Cincinnati, Ohio, falls within United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Hardiness Zone 6. This city lies somewhere between a humid subtropical climate and a humid continental climate. Cincinnati experiences hot, humid summers and cold, wet winters. If you live in this area, you should select plants according to appropriate hardiness zone, bloom color, flowering time and intended use. According to the Ladybird Johnson Wildflower Center of the University of Texas at Austin, numerous flowering plants do well in Cincinnati gardens.
Pride of Ohio
The pride of Ohio (Dodecatheon meadia), also called the eastern shooting star and the roosterhead, belongs to the primrose family (Primulaceae) and prefers acidic, sandy or rocky soils that receive part shade. Mature plants reach from 6 to 20 inches in height, bearing vibrant green leaves and branching stalks. Flowers bloom in May and June, featuring pink or white petals that point backwards to form a star shape. Gardeners often plant the pride of Ohio in meadows and woodland gardens.
The common selfheal plant (Prunella vulgaris) earned its name because it was once commonly used to treat sore throats. This perennial bears aromatic, grayish-green leaves and reaches up to 3 feet in height. Purple flower spikes appear from May through September. This mint family member (Lamiaceae) prefers moist soils in partially shady to fully sunny locations. Cincinnati gardeners often plant the common selfheal in perennial flowerbeds, butterfly gardens, moist fields and woodland gardens.
The fire pink plant (Silene virginica), sometimes called the scarlet catchfly, blooms bright red flower clusters from April through August. This short-lived perennial bears sticky hairs on the foliage. These hairs trap insects for this carnivorous plant to digest. Green leaves take on red tones during winter months. This Caryophyllaceae family member prefers poor, rocky soils in part-shade positions. The vibrant, tubular flowers make this plant a good addition to hummingbird gardens and butterfly gardens.
The buttonbush (Cephalanthus occidentalis), sometimes called the button willow, belongs to the madder family (Rubiaceae) and thrives in moist soils around swamps and marshes. These perennial shrubs reach up to 12 feet in height and bear deep green leaves, twisted trunks and irregular crowns. The fragrant flower clusters feature white or light pink blossoms from June through September, followed by brown nutlets that remain on the plant throughout the winter. This shrub needs moist soils that receive partial to full shade. Cincinnati gardeners often plant the buttonbush as ornamental shrubs along ponds, bogs and stream margins.
The Ohio buckeye (Aesculus glabra), also called the horse chestnut, is the state tree of Ohio. This Hippocastanaceae family member reaches up to 75 feet in height and bears green leaves with light undersides. These leaves turn vibrant orange shades in the autumn. This tree also features showy, yellow and green flower clusters from March through May. These blossoms give way to green nuts that attract squirrels. The young leaves, seeds and bark all contain toxic properties. This flowering tree needs rich, acidic soils in fully shady to fully sunny locations. Drought conditions often cause leaf scorch and leaf blotch. Cincinnati gardeners often use the Ohio buckeye as ornamental trees along stream banks and in larger yards.