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5 Native Plants for Easy Gardening in Charlotte

By: Julia Benson

Charlotte is a city that is known for being lush and green all over.  Ryan Fitzgerald, founder of Charlotte-based real estate firm Uphome says “When you arrive in Charlotte one of the first things you will often hear newcomers comment on is how green it is.”

With the regions conditions prime for growth, especially with heavy rainfalls in the warmer months, Charlotte blossoms with all sorts of plants, including many native to the region.

Choosing native plants for gardening is a great way to support the local environment as well as use plants that are already proven to do well in the Charlotte area climate. Not only do these plants naturally attract important pollinators; they also showcase the natural beauty of the region. Check out these 5 native plants for easy gardening in Charlotte, North Carolina:

  1. Swamp Milkweed

Known primarily as a host plant for Monarch butterflies, the Swamp Milkweed also has delicate purple flowers that attract other pollinators as well. A light scent also emits from the plant that is a great olfactory addition to any garden. You’ll note the narrow lance shaped leaves that form an open branch system welcoming area pollinators. It does well in full sun and moist to wet soil conditions and can reach up to 4 feet tall at maturity. This variation has a creamy white sap that is less milky looking than other milkweed varieties. Make sure to regularly check for aphids on this plant as the one pest that enjoys it as well.

  1. Wood Anemone

This interesting plant, also known as Thimbleweed, does well in moist soil conditions and is quite easy to grow. It features broad green leaves with large white flowers. A mature Wood Anemone will reach about 1 foot high that will flower early in the spring making it a great option to plant along borders. It is part of the buttercup family making the beautiful white flowers even more appealing to the eye. The flowers have about 6-7 petals and many yellow stamens that attract butterflies, bees, and hoverflies. Consider purchasing a mature plant from a garden center as plants grown from seed take about 5 years to produce flowers.

  1. Cardinal Flower

With crimson colored petals this native flower is a favorite of hummingbirds. The Cardinal Flower enjoys spots in the garden that receive shade from the hot afternoon sun and can grow up to 6 feet tall at maturity. The long, delicate flowers are a natural source of nectar for pollinators and help support the Charlotte environment. Many homeowners choose to plant Cardinal Flowers instead of hanging hummingbird feeders as a natural option for supporting local pollinators. Keep this native plant in part of the garden that has wet soil conditions and propagate a growing plant by bending a stem down to the ground and supporting with rocks.

  1. Carolina Lupine

Thermopsis villosa (syn. T.caroliniana), Carolinia lupine

The Carolina Lupine is a showy native plant that is commonly seen in the mountain areas in the Carolina region. It features delicate yellow blooms that grow vertically down a spire. The Carolina Lupine is a hardy plant that can withstand different soil conditions without skipping a beat. It can grow up to 5 feet tall and 3 feet wide. The yellow blooms arrive in late spring to early summer and are essential for supporting pollinators like insects and birds. Place a Carolina Lupine in full sun and water moderately for overall plant health.

  1. Stokes Aster

This easy to grow native plant features evergreen leaves that support two inch blue flowers at the beginning of summer. A mature Stokes Aster can grow up to 2 feet tall and will produce more beautiful flowers year after year. Consider dead heading some blooms but leave a few in order to produce seeds for spreading the following year. Plant Stokes Aster in soil that receives full sun and water regularly until the plant establishes then cut back watering as the plant is drought tolerant.

There are plenty of beautiful options for growing native plants in Charlotte gardens. Consider adding different colored flowers to add interest and texture to a garden. Supporting a wide range of pollinators not only helps the local environment but also creates a natural show to guests who enjoy the beauty of the garden. Choose one or all of these 5 native plants for easy gardening in Charlotte this season.

For more information on native plants, visit the following resources:

Julia Benson takes everything she does in the garden as an edible science project. She loves to experiment with different growing techniques to try to cultivate the most delicious and nutritious food she can.

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