Landscapes sustain us by giving us food to eat, air to breathe and space to reside in — let us repay the favor. When choosing what we plant, then it is important to respect our natural landscapes and the wildlife that they support. Sustainable garden practices teach us that biodiversity, wildlife habitats and indigenous plants are essential for a thriving, healthy environment. Busy pollinators, such as bees, hummingbirds and a few butterflies and birds, ensure that the organic processes of our arenas stay in equilibrium. Let us look at summer-blooming indigenous plants hailing from shore to shore that will help maintain your garden and its own particular heroes singing.
R DESIGN Landscape Architecture P.C.
Treasured for its sunshine-yellow flowers, black-eyed Susan (Rudbeckia hirta, zones 3 to 9) shines brightly in cottage and perennial gardens. As a significant food for butterflies and hummingbirds, this classic American flower is more than just a pretty face.
Advantages and tolerances: Pretty tolerant of dry conditions and can flourish in many types of dirt
When to plant: Place nursery plants at the ground from late spring through midsummer; sow seeds in fall or spring.
See how to mature black-eyed Susan | Locate your U.S. climate zone
J. Peterson Garden Design
Tubular blossoms of climbing crossvine (Bignonia capreolata, sets 6 to 9) beckon hummingbirds in to get a drink. Train it up a patio trellis or along a garden wall and revel in the view.
Advantages and tolerances: Tolerant of heat and cold; can be grown in the ground or in containers
When to plant: Plant nursery pots in fall or spring.
See how to grow crossvine
Benjamin Vogt / Monarch Gardens
The wildlife value of Culver’s origin (Veronicastrum virginicum, zones 3 to 2) shirts many gardener’s lists, such as that of Central Plains gardener Benjamin Vogt, who believes it a staple plant plant. Don’t let the “origin” part fool you; this plant has spiky white flowers that butterflies, moths and bees love.
Advantages and tolerances: produces a perfect rain garden addition
When to plant: Sow seeds everywhere but cover with compost during winter.
See how to increase Culver’s root
Benjamin Vogt / Monarch Gardens
Most valuable insects, from butterflies to bees to moths, locate Virginia mountain mint (Pycnanthemum virginianum,zones 3 to 7) appealing. This U.S. Central Plains native develops almost everywhere and provides valuable blossoms and wildlife refuge year-round.
Advantages and tolerances: Its flowers attract all kinds of insects, as well as the foliage shelters birds in the winter. It is tolerant of lands.
When to plant: Seeds can be sown year-round.
See how to increase Virginia mountain mint
Jocelyn H. Chilvers
Garden people of all sorts can’t resist the purple pom-poms of purple prairie clover(Dalea purpureum, zones 3 to 9). This lively perennial will have your backyard abuzz with butterflies and bees this summer. It is a legume, meaning it is also a nitrogen fixer, including natural fertilizer to the ground.
Advantages and tolerances: Prefers full sun; tolerates drought and heavy clay soils.
When to plant: Sow seeds spring through autumn.
See how to develop purple prairie clover
Fernbush (Chamaebatiaria mellifolium, zones 4 to 8) hails from the rocky slopes of the western United States. This unsung native brings bees, birds and butterflies using its fragrant foliage and miniature white flowers.
Advantages and tolerances: Heat and drought tolerant; adapts to most soils
When to plant: Plant cuttings or sow seeds spring through autumn
See how to increase fernbush
Benjamin Vogt / Monarch Gardens
Moving into fall, blue sage (Salvia azurea,zones 4 to 9)fuels hummingbirds in their migration south and draws beneficial bees in using its tubular blossoms. This blue flower dramatizes the native prairie garden oh so subtly.
Advantages and tolerances: Easy to grow from seed and also relatively drought tolerant
When to plant: Divide plants in spring, or you can start seeds indoors over the winter.
See how to grow blue sage
Damp soil and standing water pose no danger to the often-forgotten Joe Pye weed (Eupatorium purpureum, zones 5 to 10), shown with blazing star (Liatris spicata) and purple coneflower (Echinacea purpurea). Plant this prairie native and welcome hummingbirds, butterflies and bees summer through autumn. It requires always moist soil.
Advantages and tolerances: Tolerates full, hot sunlight
When to plant: Plant seeds or easily available nursery containers at autumn.
See how to mature Joe Pye weed
Edger Landscape Design
Southern California’s iconic Cleveland sage (Salvia clevelandii,zones 8 to 11) invites hummingbirds, butterflies and bees all summertime. Plant it because of its floral odor, which recalls native California chaparral.
Advantages and tolerances: famous for its odor, Cleveland sage is also drought tolerant and a fire-wise choice.
When to plant: Spring or autumn
See how to mature Cleveland sage
Noelle Johnson Landscape Consulting
Autumn sage (Salvia greggii, zone 7) wows gardeners, hummingbirds and butterflies using its vibrant blossoms and prolific blooms. Native from New Mexico, Mexico and Texas, desert gardeners will discover that autumn sage thrives best in dappled shade or under a shrub decoration, whereas Southern gardeners can plant the flowering shrub in sunlight.
Advantages and tolerances: Drought tolerant, but prefers deep, weekly watering; attracts butterflies and hummingbirds
When to plant: Fall or spring
See how to grow fall sage
Ellen Sousa/Turkey Hill Brook Farm
Woodland gardens at the southern U.S. can make space for the appealing and well-behaved native trumpet honeysuckle (Lonicera sempervirens, zones 4 to 9). This flowering vine climbs up arbors, over walls or porch railings, with small trumpet-shaped flowers opening for hummingbirds and bees to wash their nectar.
Advantages and tolerances: Foliage is deer-resistant; hummingbirds and indigenous bees feed on flowers’ nectar; birds eat berries; butterfly and moth species use it as a bunch plant
When to plant: Spring through autumn
See how to develop trumpet honeysuckle
Crimsoneyed rosemallow (Hibiscus moscheutos, zones 4 to 9), a prolific bloomer from the Hibiscus genus, generates flowers up to 8 inches across that will make you think you are transported to a tropical heaven. This southeast and eastern U.S. native is a wetland plant which will attract hummingbirds and indigenous bees when implanted in a rain garden, swale or pond edge.
Advantages and tolerances: Long bloom season; tolerates wet soil, brackish water and tidal marshes; brings native bees and hummingbirds
When to plant: Transplant in autumn; collect seeds in fall for spring planting
See how to develop crimsoneyed rosemallow
Spotted beebalm (Monarda punctata, zones 3 to 2) is a resilient, low upkeep and long-blooming Eastern indigenous that brings important pollinators, such as bees and wasps, as well as other beneficial insects. Colorful bracts extend the length of time the plant is apparently in bloom. Mid-Atlantic gardener Curtis Adams recommends planting beebalm in a mix of indigenous plants around a vegetable garden.
Advantages and tolerances: Deer resistant; dirt pruning; brings pollinators and beneficial insects
When to plant: Sow seeds in fall or early spring; plant bare root plants or nursery containers at spring
See how to mature spotted beebalm
Pete Veilleux, East Bay Wilds
California buckwheat (Eriogonum fasciculatum, zones 5b to 10) is a must-have plant for wildlife at the California native garden. This mounding shrub, with its reliable, showy white flowers, is an important food source for pollinators, who feed on its nectar in summer. Birds and mammals feed on its seeds and also find cover in its own foliage.
Advantages and tolerances: Deer resistant; brings butterflies such as butterflies and bees; slope stabilizer
When to plant: It is ideal to plant in autumn so that the plant can set roots in the rainy season, but it can also be planted throughout the year
Watch how to increase California buckwheat
Holm Design & Consulting LLC
Gardeners, also pollinators, across North America can appreciate Maximilian sunflower’s (Helianthus maximiliani, zones 2b to 8b) towering stalks of summer flowers. Maximilian blossoms in late summer into fall, during a lull at the blooming season, and provides necessary nectar and pollen for pollinators.
Advantages and tolerances: Tolerates many soil types, with the exception of heavy, wet clay; prefers full sunlight, but a general versatile plant; brings pollinators and beneficial insects
When to plant: Spring
See how to increase Maximilian sunflower
Your turn: Is your garden abloom with plants that birds and butterflies adore? We would love to find a picture!