Plants native to the Northeast offer a vast array of colors, shapes and textures. With beautiful displays of flowers and foliage, native perennials make great additions to any New England garden, but beauty and variety aren't the only reasons why.
Aside from regular watering during their first season, most native perennials require little maintenance. In general they're resistant to disease and insects and do not require fertilization or protection in the winter.
Because soil types, light conditions and temperatures change so rapidly and vary so much throughout this region, many native perennials are able to survive in wide range of conditions.
They are naturally occurring in the local environment so they actually thrive even after the harshest New England winter.
Good for local ecology
By planting native plants, you are restoring part of the natural ecology that is slowly being overtaken by the invasive offspring of non-native species. Also, they help support the population of native animals, by supplying a food source as well as shelter.
Try these native perennials
Also known as Bunchberry; Most gardeners know Dogwoods as trees or shrubs, but this species produces short creeping plants that are delightful at the front of a shade garden. The familiar white, four-bracted flowers face upwards and are followed by beautiful red berries. A dependable northern native.
Also known as Cone Flower; has big, bright flowers that appear in late June and keep coming into September. Plants thrive in average soils or hot, dry conditions, shrug off cold, and are equally at home in full sun or partial shade. Perfect for cut flowers in bouquets.
Also known as False Indigo. They look attractive on their own against walls and fences, or combined in a border with other June bloomers. In full sun, these plants can be extremely long lived.
A late bloomer requiring full sun, the aster is the tell-tale sign that fall is on its way. They come in a wide variety, with some less than a foot tall, while others are two feet tall or more. Both large and smaller varieties make good cut flowers for vases and arrangements.
Also known as Monarda; bee balm is a genus of several native species, all of which share tartly fragrant foliage and the square stems that typify the members of the Mint family. The late-summer flower heads are hemispheres of tubular blooms in brilliant colors. Plants thrive in full sun or partial shade and evenly moist soil.
An extremely hardy, long-lived perennial native to North America. The magnificent bright orange flowers are concentrated in compact clusters at the top of branching stems. The flowers produce a large quantity of nectar which attracts butterflies throughout the growing season. Requires a very well-drained sandy or gravelly soil in full sun.
Strong, upright stems bear dozens of brilliant red flowers in late summer. A favorite source of nectar for hummingbirds. Also excellent for attracting butterflies. Grows well in standing water or moist garden soil. As soil moisture increases, so does sun tolerance.