Looking to spruce up your yard this spring? Try growing more native plants – plants that naturally occur in the area where you live. Gardening with native plants has many benefits: They’re beautiful, they’re already adapted to your precipitation and soil conditions, and they don’t need artificial fertilizers or pesticides. Of course the biggest benefit might be that native plants are great for birds and other wildlife.

Native plants provide nectar for hummingbirds, butterflies, and bees. They provide nourishing seeds and irresistible fruits for your feathered neighbors, and they offer places to nest and shelter from harm. They’re also a critical part of the food chain—native insects evolved to feed on native plants, and by and large, backyard birds raise their young on insects, explains Douglas Tallamy, the author of Bringing Nature Home. Take the Carolina Chickadee: A single clutch of four to six chicks will gobble up more than 9,000 caterpillars in the 16 days between when they hatch and when they leave the nest. So thriving insects mean thriving birds.

The key is to pick the right plants for your area. Here are 10 great plants to get you thinking about the possibilities—but remember, there are thousands of native plants out there. Search Audubon’s native plants database to create a list of plants native to your area and get connected to local native plant resources. You’ll also find even more resources listed further down the page.

Native Flowering Plants:

Purple Coneflowers (Echinacea spp.)

Coneflowers are a tried-and-true garden staple, and wildlife are drawn to them, too.

Birds that love them: These beautiful blooms attract butterflies and other pollinators during the summer and provide seeds for goldfinches and other birds in the fall.

Where they’re native: Some of these species, like Echinacea purpurea and Echinacea pallida, are great native plants to grow in the plains states. Coneflowers grow well most places, so check for the species native to your region.

Sunflowers (Helianthus spp.)

Sunflowers may signify loyalty and longevity for people, but they mean food for many birds.

Birds that love them: Birds often use the sunflower seeds to fuel their long migrations.

Where they’re native: Helianthus ciliaris in the Southwest and central United States and Helianthus angustifolius in the eastern United States produce seeds in bulk.

Milkweed (Asclepias spp.)

Milkweed is best known for hosting monarch butterfly caterpillars, but they attract loads of insects that are great for birds, too. Bonus: the flowers are gorgeous.

Birds that love them: Some birds, like the American Goldfinch, use the fiber from the milkweed to spin nests for its chicks. Goldfinches, and other birds, also use the downy part of the seed to line their nests.

Where they’re native: It’s likely one or more species of milkweed is native to your area—try butterfly weed (Asclepias tuberosa) in hot dry areas, while swamp milkweed (Asclepias incarnata) is great in wet areas or gardens.

Cardinal Flower (Lobelia cardinalis)

The cardinal flower’s bright red petals resemble the flowing robes worn by Roman Catholic cardinals, after which it was named.

Birds that love them: While few insects can navigate the long tubular flowers, hummingbirds feast on the cardinal flower’s nectar with their elongated beaks.

Where they’re native: This moisture-loving plant is native across large portions of the country, including the East, Midwest, and Southwest.

Native Vines:

Trumpet Honeysuckle (Lonicera sempervirens)

One of the top most well-behaved vines to plant in your garden, the multitudes of red tubular flowers are magnets for hummingbirds.

Birds that love them: This vine’s nectar attracts hummingbirds while many birds like Purple Finches and Hermit Thrushes eat their fruit. During migration, Baltimore Orioles get to the nectar by eating the flowers.

Where they’re native: Trumpet honeysuckle grows natively in the northeast, southeast, and midwest portions of the United States. The sweetly scented Japanese honeysuckle is actually an exotic invasive—but if you swap it with native trumpet honeysuckle, you’ll attract plenty of birds.

Virginia Creeper (Parthenocissus quinqefolia)

The Virginia creeper, also known as woodvine, may be best known for its similarity to poison ivy, but its leaves are harmless to your skin. While people may intentionally avoid it, many birds rely on its fruit during the winter.

Birds that love them: It’s a key food source for fruit-eating birds, such as mockingbirds, nuthatches, woodpeckers and blue jays.

Where they’re native: Parthenocissus vitacea, a related species known as thicket creeper, is native to the American West while Parthenocissus quinqefolia can be found in the Great Plains and eastern United States.

Native Shrubs:

Buttonbush (Cephalanthus occidentalis)

Showy flowers and fruit make buttonbush a popular choice in native gardens and along pond shores.

Birds that love them: In addition to beautifying a pond, they also provide seeds for ducks and other waterfowl. Their magnificent flowers also attract butterflies—and other pollinators.

Where they’re native: The buttonbush, Cephalanthus occidentalis, is native to the wetlands of California and the eastern half of the United States.

Elderberry (Sambucus spp.)

Elderberry is a versatile plant that has been used to make dye and medicine by people across the United States, as well as being a showy shrub for the landscape.

Birds that love them: Its bright dark blue fruits (which we use for jam) provide food for many birds within its range, including the Brown Thrasher and Red-eyed Vireo, and dozens of other birds.

Where they’re native: Sambucus canadensis is native to most of the eastern United States, while red elderberry (Sambucus racemosa) is found in most states except for those south of Nebraska and those along the Gulf of Mexico.

Native Trees:

Oak (Quercus spp.)

From southern live oaks to California black oaks, these large beautiful trees are a favorite for many people across the country—not to mention the great summer shade they provide. These trees are also an integral part of the food chain, so planting just one really helps your yard’s diversity.

Birds that love them: Similarly, many species of birds use the cavities and crooks of these trees for nesting and shelter. Birds are also drawn to the abundance of insects and acorns that are found on oaks—to learn more, check out Doug Tallamy’s work.

Where they’re native: If you want to plant an oak, be sure to plant one native to your area, such as the shumard oak in the Southeast or the Oregon white oak in the Pacific Northwest.

Dogwoods (Cornus spp.)

Nothing says spring quite like a dogwood full of newly-bloomed flowers.

Birds that love them: Cardinals, titmice, and bluebirds all dine on the fleshy fruit of dogwood trees.

Where they’re native: If you live in the Pacific Northwest, you can grow native Cornus nuttallii and for those in the eastern United States, choose either the Cornus alternifolia or the Cornus florida.

By incorporating native plants into your landscape, you’re creating a sanctuary that benefits wildlife.

The 10 plants listed are a great starting point—they’re easy to grow, they’re great for birds, and most can be found at nurseries. To find species that are native to right where you live, search Audubon’s native plants database. You can create a list of plants native to your area and get connected to local native plant resources. Explore the Plants for Birds pages to learn more.

Other Online Resources

How to Buy Native Plants
Bringing Nature Home

Books:

Bringing Nature Home…Doug Tallamy
The Living Landscape….Doug Tallamy and Rick Darke
The American Woodland Garden….Rick Darke
Gardening and Propagating Wildflowers, Growing and Propagating Native Trees and Shrubs….William Cullina

Additional reporting by Shannon Palus and Tessa Stuart.

About

Native Plants

Native plants have formed symbiotic relationships with native wildlife over thousands of years, and therefore offer the most sustainable habitat. A plant is considered native if it has occurred naturally in a particular region, ecosystem, or habitat without human introduction.

Exotic plants that evolved in other parts of the world or were cultivated by humans into forms that don’t exist in nature do not support wildlife as well as native plants. Occasionally, they can even escape into the wild and become invasive exotics that destroy natural habitat.

Native plants help the environment the most when planted in places that match their growing requirements. They will thrive in the soils, moisture and weather of your region. That means less supplemental watering, which can be wasteful, and pest problems that require toxic chemicals. Native plants also assist in managing rain water runoff and maintain healthy soil as their root systems are deep and keep soil from being compacted.

Native Plant Finder

Bring your garden to life! Enter your zip code to discover the best native plants, attract butterflies and moths, and support birds and other fauna. Native Plant Finder is an indispensable tool, based on the research of Dr. Douglas Tallamy of the University of Delaware and in partnership with the United States Forest Service.

Discovering the native plants where you live can also define a unique sense of place and heritage for your garden habitat while preserving the natural history of the flora and fauna of your region.

Root systems of Non-Native vs. Native Mid-Atlantic Plants. Source: Alliance for the Chesapeake Bay

From the pages of National Wildlife® magazine:
Native, or Not So Much? Native plants transformed into flashy “nativars” may look pretty, but are they good for wildlife?

NATIVE PLANT FINDER

Wildlife-friendly plants

As wildlife habitats in the countryside disappear at an alarming rate, our gardens are increasingly useful habitats for wildlife. They help to form ‘green corridors’ in our towns and cities, increase biodiversity and provide shelter and food for a huge range of species.

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Related content:
Six essential features of a wildlife garden

Many of our most beautiful garden plants, including many shrubs, climbers, perennials and pond plants, are attractive to wildlife. You probably have many of them in your garden already.

Native shrubs and trees offer the best choice for wildlife, providing caterpillar food plants for a variety of moths, plus berries and seeds for birds and small mammals. But both native and non-native flowers appeal to bees and other pollinators, as long as they have single flowers – many double flowers are inaccessible to insects, or have small amounts of nectar and pollen.

Here’s how to embellish every area of your garden to make it even more attractive to wildlife.

Many of our most beautiful garden plants, including many shrubs,
climbers, perennials and pond plants, are attractive to wildlife.

Borders

The shrubs and perennials in our garden borders can attract all kinds of wildlife. Nectar-rich plants are invaluable for bees and butterflies – discover 10 plants for bees and 10 plants for butterflies. Some plants will provide food for birds – discover how to grow your own bird food.

Climbers

Climbers not only look beautiful – they are incredibly useful for wildlife. Birds can nest in them, butterflies can hibernate in them and bees can take shelter from the rain. Discover seven climbers for wildlife.

Herbs

Herbs attract and provide food for all kinds of wildlife, including bees, butterflies, hoverflies and birds. Discover top herb grower Jekka McVicar’s 10 herbs for wildlife.

Hanging baskets

Many bedding plants are bred to have double flowers, or long-lasting flowers at the expense of nectar and pollen. But if you adapt your plant choices, you can make a wildlife-friendly hanging basket that will attract bees and other pollinators.

Pond plants

Creating a pond is one of the best things you can do for wildlife – it will attract everything from frogs, toads and newts to birds. Native plants play an important part in the pond’s ecosystem. Discover native plants for wildlife ponds.

Bog plants

A bog garden is an excellent alternative to a pond and will attract all kinds of creatures, including damselflies, newts and frogs, plus birds and even bats. Plant with moisture-loving flag irises, marsh marigolds and purple loosetrife. Find out how to make a wildlife bog garden.

Lawn

The perfect lawn may please the gardener, but attracts few insects. Why not leave the grass to grow longer, attracting butterflies and small mammals? Wildlife turf is another option, enriched with dozens of wildflowers, such as red clover, field scabious and greater knapweed, and several types of grass. Simply cut twice a year in autumn and early spring.

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Hedge

A hedge is a good alternative to a fence. A mixed native hedge provides nectar and pollen, berries and nuts, caterpillar food plants and shelter for nesting birds. Good hedging plants include beech, hazel, dogwood and hawthorn. Find out how to plant a hedge.

Kate Bradbury says

Aim to have a good mix of plants to provide nectar and pollen, berries and seed, shelter to nest and roost and leaves for caterpillars. A mix of native and non-native plants is ideal.

How to build a wildlife garden: The 10 best plants for birds

Ian Grainger/.com

In autumn this plant will offer birds masses of fruit. Big fans include thrushes, finches and blackbirds, as well as more exotic birds like waxwing.

Corylus Contorta

The catkins and early growth of twisted hazel are ideal for chiffchaff and spring migrants.

Honeysuckle

It’s a great climber for birds, offering berries and cover for them to roost. Thrushes, warblers and bullfinches love it.

Malus Golden Hornet

Fruit from this plant will decay if you leave it untouched, exposing tasty seeds for great tits and greenfinches.

Pyracantha Orange Glow

This plant provides winter berries for thrushes and blackberries.

Rowan

This is a great, compact plant for small to medium gardens. Different species will give berries from July to November, providing a feast for blackbirds and starlings. The white berries however are not as popular!

Festuca Gauteri

Goldfinch and Linnet love this plant’s seed heads.

Ivy

Its flowers attract insects, which birds love to eat, and its winter black berries are a firm favourite of thrushes, waxwings, starlings, jays and blackbirds.

Bidens Solar Garden

Its yellow flowers attract insects that are ideal food for tits, robins and warblers.

Other ways to help

Don’t be too keen to tidy your garden – those leaves, stems, twigs and debris make great nest material for birds!

You can install nest boxes for almost every garden bird you can think of, including owls, robins, sparrows and house martins. Site them away from feeding grounds, as the activity can disrupt mating pairs, and be patient – it can take a couple of years for birds to fill your box!

Finally, place a bird bath in your garden and keep it topped up with fresh water. Birds will flock to it for drinking and bathing. Put it somewhere you can see it from your window, so you can watch the birds without disturbing them.

10 WAYS TO START BUILDING A GARDEN FOR WILDLIFE

Turn your garden into a wildlife sanctuary with these eco-friendly tips By Doug Tallamy

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With natural areas diminishing, we must raise the bar of what we ask of our landscapes. We can no longer be satisfied with gorgeous gardens that are not also designed to support ecosystems.

Here are ten easy ways to fill your garden with biodiversity and beauty:

  • 1. Plant an oakThere are native oaks for just about every state in the U.S. These trees form the hub of a native garden, providing habitat and food. In most counties, oaks support more than 450 species of moths and butterflies. Moths and their caterpillars are important food for birds.

    Photo by: Gerald A DeBoer / .

    Learn more about growing oak trees: Planting Oaks.

  • 2. Add a bird bath Keep it shallow! Birds will not use a bath where the water is deeper than their legs. A bath 1 inch deep by 15 inches diameter will attract avian friends. If you have access to a large stone, you can carve a shallow bird bath into it for a natural look.

    See a Portland garden full of birds: A Naturalistic Garden Welcomes the Birds and the Bees.

  • 3. Create a layered planting or border If you have the space (it can even be as small as 10 by 10 feet), build a multilayer planting: Add a row of canopy trees (maples, hollyleaf cherry); weave in medium-sized trees and tall shrubs (willows, toyon); tuck in shrubs (sweet pepperbush, manzanita); fill in with herbaceous plants (native grasses, salvias); carpet with groundcovers (spring ephemerals, checkerbloom).

  • 4. Build a native arborUse branches of native trees to build organic allées and arbors that are nice to look at and good for wildlife. You can grow native Halesia diptera over an arbor for a formal look or a native vine for an informal feel.

  • Photo by: Bachkova Natalia / .

  • 5. Add groves or thickets If you have an underutilized space, plant groves of native trees, berry bushes, or coyote brush to provide food for yourself and the birds. For a clean look, plant a single species.

  • 6. Plant native fruit trees Pawpaws, persimmons, black cherries, and serviceberries support birds, caterpillars, and butterflies-and supply delicious produce for you.

  • 7. Screen with native hedgesWhen creating a screen, plant native shrubs such as Alabama snow wreath or coffeeberry to provide habitat and food for wildlife. Don’t hesitate to use several species that work together, including an occasional red cedar or incense cedar for accent.

    For more local native plant choices, also see Gardening with Native Plants.

  • Photo by: Ekachai Stocker / .

  • 8. Encourage pools and pondsAdd a pool or pond in an area of your garden where water collects naturally. Even a small one can support several species of frogs as well as toads, spring peepers, turtles, and more. Line it with water lovers like willows, buttonbush, winterberries, sedges, and rushes.

  • 9. Make a meadow Even a small 5- by 10-foot meadow garden can supercharge a garden with wildlife. Adding a mix of native milkweeds and umbellifers can help fill a garden with activity from butterflies, bees, and birds.

    Get inspiration for your own meadow garden: Meadow Magic.

  • Photo by: Patrick Jennings / .

  • 10. Grow vines Native vines are a secret weapon of wildlife gardening—especially in a small garden, where letting natives climb up arbors, over trellises, and along fences maximizes limited space. Hummingbirds will often visit trumpet honeysuckle and native clematis.

    For more on honeysuckle, read Growing Heavenly Honeysuckle Vines.

Bonus resource: A web tool recently launched by the National Wildlife Federation makes it easy to discover which indigenous plant species are the very best at supporting the insects that drive local food webs. Simply enter your zip code for a ranked list of the plants in your county that produce the most caterpillars and thus support the most wildlife. Access the tool here: Native Plant Finder.

Doug Tallamy is an author, scientist and professor at the University of Delaware. He is passionate about helping homeowners, gardeners and designers create ecologically driven gardens.

These tips originally appeared in “Going Wild”—an article about bringing the wonders of biodiversity into your garden—in the Spring 2016 issue of Garden Design magazine.

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Eco-Friendly Gardens

If you look back 10 or 20 years at how plants were trialed in the U.S., you would find that public horticulture institutions and botanical gardens traditionally played a more critical role in plant introduction. Such independent institutions delivered what was considered to be unbiased recommendations to regional growers who then took that under advisement when deciding which varieties to produce. Founded in 1932, All-America Selections is the oldest plant trialing organization in the country, and it includes a network of trial gardens across the U.S. to provide a good representation of all growing conditions.

Plant trial evolution.

In her University of Delaware thesis, “Evaluation of Trial Garden Practices at Public Horticulture Institutions,” completed in the spring of 2015, Sarah Leach Smith noted that field trials have experienced a significant shift during the past five years. Through extensive surveys of growers, breeders and public trial gardens, Smith found that the size of plant trialing programs has actually increased, but the amount of plant material sent to public gardens has decreased.

Instead, breeding companies are opting to send trial material directly to potential grower customers for production and in-ground trials.

“With commercial grower trials nationwide, the regional performance data provided by university or public garden trials is no longer as crucial; the wide geographic range of commercial trials fills that need for most breeding companies,” says Jim Nau, manager of The Gardens at Ball (Smith, 2015).

The value of grower trials.

Paul Westervelt, annual and perennial production manager at Saunders Brothers, reported that the best perennial trials he sees with any regularity are those of his plug vendors. However, since Saunders Brothers typically ships most of their product within their own region, their own in-ground and production trials are especially valuable.

“Our whole group is trialing some of the same products and comparing notes to see how things do. The combined efforts of the group will yield much better information than any one trial site because of our different climates, allowing all of us to bring products to market more confidently and bring assurance to our customers,” he says.

Denise Kelly, planning and trial manager at Smith Gardens explains, “We’ve been doing our own trialing since 2009, and we currently trial about 1,500 different varieties of annuals and perennials. Performing trials at our own facility gives us the knowledge we need for preparing our production team for new genetics that will be going to market potentially two to three years ahead of production.”

A few of the most notable trial gardens in the country, including the Chicago Botanic Garden, see great support from breeding companies and growers. Richard Hawke, plant evaluation manager and associate scientist at the CBG, says he usually receives plant material to trial as new varieties are being introduced or shortly thereafter. He adds that one local grower, Elite Growers, references the trial information and ratings from his trials in their wholesale catalog.

Westervelt wisely points out that it is virtually impossible for any grower or institution to trial everything, so it is crucial to network with others, share observations and learn from one another’s work. I spoke to key trial managers and growers at public institutions, botanic gardens, and grower facilities to get their take on a few perennials that have stood out to them over the last few years as must-haves. They also shared which perennials they think more people should be growing in their region.

Q: Tell me about a few perennials that have really impressed you in your trials over the last few years.

Zone 5b: Richard Hawke, Plant evaluation manager and associate scientist, Chicago Botanic Garden

June Hutson of the Missouri Botanical Garden Zone 6b recommends Amsonia ‘Blue Ice’ as a low maintenance groundcover that blooms longer than typical blue stars.Image courtesy of Susan Martin

A massive number of perennials are trialed every year at the CBG, but inevitably a few favorites rise to the top. Baptisia Decadence ‘Lemon Meringue’ is one of those standout perennials.

“I love the beautiful bright yellow flowers on dusky stems—it’s an eye-catching combination. We’re growing this variety in our trials and on our green roof, where it has excelled for the past three years. It’s almost as large there as plants in the ground trials.”

Sapphire Indigo clematis is another favorite of Hawke’s because of its “insane flower power.” This non-climbing selection is covered in large, deep purple-blue flowers from June to September in the Chicago trials. Agastache ‘Rosie Posie’ was another star of the 2015 trials, blooming endlessly with bright rosy pink flowers and magenta calyces. Hawke reports that it has survived its first winter in the trial garden.

Zone 6a: Jeremy Windemuller, Trial manager, Walters Gardens; owner of Windridge Perennials and Landscaping

Windemuller has been extremely impressed with Hibiscus ‘Midnight Marvel,’ one of the first hardy selections with dark foliage and a great compact size of 3-4 feet. This plant shines when so many others are struggling from the summer heat, producing large 8-9 inch, red flowers from top to bottom due to its indeterminate bloom habit.

“I have found it very easy to grow perennial hibiscus using bare root plants to produce 2-3 gallon finished plants in just 8-10 weeks with flowers in 12-14 weeks.”

Zone 6b: June Hutson, Supervisor of Demonstration Gardens, Missouri Botanical Garden

Richard Hawke in Zone 5b says Pycnanthemum muticum is an underused perennial that is great for attracting pollinators to the garden.Photo courtesy of Chicago Botanic Garden.

Lesser known perennials such as Amsonia ‘Blue Ice’ and Kalimeris incisa ‘Blue Star’ have impressed June Hutson and her team at the Missouri Botanical Garden. ‘Blue Ice’ makes a terrific groundcover as it is one of the only spreading types of Amsonia, and it blooms over a longer period than most. ‘Blue Star’ is a good choice for rain gardens and is long blooming too.

Zone 8a: John Ruter, Professor of horticulture and trial gardens director, University of Georgia-Athens

Ruter is impressed by the vibrant yellow bloom power of Baptisia sphaerocarpa ‘Screamin’ Yellow’ every spring, and likes that it is more compact than many other Baptisias. The new Cannova Cannas have been impressive as well, overwintering well for them in-ground. Setcreasea pallida ‘Blue Sue,’ which is an annual in most zones but a perennial at UGA, is another interesting and versatile plant favored by Ruter.

Q: Tell me about a perennial that doesn’t get the attention it deserves in your climate. Why should people be growing it?

Zone 3a: Owen Vanstone, Owner of Vanstone Nurseries, Manitoba, Canada

“I love Penstemon barbatus ‘Clearly Coral.’ It is not well known but is very hardy and puts on a terrific display.” This Zone 3 hardy cultivar was developed in Manitoba and has demonstrated excellent hardiness and vigor in the Prairie landscape.

Zone 4a: Neal Holland, Retired horticulture professor and owner of Sheyenne Gardens near Fargo, N. D.

Holland raved about Nepeta ‘Dropmore,’ which he explained is far superior to ‘Walker’s Low’ in their climate. It has good winter hardiness, is very long-lived and does not self-seed around the garden. Agastache ‘Blue Fortune’ and Anemone sylvestris were also named by Holland as perennials more people should be growing in Zone 4.

Zone 5b: Richard Hawke, Leave it to Hawke to come up with an amazing-yet-overlooked perennial for Zone 5 gardens. Pycnanthemum muticum, commonly known as short-toothed mountain mint, is a great plant for attracting pollinators to the garden.

It may not be the newest carex on the market, but John Ruter at the University of Georgia says ‘Evergold’ is one of the most reliable in their hot, humid climate.Image courtesy of Susan Martin

“When its tiny pink flowers are in bloom in mid- to late-summer, they are teeming with a variety of butterflies, moths, bees, and beneficial wasps—not for anyone afraid of flying insects. But the trait I like best about this mountain mint is the silvery leaf-like bracts that sit under the flower clusters. The entire plant looks like it’s covered in frost when it’s in bloom, and the fragrance and texture of the fuzzy bracts is awesome too.”

Despite being touted as having a vigorously spreading habit, it was the least rhizomatous of the mountain mints he has trialed.

Zone 6a: Jeremy Windemuller, New shade perennials can be hard to come by, and Aralia cordata ‘Sun King’ is one of the best introductions Windemuller has seen in recent years. Its bright yellow foliage has a tropical look but the plant is actually very hardy down to Zone 3. “One thing I really love is that it is deer resistant. That’s a plus when the deer tend to want to mow down a shade garden.”

Plant it where it will receive morning sun or filtered sunlight throughout the day to maintain its glowing yellow color.

Zone 6b: June Hutson, Hutson believes from her experience working at the Missouri Botanical Garden that more people should be growing bush-type clematis. They use them as groundcovers in the gardens there. She specifically recommends C. integrifolia ‘Rose Colored Glasses’ for its beautiful blooms.

Zone 8a: John Ruter, Though newer forms have become available, Ruter still recommends Carex h. ‘Evergold’ for its reliable performance in containers and landscapes even in the Georgia heat, though it does need protection from hot afternoon sun there. Another plant Ruter recommends for its great heat tolerance is Cuphea micropetala, which has good color going into the fall months.

UGA is breeding for Hibiscus moscheutos cultivars with sawfly resistance, and also has breeding programs for agapanthus, liriope, stokesia, heliopsis and pavonia.

These recommendations are just the tip of the iceberg. Make the time to talk with a trial manager in your local area to find regional rock stars to add to your lineup. Sending plants to trial in public gardens should be a crucial piece of a breeder’s or plant introduction company’s marketing plan, a pull-through effort to educate the public and create demand for the best varieties for specific regions.

Susan Martin specializes in horticultural marketing, content generation and management, and working with green industry clients in trade and consumer sectors. [email protected]

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