“New native plants” is a misnomer we use a lot throughout our blogs and newsletters. In fact, they have been here for eons! But we get pretty excited around here when we can add a lesser-known native to our inventory for the first time. “New” just means newly available to our customers. Thanks to growing demand for natives in the landscape industry, more wholesale growers are expanding their offerings, which means we can expand our FloraKansas selection.
Solidago flexicaulis, zig zag goldenrod
A goldenrod that prefers shady, woodland conditions, Solidago flexicaulis can be found in far eastern Kansas and throughout the Ozarks, all the way to the east coast! This plant presents a great opportunity to get some color and pollinator attraction in shaded areas. Its name refers to the zig zag pattern of blooms up the stem. To identify it from other shady goldenrods like Solidago odora or Solidago caesia, look for the wide leaves with dramatically serrated edges. Companion plants include wild geraniums, columbine, and jack-in-the-pulpit.
Clinopodium arkansanum, limestone calamint
At less than a foot tall, we don’t want you to accidentally pass this one by! Limestone calamint is found growing in the open glades and rocky prairies of Missouri and Arkansas, along with a few populations scattered in New Mexico, Texas, and the upper Midwest states. Tube-shaped flowers typical of the mint family will attract plenty of pollinators. Plant in soil that is well-drained, rocky, and slightly alkaline, in full to partial sun. Plant with similar sized friends that like rocky soil too, such as blue grama grass and perky sue.
Rosa carolina, pasture rose
Most roses you see in the flower shop or floral department of the grocery store are not native roses. Not even close! Shipped from all over South America, they have made us forget the simple beauty of our own native rose species. Wild roses may not have the massive, overstuffed blooms and countless layers of petals, but these natives are much easier to care for, provide tons of nectar to insects, and smell heavenly. Pasture rose is 1 to 3 feet tall and likes open, sunny exposures. As a native species, it is more resistant to rose-rosette disease than ornamental types. Very thorny, these roses can be used to form low hedges or a living fence.
Viola pedatifida, prairie violet
These diminutive and inconspicuous native plants live their life in the prairie understory, shaded out by taller species all around them. Blooming in spring, they are great next to sidewalks and in areas you pass by frequently so you don’t miss them! Prairie violets very closely resemble the other species of violet we carry, Viola pedata (bird’s foot violet), but that one has orange stamens and prairie violet does not. Both are host to many butterfly species but they do not spread as aggressively as common violets. These look great with crocus, and spread nicely underneath grasses like little bluestem.
Spring will be here before you know it! Which native plants will you add to your garden in 2023? Check our FloraKansas page for updates about the spring event.