Native Plant Landscape: Using Wildflowers In The Garden

Colorful Wildflowers
(Image credit: Sporran)

Growing wildflowers in a native plant landscape offers an easy-care solution to all your gardening needs. Nearly any spot in the garden is ideal for growing these native plants because they are already well adapted to your particular 'neck of the woods.' Also, if your space is limited, such as with urban dwellers, you can even grow wildflowers in containers.

Wildflower Gardening

Most wildflower and native gardens are planted in borders and beds, sometimes along tree or property lines. A quick scan of your property and surrounding landscape will enable you to see exactly what plants thrive in your area. These plants and others with similar attributes will be the ideal choices for your desired wildflower gardening planting scheme.

How to Use Wildflowers and Native Plants

Typically, you'll find the most wildflower species growing within woodland environments, and these are often the more commonly planted. Woodland gardens are composed of native species that include a variety of flowering plants, grasses, shrubs, and trees. Designing your own native plant landscape often entails carefully layered plantings, as found in their natural setting. This could include a grouping of small trees followed by shrubs and finished off with foliage plantings, such as ferns, and other wildflowers. Many of these native plants thrive in partially shaded areas and can easily be incorporated into any shady areas of the yard that you may find challenging for growing other types of plants. In fact, placing shade-loving plants like anemone, bleeding heart, wild ginger, or hepatica beneath a large shade tree will create a lovely woodland garden for those with limited space. Meadows or prairies are another way to enjoy the benefits of a native plant landscape, especially for those with wide, open spaces. In a native meadow garden, wildflowers bloom abundantly throughout the season. Most meadows include both native grasses and wildflowers. Some of the more commonly grown plants here include:

Natural prairie gardens may consist of nothing more than open grassland but if you mix it up by adding wildflowers, the result will be a pleasing blend of vivid flower colors popping out from the greens and golds of native grasses. You can easily create either of these gardens by converting a treeless lawn into plantings of native grasses along with a variety of wildflowers, or whatever grows naturally in your area. Good choices to try may include:

Growing wildflowers spread more naturally throughout the native plant landscape. They are also more trouble-free and easier to maintain than most other flower gardens. Whatever type of native garden you choose, mix in various heights, forms, colors, and textures. Choose wildflowers that bloom at different intervals as well as those with attractive foliage to ensure year-round interest. Regardless of when, where, or what you plant, the site preparation should include manageable soil, suitable light, and a nearby water source. Once your plants have established themselves in the garden, nature will take care of the rest, allowing you time to sit back and take it all in.

Heather Rhoades
Founder of Gardening Know How

Heather Rhoades founded Gardening Know How in 2007. She holds degrees from Cleveland State University and Northern Kentucky University. She is an avid gardener with a passion for community, and is a recipient of the Master Gardeners of Ohio Lifetime Achievement Award.