Ohio falls within the USDA hardiness zones of 5b and 6a. The USDA hardiness zone classification is a good indicator of what plants grow best in any given region. Despite this easy classification system, Ohio has a wide and varied weather and climate pattern. These variables make it difficult to choose the flowers that will thrive in an Ohio garden.
The Blackeyed Susan flower (Rudbeckia Hirta) is a native plant that grows wild in Ohio. Blackeyed Susans possess bright gold blooms with dark brown centers. Available at most commercial garden centers, Rudbeckia Hirta cultivars are numerous and varied in their appearances. Blackeyed Susans are members of the Asteraceae family and closely related to sunflowers and daisies. Cultivars of this plant can be annuals, perennials or biennials, and generally cannot survive winter temperatures that dip below 23 degrees F. An excellent choice for flower gardens, it prefers sandy, well-drained soil and has a moderate drought tolerance. When mature, Blackeyed Susans grow to approximately 1 foot in height.
Purple coneflowers bring a bright punch of violet color to gardens. Echinacea purpurea is a hardy perennial that thrives in most parts of Ohio. Growing to heights of about four feet, purple coneflowers tolerate almost any type of soil condition, but grow best in well-drained sandy or loamy soils. Purple coneflowers are incredibly drought tolerant once established and tolerate a large amount of abuse and neglect. Flowers typically bloom beginning in southern Ohio as early as late May and in the northernmost reaches of the state in early June. Easy to grow, this plant has few natural predators, the most notable of which is the common garden slug.
Joe Pye Weed
If you are looking to bring bees and butterflies to your garden, Joe Pye Weed may be the ideal plant for your Ohio garden. Known by the scientific name Eutrochium purpureum, Joe Pye Weed is a herbaceous perennial that reaches a height of 5 to 10 feet. Eutrochium purpureum thrives in full sun to partial shade and moist to wet soil. The delicate purple or white blooms of Joe Pye Weed smell faintly of vanilla and begin blooming in mid to late June in most parts of the state. Joe Pye Weed adapts to many different soil and lighting conditions, and is cold tolerant down to -30 degrees F, making it more than suitable for gardens in even the northernmost parts of Ohio.
- USNA - USDA Plant Hardiness Zone Map
- Ohio State University Extension Bulletin: The Native Plants of Ohio
- "Wildflowers Of Tennessee, The Ohio Valley and the Southern Appalachians"; Dennis Horn, Tavia Cathcart; 2005
- "The Gardening Book for Ohio"; Denny McKeown; 2004
- "Perennials for Ohio"; Debra Knapke, Alison Beck; 2003