Native Plant of the Month

Native Plant of the Month

This year we are starting a Native Plant of the Month section for our e-newsletters. Every month we will feature a different native plant based on what’s in bloom and what’s valuable for wildlife – and we’ll let you know if we sell it at our native plant nursery!

 

January: Clematis ligusticifolia/ Western VIrgin’s Bower

Photo By: Stan Shebs

Family: Ranunculaceae (Buttercup)

Characteristics: A woody perennial vine with small white flowers that bloom in clusters.Traditionally called Pepper Vine, and rumored to have been used by Native Americans to treat colds and sore throats.

Height: 12-36 feet

Season of bloom: Spring – Summer (April–August)

Bloom color: White/Cream

Light requirement: Full sun to shade

Water requirement: Medium to Less water

Soil requirement: Well-Draining soil

Eco-relationships: Flower heads attract a wide range of pollinators, especially birds; sub species can be poisonous; not deer resistant

Habitat: Riparian Habitats; near running water and lake edges

 

February: Pulsatilla Patens/ Pasqueflower

Family: Ranunculaceae (Buttercup)

Characteristics: A wildflower that grows in Early Spring when snow is on the ground; often one of the first wildflowers to bloom; hairy stems leading to a plume seed head; native to Northern Europe, Siberia, & North America.

Height: 3in. – 1 foot

Season of bloom: Early Spring (March-April)

Bloom color: Indigo/ Deep Violet, sometimes Yellow or White

Light requirement: Full sun – partial shade

Water requirement: Dry – Medium

Soil requirement: Well-Draining, rocky soil

Eco-relationships: Blooms in early spring, often some of the first food for pollinators.

Habitat: Prairies, Sub-Alpine Meadows, and Dry & Rocky areas.

 

 

March: Penstemon Grandiflorus/ Large Beardtongue

Family: Plantaginaceae (Plantain)

Characteristics: A prairie wildflower with indigo to lavender flowers and blue-green foliage that blooms in Late Spring; native to open, grassy plains and hills.

Height: 2 ft. – 4 ft.

Season of bloom: Late Spring (Late May – June)

Bloom color: Indigo/ Blue/ Lavender, sometimes White

Light requirement: Full sun

Water requirement: Dry – Medium

Soil requirement: Well-Draining, rocky soil

Eco-relationships: Tolerates deer, supports native pollinators (especially native bumble bees), resilient against extreme heat & drought.

Habitat: Open Prairies

 

April: Aquilegia chrysantha/Yellow Columbine

Family: Ranunculaceae (Buttercup)

Characteristics: A bushy perennial that blooms in Late Spring; adaptable & requires  full or partial shade, medium water availability, and well-draining soil; Native to the Southwest of the US, Texas, & Utah

Height: 1-3 feet

Season of bloom: Spring-Summer (April-August)

Bloom color: Yellow

Light requirement: Full – Partial Shade

Water requirement: Medium

Soil requirement: Well-Draining, adaptable to clay in drier conditions

Eco-relationships: Blooms Spring-Summer & attracts pollinators (especially bees, moths, & butterflies), tolerates intense heat if planted in a shaded area.

Habitat: Moist, sheltered canyons in dry, desert climates.

 

May: Mimulus guttatus/Yellow Monkey Flower

Family: Scrophulariaceae (Figwort Family)

Characteristics: Bright yellow blooms in Spring & Summer; requires partial shade, high water requirements  and wet soil (often found in riparian zones); Native to Alaska, the Yukon, California, & down through the Southwest US into Mexico & Guatemala.

Height: 1-3 feet

Season of bloom: Spring- Summer (April-August)

Bloom color: Yellow

Light requirement: Partial Shade

Water requirement: High

Soil requirement: Wet Soil

Eco-relationships: Blooms Spring-Summer & attracts pollinators (specifically bees), can act as an annual or perennial depending on climate.

Habitat: Wetlands, Stream Banks, Riparian Habitats.

 

June: Penstemon strictus/ Rocky Mountain Penstemon

Family: Scrophulariaceae (Figwort Family)

Characteristics: Bright purple & indigo flower heads; blooms in Spring & Summer; prefers partial shade and dry, well-draining soils; Native to Wyoming, Colorado, Utah, New Mexico, & Arizona

Height: 1-3 feet

Season of bloom: Spring- Summer (May-July)

Bloom color: Royal Blue-Indigo-Purple

Light requirement: Partial Shade

Water requirement: Low-Medium

Soil requirement: Dry, Well-Draining Soil

Eco-relationships: Perennial that blooms Spring-Summer & attracts pollinators (specifically bumble bees & native bees), can tolerate wetter zones.

Habitat: Subalpine & Valleys; Conifer & Sagebrush forests.

 

July: Asclepias speciosa/ Showy Milkweed

Family: Apocynaceae (Figwort Family)

Characteristics: Light pink flowers form in globular clusters; self-seeding, hardy, & drought tolerant perennial; native to Western North America; main food source for Monarch Butterflies!

Height: 2-4 feet

Season of bloom: Late Spring- Summer (June-August)

Bloom color: Pink/Light Pink/White

Light requirement: Full Sun

Water requirement: Low-Medium

Soil requirement: Dry, Well-Draining, & Rocky; tolerates poor soil conditions

Eco-relationships: Perennial that blooms Late Spring-Summer & attracts pollinators; entirety of the plant can be eaten by Monarch Caterpillars & Butterflies; can tolerate wetter zones with poor soil conditions.

Habitat: Riparian Zones, Dry Slopes, Forest Edges/Clearings

 

 

August: Hesperaloe parviflora / Red Yucca

Family: Asparagaceae (Asparagus Family)

Characteristics: Closely related to Yuccas, but in the Asparagus Family; Native to dry zones in North America (specifically the Chihuahuan desert in Texas & northeastern New Mexico); Long lasting blooms or secondary blooms in Autumn & even in Winter if it is mild.

Height: 3-5 feet

Season of bloom: July – September

Bloom color: Pink/Red/Orange/Yellow

Light requirement: Full Sun

Water requirement: Low

Soil requirement: Dry, Extremely Well-Draining, & Sandy; tolerates poor soil conditions

Eco-relationships: Attracts pollinators- especially great for Hummingbirds; Tolerates urban environments well; Will propagate in USDA Zones 5-10; May attract Deer, who feed on the foliage.

Habitat: Deserts, Grasslands/Prairies, Rocky environments

 

September: Helianthus Maximilani/ Maximilian Sunflower

Family: Asteraceae

Characteristics: Aromatic, blooms in late summer; medium yellow flowers with darker yellow center; attracts pollinators; drought tolerant annual native to prairies. Grows well in rocky soils, clay soils, dry climates.

Height: 3 – 10ft.

Season of Bloom: August- September

Bloom Color: Yellow

Light Requirements: Full Sun

Water Requirement: Drought Tolerant, Xeric species

Soil Requirement: Wide Ranging Tolerance: Sandy, Loam/Humus, Clay, Dry, Poor

Eco-Relationships: This flower is deer resistant, and attracts many species of bees, butterflies, and other pollinators.

Life zone/ Habitat: Great Plains & Tall Grass Prairie

 

 

October: Datura wrightii/ Sacred Datura

Family: Solanaceae (potato)

Characteristics: Large trumpet shaped blooms; highly toxic & hallucinogenic narcotic, lethal if too much is ingested; sacred plant to Southwestern & Plains Indian Tribes that was used in religious ceremony.

Height: 3 – 6ft.

Season of Bloom: Late Spring- Mid Autumn

Bloom Color: White/Very Light Indigo/ Very Light Purple

Light Requirements: Full to Partial Sun

Water Requirement: Medium

Soil Requirement: Wide Ranging Tolerance: Sandy, Loam/Humus, Clay, Acidic

Eco-Relationships: This flower is highly deer resistant, and attracts many species of bees, butterflies, and other pollinators. All parts of this plant are highly toxic.

Life zone/ Habitat: Mid-California through Northern Mexico & stretches east through Texas; USDA Hardiness Zones 5-7.

 

 

November: Erysimum capitatum/ Western Wallflower

            Photo: USFWS Mountain-Prairie

Family: Brassicaceae

Characteristics: Bright yellow-orange cluster blooms; self-seeding biennial; widely distributed across the US; often used in xeriscaping, rock gardens, and other low-water use landscapes.

Height: 1-2 ft.

Season of Bloom: Late Spring- Mid Summer

Bloom Color: White-Yellow-Orange-Copper

Light Requirements: Full Sun

Water Requirement: Low-Medium

Soil Requirement: Drought tolerant: Dry, Shallow, Rocky

Eco-Relationships: This biennial attracts many species of bees, butterflies, and other pollinators; low maintenance- does not attact many pests.

Life zone/ Habitat: Widely distributed across the Western USA; USDA Hardiness Zones 3-7.