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[ Seaside goldenrod (Solidago sempervirens) | Posted on February 23, 2018 ]

There are lots of Seaside Goldenrods growing above the beach and in the shore area of southern Delaware. This species grows in sandy soils of dunes and salt marshes along the Atlantic coastal area from southeast Canada down into Florida. All the fleshy, smooth leaves are entirely toothless on the margins and the leaves clasp the stem without a petiole (leaf stem). This is one of the Club-like flower cluster types like the Showy Goldenrod, the Large-leaved Goldenrod, and the Stout Goldenrod.; though, its flower clusters can vary to be plume-like. It is known to hybridize with the Rough-stemmed Goldenrod (S. rugosa). It shares the dune and above the beach habitat with Evening-Primrose, the Adams-needle Yucca, Woolly Beach-Heather, American Beachgrass, Northern Bayberry, Shiny Sumac, Loblolly Pine, and Virginia Pine in southern Delaware. I think it would make a good native plant perennial for a sunny naturalistic landscape, especially with a shore theme.

[ Showy goldenrod (Solidago speciosa) | Posted on February 23, 2018 ]

This Showy Goldenrod is one of the goldenrods called the "Club-like flowered", as the Seaside Goldenrod (S. sempervirens), the Large-leaved Goldenrod (S. macrophylla), and the Stout Goldenrod (S squarrosa). It bears about foot long golden clubs or stout wands in August-September. It has stout, smooth stems and smooth leaves with irregular edges. It is native from Minnesota into New England down into the South US. It is sold by some native plant nurseries and will fit into a standard garden.

[ Grass-Leaved Goldenrod (Euthamia graminifolia) | Posted on February 23, 2018 ]

I have seen this Lance-leaved Goldenrod growing wild in various spots in meadows in southeast Pennsylvania and northeast Illinois. It is grouped as one of the Flat-topped Goldenrods with the Ohio and Stiff Goldenrods. It used to be classified as Solidago. Its slender, willow-like leaves give it a fine texture. It has paralleled veins on the leaves. Its native range is from Newfoundland to southern Manitoba down into the southern US. I've never seen it sold in nurseries.

[ Canada goldenrod (Solidago canadensis) | Posted on February 23, 2018 ]

This Canada Goldenrod is a very common forb in meadows and prairies from Newfoundland to southern Manitoba and southward into the South of the US. This is one of the Goldenrod species that has survived the big change in eastern North American meadows from being all native before settlement to having more European plants in composition than American natives. It is one of the goldenrods of the Plume-like, Parallel-veined leaved species that includes the Tall Goldenrod, the Sweet Goldenrod, and the Late Goldenrod. Have fun trying to tell them apart. The leaf margins are sharply toothed most of the leaf length. It spreads powerfully by the underground roots (rhizomes) and is not desirable in standard gardens. I don't know of any nurseries selling any. Like other Goldenrods, it is an excellent pollinator plant for many insects.

[ Blue Stem Goldenrod (Solidago caesia) | Posted on February 23, 2018 ]

This Goldenrod needs some shade and does well in dry shade. It is very informal with stems leaning out. My biggest customer has had this species in her large informal landscape for over 15 years, and it spreads around by seed and is in various areas around the yard. The deer that come through the yard don't eat it. She bought it from some specialty mail order nursery. Some native plant nurseries sell it, as Prairie Nursery in Wisconsin, where it is an endangered plant. Some conventional nurseries may also sell some, but I am not sure. It is not commonly planted around in gardens and landscapes.

[ Stiff Goldenrod (Solidago rigida) | Posted on February 23, 2018 ]

I'm taking some information from New Moon Native Plant Nursery in Bridgeton, New Jersey. This species has a native range from Massachusetts to South Carolina to Texas to Kansas & Nebraska to Minnesota and southwest Ontario. It is most common in the Midwest, often liking calcareous soils the most. It is an unbranched, upright perennial with the stems covered in fine white plant hairs. The leaves clasp the stems and don't have petioles (leaf stems). It has flat-topped corymb-like inflorescences with numerous flower heads. The Ohio Goldenrod is the most similar species. it is sold by some native plant nurseries for prairie or meadow restorations or for naturalistic landscapes. However, it would fit in a standard garden.

[ Rough Goldenrod (Solidago rugosa 'Fireworks') | Posted on February 23, 2018 ]

I was given a division from my biggest customer about 2009 from her small spreading colony among other plants. I planted it in the far backyard along the wooden fence in full sun. It grew quickly and became an excellent fountain-like clump by the next summer. In time it does keep spreading by rhizomes to become a small colony, but it is not aggressively so, and it is easy to dig any extra out or divide and reset. It is a very nice, easy, reliable perennial that does attract lots of various bee species and some other pollinators. It is sold by some conventional nurseries with a perennial section and I find it occasionally in landscapes and gardens around.

[ Cutleaf Coneflower (Rudbeckia laciniata) | Posted on February 21, 2018 ]

I see some Green-headed or Cutleaf Coneflowers in scattered areas of meadow and woodland edges in the wild of southeast Pennsylvania in well-drained or draining wet soils. I've seen it in a few gardens also. Some are sold by larger, diverse conventional nurseries or native plant nurseries. It blooms in July into September and is a good pollinator plant. Its native range is from Quebec to Montana south to Arizona to Florida.

[ Yellow Coneflower (Echinacea paradoxa) | Posted on February 21, 2018 ]

I ordered two Ozark Coneflowers from Prairie Nursery in Wisconsin back about 2005 and planted one in the front yard and one in the backyard. Both receive some full sunshine, but experience some shade also. Both have been doing fine for 12 years as medium sized clumps. The shade probably lessens the amount of yellow blooms some. They bloom a little earlier than the Purple Coneflowers and bloom about a month long. A good number of pollinators also like the flowers. This species has been crossed with the Purple Coneflower to produce a number of cultivars with red, orange, yellow, and other shades of color as the Big Sky series from Atlanta, Georgia and the Meadowbrite series from the Chicago Botanic Garden.

[ Purple Coneflower (Echinacea purpurea) | Posted on February 21, 2018 ]

This is a very easy and reliable perennial for sun or part-shade in well-drained soils. Its lovely purple flowers bloom 6 to 8 weeks in July & August. It is easy to divide and reset if ever wanted, but not needed. It does self-sow a good amount. I had one group come up by itself from seed on the east side of the front yard from the group on the west side of the yard about 20 feet away. Goldfinches and some other finches love the seeds. Lots of butterflies, bees, and other pollinators love the flowers. This species does suffer a little from Aster Yellows Disease, which makes some flower heads deform some with bigger greenish noses and fewer petals, but I have not found it deadly. Just cut below the infection. I find it somewhat commonly planted in average yards, but still not as much as Daylilies, Hostas, Bearded Irises, and Peonies. Some are sold by almost any conventional nursery or native plant nursery. Its native range is from Iowa though Ohio to Virginia to Georgia to Louisiana.

[ Green and Gold (Chrysogonum virginianum) | Posted on February 21, 2018 ]

This low perennial, the Virginia Goldenstar, makes a great groundcover or rock garden plant. Its native range is from Pennsylvania & West Virginia down to Florida to Louisiana. I see it occasionally in gardens and professional landscapes, but it should be used more. It is an easy, reliable plant of low maintenance. It is easy to divide or transplant. Some are sold by conventional nurseries with perennials and by native plant nurseries.

[ Gay Feather (Liatris spicata 'Kobold') | Posted on February 21, 2018 ]

Some of this Kobold cultivar of the Spike Gayfeather or Blazingstar is sold at many conventional nurseries and big box stores that sell perennials. It is a compact selection that does not lean over, as the mother species can unless supported by other tall perennials. It is very easy to grow and it does self-sow some and comes true from seed. It blooms about a month. After that, the foliage still looks good. Gayfeather (Blazingstars) unlike other flowering forbs with spike flower clusters blooms from the top downward.

[ Goat's Beard (Aruncus dioicus) | Posted on February 21, 2018 ]

American Goatsbeard is a wonderful perennial for partial shaded or light full shade, draining wet to moist soil sites. It makes a good background plant in a perennial garden or a specimen. The ones I have worked with have stayed as big clumps, but it can spread some by rhizomes to form a small patch. It is sort of like a large Astilbe. It has white fuzzy flower panicle clusters to 12 inches long in late May or June, where male and female flowers are on separate plants, and the male plants are a little showier. Nurseries usually don't separate the genders. It has handsome pinnately compound foliage with a great fine texture. It does not need to be divided and reset, and if done, it is sort of hard to do it. I have seen some deer damage from the tops being eaten off, so I spray it with Liquid Fence at a customer's yard where the deer forage. Some are sold by most conventional nurseries that sell perennials or by most Native plant nurseries. I see it occasionally planted in gardens and professional landscapes, but, unfortunately, it is not a common or well-known perennial by most. Its native range is from Iowa into Pennsylvania down to northern Georgia to Oklahoma.

[ Cardinal Flower (Lobelia cardinalis) | Posted on February 20, 2018 ]

This is an absolutely wonderful perennial that should only be grown in a garden or landscape if the soil is moist or draining wet. It prefers partial shade from the heat of the day, but can grow in full sun. It is a short-lived perennial, but it often self-sows to replace itself. Its native range is from New Brunswick through southern Ontario down to Florida to Oklahoma to Nevada to California. Some are sold by most conventional nurseries, and most native plant nurseries sell them. This is a great hummingbird flower that blooms fairly long in July into September.

[ Great Blue Lobelia (Lobelia siphilitica) | Posted on February 20, 2018 ]

This Great Blue Lobelia is a glorious perennial for moist or draining wet soils that prefers some partial shade, but can do full sun. It is a long bloomer in August into early October. It is an easy and reliable plant, but it does not like strong completion from bigger plants. It often self-sows a lot, even getting seedlings into nearby pots. It is longer lived than the similar Cardinalflower. It is easy to transplant with shallow fibrous roots. Some are sold by many conventional nurseries and by most native plant nurseries. I find it occasionally planted around in yards; it should be used much more. Its native range is from Maine to southern Manitoba to Colorado into Texas through Alabama to North Carolina.

[ Culver's Root (Veronicastrum virginicum) | Posted on February 20, 2018 ]

This is one of my favorite perennials that is easy to grow, neat & clean, and very reliable. Its native range is from New England to southern Manitoba down to eastern Texas to northwest Florida. Its wonderful multiple white spikes bloom about 3 or 4 weeks and are visited by many bees, wasps, butterflies, and other pollinators. It is easy to divide and reset with its fibrous root system. When the clumps get big and old, the stems can lodge over some. Almost all native nurseries sell some, and some larger, diverse conventional nurseries also sell some. It is not common in most yards or landscapes, though it is used in native prairie and meadow restorations and in naturalistic landscapes. It does make a good addition to any perennial garden or landscape.

[ Queen of the Prairie (Filipendula rubra) | Posted on February 19, 2018 ]

I posted a number of photos of the cultivar of 'Venusta' that has one of the darker pink flower colors of this species on that page with a lot of information. The mother species ranges from pinkish-white to a good pink flower color. Native plant nurseries sell plants that usually have a good pink flower color of this mother species. It grows in moist or wet meadows and prairies from New England to Iowa down to Georgia.

[ Queen of the Prairie (Filipendula rubra 'Venusta') | Posted on February 19, 2018 ]

In November of 2005 I stopped by at a large, famous garden center in southeast Pennsylvania that was having a perennial plant sale before winter. I bought one pot of this 'Venusta' Queen-of-the-Prairie. I planted it in my backyard naturalistic garden. It grew quickly over the next year and bloomed some the next summer. Over time it spread from being a clump to a small colony. It is easy to divide and reset and make more. It does self-sow some as other plants came up in other parts of the garden. My good quality clay soil is mesic and that was good most years, but this forb suffers during drought and needed some watering some dry summers. Its preferred soil is draining wet. The large, cloud-like flower clusters are a little darker pink than the straight species; and there are some plants of the mother species that have a very light pink or whitish flower color. The flowers attract a good number of bees and butterflies and other pollinators. The flowers smell so good, like lilac. It blooms about 3 weeks in June or early July here in Zone 6b. The flowering scapes might have to be cut back if they brown some years later in the season. In nature it grows in moist or wet meadows and prairies from New England to Iowa south to Georgia. Some of this cultivar are sold at a good number of conventional nurseries, though I don't see it commonly planted in yards. (Most people just know Bearded iris, Peony, Mums, Roses, Hosta, and Daylilies.) Native nurseries sell the mother species that usually also have good pink color in bloom.

[ Grey-Head Coneflower (Ratibida pinnata) | Posted on February 19, 2018 ]

I not only see this lovely perennial in some prairie or meadow restorations or naturalistic landscapes, but also in some conventional gardens, as it is sold by a good number of both native plant and conventional nurseries. This species has 5 to 10 yellow ray flowers around the disc flowers in the composite inflorescence that droop down. In nature it grows in dry or mesic soils from southern Ontario down to Georgia, Arkansas to Oklahoma. It should have an anise-scented odor when the foliage is bruised. Easy to grow, low maintenance.

[ Wild Quinine (Parthenium integrifolium) | Posted on February 19, 2018 ]

This is one of my favorite perennials! It is easy to grow, stays upright, and is a long bloomer from June until early September. It grows in dry or mesic soils in prairies, native meadows, or in open woods from Massachusetts into Minnesota down into Texas into Georgia. It attracts a good number of pollinators of bees, wasps, butterflies, and moths. It develops a taproot and does not have to ever be divided and reset. It is sold by almost every native plant nursery in its native range for native plant restorations & landscapes or naturalistic gardens. It also makes a good regular perennial in most any garden that minds itself just becoming a large clump. It does do some self-sowing around, which is the best method of propagation for a homeowner with this. I've never tried dividing it and I don't think it would work well. The little, brown, button-like seedheads look good in winter and make a nice dried flower arrangement.

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