Click below to listen to my Garden Bite radio show: Zone envy for American natives
Those of us with northern gardens sometimes have zone envy! It’s been pretty warm “up north” and I’m thinking we could test the waters for zone 5 native plants. There are a few that really caught my eye as I perused my Northern Gardener magazine. Indian Pink (Spigelia marilandica) is a tropical looking plant that grows to about 18 inches.
It’s the flowers that really knocked my socks off. They’re radiant red tubular flowers with yellow throats just made for hummingbirds. Butterflies also dig them. This is a great plant for a rain garden in part shade. They really do like moist soil. Plants will fill in to form a groundcover in the right conditions. Indian Pink blooms early to mid-summer.
Another really cool zone 5’er is Camas (camassia leichtlinii). This is a neat clump forming plant that grows to 3 feet tall from a tulip-like bulb. The blue-violet flowers appear in loose racemes in late spring and last up to 3 weeks. Van Engelen Inc. source for plant
Camas is another great plant for the raingarden although it prefers more sun than Indian Pink. The nectar attracts bees, butterflies and more. Camas will naturalize in moist soils.
And then there’s a great groundcover called Allegheny spurge. The plant grows 6 to 12 inches tall and has blue-green strongly toothed leaves mottled with purple and white. There are tiny white fragrant flowers but it’s really grown for foliage. It’s great for the woodland garden.