Native plants require less fertilizing, watering, and spraying—making them a welcome addition to any Michigan garden. Native plants have many advantages beyond saving labor, although that's the most immediate benefit. They're uniquely adapted to Michigan soil, climate, and water levels, which means they're much more drought and freeze resistant. Their extensive root systems help break up clay, prevent soil erosion, filter out pollutants, and rebuild the soil. Furthermore, native plants require no fertilizer, winter protection, or additional watering after the first year. Native plants also stay green longer, thus slowing down wildfires.
If you're just getting started adding native plants to your yard, the following flowers make perfect first additions to Michigan gardens.
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Showy bright orange flowers and dark green narrow leaves make Butterfly Weed a standout. It grows best in full sun, will reach up to 36 inches tall, blooms early to mid-summer, and is drought and clay tolerant.
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One of the best-known native Michigan plants, Purple Coneflower is also loved by birds for its seedheads, which should be left on the plant after blooming. It grows up to 2 to 4 feet, prefers full sun to light shade, and blooms early to late summer.
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This exotic-looking flower comes in many colors like blue, white, yellow, and pink, and spreads quickly when in the right spot. Growing up to 36 inches, it prefers full sun or part shade, moist soil, and blooms in spring.Continue to 5 of 10 below.
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True to its name, this fragrant plant attracts lots of bees. Growing 2 to 4 feet, Bee Balm blooms in late summer with showy red/pink/purple flowers, prefers full sun or part shade, and moist soil.
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This garden staple is one tough plant. It blooms from mid-summer to the first hard frost with bright orange-yellow flowers and brown centers, tolerates any soil, and will grow in full sun or part shade. Many varieties are available in sizes ranging from 18 inches to 10 feet. Leave seedheads on for birds after blooming.
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A pure-white spring beauty, Trillium is a rare find in other states. It's also protected, so buy Trillium only from a reputable nursery and do not gather from the roadside. It blooms in early spring and then disappears for the rest of the season. It prefers shady, moist woodland settings and it will reach up to 20 inches in height.
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A staple in many gardens for good reason, the Evening Primrose spreads quickly, tolerates poor soil and drought, and features clear bright yellow blooms. It flowers in early summer, grows 6 to 36 inches, and prefers full sun.Continue to 9 of 10 below.
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These roses are not high maintenance. Grown as a shrub, they reach up to 6 feet, bloom all summer in shades of pink, red, and white. They are very fragrant, prefer full sun, and are tolerant of most soil types.
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A lush, large plant with fluffy white, pink, or red flowers, Astilbe makes a big statement. They grow 2 to 8 feet, prefer moist soil, partial to light shade, and bloom from spring to the first frost. They are very easy to care for and do not require any special treatment.
Choosing native plants reduces the risk of non-native pests and invasive species entering the ecosystem. Native plants are less susceptible to disease and pest attacks and are much less invasive. Planting native Michigan species supports the state's unique natural habitats, biodiversity, and wildlife. For example, a higher quality of food is provided for local animals by native plants, leading to improved overall health. Many native wildlife species require very specific plants to survive, such as the Monarch butterfly, which needs several Milkweed species found in Michigan to live.