US Native Plants Perfectly Suited for the Landscape

In a world where people are becoming more environmentally mindful, people are approaching their landscapes with a different mindset than they have before. People are looking to create landscapes that are not only beautiful and well-kempt, but also water-wise and beneficial to local wildlife. A great place to start is by choosing plants that are native to the area you live in.

US Native plants are perfectly adapted to the climate they’ve come from. They tolerate that particular climate, even thrive in it. From various soils to extreme weather- if you choose plants that come from the area where you live you’re well on your way to choosing the most environmentally and ecologically friendly plants you can possibly get. Once established they can survive on the natural rainfall that they get. They can live through harsh winters and hot summers. Native Plants can withstand humidity, thrive in the hot and dry arid desert, and enjoy flourishing in the wet dampness of the northwest. It doesn’t matter where you live - there are plenty of native plants that will work in your landscape. Here are out favorite US Native plants perfectly suited for the landscape.

  • Hackberry: The Hackberry tree, or Celtis occidentalis, is a tree that’s native to much of the United States. It’s not one of the largest trees, but it can reach a mature height of almost 80 feet. It thrives in most soil conditions and areas, but as its native to the eastern parts of the US, it does need moisture and some organic material in the soil to grow best. However, Hackberry will grow fine in soils that are hard and compact, to fast draining and sandy. The desert might be too dry for Hackberry without some added irrigation, but it will do fine in the dry heat. It’s super hardy- all the way down to frigid USDA zone 2 all the way up to warm zone 9. The flowers in the spring aren’t very showy but loved by native pollinators. The purple fruits that ripen in the fall are a staple part of the songbird diet. Hackberries make great shade trees and require little care. They grow in a neat shape that requires little pruning and are lovely in the fall.

  • Sugar Maple: Sugar maples are common in the eastern northern parts of the US, and are known for being one of the most instrumental trees in creating those swaths of fiery reds and oranges in the fall. They are also known for being the main tree that produces sap for maple syrup, which is one major product that comes from the northeast. Many landscape trees are bred from sugar maple parentage, because of its color, form, and hardiness. When young, sugar maples grow fairly fast- but as they age their growth slows dramatically. They benefit from some shade when they’re young too, and winter protection- as in the wild they start life as an understory tree among larger and more established trees and can be somewhat fragile as they depend on the protection the older trees offer. In the landscape, sugar maples can do fine in most soils, yet they enjoy consistently moist, well drained, and very high quality soil. As they age, they don’t require as much.

  • Echinacea: Echinacea is a native plant to most of the US, with various similar species all over the country filling in ecological niches almost everywhere. Most of what we see for sale for landscape use is all derived from an Echinacea that hails from the central and eastern US, mostly in wild prairies and open woodlands. They grow well in most all soil conditions and are incredibly hardy. They colonize well too, yet are well behaved enough to keep a neat and tidy appearance with a little bit of dividing and weeding. They are long blooming perennials that are very showy, and the local hummingbirds and butterflies love them. Plant Echinacea in borders or in pots, anywhere you’d like long-lived, trouble free color all summer long in full sun to partial sun exposure.

  • Agastache: Agastache is often overlooked as a great landscape perennial, which is unfortunate as it’s perfectly suited to the landscape. Gardeners and homeowners to know a thing or two about plants however love agastache, and rely on them for long-lived color that’s extremely attractive to wildlife. Most agastache that you find for sale all come from US native plants, and are very happy living life without much care in the US. There are many cultivars, and many colors of agastache. One of our favorites happens to be ‘Raspberry Summer’, which is a larger agastache that sports beautiful bright dark pink spikes of tubular blooms that hummingbirds just can’t resist. Warm summer breezes lift the scent of agastache on the breeze, which is very fragrant and lovely. Plant among your native Echinacea for a bright showy and long blooming display.

  • HeucheraHeuchera is a US native, although not a lot of people know that. Known as alumroot long before it was cultivated and bred for the commercial landscape industry, wild heuchera can still be found in forests and rocky outcroppings all along the eastern part of the US. In fact, native, natural occurring populations of Heuchera are sought after and collected by enthusiasts and botanists in an effort to preserve their natural variations, and they have a very devoted following. Grown primarily for the foliage, Heuchera, commonly called coral bells, now comes in a wide range of bright foliage colors. ‘Caramel’ is one example- coppery brown leaves are a delicious contrast to most dark green foliage that occurs in the shade, and makes a valuable statement in the shade garden. Heuchera is tolerant of most soil conditions and prefers mostly shade through the day, especially in the hot summer months. Replicating their native soils of cool moist condition with lots of composted leaf litter will produce Heucheras that look their best.

  • Yucca: Here’s a US native for those who live in drier climates (or not, yuccas aren’t picky!). The yucca is native to the US, mostly in the mountains and semi-arid regions of the west. There are several cultivars. One of our favorites happens to be ‘Color Guard’ which sports a variegated yellow and green foliage. Yuccas are super hardy, and can even withstand winters all the way to zone 5, even protected areas in zone 4 where they’re kept from getting to moist in the winter. They make a great statement among other commonly grown perennials, as they are very architectural. They thrive in heat and drought, and are excellent for xeriscaping, even in climates where you get more rain. In the spring, yucca flower with spikes of big showy, usually white blooms that are heavily scented. Plant yuccas in areas where they don’t sit in moist soils over the winter in full sun. Often overlooked, yuccas are tough and beautiful and very stately.

We hope you enjoy our list of US native plants that are perfectly suited to life in the landscape. There are so many more to mention. Native plants are excellent plant choices for landscapes and belong in every garden. Enjoy the ease of care and the wildlife they bring in!