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Flowers in Ohio

By Judy Wolfe ; Updated September 21, 2017
Creeping phlox brings summer color to Ohio's gardens.

Gardeners in the Great Lakes state of Ohio need flowering plants suitable for conditions in their areas. Ohio lies in USDA Plant Hardiness Zones 5 and 7, with winter temperatures as low as minus 20 degrees Fahrenheit. Ohio, according to the state Department of Natural Resources, has 11 soil regions with more than 400 soil types. Gardening success depends on finding flowers that thrive in your local conditions.

Hollyhock Mallow "Fastigiata"

Hollyhock mallow (Malva alcea), according to Ohio State University, is a good plant for the central state's dry sunny locations. The "fastigiata" cultivar of this perennial stands up to 4 feet high and 1.5 feet wide, with stems of pink hollyhock-like blooms between June and September. It has delicate, three-lobed light green leaves. Plant hollyhock mallow in a wind-sheltered location with full sun to part shade, says the Missouri Botanical Garden.

This plant likes averagely moist, well-drained soil. Remove spent flowers to encourage more bloom. Leaving the dead flowers on them will encourage the somewhat short-lived mallows to self-seed. Cut them back to their leaf clumps in autumn or when they start to deteriorate.

Creeping Phlox

Creeping phlox (Phlox stolonifera) is native to Ohio's shady, moist woodlands. A mat-forming ground cover up to 3 inches high and 18 inches wide, it's a good choice for covering spring bulbs or use in rock gardens, according to the Missouri Botanical Garden. Between July and September, creeping phlox has green, leafy stems rising 5 inches above the basal foliage. They bear flat clusters of fragrant, tube-shaped lavender flowers. Plant creeping phlox in humusy, acidic well-drained soil. It does best in sun to part shade and even moisture. Cut plants back after flowering to discourage mildew. Watch for spider mites in hot dry weather.


Perennial pride-of-Ohio (Dodecatheon meadia) grows wild on the state's river bluffs, rocky hillsides and in moist open woodlands. This primrose-family plant, also called shooting star, has a clump of vivid green leaves with single, leafless flower stalk. In May and June, the stalk's branches have flat clusters of white to dark pink blooms. Flowers angle up and away from their centers, creating a star-like shape. Bees feed on the nectar. Plant pride-of-Ohio in a partly shady spot. It performs best in moist, acidic, light sandy soil. Propagate the plants by digging up their clumps and dividing them in autumn. They grow slowly when planted from seed.


About the Author


Passionate for travel and the well-written word, Judy Wolfe is a professional writer with a Bachelor of Arts in English literature from Cal Poly Pomona and a certificate in advanced floral design. Her thousands of published articles cover topics from travel and gardening to pet care and technology.