of color from just one planting.

2) Dandelion

Dandelions are often considered a nuisance weed, but the bright yellow flowers attract pollinators and provide great early season color. They can be easily transplanted from your neighbor’s yard or a local park and grow in most soil types. While many gardeners consider dandelions a weed, they also offer a number of benefits to your yard by increasing beneficial insects that prey on pests.

3) Fireweed

Fireweed is another flower that offers nectar for bees and other beneficial insects. It is native to North America and grows well in both sun and shade. Its ability to flourish in the partial shade makes fireweed an attractive option for any home garden with limited sunshine. The tall plant blooms with pretty purple flowers that are often used in wildflower meadows.

4) Joe-Pye Weed

Joe-Pye weed is not actually a flower but rather a tall perennial plant with pinkish-purple flowers on top of the stem. It was given its name by an early American folk healer because it can help reduce fevers, which would explain why gardeners love to grow this ornamental plant in their landscapes.

5) New England aster

The New England aster has pretty lavender flowers that attract pollinators to the garden and offers great late-season color when other plants have already faded for the year. While summer temperatures may prevent it from growing well during those months, new growth begins once fall rolls around and remains until winter’s end.

6) New York Ironweed

New York ironweed is another plant that thrives during the fall months, when its bright purple flowers burst to life, attracting pollinators to the garden. It communicates with nearby plants to let them know it’s time to flower by emitting ethylene gas, which stimulates bud growth and prompts other plants within sniffing distance of this beautiful bloom to do the same. This way it can act as an early warning system for surrounding plants that winter is on its way.

7) Stokes’ aster

The Stokes’ aster has pretty lavender flowers that attract pollinators to the garden and offers great late-season color when other plants have already faded for the year. While summer temperatures may prevent it from growing well during those months, new growth begins once fall rolls around and remains until winter’s end.

8) Wild Quinine

Wild quinine is native to all 50 states in the US and grows easily in most soil types. It blooms with bright yellow flowers that attract pollinators, but its foliage can turn a striking red color in autumn for extra interest throughout the garden year-round.

9) Joe Pye Weed – The Pink Version

Joe-Pye weed is not actually a flower but rather a tall perennial plant with pinkish-purple flowers on top of the stem. It was given its name by an early American folk healer because it can help reduce fevers, which would explain why gardeners love to grow this ornamental plant in their landscapes.

10) Prairie Blazing Star

Prairie blazing star is a herbaceous perennial and attracts pollinators with its deep blue flowers that turn bright pink as they mature. It grows well in most soil conditions and tolerates both dry and wet soil, making it another great option for those trying to attract insects to the garden.

Conclusion

Gardening is always better when you can grow something that’s both functional and ornamental, which is why you should consider adding these 10 flowers to your garden. While they may not all be known for their beauty, each one offers benefits to the backyard environment by attracting pollinators or offering beautiful blooms that are perfect for bouquets.

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