Favorite Native Plants

We are designing a landscape in Washington that has a lot of native plants. It made me start to think of the plants, native to the Northeast, that we rely on for their ability to withstand drought and ease of care. Below is a list of some of our must haves.

Phlox stolonifera

Phlox stolonifera

Cinnamon fern isn’t the flashiest of herbaceous plants, but it’s a go to plant nonetheless. Why? When you are dealing with revegetating a large swath of land, it’s important to cover the ground to minimize weed pressure. Cinnamon fern is perfect for this. Although it will take time to establish, it will eventually colonize to form a large mass of calming green that does an excellent job of managing the ground plane.

Low Maintenance groundcover for shade
silene short and sweet perennial

I’m a plant geek so what is a list without at least one, not so common, plant. We’ve been using Silene for years.  It seems to be gaining in popularity, showing up on availability lists the last year or two. Prior to that, it was pretty hard to find. Silene ‘Short and Sweet’ seems to be one of the best we’ve found. One of the first Silene’s we found was a variety called ‘Rollie’s Favorite’. I was impressed with the length of flower and recommended it to Judge’s Farm who quickly picked it up. Since then, I have given up on that one. ‘Rollie’s Favorite’ didn’t continue to thrive long term and the leaves were effected by some type of insect. I don’t see these issues with Silene ‘Short and Sweet’.

Amsonia ‘Blue Ice’ is an ironclad plant. Deer don’t seem to notice it and voles don’t seem to bother it. Drought tolerant and easy. Great blue flowers although I wish it flowered a little longer.

We use Ilex Verticillata a lot in native gardens for it’s fall and winter interest. A lot of these will get large. I’ll use ‘Red Sprite’ in settings that are closer to the house.

This is just a small list of great natives out there. Native or not, it’s important to remember that it is most important to put the right plant in the right place. Just because a plant is native, it doesn’t mean you can put it in the wrong environment and it in thrive. Siting plants in the correct environment is just as important as what plant it is.

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Richard Schipul

For the last 30 years, I have owned the landscape company Designing Eden LLC based in New Milford, CT. We offer landscape designs, landscape installations and garden maintenance services in Fairfield and Litchfield County Connecticut. I am currently the only Nationally Certified Landscape Designer in Litchfield County and sit on the board of the Association of Professional Landscape Designers and Mad Gardeners.


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