Do you want to try your hand at gardening or landscaping but are afraid your thumb just isn’t green enough? There are seven native plants that will thrive with a touch of TLC and will inspire confidence in your abilities.
Whether perennial flowers or trees, a little preparation and effort when planting can go a long way towards a beautiful landscape. Creating colorful, visually interesting spaces can be effortless, especially when using native plants.
By nature, native plants are accustomed to their region’s climate and soil, and because of this will require little human intervention. Another beauty about native plants is they are less susceptible to pests. These plants are valuable for providing welcoming habitats for the three B’s – birds, bees, and butterflies. If you love seeing butterflies, you will have to find space for Orange Butterfly weed and Gaillardia.
Like all real estate, all planting is about location, location, location. This has less to do with having a green thumb than selecting the right plants for the right place. Knowing how much sun and the type of soil in a given location is paramount to which plants or trees to buy. Coneflowers and Black Eyed Susans grow best under full sun where other plants do not.
When selecting plants or trees, choose different varieties to maintain interest for three, if not four seasons. A tree, like the Carolina Silverbell, will provide visual interest in the spring with its bell shaped flowers. While a spicebush will have yellow flowers in the spring, it will eventually grow berries during the summer.
After you’ve purchased the plants or trees that best serve their new home, all you will need is a shovel, a bag of organic compost, and access to water.
With any planting, it is recommended to dig a hole twice the size as the root ball. Once done, remove the plant from the container. Loosen the roots at the bottom. Plants that have been in containers for a long time will have their roots bunch and will need to be freed. Place the plant in the hole. Fill it with compost. Water.
Compost is an important component for a successful landscape or garden. It’s like a multi-vitamin for your soil. It will help balance the soil (for soil that is more like clay, it will loosen it, and for sandy soil help it retain moisture near the root system.). It will also help build the soil’s structure and feed important microbes. Knowing your soil is important and you might want to have it tested. While a spicebush or Oakleaf hydrangea would benefit from a dose of compost, a Carolina Silverbell prefers more acidic soil. Instead of compost, sphagnum peat moss would be a better solution.
Once the plants are in the ground, water them moderately and keep the area free of weeds. Black Eyed Susans, and Gaillardia can grow like a blanket that they will choke out competing weeds. Here are a few easy to care for suggestions that once planted and with minimal care will provide years of enjoyment.
Coneflowers are attractive to bees and butterflies and will provide your garden with a pop of color. Coneflowers are perennials, which means, once they are planted, they will appear year after year. Coneflowers can handle some shade. Deadhead the flowers once they wilt to keep flowers blooming. They thrive in full sun and loamy soil.
These are one of the few hydrangeas native to the United States. They can handle drought and plenty of heat. One thing an Oakleaf hydrangea can’t tolerate is over watering so be careful. Full sun means the foliage will turn brighter red.
The spicebush, whose flowers, leaves and berries will provide color throughout spring, summer and fall. Spicebush can be planted both in shade and full-light gardens. They can grow 6-12 feet high. With either partial or full sun, the spicebush will have a better form and yield more berries.
If you were looking to give your yard character and provide shade, a Carolina Silverbell would be a perfect choice. Full grown the Carolina Silverbell can reach 15-30 feet. Instead of compost, use sphagnum peat moss when planting the root ball. This should give it enough acidity for the Carolina Silverbell to flourish.
If you have full sun and well-draining soil, Gaillardia, or blanket perennial, is a great way for colorful ground cover from early summer to early autumn with little work. They will bloom in yellow, red, orange, and peach. Gaillardia is the perfect flower for attracting butterflies into your yard.
These flowers are drought resistant and need well-drained soil. These are the perfect flower for a no-care flower border. They are also great to add color to your home as cut flowers.
In the milkweed family, Orange Butterfly Weed is the most commonly grown. It prefers full sun but can be grown in any type of soil. With its orange blooms that appear in late spring and early summer, the flowering will continue as long as you keep deadheading them.
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