Choosing native plants for a home garden has several advantages. They are readily available at local nurseries, have built up a resistance to insects and diseases that are prevalent in the area, will thrive in your climate and grow well with other native plants. Ohio has a wide variety of native plants, from small prairie wild flowers to large specimen trees.
Solomon's Seal (Polygonatum Biflorum)
Solomon's seal is related to lily of the valley and is native to most of the eastern and Midwestern states, including Ohio. It is a perennial that produces clusters of white flowers with a sweet scent, and pale green, oval-shaped leaves. They grow on stems that reach up to 3 feet tall and bend over under the weight of the flowers, giving them a drooping appearance. After the flowers are spent, blue–black berries appear. The plant thrives in light, organic-rich, well-drained soil and shade.
Trillium (Trillium Grandiflorum)
Trillium is the state wildflower of Ohio. It produces three large oval leaves, one large white flower that turns pink as it ages and a red berry on a stout stem that grows from 12 to 15 inches in height. It is the largest of the trillium family and blooms in May and June. The plant thrives in sun or partial shade and sandy loam soil that is kept moist. The berries and roots are slightly toxic.
Butterfly weed (Asclepias Tuberosa)
Butterfly weed is a member of the milkweed family and attracts butterflies. It produces bright orange, red or yellow flowers that grow in clusters and will grow to a height of 12 to 24 inches. The plant requires sandy or gravelly soil that is well drained, along with full sun to partial shade. It is used in rock gardens and as border plants, and blooms from June through September. Leave it alone once it is planted, as it does not do well if transplanted.
Ohio Buckeye (Aesculus Glabra)
The Ohio buckeye is the state tree of Ohio and is found mostly, but not exclusively, in the western half of the state. It is a member of the horsechestnut family. When the tree is grown in open spaces, it can reach a height of 60 feet with a spread of 30 feet. It thrives in moist, well-drained soils and partial sun or partial shade. When it is planted in partial sun–three to six hours of sun a day–the tree produces more flowers and nuts. In partial shade–four to five hours of shade a day–it produces more leaves. The light weight of the wood makes it a good choice for use in the manufacture of prosthetic limbs.