With growing awareness of the impact of climate change, many gardeners are reconsidering the important roles that native plants can play in home landscapes. You don’t need a green thumb to have a beautiful garden in Chicago, but it helps if you think “green” and choose plants that are environmentally friendly. Definitions Native: By going native, you’ll save yourself a lot of work and help the biodiversity of your home town. You’ll often see them in open wooded areas and thickets since they prefer moist soil and sunlight. Butterfly Bush. These shrubs also take well to renewal pruning, if you’d like to keep them short. It blooms from May until September and returns to your Chicago garden every year without any effort on your part. Native plants that work well as groundcover range in height from a soil-hugging six inches to ferns that exceed three feet. … New Jersey tea is one native shrub that I hear recommended over and over again, but I can’t recall a time I’ve seen it in a landscape outside of public gardens. This listing of native plant sales is just one of many activities of the INPS in support of its mission of “the study, appreciation, and conservation of the native flora and natural communities of Illinois”. It all started at our 2017 seminar about how to plant a rain garden with native plants to prevent stormwater damage to your home. The plants have an attractive mounded, candelabra-like habit, becoming 4 to 5 feet tall in the landscape. It thrives in shady areas, and since it’s native to Illinois, you’ll find it in wooded areas in just about every county in the state. Our Plant Inventory-On Line Ordering. This question is for testing whether or not you are a human visitor and to prevent automated spam submissions. All trees found on the Northern Illinois Tree Selector are hardy for zones 5 and 6. Check with a LawnStarter professional about native grasses that will give you a lush lawn with minimal work. New Jersey tea (Ceanothus americanus) thrives in the Green Roof Garden of the Plant Science Center. Learn more about the Oak Trees of Illinois. In fact, its leaves were often used as a tea substitute during the revolutionary war—providing a similar flavor to imported teas, though lacking in caffeine. Showy male flowers (catkins) add early spring interest, dark green leaves turn a beautiful kaleidoscope of colors in the fall. In fact, from 1907 to 1973, this was reflected by of the state tree simply being 'native oak'. The leaves are edible, and are sometimes used for tea as well as insect repellant. I use Boxwoods to replace the overgrown Yews that are covering up the front window or blocking the doorway. There are native plants that can be aggressive in their growth patterns, causing them to wreak havoc in a small garden. I am still awaiting another round of blooming to take place from my asters and savannah blazing stars. The fruit attracts birds, though this may often be as late as February depending on Aronia species, food availability, and the density of your bird population. Native Plants for Chicago. Thus, the City of Chicago, sister agencies, homeowners, and land managers must work together to reduce the threat of invasive plants in our region. Native Trees & Shrubs. The 12 priority animal species are shown above. Garden phlox is another light purple flower that grows like a weed in Chicago. This process begins in June and lasts until mid-winter. White Oak is one of twenty oak tree species native to Illinois. Buttonbush (Cephalanthus occidentalis) flowers are attractive, unique, and somewhat unworldly. Selling Northwest Native Plants for home and habitat in the Seattle area for over 16 years ! This native flower is a favorite of honey bees and monarch butterflies. I recommend ‘Viking’ for less astringent fruit that is good for harvesting. Not to be confused with the chokecherry tree (Prunus virginiana), chokeberry (Aronia sp.) The shrub requires moist soil and some pruning after it blooms, but other than bees, it won’t attract pests to your backyard. New Jersey tea does well in moderately well-drained soils, but it develops a deep root system within a few years so it can withstand drought easily once established. Here are 10 native plants and flowers that will thrive in your Chicago garden: Don’t let its name fool you. Aronia also takes well to renewal pruning if you wish to keep a larger variety at a smaller height. Native plants provide food and shelter for pollinators and are important to more than one part of the pollinator’s life cycle. Chicago has the oldest urban Indian center, and the third largest urban population of Native Americans. But that's just one style of garden. What is a Native Plant? If you’ve got a sunny to somewhat shady wet area, consider sweet gale for your garden. Select your location, site conditions, and preferences to get a side-by-side comparison for choosing the best tree for your circumstances. From a more subjective viewpoint, gardeners need to consider what native mea… It grows to be around 5 feet tall and 3 feet wide with a nice upright rounded habit, but sweet fern can produce large colonies if left to grow wild. After the flowers have finished blooming, spherical seedheads remain on the plant, providing winter interest. It’s unfortunate, because the chokeberry is one of the best shrubs you can grow in Illinois. Lobelia cardinalis: Lobelia cardinalis: Rudbeckia triloba: Things have really filled in especially the Bromus pubescens and first year seedlings. They typically have a good rounded habit, but if you would like more uniformity, prune them in late winter or early spring. Hort Corner; Just for Kids; Home & Money; Schools Online; Nutrition & Health; All About 4-H; Parenting & Seniors; Env. We encourage people to purchase plants native to Illinois. Dense Blazing Star. It produces a light pink flower that doesn’t require much maintenance or water. It needs full sun and moist soil but can survive in dry conditions. From native landscaping to container gardens and plants with Midwestern sensibilities By Sara Freund Updated Apr 30, 2020, 9:17am CDT Signs of spring are peeking out in Chicago. This tall, slender perennial produces purple flowers from July until September. Find trees that thrive in northern Illinois. It can grow up to three feet tall in the wild and needs little water or care. 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