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Our Natives are Right at Home

Native plant is a term used to describe plants that are indigenous to a particular area. This includes plants that have developed, occur naturally, or existed for many years in a particular place. These plant species are adapted to the soil and weather conditions and are the foundation of our native ecosystems, or natural communities.

WHY LANDSCAPE WITH NATIVE PLANTS?

Native Plants Save Energy:
Native plants have evolved and adapted to local conditions over thousands of years. They are vigorous and hardy, so they can survive winter cold and summer heat. Once established, they require very little care.

Native Plants Provide Balance:
Each native plant species is a member of a community that includes other plants, animals and microorganisms. The natural balance keeps each species in check, allowing it to thrive in conditions where it is suited, but preventing it from running wild.

Native Plants Benefit Local Ecosystems:
Natives are a cornerstone of biological diversity. They provide food and shelter for native wild animals such as birds, butterflies and other wildlife. The also keep the natural balance of each.

Native Plants Help Save the Bay:
Their root systems help rainfall percolate into the soil, reducing erosion and runoff. They help divert water from storm drains and decrease the impact of runoff to rivers and streams and the Chesapeake Bay. This improves water quality.

Here is a recommended list of Natives for you to try in your garden. You will definitely have success with these native plants while benefiting wildlife and our ecosystem.

Native Grass-Like Plants
• Sweet Flag (Acorus gramineus)
• Northern Sea Oats (Chasmanthium latifolium)
• Rush (Juncus effuses)
• Muhly Grass (Muhlenbergia capillaries)
• Switch Grass (Panicum virgatum)

Native Perennials
• Aamsonia (Amsonia tabernaemontana)
• Columbine (Aquilegia Canadensis)
• Swamp Milkweed (Asclepias incarnate)
• Butterfly Weed (Asclepias tuberose)
• False Indigo (Baptisia australis)
• Turtlehead (Chelone glabra)
• Green and Gold (Chrysogonum virginianum)
• Threadleaf Coreopsis (Coreopsis verticillata)
• Fringed Bleeding Heart (Dicentra eximia)
• Coneflower (Echinacea purpurea)
• Joe Pye Weed (Eupatorium coelestinum, dubium)
• Rose Mallow (Hibiscus moscheutos)
• St. John’s Wort (Hypericum calycinum)
• Blue Flag (Iris versicolor)
• Cardinal Flower (Lobelia cardinalis)
• Bee Balm (Monarda didyma)
• Cinnamon Fern (Osmunda cinnamomea)
• Royal Fern (Osmunda regalis)
• Beardtongue (Penstemon digitalis)
• Black-eyed Susan (Rudbeckia fulgida)
• Goldenrod (Solidago sp.)

Native Shrubs
• Serviceberry (Amelanchier canadensis)
• Clethra (Clethra alnifolia)
• Wild Hydrangea (Hydrangea arborescens)
• Inkberry Holly (Ilex glabra)
• Winterberry (Ilex verticillata)
• Yaupon Holly (Ilex vomitoria)
• Sweetspire (Itea virginica)
• Eastern Red Cedar (Juniperus virginiana)
• Bayberry (Myrica cerifera)
• Rugosa Rose (Rosa rugosa)

Native Trees
• Red Swamp Maple (Acer rubrum)
• River Birch (Betula nigra)
• Redbud (Cercis canadensis)
• Fringe Tree (Chionanthus virginica)
• Southern Magnolia (Magnolia grandiflora)
• Sweetby Magnolia (Magnolia virginiana)
• Willow Oak (Quercus phellos)
• Live Oak (Quercus virginiana)
• Bald Cypress (Taxodium distichum)

Native Vines
• Crossvine (Bignonia capreolata)
• Carolina Jasmine (Gelsemium sempervirens)
• American Wisteria (Wisteria frutescens)

Queen of the Vines

CLEMATIS

Bring royalty to your garden with the beloved flowering vine, Clematis. This deciduous plant is without a doubt the most versatile vine you can grow. Few other perennial vines offer such a wide range of bloom colors, shapes, and bloom seasons. This easy-to-grow, climbing vine is cherished for its incredible flowers and is a perfect choice for both the seasoned or beginner gardener. Clematis comes in an array of colors including white, pink, purple, red, blue, yellow and bi-color. Bloom periods range from spring, summer, with some varieties flowering summer through fall. It's well suited to all types and sizes of gardens, from large or small, and formal or casual. Depending on the variety, vines can grow to heights anywhere from 1-25 feet; however, clematis may be pruned to keep a desired shape or form. Often you will see these beauties cascading over walls and fences or meandering up trellises, pillars, mailboxes, lampposts, or even arching elegantly over doorways. Some varieties even make a dazzling ground cover. Clematis is stunning when used alone or when several different colored varieties are mixed together. Most varieties grow best in full sun and moist, well-drained soil. So let clematis, queen of the vines, reign supreme this spring and summer in your sunny garden!

One of our favorites this season is the new Sapphire Indigo™ Clematis. With a nearly continuous blooming habit, this compact vine will provide stunning masses of large sapphire blue flowers over a long season. It can be trained as a climber or grown as a showy, shrubby groundcover with no support. This outstanding new selection is perfect in containers and stunning when featured in a hanging basket.

photo courtesy of Monrovia

Mandevilla... Up, Up & Away!

What travels up walls, drapes over trellises, climbs fences, can take the heat and offers non-stop blooms all summer long? Well it’s not Superman but it is super Mandevilla! Mandevilla, also known as Dipladenia, is a flowering, woody vine that is most popular with gardeners in warmer climates. Here in Hampton Roads, Mandevilla blooms late spring all summer long with an abundance of large, trumpet-shaped flowers against a backdrop of beautiful glossy green foliage. Blooming in variety of colors including white, pink and red, this summer climber can be trained up a wall, pergola, fence, trellis, porch post or even a mailbox.


Caring for your Mandevilla is easy as it has few requirements. They enjoy bright indirect or filtered sunlight, but can get burned in direct, full sunlight. Mandevillea requires a sufficient amount of moisture and well drained soil, but can survive short periods of drought. Applying a fertilizer periodically during the summer will also encourage blooming, so be sure to feed your plant a high phosphorus, water soluble fertilizer to encourage flowering. Pinching back every so often will also help to create a bushier and fuller plant. To pinch your Mandevilla vine, simply use your fingers to pinch off 1/4 – 1/2 inch off the end of each stem.

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