Illinois is ideally situated for the development of many native flowers, with milder winters and longer growing seasons than zones further north. Most of the state, with the exception of one small area in the north, lies in USDA Hardiness Zones 5 and 6 where the lowest winter temperatures rarely get below -20 degrees F. The state has native plants that grow in wetlands near the lakes and rivers and others that grow in drier, prairie-like climates, giving the gardener native plants to use in any location.
Long-head thimbleweed (Anemone cylindrica Gray) is also known as candle anemone and is a member of the buttercup family. The plant grows from 1 to 3 feet tall, producing a green-white flower at the top of the stems in May and June. Plant long-head thimbleweed in full sun or partial shade and in a dry, rocky soil.
Cowslip (Caltha palustris L.) is also known as yellow marsh marigold and is a member of the buttercup family. The plant grows from 1 to 2 feet tall and features green heart- or kidney-shaped leaves and yellow flowers growing in clusters in April and May. Plant cowslip in full or partial shade and in a soil that is moist to wet.
Lanceleaf coreopsis (Coreopsis lanceolata L) is also known as lanceleaf tickseed, lance-leaved coreopsis and sand coreopsis and is member of the aster family. The plant grows up to 2 1/2 feet tall and features evergreen leaves that grow from 3 to 4 inches long. The light yellow flowers with dark yellow centers that measure 1-1/2 inches across resemble daisies and bloom in April, May and June. Plant lanceleaf coreopsis in full sun, partial shade or full shade and in a dry soil. Butterflies will by attracted by the flowers.
Dutchman's breeches (Dicentra cucullaria (L.) Bernh.) is a member of the fumitory family. The plant grows up to 10 inches tall with fern-like leaves and fragrant, white flowers that grow in clusters and bloom in April and May. Plant Dutchman's breeches in full sun, partial shade or full shade and in a moist soil.
Pride-of-Ohio (Dodecatheon meadia L.) is also known as roosterheads, shootingstar, Pride of Ohio and Eastern shooting star and is a member of the primrose family. The plant grows from 6 to 20 inches tall and produces bright green leaves around the base. The white or pink flowers have petals that point backwards, creating a star shape, and bloom in May and June. Plant Pride-of-Ohio in partial shade and in a moist soil.