Natives – Perennials and Grasses

Gardening with native plants only makes good sense. Just what is a native plant? A native is a plant that originated in our area and was not introduced from Europe or another far away location. These plants generally display better hardiness, disease and insect resistance and tolerate local weather extremes. Native plants conserve soil and water because they don’t require fertilizers and pesticides. Native plants also provide habitat, shelter and food for birds and other wildlife.

For more information about natives visit Grow Native!, the joint program of the Missouri Department of Conservation and the Missouri Department of Agriculture. The Grow Native! program helps protect and restore our state’s biodiversity by increasing conservation awareness of native plants and their effective use.

Our native plant program is divided into two groups of plants: Perennials & Grasses and Trees & Shrubs.

Perennials
Baptisia Blue Indigo Blue Indigo
Baptisia or blue indigo is a shrub-like perennial that is long lived and drought resistant. Blue pea shaped flowers bloom in late spring thru early summer. Flowers are followed by interesting gnarly looking seed pods that persist throughout our the winter. Butterfly magnet. 3-4 ft. Sun or light shade.
Butterfly Weed Butterfly Weed
Asclepias or butterfly weed is our number #1 selling perennial for attracting monarch butterflies and hummingbirds. Butterfly weed needs warm temps and the plant will not emerge until late spring when the soil has warmed. The bright orange flowers appear in July through August. Sun and good drainage, tolerates drought,18-24 inches.
Swamp Milkweed Swamp Milkweed
Pink butterfly weed is a tall native partial to moist, swampy soils. Small, fragrant pink flowers attract butterflies. Blooms from July through August. Plant emerges late in the spring after soil has warmed up. 48-60 inches.
Liatris Blazing Star Blazing Star ‘Kobold Original’
Liatris or blazing star is our most popular cut and dried flower. But it is also a ‘tooth and nails’ native that sports violet-purple flowers and attracts butterflies. 14 inches tall. Sun and good drainage are a must.
Lobelia Cardinal Flower Cardinal Flower
Lobelia or the cardinal flower sports bright red tubular flower stalks that hummingbirds can’t resist. Flowers bloom mid through late summer. Cardinal flower prefers sunny or lightly shaded sites and consistently moist soil.
Joe Pye Weed Joe Pye Weed ‘Baby Joe’
‘Baby Joe’ is a block buster when it comes to late season color. Bright purple flowers atop dark red stems appear in late July through September. Prefers sun or light shade and slightly moist soil. Butterflies love Joe Pye weed. 4-5 ft.
goldenrod Goldenrod
Showy yellow flowers on a tough, easy to grow Missouri native. Provides mid to late season color and an important source of nectar for migrating butterflies.
Kalimeris Blue Star Kalimeris or Blue Star
Everblooming compact plant with pale blue daisy flowers. It loves heat and humidity and breezes through a drought like a champ. Blooms all summer. 12-18 in tall.
Missouri Primrose Missouri Primrose
Missouri or Ozark Sundrop is native to our area, as the name implies. It grows in average or poor, rocky soil with good drainage and full sun. Missouri Primrose forms a sprawling clump of 6-10 inch foliage with single lemon-yellow 3 inch flowers. Interesting seed pods follow the flowers and are used in dried arrangements.
 Purple Poppy Mallow Purple Poppy Mallow
Callirhoe or purple poppy mallow forms a low growing mound of electric pink flowers that bloom from July until September. It will drape over stone walls or creep between stones. This Midwest native requires full sun and good drainage.
Veronia Iron Butterfly Vernonia ‘Iron Butterfly’
This Arkansas native has lovely fine foliage with bright purple flowers that, as the name implies, draws plenty of butterflies. Blooms appear mid through late summer, when fresh color is appreciated. 30-36 inches tall. Native to moist meadows but will tolerate drought.
 mertensia Virginia Bluebells
One of the first woodland plants to usher in spring. Pendulous trumpet- shaped pink flowers slowly transition to soft sky blue. Attractive bluish foliage goes dormant by summer.
Phlox Blue Moon Woodland Phlox ‘Blue Moon’
Butterflies love the violet-blue flowers that are extremely fragrant. Large flower clusters appear atop compact foliage late spring into early summer. As the name implies, this plant needs shade or part shade. This low growing, spreading phlox is great for the border, naturalized area or the rock garden.
Dicentra Exima Wild Bleeding Heart
Clump forming, nodding, rose-pink heart-shaped blossoms on lacy gray-green foliage. Blooms heavily in spring and then sporadically throughout the season. Does not go summer dormant if kept watered. 10-12 inches.

 

Grasses
Little Blue Stem Smoke-Signal  Little Bluestem ‘Smoke Signal’
This improved native variety takes on scarlet red tones in late summer, turning deeper red-purple in fall. Maintains strict upright habit without flopping. 3-4 ft.
Pink Muhly Grass.jpg  Muhlenbergia or Pink Muhly Grass ‘Fast Forward’
Flowering begins in late July when wispy pinkish-purple seed heads form and float above the compact mounds of fine, flat foliage. Nice for late season color.
Sporobolus- Prairie Dropseed  Sporobolus or Prairie Dropseed
Fine textured, vase-shaped native prairie grass. Equally pretty in the garden or a pot. Prairie dropseed is especially lovely when planted at two foot intervals in a border. Airy panicles or seed heads grace the slender foliage in September and October, followed by an orange autumn hue. 2-3 ft.
Panicum-Cheyenne-Sky Panicum or Switch Grass ‘Cheyenne Sky’
Switch Grass –  Tight vase shaped blue-green foliage turns wine red early in the summer. Airy purple flowers top the foliage and at only 3 ft. it’s nice even in a pot. A native grass so tough and drought tolerant.

 

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