Native plants growing in the wild or in planned wildflower gardens are welcome as treasured plants. But when they escape cultivation and their seeds scatter where they are not wanted, those same plants are considered weeds. Plant native plants in Pennsylvania and treat them well for a native garden that will bring pleasure for years to come.
Green and Gold
Green and gold (Chrysogonum virginianum) is a member of the aster family with clump-forming, oval-shaped leaves and star-shaped yellow flowers similar to a daisy that bloom from April through October. Plant green and gold in partial shade and a dry to moist and well-drained soil. The plant makes a good ground cover because of its ability to spread rapidly.
Cardinal Flower (Lobelia cardinalis) is a member of the bellflower family and grows from 1 to 3 feet tall and up to 1 foot in diameter. The plant produces 5- to 7-inch-long purple leaves that grow in rosettes on the ground and smaller leaves on the flower stems. The scarlet red, 1- to 2-inch-long flowers bloom in mid-summer in 1-foot-long clusters. Plant cardinal flower in full sun or partial shade and in a moist soil. The plant can take wet soil, but never dry, which makes it a good choice for planting around a pond or water garden. Cardinal flower is a favorite food source of the ruby-throated hummingbird.
White turtlehead (Chelone glabra) is a member of the figwort family that grows from 1 to 4 feet tall with elongated leaves and white flowers that bloom in July, August and September in long spike-shaped clusters at the tips of the stems. White turtlehead does well in full sun, partial shade or full shade, and in a soil that is moist to wet. Hummingbirds and butterflies will stop by for their share of the nectar.
Swamp rose (Rosa palustris Marsh) is a member of the rose family. The shrub grows from 6 to 8 feet tall with dark-green leaves and dark-rose flowers that bloom in May and June and then give way to red-orange berries. Plant swamp rose in full sun, partial shade or full shade, and in a soil that is moist to wet. Birds will flock to the garden for the berries.
Sea-myrtle (Baccharis halimifolia) is also known as groundseltree, consumptionweed, eastern baccharis, baccharis, groundsel, groundsel bush, salt marsh-elder, salt bush and Florida groundsel bush. It is a member of the aster family. The shrub grows from 6 to 12 feet tall with gray-green, oval leaves and white or green flowers that grow in small clusters at the ends of the branches in August, September and October. The flowers on the female plants produce dry, thin-skinned fruits with silver-colored plumes. Plant sea-myrtle in partial-shade and a wet soil. The flowers are a favorite of bees, butterflies, moths and insects, and birds will come for the berries.