Gardeners are constantly looking for ways to make gardening easier and more carefree
“Low maintenance” is often the holy grail for most of us. One of the easiest ways to reduce the “work” of gardening is to use plants native to our states. Because they are adapted to our local environmental conditions, they offer a wealth of benefits, including:
1. They are usually easier to grow.
2. Once established, they usually require far less maintenance.
3. They usually require less fertilization.
4. They usually require less pest control. Many native plants have developed their own natural defenses against many pests and diseases.
5. They usually require far less water.
6. They will often provide habitat for birds, butterflies, and many other species of wildlife
7. They are usually locally grown, not shipped in from another climate.
8. They are usually long-lived, with some plants living for decades.
9. They usually tolerate a wide range of light and moisture situations.
10. They will often provide three or four seasons of interest.
11. Many of them are truly beautiful, offering a wide range of colors, textures, and forms.
12. They increase biodiversity and stewardship of our natural heritage.
13. Some can solve landscape problems that many non-natives cannot, such as runoff/wet areas or dry areas.
Seven Carolina native plants that love the sun
Climbing aster (Ampelaster carolinianus)
Purple coneflower (Echinacea purpurea)
Barbara’s buttons (Marshallia obovata)
Bee balm (Monarda fistulosa)
Swamp sunflower (Helianthus angustifolius), pictured below
Culver’s root (Veronicastrum virginicum)
Skullcap (Scutellaria incana)
Seven Carolina native plants for the partial shade/shade
Trillium (T. grandiflorum)
Dwarf crested iris (I. cristata), pictured below
Wild bleeding heart (Dicentra eximia)
Log fern (Dryopteris celsa)
Mayapples (Podophyllum peltatum)
Foamflower (Tiarella wherryi)
Bigleaf aster (Eurybia macrophylla)
Six Carolina native plants that don’t look like native plants and look great in a more formal landscape
Northern maidenhair fern (Adiantum pedatum), elegant, airy
Wild indigo (Baptisia australis), even-sized clumps
‘Dale’s Strain’ coral bells (Heuchera americana ‘Dale’s Strain’), even-sized clumps
Gayfeather (Liatris spicata), upright stems with small tight flowers, pictured below
Cherokee sedge, Appalachian sedge (Carex cherokeensis, C. appalachica) very fine texture, shade ground covers, one clumps, one spreads
Goldenrod (Solidago spp., cvs.), I have seen these sheared into a hedge at the arboretum in Asheville
Three all-but-forgotten Carolina native plants that absolutely should be in your landscape
Spotted cranesbill (Geranium maculatum), top photo
Meadow beauty (Rhexia mariana)
Short-toothed mountain mint (Pycnanthemum muticum), pictured below