Native Perennials

Native Perennials

These native perennials will return to bloom each year.

 

Amplelaster carolinianus
Climbing Aster – More of a “scrambler” than a climber, this “aster” has pinkish flowers in late fall when color is often scarce in the garden. Good for late-season pollinators. Prefers moist to average soil and full sun. Also known as Carolina Aster.
Andropogon ternarius
Splitbeard – Ribbon-like new growth starts out blue-green, turns purplish in late summer and then finally brown, adorned with nice-looking, fluffy white seed heads in fall. This easy to grow native grass reaches about 3 feet in height. About the only maintenance that can be done is pruning it back in late winter.
Asclepias incarnata
Swamp Milkweed – This is the milkweed for moist to wet habitats. The clusters of pink flowers really attract the butterflies! Also a host plant for Monarch larvae. Grows best in full sun.
  Asclepias syriaca
Common Milkweed – At three feet, Common Milkweed is taller than most milkweeds. This one has pink flower clusters that attract lots of butterflies. Give it plenty of space to grow because it doesn’t stay put. Average soils and full to partial sun recommended.
  Asclepias tuberosa
Milkweed – This is the milkweed or “butterfly weed” that is a favorite host plant for Monarch butterfly larvae. The bright orange flowers attract pollinators. Grow in average to dry soils in full sun. Grows to about 2 feet tall.
 
 
Baptisia australis
Blue False Indigo – Great perennial for sunny locations; has nice long-lasting blue flowers that attract pollinators. The fall seed pods are attractive, as well. Easy to grow, but does not transplant well. Grows to around 3 feet tall.
  Baptisia tinctoria
Horseflyweed – Attractive, 2 – 3 foot, shrubby-looking Baptisia with lots of long-lasting yellow flowers. Easily grown in dry, sandy soils in partial to full sun.
Bignonia capreolata
Cross Vine – This aggressive vine produces two-toned, fragrant, red and yellow tubular flowers that provide nectar for hummingbirds. Give them lots of room, they can grow up to 50 feet high in full sun or partial shade!
  Boltonia asteroides
False Aster – Easily grown white blooming “aster,” Boltonia prefers full sun and average to slightly moist soils. Late summer flowers can sometimes be pink or purplish. Grows to 5 feet in height. Attracts butterflies.
Campsis radicans
Trumpet Creeper – Aggressive native vine produces loads of long, tubular orange, red or yellow flowers in summer that attract hummingbirds. Will grow to 40 feet in sun or partial shade.
Chasmanthium latifolium
River Oats – Clump-forming native ornamental grass with drooping seed heads. Easy to grow, spreads readily. Grows best in partial shade in moist soils. To 3 feet tall.
  Chrysogonum virginianum
Green and Gold – This native, shade-loving, evergreen ground cover produces bright yellow flowers in spring. It prefers well-drained soils. Grows to only 6 inches tall.
Chrysopsis gossypina
Wooly Golden Aster – Attractive, silver-leaved, short-lived perennial with yellow “daisies” in late summer and fall. Thrives on neglect, tolerant of dry, sandy soils in full sun. Grows to only one foot high.
  Conoclinum coelestinum
Wild Ageratum – Also called Blue Mistflower, this is a plant of moist soils and full to part sun. The clusters of blue flowers in summer and fall attract butterflies. Grows to about 3 feet high. Give this one plenty of room as it will spread by rhizomes.
  Coreopsis lanceolata
Tickseed – Easy to grow in ordinary soils and full to part sun, this perennial blooms heavily in late spring and then sporadically into mid-summer. Grows to about 3 feet and is tolerant of dry and poor soils. Although not usually long-lived, it freely self-seeds. Attracts butterflies and bees.
  Echinacea purpurea
Purple Coneflower – This popular perennial has pinkish or purple flowers in spring and summer that attract butterflies. Prefers full or part sun and dry, well-drained soils.
  Eryngium aquaticum
Marsh Eryngo – This interesting, spiky perennial is best in moist to wet habitats, where the silver-blue flowers attract a variety of pollinators. Grows best in full sun where it reaches about 3 feet in height.
Eryngium yuccafolium
Rattlesnake Master – Rattlesnake Master is a spiky perennial that performs well in dry, sunny locations. The interesting creamy-white flower heads resemble small thistles and attract pollinators. Grows to about 4 feet in height, with foliage resembling narrow yucca leaves.
  Eupatorium perfoliatum
Boneset – Native to moist areas of the Eastern United States, this common perennial produces clusters of white flowers in summer and early fall. The flowers attract many species of insects and the plant itself is the host plant for several moth species. Growing to about 3 feet in height, this is a must-have for pollinator gardens!
Eupatorium purpurea
Joe-Pye Weed – Easily grown in moist soils in sunny spots, Joe-Pye Weed (several species) are tall perennials good for the back of a perennial border. They produce pink to purple flowers in late summer and early fall that attract lots of butterflies and other insects.
Euthamia caroliniana
Slender Goldentop – Growing in moist to average soils, this member of the Aster family produces clusters of bee-attracting yellow flowers in late summer and fall. Grows to almost 2 feet in height.
  Gelsemium sempervirens
Carolina Jessamine – Common, evergreen vine that produces fragrant, yellow flowers in abundance from late winter into spring. Flowers attract bees, butterflies and hummingbirds. Grows to 20 feet in average to moist soils in sunny or partly shady locations.
  Helenium flexuosum
Purple Sneezeweed – Attractive herbaceous perennial known for its bright yellow flowers with purplish centers. Blooms in summer, attracting lots of bees, wasps, flies and butterflies. Performs best in full sun and moist soil.
  Helianthus angustifolius
Swamp Sunflower – This tall perennial, also called Narrowleaf Sunflower, is easily grown in average to moist soils in sunny locations. It grows quite tall (to over 6 feet) but can be cut back in late spring to reduce the ultimate height. Self sows. This a late bloomer, with bright yellow flowers from about September until frost. Birds like to eats the winter seeds.
  Heliopsis helianthoides
Ox-eye Sunflower – Produces a profusion of yellow flowers in early to mid summer that attract butterflies. Prefers full sun and average to moist soils. Reaches a height of 5 feet.
Hibiscus coccineus
Scarlet Rosemallow – This tall (4-6’) perennial is best grown in moist, sunny habitats, although it will tolerate ordinary garden conditions. Huge, bright red flowers are produced in summer, attracting bees and butterflies. Also known as Red Star Hibiscus.
  Iris virginiana
Blue Flag Iris – A beautiful, native, clump-forming, aquatic plant, Blue Flag Iris produces blue/violet flowers in spring and summer on 2 – 3 foot plants. The blooms attract bees and butterflies.
Kosteletzkya virginiana
Saltmarsh Mallow – Tall (to six feet) native plant good for moist soils and full sun. Beautiful hibiscus-like pink flowers in summer and early fall attract butterflies.
Liatris spicata
Blazing Star – Beautiful purple spikes of flowers from mid-summer to fall attract bees and butterflies. Prefers average to moist, rich soils in full to part sun.
Lobelia cardinalis
Cardinal Flower – Great native plant for moist soils and full sun to light shade. The abundance of red flowers in summer really attract our ruby-throated hummingbirds. Short-lived perennial that will often self-sow.
Lonicera sempervirens
Coral Honeysuckle – Great native vine with tubular red flowers that attract hummingbirds. Grows well, but is not invasive. Prefers full sun to part shade and is tolerant of poor, sandy soils.
  Mitchella repens
Partridge Berry – This small, attractive, evergreen groundcover has fragrant white flowers in spring, followed by pairs of red berries in fall. Great for woodland areas.
  Monarda didyma
Scarlet Bee Balm – This popular perennial produces clusters of bright red flowers that attract bees, butterflies and hummingbirds. Growing to about 2 -3 feet tall and blooms from May to October. It prefers moist, rich soils and full to partial sun. It colonizes by rhizomes.
  Monarda fistulosa
Wild Bergamot – This fragrant native bee balm has pale pink flowers that attract bees, butterflies and hummingbirds. Grows to about 3 feet in height and blooms from about June until fall. Spreads by rhizomes. Prefers dry soils and full sun.
  Monarda punctata
Dotted Horsemint – This aromatic perennial is very easy to grow in full sun and dry, sandy to average soils. It produces tubular flowers that are pale yellow with purple spots. The bracts are white or pale purple. A must for the pollinator garden, horsemint attracts lots of insects.  Will self seed.
Muhlenbergia capillaris
Muhly Grass – Clump-forming, warm season, native grass noted for it’s attractive form and foliage and especially its clouds of pinkish-purple fall flowers. Prefers full sun and dry to average, well-drained soils. Performs best if cut back fairly hard in late winter.
Oenethera fruticosa
Sundrops – Native perennial that produces bright yellow flowers in spring and summer. Grows best in moist, well-drained or dry soil and full to partial sun. Somewhat drought tolerant once established. Grows to height of two feet.
Oenethera speciosa
Pink Ladies – This perennial produces pink flowers from late spring into mid summer on two foot plants. The flowers attract lots of pollinators. Performs best in partial sun and dry to average soil. Tolerates drought. Spreads by rhizomes.
Osmunda regalis
Royal Fern – This gorgeous native fern is most at home in light shade and rich, acidic, moist habitats. It is fairly tolerant of sun if kept moist. Grows to 3 feet tall. Will tolerate heavy shade and wet soil.
  Osmundastrum cinnamomeum
Cinnamon Fern – Although this 2 – 5 foot fern is best in moist shade, it will tolerate almost full sun in moist soils. The name comes from the attractive fertile fronds that look somewhat like long cinnamon sticks.
  Packera tomentosa
Hairy Groundsel – Also called Wooly Ragwort, this low-growing, native perennial has silvery foliage and produces yellow “asters” in late spring to early summer. Easily grown in average to dry, sandy soils in sun. Will self-sow.
  Passifora incarnata
Passion Flower – This fast-growing perennial vine blooms in summer with exotic purple and white flowers. Afterwards, edible fruits called maypops appear and mature to a yellowish color in fall. Passion flower vines should be grown in average, slightly moist, well-drained soil in full to partial sun.
  Phlox paniculata
Tall Phlox – Also known as garden phlox, these popular perennials are best grown in fairly fertile, moist, well-drained soils in full sun. Gorgeous clusters of pink to purple flowers are produced in summer, attracting butterflies. Many cultivars are available, extending the variety of available color.
  Physostegia virginiana
Obedient Plant – This rhizomatous perennial is easily grown in average to moist, well-drained soil in full or almost full sun. Pinkish flowers display from late spring until almost fall, attracting hummingbirds. Obedient plant grows to about 3 feet tall and spreads rapidly, so give it plenty of room.
  Pontedaria cordata
Pickerel Weed – Blue spikes of flowers adorn these fast-growing aquatic plants from May or June until early fall. They attract bees, butterflies and hummingbirds. If you have a pond or water-feature in you yard, you owe it to yourself to try this plant!
Rudbeckia triloba
Brown-eyed Susan – Although only a short-lived perennial, Brown-eyed Susan is easily grown from seed, often self-sowing. It is covered with yellow flowers with brown centers from July through October, attracting butterflies.
 
  Rudbeckia hirta
Black-eyed Susan – This popular Rudbeckia is easily grown in average to moist, well-drained soil in full sun. Considered a biennial or short-lived perennial, these plants will sometimes self-sow in the garden. The bright yellow flowers (with dark brown centers) attract butterflies.
  Rudbeckia laciniata
Cutleaf Coneflower – Cutleaf Coneflower is a perennial Rudbeckia taller than most, reaching heights of up 6 feet.  Easily grown in moist soil in full sun to partial shade. Blooms in summer and early fall, attracting a good variety of pollinators. Cutleaf Coneflower spreads rapidly through underground stems.
  Ruellia caroliniensis
Carolina Wild Petunia – This native, low-growing perennial produces blue-purple flowers in spring and summer. It grows best in dry to moist soils in full sun to part shade. Good pollinator plant and a host plant for some butterflies.
  Sagittaria latifolia
Duck Potato – A native, aquatic perennial that sports white flowers in summer. Grows best in sun or partial shade; reaches a height (above water surface) of about 2 – 3 feet. The tubers are an important food source for waterfowl.
Salvia lyrata
Lyreleaf Sage – Named for the shape of the basal leaves, Lyreleaf Sage is the only Salvia native to North Carolina. Very easy to grow in full sun or part shade, the tubular, light blue to violet flowers attract bees, butterflies and hummingbirds. Grow them in average to moist soil and watch them self-sow.
 
Saururus cernuus
Lizard’s Tail – This native perennial is found in shallow wet areas, growing to about 2 feet in height. It forms colonies by its underground runners. The interesting, drooping “lizard-tail” white spikes of flowers can be seen from summer into fall. It will grow in sun or shade.
Schizachyrium scoparium
Little Bluestem – This native grass is easy to grow in full sun, reaching a height of about 2 feet. During the growing season, the plant is a nice blue-green color, then it turns reddish in late summer and finally a warm brown for the winter.
Scutellaria incana
Skullcap – Easy to grow in dry to average soil and full to part sun, skullcap produces tubular blue flowers in summer into early fall, attracting pollinators. This native grows to about 2 – 3 feet in height.
  Solidago, spp.
Goldenrod – There are many species of goldenrod and they are all great, must-have plants for the flower or pollinator garden. In sunny areas, they are tolerant of poor conditions, produce pretty yellow flowers and attract and feed many varieties of pollinators. The Seaside Goldenrod is particularly important for Monarch butterflies during migration.