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. Planting native varieties benefits songbirds, bees, butterflies and all the other pollinators that are responsible for so much of our produce. Check this out!

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.



Amsonia ‘Blue Ice’

Amsonia or blue star  has plump navy blue buds that open to large, vivid periwinkle blue, star-shaped flowers in late spring. Bright green leaves turn yellow in the fall and form a compact spreading clump. 12-16 inches

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.



Showy yellow flowers on a tough, easy to grow Missouri native. Provides mid to late season color and an important source of pollen and nectar for migrating butterflies.

Kalimeris Blue Star

Kalimeris  ‘Blue Star’

Kalimeris or false aster is an ever-blooming 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.


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

Fringed 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.



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.

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 or Switch Grass ‘Cheyenne Sky’

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.

Panicum Apache Rose

Panicum or Switch Grass ‘Apache Rose’

A shorter switch grass with unique rose-colored flower stems instead of brown or tan. Dense, upright, columnar habit. Tips of leaves are tinged rosy-red in the fall. 4 ft.



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