Native Ohio Plants for the Garden

A garden full of native plants offers many advantages. Native plants are already acclimated to the climate and soil conditions of a region. They may provide a food source for animals, birds and insects, generally use less water and grow healthier than plants brought into the region. Ohio has a plethora of gorgeous wildflowers and plants available for all seasons to make your garden a natural beauty.

Native Trees/Shrubs

Ohio is home to hundreds of varieties of trees. Native trees provide food, shelter, and are less susceptible to disease and insects than exotic types. Consider these varieties when adding large trees to your landscape for shade: red, sugar, and silver maples, river birch, buckeye, black walnut, American beech or butternut, to name just a few. Smaller trees or shrubs add texture, provide privacy, and can become a focal point with flowers or fruit. Some Ohio natives include flowering dogwood, American crabtree, common witchhazel, scarlet elder, sweetfern, huckleberry, hydrangea and steeplebush.

Vines and Groundcovers

Bringing in exotic vines and groundcovers to your garden can be one of the most ecologically-damaging decisions you can make. Vines and groundcovers can quickly become invasive because of their aggressive growing patterns. Decisions such as making oriental bittersweet vines a landscaping choice decades ago have had adverse effects, choking out native bushes and making the native American bittersweet almost extinct. Native vines and groundcovers include Virginia creeper, trumpet honeysuckle, creeping and moss phlox varieties and trumpet creeper.


Annuals can be grown anywhere, for the most part, but native perennials like wildflowers should be used for the best results. Ohio has many beautiful blooms of different sizes, shapes, textures and growing needs. Visiting your local full-garden center and speaking to them about the best choices for your particular region of the Buckeye State will yield you the best results--the clay soil along the Ohio region is very different than the rocky areas along Lake Erie. Some popular Ohio wildflowers for gardeners include dwarf iris, violets, columbine, aster, Virginia bluebells, black-eyed Susan, Jacob's ladder, spiderwort, purple coneflower, tall larkspur, beebalm, evening primrose and many varieties of sunflowers.

Keywords: Ohio wildflowers, garden design, native perennials

About this Author

Bobbi Keffer attended Kent State University, studying education but soon found her true love to be in the garden. She prides herself on her frugal skills, re-using, recycling, and re-inventing her whimsical style in her home and garden.