Beard tongue (Penstemon digitalis)




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SUN PERENNIALS

 

Beard tongue (Penstemon digitalis)



Height: 3 to 5 feet                            Spread: 1.5 to 2 feet

Bloom Time: April – June                        Bloom Color: White

Sun: Full sun                                          Water: Dry to medium  

General Culture:  Grow in average, dry to medium moisture, well-drained soil in full sun. Avoid wet, poorly drained soils.

Noteworthy Characteristics:  Penstemon is a clump-forming, Missouri-native perennial which typically grows 3-5' tall and occurs in prairies, fields, wood margins, open woods and along railroad tracks. Features white, two-lipped, tubular flowers (to 1.25" long) borne in panicles atop erect, rigid stems. Penstemon is sometimes commonly called beard tongue because the sterile stamen has a tuft of small hairs.

 

Beebalm (Monarda)


Height: 2 to 3 feet                         Spread: 1 to 2 feet

Bloom Time: June – August            Bloom Color: Red, pink or violet blue

Sun: Full sun to part shade              Water: Medium to wet

General Culture:  Best grown in a rich, medium to wet, moisture-retentive soil in full sun to part shade. Prefers rich, humusy soil in full sun, although some afternoon shade is appreciated in hot southern climates. Soil should not be allowed to dry out. Remove spent flowers to prolong bloom. Divide clumps every 3-4 years to prevent overcrowding and to control its spreading tendencies. Provide plants with good air circulation to help combat fungal leaf diseases. Spreads by rhizomes and self-seeding.

Noteworthy Characteristics:  Beebalm is a clump-forming perennial that features tubular, two-lipped flowers borne in dense, globular, terminal heads (like unkempt mop-heads) atop square stems rising to 3' tall. Toothed, aromatic leaves can be used for tea and in salads. Attractive to hummingbirds, butterflies and bees, particularly when massed.

 

Bellflower (Campanula)



Height: 1.5 to 2 feet                      Spread: 1.5 to 2 feet

Bloom Time: June - August            Bloom Color: Violet blue

Sun: Full sun to part shade             Water: Medium

General Culture:  Easily grown in average, medium, well-drained soil in full sun to part shade. Prefers part shade in hot summer climates. Plants may be cut back to basal foliage after bloom. Divide clumps in fall every 3-4 years. Spreads freely by rhizomes under optimum growing conditions.

Noteworthy Characteristics:  An upright, clump-forming perennial that typically grows 18-28" tall. Large, drooping, tubular, glossy violet, bell-like flowers (to 2" long) appear in terminal racemes atop erect to slightly arching stems. Stems rise up from basal rosettes of rounded, toothed, medium green leaves.

 

Black-eyed Susan (Rudbeckia)



Height: 2 to 3 feet                            Spread: 1 to 2 feet

Bloom Time: June - September           Bloom Color: Yellow rays and brown centers

Sun: Full sun                                   Water: Medium

General Culture:  Easily grown in average, dry to medium, well-drained soils in full sun. Best in moist, organically rich soils. Tolerates heat, drought and a wide range of soils except poorly-drained wet ones. Deadhead spend flowers to encourage additional bloom and/or to prevent any unwanted self-seeding.

Noteworthy Characteristics:  Black-eyed Susan is a common Missouri native wildflower which typically occurs in open woods, prairies, fields, roadsides and waste areas throughout the State. It is a coarse, hairy, somewhat weedy plant that features daisy-like flowers (to 3” across) with bright yellow to orange-yellow rays and domed, dark chocolate-brown center disks. Rough, hairy, lance-shaped leaves (3-7” long).

 
Catmint (Nepeta)



Height: 2 to 2.5 feet                      Spread: 2.5 to 3 feet

Bloom Time: April – September      Bloom Color: Lavender blue

Sun: Full sun to part shade              Water: Dry to medium

General Culture:  Easily grown in average, dry to medium, well-drained soil in full sun to part shade. Thrives in dry soils and is very drought tolerant. Shear flower spikes after initial flowering to promote continued bloom. Must be propagated by division because seeds are sterile.

Noteworthy Characteristics:  Features loose whorls of small, abundant, two-lipped, trumpet-shaped, lavender-blue flowers in racemes atop square, leafy stems with oval, aromatic, gray-green foliage.

 

New England Aster



Height: 3 to 6 feet                            Spread: 2 to 3 feet

Bloom Time: August – Sept.              Bloom Color: Deep pink-purple

Sun: Full sun                                   Water: Medium

General Culture:  Easily grown in average, medium, well-drained soil in full sun. Prefers moist, rich soils. Good air circulation helps reduce incidence of foliar diseases. Pinching back stems several times before mid-July will help control plant height, promote bushiness and perhaps obviate the need for staking. Plants may be cut to the ground after flowering to prevent any unwanted self-seeding and/or if foliage has become unsightly.

Noteworthy Characteristics:  New England aster is a Missouri native perennial that occurs in moist prairies, meadows, thickets, low valleys and stream banks throughout the State. It is a stout, leafy plant with a robust, upright habit. Features a profuse bloom of daisy-like asters (to 1.5" diameter) with purple rays and yellow centers. Flowers are attractive to butterflies.

 

Mum (Chrysanthemum)



Height: 1.5 to 2 feet                            Spread: 1 to 1.5 feet

Bloom Time: September - Frost             Bloom Color: Various

Sun: Full sun                                      Water: Medium

General Culture: Best grown in humusy, fertile, consistently moist, well-drained soils in full sun. Pinch stems back as needed from late spring to mid summer to control height and to encourage bushy vegetative growth. Cut plants back to 6” after flowering and mulch for winter. Divide as needed (usually every 2-3 years) in spring or fall.

Noteworthy Characteristics: A compact, mounded, well-branched, fall-flowering plant that features profuse single, daisy-like flowers (to 2.5" diameter). Thick, aromatic, lobed, lanceolate to ovate, dark green leaves.

 

Obedient Plant/False Dragonhead (Physostegia virginiana)



Height: 3 to 4 feet                                          Spread: 2 to 3 feet

Bloom Time: June - September                         Bloom Color: Pink, white

Sun: Full sun                                                 Water: Medium

General Culture:  Easily grown in average, medium, well-drained soil in full sun. Prune back in early spring to reduce height and minimize tendency toward floppiness (optional). Spreads and can be aggressive in the garden. Divide every 2-3 years to control growth.

Noteworthy Characteristics:  An erect, clump-forming but rhizomatous Missouri native perennial which occurs most often in moist soils on prairies, stream banks, gravel bars and thickets throughout the State. Typically grows 2-4' tall on stiff, square stems and features dense spikes of pinkish, tubular, two-lipped, snapdragon-like flowers that bloom throughout the summer. Blooms from bottom to top on each spike. Narrow, lance-shaped, sharp-toothed leaves (to 4" long). Genus members are commonly called obedient plants because each individual flower will, upon being pushed in any one direction, temporarily remain in the new position as if it were hinged.


Ox-eye Daisy (Leucanthemum vulgare)

Height: 1 to 3 feet                            Spread: 1 to 2 feet

Bloom Time: May - August               Bloom Color: White with yellow centers

Sun: Full sun                                   Water: Dry to medium

General Culture:  Easily grown in average, dry to medium, well-drained soils in full sun. Remove spent flower heads to promote additional bloom. Divide clumps as needed (every 2-3 years) to maintain vigor. Consider cutting stems back to basal leaves after flowering. Plants will spread in the garden by rhizomes.

Noteworthy Characteristics: An erect, somewhat weedy, rhizomatous perennial. Although native to Europe, this is the common white daisy that has naturalized in fields, pastures, roadsides and waste areas throughout North America. Excellent and long-lasting fresh cut flower. Common name is in reference to the flower’s large flattened center disk, which purportedly resembles the eye of an ox.

 

Garden Phlox (Phlox paniculata)



Height: 3 to 5 feet                         Spread: 2 to 3 feet

Bloom Time: August – Sept.           Bloom Color: Violet-pink

Sun: Full sun to part shade              Water: Medium

General Culture: Grows in moderately fertile, medium moisture, well-drained soil in full sun to light shade. Prefers rich, moist, organic soils. Needs good air circulation (space well and thin out stems as needed) to help combat potential powdery mildew problems. Intolerant of drought and needs to be watered in dry spells. Avoid overhead watering however. Appreciates a summer mulch which helps keep the root zone cool. Remove faded flower panicles to prolong bloom period and to prevent unwanted self-seeding.

Noteworthy Characteristics:  Typically grows in an upright clump to 3-4' tall. Fragrant, tubular flowers with long corolla tubes and five flat petal-like lobes are violet-pink. Individual flowers are densely arranged in large, terminal, pyramidal clusters in summer atop stiff, upright stems which seldom need staking. Narrow, opposite, pointed, lance-shaped leaves. Good fresh cut flower. The name phlox is derived from the Greek word for flame.  Attractive to hummingbirds and is a good selection for inclusion in a bird garden.

 

Dianthus



Height: 0.25 to 0.5 feet                            Spread: 0.5 to 1 foot

Bloom Time: May - June                         Bloom Color: Bright magenta

Sun: Full sun                                         Water: Medium  

General Culture: Easily grown in average, medium, well-drained soil in full sun. Remove spent flowers to promote continued bloom. Avoid planting in areas with poor drainage where crowns will remain wet.

Noteworthy Characteristics:  This mat-forming plant produces numerous scented, bright magenta flowers singly atop wiry stems (to 6" tall) arising from tufted mounds of grassy, deep blue, linear foliage. Blooms in spring with some intermittent repeat bloom in summer.

 

Purple coneflower (Echinacea purpurea)



Height: 2 to 5 feet                         Spread: 1.5 to 2 feet

Bloom Time: June – August            Bloom Color: Purplish pink

Sun: Full sun to part shade              Water: Dry to medium

General Culture:  Easily grown in average, medium, well-drained soil in full sun to part shade. Divide clumps about every 4 years. Plants usually rebloom without deadheading, however removal of spent flowers improves general appearance. Freely self-seeds if some of the seed heads are left in place.

Noteworthy Characteristics: A Missouri native plant that occurs in rocky open woods and prairies throughout the state. Large, daisy-like flowers with slightly drooping, rose purple petals and large, coppery-orange central cones. The dead flower stems will remain erect well into the winter and, if flower heads are not removed, are often visited by goldfinches that perch on the blackened cones to feed on the seeds. Echinacea comes from the Greek word "echinos" meaning hedgehog in reference to the spiny center cone.


Russian Sage Perovskia atriplicifolia

Height: 3 to 5 feet                            Spread: 2 to 4 feet

Bloom Time: July - October               Bloom Color: Lavender / blue

Sun: Full sun                                   Water: Dry to medium

General Culture:  Easily grown in average, dry to medium, well-drained soil in full sun. Tendency to flop is greatly increased by growing this plant in anything less than full sun. Drought tolerant. Cut back plants almost to the ground in early spring before new growth begins.

Noteworthy Characteristics:  Russian sage is a woody-based perennial of the mint family that features finely-dissected, aromatic gray-green leaves on stiff, upright, square stems and whorls of two-lipped, tubular, light blue flowers tiered in branched, terminal panicles. Contrasts well with both pink (e.g., phlox) and yellow (e.g., rudbeckia) perennials.

 

Salvia



Height: 1.5 to 2.5 feet                           Spread: 1.5 to 2 feet

Bloom Time: June – September              Bloom Color: Lilac blue

Sun: Full sun                                       Water: Dry to medium

General Culture:  Easily grown in average, dry to medium, well-drained soil in full sun. Tolerates drought. Wet and/or poorly-drained soils can be fatal. Achieves best form in lean to moderately fertile soils. Plant stems tend to flop more in rich soils. Promptly remove spent blooms to extend flowering period.

Noteworthy Characteristics:  An erect perennial with whorls of small, two-lipped, lilac-blue flowers in terminal racemes atop erect to arching stems that bloom throughout the summer. Flowers are quite attractive to butterflies and bees. Coarse, broad, hairy, ovate-triangular, medium green leaves (to 5” long).

 

Shasta Daisy (Leucanthemum x superbum)



Height: 1.5 to 3 feet                        Spread: 1.5 to 2 feet

Bloom Time: July – August              Bloom Color: White with yellow centers

Sun: Full sun                                  Water: Dry to medium

General Culture:  Easily grown in average, medium, well-drained soil in full sun. Tolerates light shade in hot climates. Remove spent flower heads to promote additional bloom. Divide clumps every 2-3 years.

Noteworthy Characteristics:  Grows on rigid stems that feature 3" diameter single flower heads with the classic white rays and yellow center disks and coarsely-toothed, lance-shaped, dark green leaves. Excellent and long-lasting fresh cut flower that is a mainstay of the perennial border or cutting garden.

 

Evening Primrose (Oenothera speciosa)



Height: 0.75 to 2 feet                      Spread: 1 to 1.5 feet

Bloom Time: May - July                 Bloom Color: White maturing to rosy pink

Sun: Full sun                                 Water: Dry to medium

General Culture:  Easily grown in average, dry to medium moisture, well-drained soils in full sun. Tolerates some afternoon part shade and drought. Also tolerates poor soils. Plants will spread, sometimes aggressively, by rhizomes and self-seeding to form large colonies.

Noteworthy Characteristics:  White evening primrose features fragrant, bowl-shaped, four-petaled, white flowers (to 2-3” diameter) with yellow anthers that bloom from the upper leaf axils in spring. Flowers often mature to rosy pink. This showy but somewhat aggressive, spreading perennial was originally native to rocky prairies and plains from Missouri and Kansas south to Texas and Mexico but has over time naturalized into many other areas. Narrow, lanceolate to oblanceolate, medium green leaves (to 1-3” long) sometimes have small lobes near the leaf bases. Flowers open in the evening and remain open to late morning (all day if overcast). Flowers are followed by oval, ridged, seed capsules. Perhaps best grown in areas where plants can spread without intruding on other plantings (e.g, meadows, wildflower gardens, roadsides, informal naturalized areas). Plan site carefully if planting in beds, borders or rock gardens.

 
Speedwell (Veronica)



Height: 1 to 1.5 feet                            Spread: 0.75 to 1 foot

Bloom Time: May - September             Bloom Color: Violet blue

Sun: Full sun                                     Water: Medium

General Culture:  Easily grown in average, medium moisture, well-drained soil in full sun. Prefers rich, moist soils that is not allowed to dry out. Remove spent flower spikes to encourage additional bloom.

Noteworthy Characteristics:  Noted for its upright plant habit and long summer bloom of dense, erect, top-tapered spikes (racemes) of tiny violet-blue flowers.

 

Stonecrop (Hylotelephium)



Height: 1.5 to 2 feet                            Spread: 1.5 to 2 feet

Bloom Time: September – Oct.             Bloom Color: Rosy pink buds turning to red

Sun: Full sun                                      Water: Dry to medium

General Culture:  Easily grown in average, dry to medium, well-drained soil in full sun. Prefers well-drained soil, but does surprising well in heavy clay. Drought and heat tolerant, particularly once established.

Noteworthy Characteristics:  A clump-forming perennial that features masses of tiny, star-like flowers which emerge pink, gradually change to deep rose-red and then coppery-rust in autumn as they die. Flowers appear in large, 3-6" across, flattened heads (cymes) atop stems of grayish-green, fleshy, rounded, succulent-like leaves growing in upright to slightly spreading clumps. Commonly called stonecrop in reference to the frequent sighting of the genus in the wild growing on rocks or stony ledges. Attractive to butterflies throughout the growing season. Foliage and dead inflorescences persist well into the winter providing some additional interest.

 

Threadleaf Coreopsis (Coreopsis verticillata)



Height: 2.5 to 3 feet                            Spread: 1.5 to 2 feet

Bloom Time: June - September              Bloom Color: Yellow

Sun: Full sun                                      Water: Dry to medium

General Culture:  Easily grown and thrives in poor, sandy or rocky soils with good drainage. Tolerant of heat, humidity and drought. Prompt deadheading of spent flower stalks encourages additional bloom and prevents any unwanted self-seeding. Plants may be sheared in mid to late summer to promote a fall rebloom and to remove any sprawling or unkempt foliage. Plants can spread somewhat aggressively in the garden by both rhizomes and self-seeding.

Noteworthy Characteristics:  A rhizomatous perennial that typically grows in dense, bushy clumps. Features yellow, daisy-like flowers with yellow untoothed rays and yellow center disks. Flowers appear singly in loose clusters (cymes) in a profuse and lengthy late spring to late summer bloom. Palmately 3-parted leaves with thread-like segments lend a fine-textured and airy appearance to the plant.

 

Tickseed (Coreopsis lanceolata)



Height: 1 to 2 feet                            Spread: 1 to 1.5 feet

Bloom Time: May – July                   Bloom Color: Yellow

Sun: Full sun                                   Water: Dry to medium

 

General Culture:  Easily grown and thrives in poor, sandy or rocky soils with good drainage. Tolerant of heat, humidity and drought. Prompt deadheading of spent flower stalks encourages additional bloom and prevents any unwanted self-seeding. Freely self-seeds, and in optimum growing conditions will naturalize to form large colonies. Plants may be cut back hard in summer if foliage sprawls or becomes unkempt.



Noteworthy Characteristics:  Lanceleaf coreopsis is a Missouri native wildflower that occurs in prairies, glades, fields and roadsides primarily in the Ozark region of the State. Features solitary, yellow, daisy-like flowers with eight yellow rays and flat yellow center disks. Flowers bloom atop slender, erect stems from spring to early summer. Narrow, hairy, lance-shaped leaves (2-6" long) appear primarily near the base of the plant in basal tufts.

 

Yarrow (Achillea)



Height: 1 to 2 feet                            Spread: 0.75 to 1 foot

Bloom Time: June – September          Bloom Color: Usually bright yellow, red or white

Sun: Full sun                                   Water: Dry to medium

General Culture:  Best grown in lean, dry to medium moisture, well-drained sandy loams in full sun. Does well in average garden soils and tolerates poor soils as long as drainage is good. Avoid heavy clays and moist, rich, fertile soils. Plants are best sited in locations protected from strong winds. May need staking or other support. Deadhead spent flower heads to lateral buds to promote additional bloom. Cut plants back to basal leaves after flowering to tidy the planting and to encourage new foliage growth with a possible additional fall bloom.

Noteworthy Characteristics:  An upright, clump-forming, compact plant noted for its deeply-dissected, fern-like, aromatic, silvery to gray-green foliage and its tiny, long-lasting, bright flowers that appear in dense, flattened, compound corymbs throughout the summer on stiff, erect stems typically rising 1-2' tall.
NATIVE GRASSES (SUN)

 

Little bluestem (Schizachyrium scoparium)



Height: 2 to 4 feet                            Spread: 1.5 to 2 feet

Bloom Time: August - February         Bloom Color: Purplish bronze

Sun: Full sun                                   Water: Dry to medium

General Culture: Easily grown in average, dry to medium, well-drained soil. Tolerates wide range of soil conditions. Cut to the ground in late winter to early spring.

Noteworthy Characteristics: Little bluestem is one of the dominant grasses that grow in the rich and fertile soils of the tallgrass prairie. It is a Missouri native, warm season, ornamental grass that occurs in prairies, open woods, clearings, glades, roadsides and waste areas throughout most of the state. Forms upright clumps of slender green leaves with a tinge of blue at the base. Purplish-bronze flowers appear in 3" long racemes on branched stems rising above the foliage in August. Resulting clusters of fluffy, silvery-white seed heads are attractive and may persist into winter. Most outstanding feature of this grass may be the bronze-orange fall foliage color.

 

Prairie dropseed (Sporobolus heterolepis)



Height: 2 to 3 feet                            Spread: 2 to 3 feet

Bloom Time: August - October           Bloom Color: Pink and brown-tinted

Sun: Full sun                                   Water: Dry to medium

General Culture:  Easily grown in average, dry to medium, well-drained soils. Tolerates wide range of soils, including heavy clays. Prefers dry, rocky soils. Good drought tolerance. Slow-growing and slow to establish. May be grown from seed but does not freely self-seed in the garden.

Noteworthy Characteristics:  Prairie dropseed is a clump-forming, warm season, Missouri native perennial grass that occurs in prairies, glades, open ground and along railroads throughout much of the state. Fine-textured, hair-like, medium green leaves form an arching foliage mound that turns golden with orange hues in fall, fading to light bronze in winter. Open, branching flower panicles appear on slender stems that rise well above the foliage clump in late summer to 30-36" tall. Flowers have pink and brown tints, but are perhaps most noted for their unique fragrance (hints of coriander). Tiny rounded mature seeds drop to the ground from their hulls in autumn giving rise to the descriptive common name. Ground cover for hot, dry areas. Prairies, meadows, native plant gardens, wild areas or slopes. Accent for foundation plantings or borders.


SHADE PERENNIALS

 

Astilbe



Height: 2.5 to 3 feet                       Spread: 1.5 to 2 feet

Bloom Time: June - July                 Bloom Color: Pink

Sun: Part shade to full shade            Water: Medium

General Culture:  Easily grown in average, medium moisture, well-drained soils in part shade to full shade. Prefers moist, humusy, organically rich soils. Soils should not be allowed to dry out. If regularly watered, foliage will usually remain attractive throughout the growing season. Removing faded flower stalks will not prolong bloom, but may improve plant appearance. On the other hand, many gardeners leave the flower stalks in place after bloom because of the continuing ornamental interest of the dried seed heads. Divide when clumps become over crowded (every 3-4 years).

Noteworthy Characteristics:  Astilbes are a mainstay of shade and woodland gardens. They are clump-forming perennials which feature graceful, fern-like mounds of mostly basal, 2-3 ternately compound leaves, usually with sharply-toothed leaflets, and tiny flowers densely packed into erect to arching plume. Excellent ground cover or edging plant for shady areas. Effective on pond or stream banks.

 

Celandine Poppy (Stylophorum diphyllum)



Height: 1 to 1.5 feet                          Spread: 0.75 to 1 foot

Bloom Time: April - June                 Bloom Color: Yellow

Sun: Part shade to full shade             Water: Medium to wet

General Culture:  Best grown in medium to wet, humusy soils in part shade to full shade. Plants will go dormant in early summer if soils dry out. Will naturalize easily by self-seeding.

Noteworthy Characteristics: A Missouri native wildflower that occurs most often in moist woodlands and along streambanks in the central and southeast portions of the state. Features 4-petaled, yellow flowers that bloom in small clusters atop stems typically that contatin a bright yellow sap formerly used as a dye by Native Americans.  Naturalize in shaded areas of woodland, shade, wildflower or native plant gardens.

 

Columbine (Aquilegia)



Height: 1.5 to 2 feet                        Spread: 0.75 to 1 foot

Bloom Time: April - May                Bloom Color: Various

Sun: Full sun to part shade              Water: Medium

General Culture:  Easily grown in average, medium, well-drained soil in full sun to part shade. Tolerates wide range of soils except heavy, poorly drained ones. Remove flowering stems after bloom to encourage additional bloom. Keep soils uniformly moist after bloom to prolong attractive foliage appearance.

Noteworthy Characteristics:  Features large, long-spurred, upward-facing flowers on compact, bushy plants. Triternate, almost fern-like, gray-green foliage is somewhat suggestive of meadow rue. Aquilegia comes from the Latin word for eagle in reference to the flower’s five spurs that purportedly resemble an eagle’s talon.

 

Coral Bells (Heuchera sanguinea)



Height: 1 to 1.5 feet                      Spread: 0.75 to 1 foot

Bloom Time: May – June               Bloom Color: Red

Sun: Full sun to part shade              Water: Medium

General Culture:  Coral bells prefer well-drained soils rich in organic matter and partial shade in hotter climates.

Noteworthy Characteristics:  Long period of attractive bloom, especially if spent blooms are cut. Attractive to butterflies and hummingbirds.

Fern (Dryopteris)

Height: 2 to 3 feet                            Spread: 2 to 3 feet

Bloom Time: Non-flowering              Bloom Color: Non-flowering

Sun: Part shade to full shade              Water: Medium

General Culture:  Easily grown in average, medium, well-drained soil in part shade to full shade. Prefers moist, humusy, acidic soils with protection from wind in part shade.

Noteworthy Characteristics:  Wood fern is a native fern of Missouri that features lacy, bright lime-green, outward-growing fronds with blackish scales on the stipes (frond stems). Fronds will remain green in mild winters. Mass in shady areas of the woodland, rock, native plant or wild garden. Grows well with spring wildflowers, purple-leafed heucheras and hostas.

 

Hellebore (Helleborus)



Height: 1 to 1.5 feet                         Spread: 1 to 1.5 feet

Bloom Time: Feb-April                    Bloom Color: White to pink to rose-purple

Sun: Part shade to full shade              Water: Medium

General Culture:  Best grown in organically rich, humusy, well-drained soils in part shade to full shade. Locate plants in areas protected from cold winter winds. Clumps establish fairly quickly. New plants can be obtained from divisions and from seedlings that grow up around the plants as a result of self-seeding.

Noteworthy Characteristics:  A clump-forming, late winter-blooming perennial that features large, cup-shaped, rose-like, usually nodding flowers with center crowns of conspicuously contrasting yellow stamens. Flowers usually appear in clusters of 1-4 on thick stems rising above the foliage. Flower color is extremely variable, ranging from white to pink to light rose-purple. In the St. Louis area, plants will remain evergreen in moderate winters, but may become scorched and tattered in extremely cold weather, particularly if not insulated by snow cover. Blooms in late winter and continues into spring, with a long, 8-10 week bloom period. Leaves, stems and roots are poisonous. Group in shady locations under trees or large shrubs, woodland gardens or border fronts.

 

Hosta



Height: 1 to 2 feet                            Spread: 1 to 1.5 feet

Bloom Time: August – Sept.              Bloom Color: Purple-violet

Sun: Part shade to full shade              Water: Medium

General Culture:  Easily grown in average, medium moisture, well-drained soils in part shade to full shade. Plants need consistent moisture during the growing season. Water is best applied directly to the soil beneath the leaves. Divide plants as needed in spring or autumn.

Noteworthy Characteristics:  Typically matures in the form of a vase with ovate-lanceolate, glossy, dark green leaves that have acuminate tips and wavy margins. Funnel-shaped, purple-violet flowers in racemes appear in late summer on green scapes rising above the foliage mound. Hostas are a mainstay of shade gardens and are effective in groups or massed. It is also effective as an edging plant. Mix with other perennials in shady borders, shade gardens or woodland gardens.

 

Japanese Anemone (Anemone hupehensis)



Height: 1.5 to 2 feet                      Spread: 1 to 1.5 feet

Bloom Time: August – Sept.           Bloom Color: Pink

Sun: Full sun to part shade              Water: Medium

General Culture:  Easily grown in average, medium, well-drained soil in full sun to part shade. Prefers part shade and moderately fertile soils.

Noteworthy Characteristics:  This late summer-blooming plant features slightly cupped flowers that have 5 rose-pink, sepal-like petals and a prominent center ring of yellow stamens. Flowers are borne on branching stems above trifoliate, dark green foliage.  Excellent late summer blooming flower for the partially shaded, woodland garden or border.
Solomon’s Seal (Polygonatum)

Height: 2 to 3 feet                           Spread: 0.75 to 1 foot

Bloom Time: April - May                 Bloom Color: White

Sun: Part shade to full shade              Water: Medium to wet

General Culture:  Easily grown in average, medium to wet, well-drained soil in part shade to full shade. Prefers moist, humusy soils. Slowly spreads by rhizomes to form colonies.

Noteworthy Characteristics:  A rhizomatous, upright, arching perennial that typically grows in a mound on un-branched, angular stems. Pairs of small, bell-shaped, white flowers on short pedicels dangle in spring from the leaf axils along and underneath the arching stems. Flowers are sweetly fragrant. Young stems are tinged with maroon. Flowers are followed by blue-black berries in autumn. Ovate, conspicuously parallel-veined, variegated leaves are soft green with white tips and margins. Leaves turn an attractive yellow in autumn. Variegated foliage is attractive in flower arrangements even if stems are not in flower.  Best in woodland gardens, wild gardens or naturalized areas. May be used in partially shaded borders or rock gardens. Creamy white foliage variegation can be striking in shady areas. Good with astilbe and ferns.
Spiderwort (Tradescantia)

Height: 1 to 1.5 feet                        Spread: 1 to 1.5 feet

Bloom Time: May - July                 Bloom Color: Violet blue or pink

Sun: Full sun to part shade             Water: Medium to wet



General Culture:  Easily grown in average, medium to wet, well-drained soils. Prefers moist, acidic, humusy soils. Tolerant of wet, boggy soils. Deadhead each flower cluster after all buds in the cluster have opened to extend the bloom period. As the heat of the summer sets in, foliage tends to decline considerably and flowering slows down or stops entirely, at which point plants should be cut back hard to promote new foliage growth and an additional late summer to fall bloom. Divide clumps when they become overcrowded.

Noteworthy Characteristics:  A clump-forming spiderwort that is noted for its deep purple flowers and purple-tinged young foliage. Three-petaled, deep purple flowers accented by contrasting yellow stamens are borne in terminal clusters atop stiff stems. Numerous flower buds form in each cluster, but individual flowers open up only a few at a time, each for only one day, blooming in succession from May into summer. Iris-like, deep green leaves. When the stems of spiderworts are cut, a viscous stem secretion is released which becomes thread-like and silky upon hardening (like a spider’s web), hence the common name. Use in rock gardens, borders, open woodland gardens, wild gardens, naturalized areas or moist areas along streams or ponds.


SUN GROUNDCOVERS

 

Creeping Phlox (Phlox stolonifera)



Height: 0.5 to 1 foot                      Spread: 0.75 to 1.5 feet

Bloom Time: July - September        Bloom Color: Purple/violet, pink or white

Sun: Full sun to part shade              Water: Medium

 

General Culture:  Best grown in humusy, medium moisture, well-drained soil in full sun to part shade. Prefers acidic, rich, organic soils with continuous, even moisture. Self-seeds in optimum growing conditions. Spreads by stolons to form large colonies in the wild as the name suggests.



Noteworthy Characteristics:  Creeping phlox is a spreading, mat-forming phlox that is native to wooded areas and stream banks in the Appalachians. Creeping, leafy, vegetative (sterile) stems typically form a foliage mat to 3" tall and spread indefinitely. Loose clusters of fragrant, tubular flowers with five, flat, petal-like, rounded lobes appear on upright, leafy, flowering stems which rise above the foliage mat to 8" tall in spring.  Ground cover for woodland gardens, shade gardens, native plant gardens or naturalized areas.

 

Golden Ragwort (Packera aurea)



Height: 0.50 to 2.50 feet

Spread: 0.50 to 1.50 feet

Bloom Time: April

Bloom Description: Yellow

Sun: Full sun to part shade

Water: Medium to wet

Maintenance: Medium

Suggested Use: Ground Cover, Naturalize, Rain Garden

Flower: Showy

Attracts: Butterflies

Tolerate: Wet Soil



Culture: Easily grown in average, medium to wet soils in full sun to part shade. Blooms well in shady locations. Soils should not be allowed to dry out. Freely self-seeds and is easily grown from seed. Naturalizes into large colonies in optimum growing conditions. Remove flowering stems after bloom/seed dispersal. Basal foliage will serve as an attractive ground cover throughout the growing season as long as consistent moisture is provided. Basal foliage is essentially evergreen in mild St. Louis winters, but foliage decline will occur in harsh winters.

Noteworthy Characteristics: Golden ragwort (sometimes also called golden groundsel or squaw weed) is a somewhat weedy perennial which is valued for its ability to thrive in moist shady locations, naturalize rapidly and produce a long and profuse spring bloom. It is native to Missouri where it occurs most often in moist soils in low woods, ravines, swamps, along streams and springs, and at the base of cliffs. Features flat-topped clusters of yellow, daisy-like flowers atop sparsely-leaved stems in early spring. Oblong stem leaves are finely cut and quite distinctive. Flowering stems typically rise 1-2' tall from basal clumps of long-stemmed, heart-shaped, toothed, dark green leaves that often have a purplish tinge beneath.



Lamb’s Ears (Stachys)

Height: 0.75 to 1.5 feet                            Spread: 1 to 1.5 feet

Bloom Time: May - July                          Bloom Color: Purplish-pink

Sun: Full sun                                          Water: Dry to medium

General Culture:  Easily grown in average, dry to medium, well-drained soil in full sun. Drought tolerant. Appreciates some light afternoon shade in hot climates. Too much shade, however, may impede leaf drying and promote the onset of disease. Avoid overhead watering. This species is susceptible to mid-summer foliage decline in humid climates such as St. Louis. Pick off damaged leaves as needed to tidy planting. Divide when necessary or to fill in bare patches. Spreads by creeping stems that root as they go along the ground and can be aggressive in rich soils. Plant 12-18" apart for use as a ground cover.

Noteworthy Characteristics:  Lamb's ears is grown primarily for its thick, soft, velvety, silver-gray leaves that typically form a rapidly spreading mat approximately 4-6" off the ground. Leaves are evergreen in warm climates, but will depreciate considerably in harsh winters. Erect, small-leaved flowering stems with terminal spikes of insignificant, tiny, purplish-pink flowers appear in summer rising above the foliage to 10-15" tall. Many gardeners remove the flowering stems to enhance the ground cover effect. Dense rosettes of woolly, tongue-shaped, gray-green leaves spread by runners. Leaf shape and texture resemble a lamb's ear, hence the common name.

Sedum

Height: 0.25 to 0.5 feet                       Spread: 1 to 2 feet

Bloom Time: June - August                 Bloom Color: Yellow

Sun: Full sun                                     Water: Dry to medium

General Culture:  Easily grown in average, dry to medium, well-drained soils in full sun. Tolerates some light shade. Also tolerates drought and heat. Thrives in sandy to gravelly soils of moderate to low fertility. Needs good soil drainage to perform well. Plants will naturalize over time and may spread out of the garden. Site starter plants 8-12” apart for rapid massing as a ground cover.

Noteworthy Characteristics:  Sedums are commonly called stonecrops in reference to the fact that many of the sedum species plants are typically found in the wild growing on rocky or stony ledges. Site in areas where both the foliage and flowers may be appreciated. Will drape over stone walls. Effective in containers.
SHADE GROUNDCOVERS

Lily-of-the-Valley (Convallaria majalis)

Height: 0.5 to 1 foot                          Spread: 0.75 to 1 foot

Bloom Time: April                           Bloom Color: White

Sun: Part shade to full shade               Water: Medium

General Culture:  Lily of the valley is a perennial, rhizomatous plant. It does best in moist fertile soil. Plantings should be thinned when flowering becomes sparse.

Noteworthy Characteristics:  Lily of the valley has very dainty white, bell-shaped flowers that are very sweet smelling and bloom in early spring. An excellent ground cover and can be grown under trees in shade. May not be good for a perennial bed because it needs room to spread. The flowers make good cut flowers.

 

Lily turf (Liriope spicata)



Height: 0.75 to 1.5 feet                  Spread: 1 to 2 feet

Bloom Time: August - September   Bloom Color: Lavender to white

Sun: Full sun to part shade             Water: Medium

General Culture:  Easily grown in average, medium, well-drained soil. Prefers moist, fertile soils in part shade. Spreads quickly by underground rhizomes to form colonies, and can be quite aggressive. Mow in early spring to remove old foliage.

Noteworthy Characteristics:  A grass-like perennial that forms a clump of narrow, arching, glossy, dark green leaves. Erect flower spikes with pale lavender to white flowers arise among the leaves in late summer. Flowers often give way to blackish berries in fall. Best as a dense ground cover. Effective planted under shallow-rooted trees and along streams or ponds. Can help stabilize soil on banks or slopes.

 

Pachysandra (Pachysandra terminalis)



Height: 0.5 to 1 foot                         Spread: 1 to 1.5 feet

Bloom Time: April                           Bloom Color: White

Sun: Part shade to full shade              Water: Medium

General Culture:  Best grown in organically rich, medium moisture, well-drained soil. For use as a ground cover, plant 6-12" apart. Spreads rapidly by underground stems to form large colonies. Avoid overhead watering and thin plants periodically to promote good air circulation.

Noteworthy Characteristics: A shrubby, evergreen ground cover which grows 8-12" high and spreads by rhizomes to form a dense carpet of rich, dark green foliage. Oval leaves appear primarily in whorls at the stem ends. Tiny white flowers in terminal spikes bloom in early spring. Flowers are not particularly showy, but on close inspection are quite attractive. Excellent selection for shaded areas under shallow-rooted trees.

 

Sedge (Carex)




Height: 1 to 1.5 feet

Spread: 1 to 1.5 feet

Bloom Time: May

Sun: Part shade to full shade

Water: Medium

Maintenance: Low

Suggested Use: Naturalize

Flower: Showy

Tolerate: Drought, Dry Soil

Culture: Easily grown in medium moisture soils in part shade to full shade. Will grow in full sun. Plants will slowly spread by rhizomes and will self-seed in optimum growing conditions.

Noteworthy Characteristics:Carex is a rhizomatous perennial sedgethat grows in a clump to 15-20" tall. In Missouri, it is found throughout the State, but most frequently in messic to dry upland forests and shaded ledges and less frequently in sandy bottomland forests. Narrow, grass-like, upright-arching, bright green leaf blades grow in either dense tufts or loose colonies of tufts. Flowers bloom in late spring on flowering stems rising to as much as 20" tall. Over 1500 species of Carex grow in a variety of habitats (often moist to wet areas) throughout the world. Identification of individual species can be very difficult. Genus name from Latin means "cutter" in reference to the sharp leaves and stem edges ("rushes are round but sedges have edges") found on most species' plants.



Sweet Woodruff (Galium odoratum)

Height: 0.5 to 1 foot                         Spread: 0.75 to 1.5 feet

Bloom Time: April - May                 Bloom Color: White

Sun: Part shade to full shade              Water: Medium to wet

General Culture:  Easily grown in average, well-drained soils. Spreads by both creeping roots and self-seeding to form an attractive ground cover in moist, shady areas. Can be somewhat aggressive in optimum growing conditions. Where restraint is necessary, plants can be mowed on a high setting.

Noteworthy Characteristics:  Sweet woodruff is a mat-forming perennial with fragrant, lance-shaped, dark green leaves in whorls of 6-8 along square stems. Small, fragrant, 4-petaled, white flowers appear in loose cymes in spring. Plants emit a strong odor of freshly mown hay when foliage is crushed or cut. Woodruff comes from Old English meaning wood that unravels, in probable reference to the creeping rootstock of the plant.


BULBS & RHIZOMES

 

Bearded Iris



Height: 2.5 to 3 feet                            Spread: 1 to 2 feet

Bloom Time: May                              Bloom Color: Various

Sun: Full sun                                      Water: Medium

General Culture:  Grow in average, medium moisture, well-drained soil in full sun. Does poorly in heavy clay soils that are poorly-drained with resulting increased vulnerability to diseases. Cut back foliage to ground level in winter. Divide and replant every 3-4 years as clumps become overcrowded.

Noteworthy Characteristics:  An erect plant that produces numerous flowers with flaring falls on tall stems arising from fleshy rhizomes. Leaves are narrow, sword-shaped and up to 1.5' long. Drought tolerant once established.  A mainstay of the sunny, perennial garden. Can be particularly effective when massed.

 

Canna



Height: 1.5 to 8 feet                           Spread: 1.5 to 6 feet

Bloom Time: July - August                 Bloom Color: Red, orange, pink, yellow, bicolors

Sun: Full sun                                     Water: Medium

General Culture: Best grown in moist, organically rich, well-drained soils. Plant rhizomes 4-6" deep in spring after threat of frost has passed. Remove entire flowering stems immediately after bloom. In fall, cut plants to the ground immediately after first frost and lift rhizome clumps for winter storage in a cool dry location. Container grown plants can be stored in their containers indoors in winter.

Noteworthy Characteristics: Cannas are large tropical plants that produce gladiolus-like flower spikes in summer atop erect stems sheathed in large paddle-shaped leaves. Foliage colors include shades of green, bronze and striped/variegated. Dramatic foliage provides considerable ornamental interest when plants are not in flower.  Mass in beds or borders. Large containers.

 

Daylily (Hemerocallis)



Height: 1.5 to 2 feet                       Spread: 1.5 to 2 feet

Bloom Time: June - July                 Bloom Color: Various

Sun: Full sun to part shade              Water: Medium

General Culture:  Easily grown in average, medium, well-drained soil. Deadhead spent flowers daily for neatness and remove scapes when flowers have completed bloom. Tolerant of summer heat and humidity, but appreciates deep watering in dry spells to keep foliage attractive. Daylilies should be divided to maintain vigor when the clumps become overcrowded.

Noteworthy Characteristics: Flowers appear on naked stems (scapes) that typically rise to 20” tall above a clump of arching, linear, blade-like, green leaves. Individual flowers open up for one day. Mass over large areas or grow in clumps. Fountain-like leaves provide elegant foliage, color and texture for the garden when flowers are not in bloom. Daylilies can crowd out weeds and form a verdant ground cover.

 

Siberian Iris



Height: 2 to 2.5 feet                      Spread: 2 to 2.5 feet

Bloom Time: May                         Bloom Color: Blue

Sun: Full sun to part shade              Water: Medium to wet

General Culture:  Easily grown in average, medium to wet soil. Siberian iris is an adaptable plant that tolerates a wide range of soils. It is best grown in very moist, fertile, slightly acid soil, including boggy conditions, but will also tolerate a poor, dry soil because its thick roots penetrate the soil deeply.

Noteworthy Characteristics:  Produces medium blue flowers on rigid stems that rise high above a clump of arching, narrow, grass-like, linear leaves. Clumps will grow together and snuff out weeds. After bloom, the vase-shaped foliage will retain its green color into the fall. Excellent cut flower, but lasts only 2 days.

Provides excellent color and contrast to the perennial border with lasting beauty after bloom.


Please retain for your records.  Descriptions adapted from the Kemper Center for Home Gardening PlantFinder website.  For more information and pictures, visit:

http://www.mobot.org/gardeninghelp/plantfinder/common.asp

 




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