Smart plant selection is the single most effective way to create a low-maintenance, high-enjoyment garden. Phipps offers an annual list of Top 10 Sustainable Plants, selected for their non-invasive habits, as well as for their resistance to disease and insects. Once established, these plants require minimal watering and fertilization. Many of these plants are on display in the Outdoor Garden at Phipps Conservatory and Botanical Gardens. Consult our lists, and ask for these plants at your local nursery.

  • 2014

    2014

    Beardtongue
    Penstemon digitalis ‘Husker Red’

    This clump-forming perennial grows 2 – 3' tall and features upright panicles of small white to pink blush flowers in spring above a backdrop of showy maroon leaves. Deep-red basal leaves and seed heads persist into winter. Grows in average, well-drained soil in full sun. Attracts butterflies and hummingbirds. Deer resistant.


    Joe Pye Weed
    Eupatorbium 'Little Joe'

    An easy-to-grow perennial and a cultivar of our native Joe Pye weed, little Joe Pye weed can reach 3 – 4’ in height. A large cluster of mauve-purple flowers that attract butterflies appear in July – September. Plant in full sun to part shade in wet, clay soil. Deer resistant.


    Blackgum Tree
    Nyssa sylvatica

    This beautiful native tree is excellent as a specimen, generally growing to be 30 – 50’ tall and 20 – 30’ wide. Lustrous dark green leaves change to brilliant yellow to orange to scarlet to purple, making it one of the best trees for fall color. Plant in spring in full sun to part shade, and in moist, well-drained acid soil. Prune in fall.

    Photo © Julie Makin, Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center


    Sweetshrub
    Calycanthus ‘Hartlage Wine’

    An outstanding hybrid of our native Calycanthus floridus and Sinocalycanthus, this shrub features outstanding, magnolia-like, lightly fragranced, maroon flowers that bloom prolifically over a long season. This specimen can grow to be 8’ tall and wide, but can be cut back every few years to keep it smaller. Grows best in part shade but is adaptable. Deer resistant.

    Photo © Carolyn's Shade Gardens


    Panicle Hydrangea
    Hydrangea paniculata ‘Quick Fire®’

    Blooming on new wood, meaning that it is unaffected by harsh winters, this re-bloomer flowers for weeks, opening white then turning pink, and, finally, a dark rosy-pink. Quick Fire hydrangea can grow to be 6 – 8’ tall and wide, and can also be grown as a standard for a more formal look. Easy to grow in part sun to sun in moist, well-drained soil.

    Photo © Proven Winners


    Betony
    Stachys officinalis ‘Hummelo’

    Clumping perennial with a basal rosette of dark green leaves that will spread over time to form a dense groundcover. Beautiful 1 ½ – 2’ tall rose-lavender flower spikes appear in summer. Plant in full sun in average, well-drained soil. Tolerant of black walnut and drought tolerant once established. Deer resistant.


    Katsura Tree
    Cercidiphyllum japonicum

    An exceptional tree for the landscape, this specimen can grow to be 40 – 60’ tall with variable spread. Heart-shaped leaves emerge a beautiful reddish-purple and change to bluish-green for summer, turning yellow to apricot in fall, when they give off a spicy brown sugar smell. Plant in full sun in rich, moist, well-drained soil.


    Dense Blazing Star
    Liatris spicata

    Purple flower spikes, growing 3’ tall or higher, adorn this easy-to-grow native perennial in July – August, attracting butterflies and hummingbirds. Seed heads provide winter interest and a food source for birds. Plant in full sun. Tolerant of drought and clay soil. Deer resistant.


    Common Witch Hazel
    Hamamelis virginiana

    This native fall-blooming understory shrub, which can be found throughout local woodland areas, will reach 15 – 20’ or more in height and spread. Flowers are fragrant with yellow, strap-like petals and appear as the foliage turns yellow, or as it drops. It is a great option for a shrub border, providing a subtle beauty. Plant in sun (for best flowering) to shade in moist soil.

    Photo © Renee Rosensteel


    Red Chokeberry
    Aronia arbutifolia ‘Brilliantissima’

    This 6 – 8’ tall, upright, multi-stemmed shrub features small, white flowers from late April – early May, which are followed by 1/4” bright-red fruit. Lustrous deep green leaves with silvery undersides change to brilliant scarlet in fall. These shrubs look spectacular when planted in groups or used in a shrub border. Grows best in full sun to half shade in wet or dry soil.

  • 2013

    2013

    Japanese Forest Grass
    Hakonechloa macra

    This perennial spreads slowly to form 12 – 18-inch mounds of arching, linear leaves. Great for use as groundcover, on hillsides or in containers, this grass, of which there are many cultivars, thrives in part shade to sun and moist, well-drained soil.

    Photo © Paul g. Wiegman


    Stokes’ Aster
    Stokesia laevis

    This beautiful 12 – 18-inch-tall summer-blooming native perennial features frilly blue, daisy-like flowers that can be removed when spent to encourage repeat blooms. Attractive to butterflies, it grows best in full sun to part shade and moist, well-drained soil.


    Eastern Red Cedar
    Juniperus virginiana ‘Emerald Sentinel™ Corcorcor’

    This 15 – 20-foot-tall and 4 – 6-foot-wide pyramidal evergreen with dark-green foliage features vivid blue, berry-like cones in the fall and into winter. Deer resistant and tolerant of poor soil, salt, wind and drought once established, it thrives in full sun.

    Photo © Laurel Voran


    Japanese Pagoda Tree
    Styphnolobium japonicum (Formerly Sophora japonica)

    This 40 – 75-foot-tall deciduous tree features a broadly rounded crown; 6 – 12-inch-clusters of creamy-white, mildly fragrant flowers in late July – mid-August; and compound, finely textured leaves that cast light shade. Ideal for city conditions, it thrives in full sun.

    Photo © Jean-Pol Grandmont


    Cardinal Flower
    Lobelia cardinalis

    This upright 2 – 4-foot-tall native perennial for part shade to sun and moist to wet soil features scarlet flower spikes in mid-/late summer. Attractive to hummingbirds and butterflies, and resistant to deer and rabbits, it is available in other colors, too.

    Photo © Steve Hillebrand, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service


    Japanese Snowbell
    Styrax japonicus

    This small 15 – 30-foot-tall-and-wide flowering deciduous tree has horizontal branching habits and clusters of dainty, mildly fragrant, bell-shaped white blooms that appear in late May/early June. It thrives in full sun to part shade and in moist, well-drained soil.

    Photo © User: Kurihaya, Wikimedia Commons


    Tree Peony
    Paeonia suffruticosa

    In April/May, this 3 – 5-foot-tall deciduous shrub with deeply divided, medium-green foliage features 6 – 8-inch-wide blooms available in many colors, and single, semi-double and double forms. Deer and rabbit resistant, it thrives in part shade to full sun.

    Photo © Paul g. Wiegman


    Toad Lily
    Tricyrtis formosana

    This striking, slow-spreading 1 – 3-foot-tall perennial for part to full shade thrives in moist, well-drained soil rich in organic matter. In August – September, it features lily-like white flowers with red-purple spots and yellow throats to be best enjoyed up close.

    Photo © Carolyn's Shade Gardens


    Ninebark
    Physocarpus opulifolius ‘Diablo®’

    This upright 5 – 10-foot-high-and-wide spreading deciduous shrub features red-purple leaves and small white-to-pink flowers in late spring/early summer. Providing season-long interest, it can be grown in full sun to part shade in a variety of soils.


    Weeping Alaska Cedar
    Xanthocyparis nootkatensis ‘Pendula’ (Formerly Chamaecyparis nootkatensis pendula)

    This graceful weeping evergreen conifer, an ideal sculptural specimen plant, is particularly valued for the year-round interest it provides. It grows best in moist, well-drained soil in full sun, and may reach 20 feet or more in height and 8 – 12 feet in width.

  • 2012

    2012

    Aromatic Aster
    Symphyotrichum oblongifolium 'October Skies' (formerlly Aster oblongifolius)

    This compact, late summer to fall blooming perennial features aromatic foliage and showy, dark sky blue, daisy-like flowers that are reminiscent of an October sky—all on a plant that stays under 1 1/2 to 2' tall. Plant in full sun in average soil. Tolerates poor soils and drought. Attracts butterflies.

    Photo © Paul g. Wiegman


    Sweet Woodruff
    Galium odoratum

    Sweet woodruff is a terrific deciduous, perennial groundcover for shade or part shade. It forms a thick mat of bright green foliage in tiered whorls about 4" tall, topped by dainty white flowers in late May and early June. This plant makes a great groundcover around trees and shrubs. Deer resistant.

    Photo © Wild About Britain


    Russian Sage
    Perovskia atriplicifolia 'Little Spire'

    This semi-woody, upright perennial grows to be around 2' tall and has pungent gray-green leaves. Spikes of persistent light purple-blue flowers start blooming in mid- to late summer. Plant in full sun in well-drained soil. Deer resistant.

    Photo © Paul g. Wiegman


    Sweet Pepperbush
    Clethra alnifolia 'Sixteen Candles'

    This improved selection of the popular Hummingbird cultivar has 6" upright fragrant white flowers that cover the plant in July and August. Excellent small, compact shrub for summer bloom; works well as a shrub border; and is a good plant for heavy shade and wet areas. Glossy, dark green foliage turns yellow in the fall. Attracts butterflies. Deer resistant.

    Photo © Natural Landscapes Nursery


    Redvein Enkianthus
    Enkianthus campanulatus

    This narrow, upright shrub reaches 6 to 8' in height. Foliage turns brilliant yellow to orange and red in the fall and dainty, creamy white, bell-shaped flowers with red veins form in clusters in the spring. Grows best in full sun to part shade in well-drained, acid soil. Deer resistant.


    Bush Clover
    Lespedeza thunbergii

    This arching, fountain-like shrub has blue-green summer foliage and outstanding rosy-purple flowers in late summer, making it a show stopper! Very easy to grow. Thrives in full sun and well-drained soil. Cut back to 6" in late winter before new growth appears. Deer resistant.


    Cutleaf Stephanandra
    Stephanandra incisa 'Crispa'

    Graceful shrub with dense, fine- to medium-textured foliage, and wide-spreading and arching slender branches that form a mound. Produces a small, yellowish white flower. Plant in full sun to partial shade; prefers moist, acid and well-drained soil. This species could be used for low hedges, massing, screens, or in a shrub border. Deer resistant.


    Eastern Redbud
    Cercis canadensis

    This native tree, often multi-stemmed, reaches 20 to 30' in height. Reddish-purple flowers bloom along the stems, starting at a young age. Performs well in full sun to light shade in average garden soil.


    Sweetbay Magnolia
    Magnolia virginiana

    This upright 5 – 10-foot-high-and-wide spreading deciduous shrub features red-purple leaves and small white-to-pink flowers in late spring/early summer. Providing season-long interest, it can be grown in full sun to part shade in a variety of soils.

    Photo © User: SBJohnny, WIkimedia Commons


    Pawpaw
    Asimina triloba

    Interesting small, native tree with a short trunk and spreading branches that form a dense pyramid or round topped head; nice for naturalizing or placement along the water's edge; and a good host plant for zebra swallowtail butterflies. Purplish flowers are followed by edible brownish-black fruit which tastes similar to bananas and is high in vitamins A and C. Plant in full sun and moist, fertile, deep, and slightly-acidic soils. Deer resistant.

    Photo © Scott Bauer

  • 2011

    2011

    Red Hot Poker
    Kniphofia uvaria

    This striking member of the lily family sports bright, orange-red flower spikes on tall stems from late spring to early summer. Growing to 2 – 4’ tall and 1 – 2’ wide, it forms dense clumps and features grassy, arching, semi-evergreen foliage. Grows best in well-drained, average soil and part to full sun. Attracts bees and butterflies.

    Photo © Tony Hudson


    Blackberry Lily
    Belamcanda chinensis

    Reliably beautiful, drought tolerant and tough, this perennial attracts hummingbirds and butterflies. Stiff, sword-like leaves form upright clumps. In summer, orange flowers with red and yellow markings appear, followed by clusters of small, glossy black fruits reminiscent of blackberries. Plant in well-drained, average soil and part to full sun. To discourage self-sowing, remove seed heads.

    Photo © Tom Murphy VII


    Lenten Rose
    Helleborus orientalis

    This hardy shade perennial is known for its winter interest, with white, cup-shaped flowers blooming in winter and early spring. It can grow 18 – 24" tall and 24 – 30" wide, slowly spreading. Thick, smooth, evergreen leaves are deer resistant. Grows best in rich, moist, well-drained soil, in part to full shade.

    Photo © Dominicus Johannes Bergsma


    Variegated Fragrant Solomon’s Seal
    Polygonatum odoratum ‘Variegatum’

    This hardy, herbaceous perennial grows in clumps that slowly spread. In spring, arched stems support elegant, medium-green leaves with streaked white edges. Bell-like white flowers bloom in May and June, followed by spherical black fruits and yellow foliage in fall. Plant in fertile, moist, well-drained soil. Prefers part to full shade.

    Photo © Phillip Merritt


    Little Bunny Fountain Grass
    Pennisetum alopecuroides ‘Little Bunny’

    This perennial grass forms neat, compact mounds of pale to medium green blades, which reach a height and width of 12 – 18". It sports large, feathery, ivory-colored flower spikes in summer. Leaves and flowers turn a wheat color in fall and last through winter. Looks best when planted in masses, and will attract birds. Drought tolerant. Grows best in average, well-drained soil and full sun.

    Photo © Kansas State University


    Plume Grass
    Erianthus ravennae

    This giant of the ornamental grasses features gray-green, arching leaves that form dense mounds up to 5' tall and 4 – 6' wide. Large, feathery blooms of silver-purple flowers rise to an impressive 8 – 12' tall in late summer and, once dry, persist through winter. Attracts birds. Grows best in moist, well-drained soil and full sun.


    Virginia Sweetspire
    Itea virginica

    This hardy shrub with a bushy habit reaches 3 – 10' tall and 3 – 8' wide. Arching branches hold bright green, glossy leaves, which turn dark red and burgundy in the fall and last partly into winter. Creamy white, drooping, fragrant panicles bloom in late spring to early summer and attract butterflies. Grows well in full sun to full shade and thrives in average to wet soil. 

    Photo © User: SBJohnny, Wikimedia Commons


    Oakleaf Hydrangea
    Hydrangea quercifolia

    This large, deciduous shrub, 3 – 10' tall and wide, has an upright habit. Oak-shaped leaves are deep green and turn crimson and bronze-purple in fall. Huge, papery, white flower panicles bloom in summer, dry to rose-pink to tan, and provide interest throughout the winter, as does the exfoliating, copper-brown bark. Plant in moist soil, and full sun to part shade.

    Photo © User: houroumono, Flickr


    American Yellowweed
    Cladrastis kentukea

    This beautiful, rounded deciduous tree reaches 30 – 50' in height with low, spreading branches. Bright green leaves become a brilliant yellow in fall. Smooth, sandy brown bark grays with age. In late spring, showy, fragrant white flowers bloom in long, pendulous clusters on each branch tip. Blooms typically appear only every other year but are worth the wait. Grows best in fertile, well-drained soil and full sun.

    Photo © Romana Klee


    River Birch
    Betula nigra

    A fast-growing native that is resistant to insects and diseases, this tree can reach 40 – 70' in height. Often multi-stemmed, it features beautiful, peeling bark in mixed shades of white, rust-orange, gray and brown. Elongated catkins appear in spring, and medium-green leaves change to a dark yellow in fall. An excellent tree for wet areas, it can also grow in drier soils. Plant in full sun to part shade.

    Photo © John Beetham

  • 2010

    2010

    Autumn Joy Stonecrop
    Hylotelephium telephium (Sedum) 'Herbstfreude'

    This 2 – 3’ garden perennial is easy to grow and boasts broad, rounded clusters of star-shaped, pale pink flowers that appear in late summer to fall above waxy green leaves. Very attractive to bees and butterflies. Plant in average, well-drained soil in full sun.

    Photo © Arthur Chapman and Audrey Bendus


    Common Serviceberry
    Amelanchier arborea

    This multi-stemmed large shrub or small tree, 15– 25 feet’ in height, is beautiful throughout the seasons. Fragrant clusters of snowy white flowers appear in spring, followed by edible violet-red berries. In the fall, colors change from yellow to orange to red, and the bark is smooth and streaked with gray. Plant in average, well-drained soil in part to full sun.

    Photo © Kadja Schultz


    Dawn Redwood
    Metasequoia glyptostroboides

    This fast-growing, deciduous conifer can reach 50’ after 15 – 20 years, and eventually reaches a height of 70 – 100’. The redwood has a uniform, conical shape, reddish-brown exfoliating bark and bright green needles that change to brownish-orange in fall. Grows best in deep, moist, well-drained soils and full sun.

    Photo © Zbigniew Galus


    Foam Flower
    Tiarella cordifolia

    A perennial with wide, heart-shaped leaves, the foam flower spreads rapidly to form a carpeting ground cover. Leaves are green with burgundy-stained veins, and the foliage turns bronze-red in fall. In spring, pyramidal panicles of starry, creamy white flowers emerge. Plant in moist, humus-rich soil, in part to full shade.

    Photo © Mark Pellegrini


    Fragrant Sumac
    Rhus aromatica 'Gro-Low'

    A dwarf selection of fragrant sumac, this dense, low-growing deciduous shrub has aromatic leaves and twigs. The fragrant sumac typically grows 1 – 2’ tall and can spread to 8’ wide. Tiny yellow flowers bloom in early spring. In late summer, male flowers give way to yellowish female flowers called catkins, which precede small clusters of hairy, red berries. Green leaves turn orange and red in fall. Tolerant of a wide range of soils but grows best in average, well-drained soil and full sun to part shade.

    Photo © Hornbaker Gardens


    Japanese False Cypress
    Chamaecyparis pisifera 'Gold Mop'

    This slow-growing, hardy evergreen conifer has golden-yellow, scale-like leaves and cascading branchlets that form low, lacy mounds. Medium in texture, it grows 3 – 5’ high and thrives in light shade and moist, humus-rich, well-drained soil.

    Photo © F.D. Richards


    Lady's Mantle
    Alchemilla mollis

    This perennial ground cover has light-green, velvety leaves and greenish-yellow, star-shaped flowers, which appear in clusters above the foliage. Leaves are particularly attractive after a rain, as they appear to sparkle with collected water droplets. Grows best in average to moist, well-drained soil and full sun to part shade.

    Photo © User: KF-Photo, Flickr


    Panicle Hydrangea
    Hydrangea paniculata 'Chantilly Lace'

    The 'Chantilly Lace' panicle hydrangea is a beautiful, fast-growing hydrangea with a smaller, more upright habit than other panicle hydrangeas. It grows 5 – 7’ tall, with a 4 – 6’ spread. Large, ivory, pyramidal flower clusters bloom in mid to late summer and age to a soft pink. Flowers are long-lasting, and also great for arrangements. This hydrangea grows best in part to full shade, and average, humus-rich, well-drained soil.

    Photo © Gardensoyvey.com


    Switchgrass
    Panicum virgatum

    This large, ornamental grass grows up to 5’ in neat clumps. Green blades are narrow and densely packed; they can turn yellow or reddish orange in fall, and tan in winter. In mid-summer, the grass flowers in large, airy plumes of a red to purple hue, effecting a soft appearance. This tough plant will withstand a range of well-drained soils and is reasonably drought tolerant once established. Plant in full sun. A number of exceptional cultivars are available.

    Photo © Matt Lavin


    Threadleaf Tickseed
    Coreopsis verticillata

    Bearing  many bright, golden-yellow daisies during summer, this perennial attracts butterflies and other pollinators. If pruned occasionally, flowers will bloom into the fall. The threadleaf tickseed has a very fine texture, with thread-like green foliage, and its fall color makes a great addition to the garden. Clump-forming and slow-spreading, it will grow 8 – 12” high, and 18 – 32” wide. This perennial is easy to grow and loves full sun. Plant in average, well-drained soil.

    Photo © F.D. Richards

  • 2009

    2009

    Barrenwort
    Epimedium sp.

    This slow-spreading, clump-forming perennial has heart-shaped foliage that is evergreen in some varieties. The dainty flowers come in shades of pink, yellow, purple or white, depending on variety. Plant in fertile, moist, humus-rich, well-drained soil and part shade. Does well in dry shade once established.


    Bottlebrush Buckeye
    Aesculus parviflora

    This exceptional wide-spreading, suckering shrub reaches 8 – 12' in height and 8 – 15' in width. Medium to dark green summer foliage turns yellow-green in fall. Outstanding white, upright, 8 – 12" flower panicles bloom in late June to July. Plant this native in moist, well-drained soil enriched with organic matter in full sun to shade. Especially nice for massing.

    Photo © Paul g. Wiegman


    Palibin Lilac
    Syringa meyeri 'Palibin'

    This small, compact lilac, reaching just 4 – 5' in height and 5 – 7' in width, is useful in small gardens. It blooms heavily, starting at a young age, with reddish purple buds opening to whitish pink, very fragrant flowers. Unlike most lilacs, it is extremely resistant to mildew. Plant in full sun (it will tolerate very light shade) in average, well-drained soil.

    Photo © User: Melikamp, Wikimedia Commons


    Lungwort
    Pulmonaria hybrids

    A perennial that thrives in shade to semi-shade, lungwort is grown for its attractive, low-growing, clumping foliage, which is often spotted. Early spring flowers appear in shades of pink and blue or a combination. Grow in moist to average, well-drained soil that is rich in organic matter. Excellent for shade gardens and as a shady groundcover. Many excellent and beautiful cultivars available.


    Sneezeweed
    Helenium autunmale 'Mardi Gras'

    This deer and rabbit resistant, butterfly attracting perennial features daisy-like flowers with yellow petals edged in bright orange-red, surrounding a deep brown center cone. It blooms for six to eight weeks in mid to late summer and grows 36 – 40" high by 24 – 36" wide. Plant in moist, well-drained soil in full sun. Cut back in early spring to promote branching. Produces attractive cut flowers.


    Paperbark Maple
    Acer griseum 

    This slow-growing tree with an upright-oval form reaches 20 – 30' in height. Beautiful exfoliating bark, cinnamon to red-brown in color, starts to develop on second-year wood. Dark green summer leaves change to russet red, bronze or red combinations in fall. Plant in moist, well-drained soil in full sun. Nice specimen or accent plant.

    Photo © Paul g. Wiegman


    Rozanne™ Cranesbill
    Geranium 'Gerwat'

    Attractive, deeply cut green foliage is topped with beautiful, large ,blue flowers from early summer to frost on this easy spreading herbaceous perennial. Foliage turns reddish-brown in fall. Plant in moist, well-drained soil in full sun to part shade. Disease and pest free and deer resistant. 2008 Perennial Plant of the Year.

    Photo © Paul g. Wiegman


    Witch Hazel
    Hamamelis × intermedia

    This large, multi-stemmed shrub or small tree, 10 – 20' in height, is excellent for early bloom and fall color. Its long lasting, spider-like, fragrant flowers in shades from yellow to red, depending on variety, generally appear in March, opening and closing with the weather. Gray-green foliage turns to shades of yellow to yellow-orange in the fall. Plant in moist, well-drained soil in full sun to part shade.


    Hinoki False Cypress
    Chamaecyparis obtusa cultivars

    This beautiful evergreen has shiny, dark green foliage, arranged in fan-shaped sprays. Although the species becomes a very large tree, there are numerous excellent cultivars for landscape use from rock garden size to those reaching over 10' in height. Grow in most, well-drained soil in full sun to very light shade.

    Photo © Perry Quan


    Japanese Holly
    Ilex crenata

    This dense, multi-branched, broadleaved evergreen shrub boasts lustrous, dark green foliage year-round, with medium-fine texture and 1/2 – 1" leaves. It grows best in moist, well-drained, slightly acidic soil in sun or part shade. The shrub withstands severe pruning, but it  is not generally needed. Drought tolerant once established. Numerous slow-growing cultivars are available in a variety of sizes and forms.

    Photo © Phillip Merritt

  • 2008

    2008

    Cornelian Cherry Dogwood
    Cornus mas

    This small tree with arching branches can grow 20 – 25' in height. It’s known for its frothy display of yellow flowers presented on bare twigs in early spring and its bright red, cherry-like drupes in summer. The tree’s flaking bark provides additional visual interest.

    Photo © Wouter Hagens


    Fringetree
    Chionanthus virginicus

    This small tree has a wide spreading habit and typically grows 12 – 20' tall. Spring-blooming, fragrant flowers feature airy, 4 – 6” long clusters of fringe-like, creamy white petals. The blue-black fruit attracts birds. Prefers moist, well-drained soil and full sun.

    Photo © Tom Potterfield


    Japanese White Pine
    Pinus parviflora

    This evergreen conifer with bluish-green needles typically grows 30 – 50' tall. Trees are pyramidal when young but with age develop a more spreading habit and a flatter top. Requires good drainage and full sun.


    Lacebark Pine
    Pinus bungeana

    This slow-growing conifer typically reaches 30 – 50' in height. Over time its exfoliating bark reveals a patchwork of white, olive, light purple and silver. Initially pyramid-shaped, it becomes more open and flat-topped with maturity. Prefers well-drained soil and full sun. Tolerant of high pH.

    Photo © Tony Frates


    Dwarf Fothergilla
    Fothergilla gardenii

    This native deciduous shrub grows 3 – 5' tall and wide. It blooms in early spring, producing fragrant, white bottlebrush flowers. The blue-green foliage turns flaming orange to burgundy in the fall. Prefers full sun to part shade and acid soil.

    Photo © Steve Severinghaus


    Winterberry Holly
    Ilex verticillata 'Red Sprite' and 'Jim Dandy' 

    'Red Sprite' is a 3 – 4' tall deciduous shrub that is ideal for a smaller landscape. A female selection, this variety produces bright red berries in fall that remain on the plant through winter. Fruit set requires the male, 'Jim Dandy,' for pollination. Prefers moist, acid soil.

    Photo © Joel Perkovich


    Winter Gem Boxwood
    Buxus microphylla 'Winter Gem'

    Very cold-hardy, this densely branched, broadleaved evergreen shears well and retains its green foliage through winter, making it an attractive landscape choice. A moderate grower reaching 2 – 3' tall and wide. Plant in full sun to part shade.

    Photo © F.D. Richards


    Blue Star Flower
    Amsonia tabernaemontana

    This easy-to-grow, clump-forming plant grows 2 – 3' high and produces star-shaped blue blossoms in spring. In fall, the willow-shaped leaves turn bright yellow. Attracts butterflies. Thrives in full sun to part shade. 

    Photo © Col Ford and Natasha De Vere


    False Indigo
    Baptisia australis and cultivars

    This upright plant can reach 3’ in height. Blooming in early summer, its bright, lupine-like flowers spring from stalks that rise a foot above the plant. Makes a dense, shrub-like clump of very attractive blue-green foliage that stands up to heat. Large enough to use as a single specimen. Prefers full sun and room to spread.

    Photo © Ben Wurst


    Coneflower
    Echinacea hybrids

    These big, bold daisies add oomph to any garden. Plants produce a 30" flowering clump that blooms from midsummer to early autumn, attracting bees and butterflies. After flowering, the blooms make attractive seed heads, which can be left over winter to feed the birds. Prefers full sun and well-drained soil.