Plan the perfect garden with our interactive tool →

What are the Best New York Garden Plants?

new york image by Gerhard Führing from

New York, as a part of the Northeast region of the United States, has a humid continental climate that experiences long periods of warm temperatures during the spring and summer months and cold temperatures during the fall and winter months. Average yearly precipitation can be up to 50 inches, depending on the area of the state. Given the climactic conditions of New York, there are several native and introduced garden plants that are best-suited to the New York environment.

Plants for Spring Interest

To enjoy an array of colorful blooming flowers in a New York garden, incorporate flowering beauties such as common lilac (Syringa vulgaris), foxglove (Digitalis purpurea) and columbine (Aquilegia vulgaris) for lavender and purple colors, garden peony (Paeonia lactiflora) for a touch of fuchsia in the garden, paperbush (Edgeworthia chrysantha) and Cornelian-cherry (Cornus mas) for yellow flowers and the pink blossoms of Japanese apricot (Prunus mume) into the landscape. Complement the landscape with white blossoms by planting Sargent's crabapple (Malus sargentii) or Siberian iris (Iris sibirica).

Paperbark maple (Acer griseum), variegated Japanese black pine (Pinus thunbergii) and Yoshino cherry (Prunus x yedoensis) are trees that will add interest to a New York landscape in the springtime.

Plants of the Summer

Some of the best plants for summertime beauty in a New York garden include butterfly weed (Asclepias tuberosa) for a splash of red color and endless summer hydrangea (Hydrangea macrophylla), lavender (Lavandula angustifolia) and sea-holly (Eryngium) for an array of soft lavender blossoms.

For white flowers in the summertime, add Annabelle hydrangea (Hydrangea arborescens) and climbing hydrangea (Hydrangea anomala). Yellow waxbells (Kirengeshoma palmata) is a good choice for its yellow flowers, while wintergreen (Gaultheria procumbens), golden rain tree (Koelreuteria paniculata), Tanyosho pine (Pinus densiflora) and variegated redtwig dogwood (Cornus alba) can be appreciated for their foliage and bark color.

Fall Plants

Fall is a time of abundant color, so incorporate colorful fall specimens into the landscape for seasonal beauty. European wild ginger (Asarum europaeum), Japanese stewartia (Stewartia pseudocamellia) and late-flowering panicle hydrangea (Hydrangea paniculata 'Tardiva') are some of the best white-flowering specimens for a New York garden.

Add red with rose mallow (Hibiscus moscheutos) and kousa dogwood (Cornus kousa), and incorporate shades of pink, purple and lavender with heliotrope (Heliotropium arborescens), Korean mum (Crysanthemum), wood's pink aster (Aster spp.) and beautyberry (Callicarpa dichotoma). For foliage and bark beauty, add dwarf fountain grass (Pennisetum alopecuroides), Japanese painted fern (Athyrium niponicum) and variegated lacecap hydrangea (Hydrangea macrophylla).

Winter Beauty

In the winter New York garden, color and foliage do not have to be at a minimum. American holly (Ilex opaca), Igiri tree (Idesia polycarpa), Indian magic crabapple (Malus 'Indian Magic') and winterberry (Ilex verticillata) will add vibrant splashes of red to the landscape. Chinese witch-hazel (Hamamelis mollis) and golden Virginia pine (Pinus virginiana 'Wates Golden') are two choice additions for yellow color in the winter.

Garden Guides