Native Alternatives to Common Garden Plants

The rather adaptable and easygoing North American native vegetation on this article are qualified choices to customarily grown nonnative vegetation. These picks are as graceful—or even better—than the passe standbys. Here’s how they review.

As one more of: Meadow rue

Picture: Michelle Gervais

Strive: ‘Denver Gold’ columbine

Picture: courtesy of Panayoti Kelaidis

‘Denver Gold’ has beautifully textured foliage esteem meadow rue (Thalictrum spp. and cvs., Zones 5–9) and European columbine (Aquilegia vulgaris, Zones 3–9), nevertheless it completely blooms for so much longer and is more adaptable.

As one more of: Ajuga

Picture: Ann E. Stratton

Strive: Sandia alumroot

Picture: courtesy of Panayoti Kelaidis

Whilst you happen to are buying for a beautiful edging plant, Sandia alumroot is less at probability of invade the lawn than ajuga (Ajuga reptans, Zones 3–10) or many spreading sedums (Sedum spp. and cvs., Zones 4–9).

As one more of: Russian fable

Picture: Michelle Gervais

Strive: Purple butterfly mint

Picture: courtesy of Panayoti Kelaidis

Purple butterfly mint is drought tolerant and adaptable to most successfully-drained soils, esteem Russian fable (Salvia yangii, Zones 5–9), nevertheless without its invasive traits. Or are trying it as an more uncomplicated-to-develop substitute for lavender (Lavandula spp. and cvs., Zones 5–8).

As one more of: Eurasian sedums

Picture: FG workers

Strive: Popular man’s bones

Picture: Joshua McCullough

Popular man’s bones tolerates colour and is a noninvasive substitute to Eurasian sedums equivalent to moss stonecrop (Sedum acre, Zones 4–9) and stringy stonecrop (S. sarmentosum, Zones 4–9).

As one more of: ‘Karl Foerster’ feather reed grass

Picture: Jennifer Benner

Strive: Undaunted® ruby muhly grass

Picture: courtesy of Panayoti Kelaidis

Hardier than most muhlies, Undaunted® makes a elaborate substitute for overused ‘Karl Foerster’ (Calamagrostis × acutiflora ‘Karl Foerster’, Zones 5–9).

As one more of: Spanish bluebell

Picture: Steve Aitken

Strive: Broad camas

Picture: courtesy of Panayoti Kelaidis

This Northwestern beauty is less invasive than Spanish bluebell (Hyacinthoides hispanica, Zones 3–8) and obvious ornamental onions (Allium cvs.), which is willing to become ineradicable garden pests.

As one more of: Calamint

Picture: FG workers

Strive: ‘Marian Sampson’ scarlet horsemint

Picture: courtesy of Panayoti Kelaidis

With cultural wants an linked to those of garden mints esteem calamint (Calamintha nepeta, Zones 5–7) and savories (Satureja spp. and cvs., Zones 6–8), ‘Marian Sampson’ is showier and has a for so much longer bloom time.

As one more of: Catmint

Picture: Michelle Gervais

Strive: Pineleaf penstemon

Picture: courtesy of Panayoti Kelaidis

Pineleaf penstemon’s distinctive colour makes it an instantaneous garden appeal. It’s some distance also extinct within the identical system as catmints (Nepeta spp. and cvs., Zones 3–9), nevertheless it completely is more restrained.

As one more of: Eurasian salvias

Picture: Jennifer Benner

Strive: Mojave fable

Picture: courtesy of Panayoti Kelaidis

Mojave fable is some distance more tolerant of warmth and drought than customarily grown Eurasian salvias equivalent to woodland fable (Salvia nemorosa, Zones 4–8) and meadow fable (S. pratensis, Zones 4–8).

As one more of: Spirea

Picture: Michelle Gervais

Strive: Fernbush


Fernbush is an especially tough customer, is more restrained than spireas (Spiraea spp. and cvs., Zones 3–9) or forsythias (Forsythia spp. and cvs., Zones 3–9), and has graceful midsummer colour.

As one more of: Mugo pine

Picture: Jennifer Benner

Strive: Dwarf pinyon pine

Picture: Designate Turner/

Expedient for terribly sunny exposures with qualified drainage, dwarf pinyon pine is more restrained and drought tolerant than mugo pine (Pinus mugo, Zones 2–7).

As one more of: Yarrow

Picture: Jennifer Benner

Strive: Kannah Creek® buckwheat

Picture: courtesy of Panayoti Kelaidis

Yarrows (Achillea spp. and cvs., Zones 3–8) and some spurges (Euphorbia spp. and cvs., Zones 3–10) is also weedy, seedy garden thugs. Kannah Creek® buckwheat affords carefree colour without turning into invasive.

Panayoti Kelaidis is senior curator and director of outreach at Denver Botanic Gardens.

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