Why “grow native?” Native plants have evolved with a region’s climate and unique features for thousands of years. This makes them especially well-suited to growing and thriving within their respective climates. Many times they are better able to withstand local pests, diseases, and weather patterns, and perform better in local soil conditions than their cultivated counterparts. For gardeners, growing native plants can cut back on the amount of effort it takes to cultivate a beautiful garden.
Wildlife also benefits from native plant species. As Maryland’s plants, insects, birds, and mammals evolved together, they came to rely on each other. By planting native species, you're making these important plants more available to wildlife that needs them for food, water, and shelter.
Here are some of our favorite Maryland native plants for the garden.
Cardinal Flower - Lobelia cardinalis
This cheerful red flower is a favorite of the ruby-throated hummingbird. It’s easy to grow, perennial, and can be divided once established to add plants to your garden. Plant cardinal flower in moist areas with full to partial sun. It is a great marginal plant for ponds and bog gardens.
Christmas Fern - Polystichum acrostichoides
Easy to grow, the Christmas fern is a great choice for those looking for a low maintenance fern. It tolerates shady spots as well as acidic soils. It’s evergreen, deer resistant, and ideal for use in cut flower arrangements.
Monarda is a must for pollinator gardens. The brightly-colored flowers are favorites of hummingbirds, bees, and butterflies alike. It’s a very easy-to-grow perennial for sunny garden spots. The flowers and leaves can also be used to create a delicious herbal tea.
Black-eyed Susans - Rudbeckia hirta
This North American native is Maryland’s state flower! It’s super easy to grow and will self-seed and spread a bit when given the space. It’s a favorite flower of many pollinator species, which flock to its yellow flowers with black centers. Black-eyed Susan plants are very drought-tolerant and a wonderful plant for gardens with poor soil.
Arrowwood - Viburnum dentatum
This small shrub has it all! Arrow-straight stems (where the plant gets its name) add interest to the garden in the winter, while clusters of tiny white flowers cover the shrub in spring, blue in late summer, and shiny foliage that turns green to yellow to red in the fall. This rounds out the four-season interest. Several species of moth rely on the leaves as a larval food source and arrowwood’s fruits are an important food source for songbirds. Why wouldn’t you grow this gorgeous shrub?
Feeling up for a project this spring? Head over to Sun Nurseries to get a few Maryland Native plants. We highly recommend following the planting instructions, including spacing and sunlight guidelines for each plant.
Shoot us an email with any questions!