Performance of 67 Native Midwestern U.S. Perennials in A Low Maintenance Landscape


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Performance of 67 Native Midwestern U.S. Perennials in A Low Maintenance Landscape

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Performance of 67 Native Midwestern U.S. Perennials in A Low Maintenance Landscape

  1. 1. thousand species and cultivars of or- color variations, and plant architecturePerformance of 67 namental perennials, but fewer than through winter months may all con-Native Midwestern 5% of these are native to eastern or midwestern North America. This may tribute to effectiveness of the species in the garden. The objectives of thisU.S. Perennials in be due in part to the fact that many native plants are too large for back- study were to determine the year-round landscape potential of 67 selecteda Low-maintenance yard gardens, or have been somehow perennials native to the midwestern associated with weediness. Some may United States, and to document theirLandscape be difficult to propagate, while many survival and performance under low- others are simply unknown. Other maintenance landscape conditions in authors (Burrell, 1997; McCargo, southwest Missouri. A variety of hor-Andrew L. Thomas1 and 1996; Snyder, 1991; Ulrich, 1993; ticultural data, including size, shape, Weaner, 1996) have suggested native bloom period, season-long appearance,Denny Schrock2 species for landscape use, but present flower and fruit characteristics, fall no data to validate their opinions of color, and survival was collected overADDITIONAL INDEX WORDS. wildflower, the best plants to use, especially for six growing seasons.drought-tolerant, indigenous various geologic and climatic regions. Little research has been published on Materials and methodsSUMMARY. Hundreds of perennialplant species native to the midwestern specific traits or qualities of perenni- The experiment was conductedUnited States have potential as orna- als native to the midwestern United from 1995 through 2001 at thementals, but information on how best States. A large listing of plants of University of Missouri–Columbia’sto use such plants in the landscape various prairie communities published Southwest Research Center locatedremains scarce. Many horticulturists by Robinson and White (1987) gave near Mt. Vernon in southwest Mis-are looking for species that perform descriptive characteristics of plants and souri at lat. 37°4’, long. 93°53’, andwell under low-maintenance condi- adaptability to various soil types, but 1240 ft (378.0 m) altitude. The sitetions and that also attract and benefit made no attempt to evaluate plant per- is flat and exposed to full sun anddesirable fauna, such as butterflies and formance in the landscape. Schrock and strong southwesterly summer winds.birds. While many of our native plantsmay fit into this category, not all such Thomas (1998) published an extensive, The soil is a prairie-derived Hobergspecies will meet aesthetic criteria for preliminary evaluation of herbaceous silt loam (fine-loamy, siliceous, mesichome landscapes. Some native spe- perennials native to the midwestern Mollic Fragiudalf) that is moderatelycies respond to seasonal changes in United States, indicating that many well-drained. During the study, annualtemperature and rainfall by browning taxa show excellent potential in a rainfall ranged from 37.5 inches (95.25or going dormant. Others have very low-maintenance landscape situation. cm) in 2000 to 46.7 inches (118.62specific site requirements for mois- Other studies conducted in the U.S. cm) in 1998, but the growing seasonsture, soil, and humidity that may be Great Plains (Locklear, 1995; Vicker- of 1995, 1998, 1999, 2000, and 2001difficult to meet in an urban land- man and Locklear, 1995) reported on were all considered droughty becausescape, or their size, growth habit, or plants adapted to the drier sections of of below-normal rainfall during theother characteristics may make themaesthetically undesirable in the typical the region. growing season. Maximum summerhome landscape. This study evaluated Within the last 10 years, the inter- temperatures ranged from 95 °F (35.0the performance of 67 plant taxa na- est in using native plants for landscape °C) in 1997 to 106 °F (41.1 °C) intive to the midwestern United States purposes has increased tremendously, 2000, while minimum winter tempera-selected for their promising potential and nurseries are struggling to keep tures ranged from –13 °F (–25.0 °C) inin a low-maintenance landscape situ- up with demand. Both urban and rural 1997 to 1 °F (–17.2 °C) in 1998.ation. gardeners are gradually discovering the The experiment was installed in ornamental potential and benefits of two adjacent plantings. The first 30 taxa their indigenous flora. Much more in- were obtained from Missouri Wildflow-M ost plant species native to the formation is needed as this developing ers Nursery (Jefferson City, Mo.) and midwestern United States trend in landscape horticulture gains planted on 23 May 1995. On 14 Apr. have generally been over- momentum and interest. and 12–13 May 1997, an additionallooked for landscape purposes while The majority of plants used in 40 taxa obtained from Shaw Natureshowy, exotic taxa have dominated. landscapes are selected and placed with Reserve (Gray Summit, Mo.) andIn their book Perennials for American the intent of providing an aesthetically Bluebird Nursery (Clarkson, Nebr.)Gardens, Clausen and Ekstrom (1989) pleasing experience in an attempt to were installed. While the majority ofdescribe over 400 genera and several improve the appearance of a home site these selections were the unimproved or other location. Most of the time, in wild species, a small number of named assessing a species’ contribution to the cultivar selections of native species were landscape, plants are treated as indi- included. Three of the original taxa1 University of Missouri–Columbia, Southwest Re- viduals; so plant height, width, color, were later deleted from the study, leav-search Center, 14548 Highway H, Mt. Vernon, MO65712. and durability are important features ing a total of 67 taxa (listed in “Taxon2Meredith Corp., Des Moines, IA 50309. to consider. For herbaceous perennials, Names and Characteristics” section, the progression of plant characteristics below, and in Table 1). Water-perme-We express our sincere appreciation to Mark Muller,Linda Parker, Richelle Harris, Scott Woodbury, Mervin through the seasons can be important able weed barrier fabric was anchoredWallace, Harlan Hamernik, and George Yatskievych. considerations. Seasonal bloom, foliage on top of the ground over the assigned ● July–September 2004 14(3) 381
  2. 2. RESEARCH REPORTSTable 1. Characteristics and long-term survival of 60 native perennials in response to a low-maintenance setting at the Uni-versity of Missouri’s Southwest Center, Mt. Vernon, 1996–2001. Survivaly Plant ht Plant width Flower Season-longTaxon namez 1996 1997 1998 1999 2000 2001 (cm)x (cm)x effectivenessw qualityvAllium cernuum --- --- 5 5 2 1 30–60 30–60 3.3 3.4 c–iAmorpha canescens --- --- 6 6 6 5 60–90 30–60 3.7 3.6 a–fAmorpha nana --- --- 6 6 6 5 30–60 30–60 4.0 3.4 c–jAmsonia ciliata --- --- 6 6 6 6 30–60 30–60 4.0 3.6 a–eAmsonia illustris 6 6 6 6 6 6 90–120 60–90 3.7 3.9 abAruncus dioicus 4 4 4 4 4 4 90–120 30–60 3.0 3.1 h–mAster laevis 6 6 6 4 4 4 90–120 90–120 2.8 3.1 h–mAster linariifolius 6 5 5 0 0 0 15–30 30–60 3.0 3.1 h–mAster oblongifolius --- --- 2 2 2 2 60–90 60–90 4.0 3.6 a–gBaptisia australis 5 5 5 5 3 3 60–90 60–90 4.0 3.1 i–nCallirhoe bushii 4 3 2 1 1 1 30–60 30–60 3.8 2.6 o–rCallirhoe digitata 6 6 4 4 4 2 120–150 60–90 3.6 2.5 p–sCallirhoe involucrata 5 3 SP SP SP SP 30–60 90–120 3.8 3.2 g–lCalylophus lavandulifolius --- --- 3 1 1 0 15–30 30–60 3.7 3.3 f–kCalylophus serrulatus --- --- 1 0 0 0 2.5–15 15–30 3.0 3.6 a–eCeanothus americanus --- --- 5 5 5 5 60–90 60–90 3.0 3.7 a–eCoreopsis palmata --- --- 6 6 4 4 60–90 30–60 3.7 3.3 e–kDalea purpurea --- --- 3 3 0 0 30–60 30–60 3.5 3.7 a–eEchinacea pallida 2 2 2 2 2 1 60–90 30–60 4.0 3.6 a–fEchinacea paradoxa 2 2 SP 3 3 3 90–120 60–90 4.0 3.7 a–eEchinacea tennesseensis 2 2 2 2 2 1 30–60 30–60 3.8 3.7 a–eEryngium yuccifolium 4 4 4 4 4 3 90–120 60–90 3.0 3.5 b–hEupatorium coelestinum --- --- 6 SP SP SP 30–60 30–60 3.7 3.7 a–eFilipendula rubra 4 4 4 2 0 0 60–90 15–30 2.5 2.5 rsGaura lindheimeri --- --- 4 3 3 2 90–120 90–120 3.3 3.7 a–eGenista tinctoria --- --- 4 4 4 4 60–100 60–100 4.0 3.4 c–jGeranium maculatum --- --- 6 5 5 4 15–30 15–30 2.5 1.8 tuGeum triflorum --- --- 6 6 6 5 15–30 15–30 3.7 3.4 d–iGillenia stipulata 6 6 5 1 1 0 30–60 30–60 2.6 2.6 n–rHeuchera richardsonii 6 6 5 5 4 3 60–90 30–60 1.3 2.8 l–rLespedeza capitata 4 4 4 3 3 2 90–120 30–60 1.6 2.9 k–qLiatris aspera 3 0 0 0 0 0 90–120 30–60 4.0 2.9 k–qLiatris microcephala --- --- 3 3 3 2 60–90 30–60 2.3 3.6 b–gLiatris pycnostachya 6 3 3 2 2 2 120–150 90–120 4.0 3.8 a–cMelica nitens --- --- 5 5 2 2 60–90 2.5–15 3.0 3.0 j–oMonarda bradburiana 3 3 2 2 2 0 30–60 30–60 3.7 3.4 c–hMonarda punctata --- --- 5 5 3 0 30–60 30–60 3.7 3.0 i–n Table 1 continued on next page.beds to suppress weed growth. Six develop without intervention in order ditional positive and negative attributescontainer-grown plants per taxon were to evaluate each taxon’s attractiveness were documented, such as fragrance,randomly assigned to single blocks and resistance to pests. lodging, aggressiveness, attractivenesswithin the trial area. Spacing between No data were recorded during to desirable or beneficial fauna, insectplants was determined by projected the establishment year. In subsequent pests, and diseases. A plant quality rat-mature plant size. The young plants years, the following data were collected: ing documenting the species’ generalwere transplanted through small holes at full bloom—plant height, plant attractiveness throughout the seasoncut into the weed barrier fabric, which width, plant growth habit, primary was recorded every two weeks fromwas then covered with a thin layer of and secondary flower color, flower April through October each year, withwood chips. Once the plants were well effectiveness, and flower coverage; quality ratings based on a subjectiveestablished, no supplemental irrigation at full fruit stage—fruit color, fruit scale of: 1 = poor; 2 = fair; 3 = good;was provided. Plants were never fertil- effectiveness, foliage color, and foli- 4 = excellent. These 10 to 12 season-ized. Top growth of all plants remained age texture/type. Length of bloom, long plant quality ratings per yearin place until late winter, at which fruiting stages, and fall foliage color over multiple years were averaged andtime it was cut back and removed. were also documented. Survival data compared among taxa using Duncan’sOtherwise, no pruning, shearing, were taken in late spring each season multiple range test at a P ≤ 0.05 level.or staking of plants occurred. Insect (1996–2001) after all surviving plants Flower effectiveness was also basedand disease problems were allowed to had had a chance to initiate growth. Ad- on the same scale (1 = poor, ... 4 =382 ● July–September 2004 14(3)
  3. 3. Table 1. Continued. Survivaly Plant ht Plant width Flower Season-long zTaxon name 1996 1997 1998 1999 2000 2001 (cm)x (cm)x effectivenessw qualityvPenstemon campanulatus --- --- 6 1 0 0 30–60 60–90 3.5 2.9 k–pPenstemon cobaea 6 6 6 5 5 4 60–90 30–60 4.0 2.5 q–sPenstemon grandiflorus 6 2 0 0 0 0 60–90 15–30 3.0 2.1 stPenstemon pinifolius --- --- 6 6 4 0 15–30 60–90 2.7 3.0 j–oPenstemon tubaeflorus 4 3 2 2 2 2 60–90 60–90 4.0 3.1 i–nPhlox maculata 6 6 6 6 5 5 90–120 30–60 4.0 3.4 c–jPotentilla arguta --- --- 2 2 0 0 30–60 30–60 4.0 2.9 k–pPotentilla recta ‘Warrenii’ --- --- 6 6 4 4 25–50 25–50 4.0 3.1 h–mPycnanthemum virginianum --- --- 6 6 6 6 90–120 60–90 3.7 3.4 d–iRatibida columnifera ‘Red’ --- --- 6 6 SP SP 60–90 90–120 4.0 3.7 a–eRudbeckia missouriensis 1 0 0 0 0 0 30–60 60–90 4.0 4.0 aRuellia humilis --- --- 6 6 6 6 30–60 30–60 3.3 3.4 c–jSalvia azurea --- --- 6 6 6 6 90–120 90–120 3.7 3.7 a–eScutellaria resinosa --- --- 1 0 0 0 2.5–15 2.5–15 3.0 3.8 a–dSisyrinchium idahoense --- --- 6 6 6 5 30–60 30–60 3.7 2.7 m–rSolidago ‘Cloth of Gold’ --- --- 6 3 2 2 30–60 30–60 3.3 3.1 h–mSolidago canadensis ‘Golden Baby’ --- --- 6 6 6 6 60–90 60–90 4.0 3.4 d–jSolidago sphacelata ‘Golden Fleece’ --- --- 6 6 5 2 30–60 30–60 3.0 3.3 e–kSphaeralcea coccinea --- --- 2 1 SP 0 15–30 60–90 3.3 3.3 e–kTalinum calycinum 6 3 0 0 0 0 15–30 15–30 3.5 3.6 a–fThelesperma filifolium --- --- 0 SP SP SP 60–90 90–120 2.5 3.2 f–lTradescantia bracteata --- --- 5 5 5 5 30–60 30–60 3.7 3.1 h–mVerbena canadensis 4 0 0 0 0 0 15–30 60–90 4.0 3.4 c-iz Botanical synonyms and common names of taxa are detailed in text.y Number of plants out of the original six individuals that survived; “SP” indicates plant is spreading or self-seeding.x 1 cm = 0.4 inch.w Means of ratings (1 = poor; 2 = fair; 3 = good; 4 = excellent) recorded once at full bloom over multiple seasons.v Means of 10 to 12 annual temporal ratings (1 = poor; 2 = fair; 3 = good; 4 = excellent) combined over multiple seasons. Means within this column having different lettersare significantly different (P ≤ 0.05).excellent), but because those readings five taxa. Two additional taxa (Liatris and Salvia azurea. However, a lowerwere taken only once per year (at full scariosa and Zizia aurea) survived season-long quality rating does notbloom), statistical comparisons were the initial planting season but did not necessarily mean that a particular taxonnot made. Data and observations were emerge the following year in good in not garden-worthy. Some taxa mayrecorded by different personnel each enough condition to provide quality be stunning in full bloom but later be-year to avoid bias. data. Table 1 and Fig. 1, therefore, come dormant, disorderly, or perhaps include data for 60 of the original 67 have unappealing infructescences. SuchResults and discussion taxa. Survival data over 6 years are characteristics should not preclude Many of the native plant taxa in presented in Table 1, along with plant a taxon’s use in a low-maintenancethis study exhibited good to excellent height and width, flower effectiveness, native landscape setting, but ratherpotential performance in a low-mainte- and season-long quality. The statisti- point to the need for careful attentionnance landscape situation, while some cal comparisons (Table 1) of season- on its placement and use. Some of thewere consistently less attractive or pos- long quality ratings among taxa help most promising taxa in this categorysessed challenging characteristics that ascertain true differences in overall, include Baptisia australis, Callirhoemay require appropriate management year-to-year quality among the various involucrata, Coreopsis palmata, Geumif they are to be successfully used. Five taxa. A high season-long quality rating triflorum, Penstemon cobaea, Poten-of the 67 taxa [Penstemon albertinus, certainly indicates an outstanding and tilla recta ‘Warrenii’, PycnanthemumPenstemon whippleanus, Phlox pilosa, overall potentially useful plant. Ex- virginianum, Sisyrinchium idahoense,Senecio plattensis, and Silene virginica amples of such promising taxa that also and Solidago canadensis ‘Golden Baby’.(Note: common names of all taxa are exhibited good survival include Amor- In Fig. 1, taxa are arranged in order oflisted in “Taxon Names and Character- pha canescens, Amorpha nana, Amsonia peak bloom from spring to fall, withistics” section, below)] did not survive ciliata, Amsonia illustris, Echinacea date of peak bloom and bloom dura-the initial planting season, indicating paradoxa, Echinacea tennesseensis, tion also presented. Such data can assistthat either the propagation methods or Eryngium yuccifolium, Eupatorium gardeners in selecting and combiningthe environment was not appropriate. coelestinum, Phlox maculata, Ratibida various native taxa for season-longNo further data are presented on those columnifera ‘Red’, Ruellia humilis, color and interest. ● July–September 2004 14(3) 383
  4. 4. RESEARCH REPORTSFig. 1. Peak bloom (●) and bloom duration (——), with ordinal number of bloom days for 60 native plant taxa growingin a low-maintenance setting at the University of Missouris Southwest Center, Mt. Vernon, averaged over all survivingseasons.384 ● July–September 2004 14(3)
  5. 5. Taxon names and Aster linariifolius (Ionactis linari- foliage; long sporadic yellow bloomcharacteristics ifolius), stiff-leaf aster: small attractive throughout much of summer, flowers plants; beautiful but brief composite fade to orange; pinkish fall color with Following are the scientific and bloom with blue ray and yellow disk attractive fall foliage regrowth; wiltscommon names (Great Plains Flora flowers; very late bloom not bothered and dries in severe drought.Association, 1986; Steyermark, 1963; by frost; died out by fourth year. Calylophus serrulatus, yellowYatskievych, 1999) of the 67 taxa Aster oblongifolius (Symphyotri- sundrops: small, compact plant withincluded in the study. Synonyms, chum oblongifolium), aromatic aster: horizontal ground-cover form; showyincluded in parentheses, are new and attractive, small, compact plant; foli- bright yellow flowers with long bloomgenerally accepted name changes that age is individually unattractive; brief season; attractive to a variety of insects;are not yet well known. Following the spectacular lavender flowers in mid- nice plant but survival was not is a description of each taxon’s October that attract a variety of color- Ceanothus americanus, new jerseyperformance in this study, detailing its ful insects; fragrant foliage; drought tea: excellent, small, highly-recom-flower color, attributes, and shortcom- tolerant. mended woody shrub that is appealingings, along with comments on using it Baptisia australis, blue wild in- all season long; attractive cream flowersin a landscape setting. digo: plant habit is open and unique; yield pink, red, tan, and finally black Allium cernuum, nodding wild stunning in bloom with profuse ra- fruits; nice small leaves persist late intoonion: small plant with attractive pale cemes of deep blue flowers; interesting fall; drought flowers in midsummer; maintains large seed pods turn from green to Coreopsis palmata, stiff tickseed,nice foliage throughout summer with black and persist; drought tolerant but stiff coreopsis: Excellent plant withattractive fall regrowth. plants often dry and turn black in late upright spreading form and medium Amorpha canescens, lead plant: summer, going dormant or snapping size; bright yellow flowers in mid-Juneexcellent, tough, small woody shrub; off, but survive. followed by attractive gray fruits thatattractive small grayish leaves and fruits Callirhoe bushii, bush’s poppy turn black and persist well into fall; finewith showy purple flowers; brief bloom mallow: plants never thrived and gen- bright foliage; occasionally lodges.period; drought tolerant. erally appeared weak with little robust Dalea purpurea, purple prairie Amorpha nana, dwarf false in- growth; foliage dull and often with clover: attractive medium-sized plantdigo: excellent, very small woody plant; brown areas or spots; some new foliage with nice erect form; interesting brightcompact form and shape; showy but growth in early fall is attractive; showy purple flowers; delicate leaves and at-small purple flowers; attractive fruits; magenta-purple flowers; appears to tractive grayish fruits; golden yellowdrought tolerant. suffer or go dormant in drought; may fall color; perhaps short-lived as plants Amsonia ciliata, fringed bluestar: perform better under partially shaded gradually died out.beautiful, small plant; short-lived pale conditions as its natural habitat is often Echinacea pallida, pale purpleblue flowers in early spring; excellent semi-shaded (Steyermark, 1963). coneflower: beautiful, unique, andshiny foliage retained nicely all sum- Callirhoe digitata, fringed poppy increasingly-familiar wildflower; palemer; attractive golden yellow fall color; mallow: Tall, sparse plant with leaves purple recurved ray flowers and orangedrought-tolerant. only near base; often appears spindly to brown disk flowers; attractive to Amsonia illustris, ozarks blue star: because of lack of foliage; lodges easily; bumblebees (Hymenoptera: Apoidea,excellent, beautiful, tough plant; brief becomes unattractive in late summer Bombus sp.) and butterflies (Lepidop-pale blue flowers in early spring; superb often browning and going dormant; tera); fruits attractive, fragrant, andglossy foliage remains attractive all some attractive new basal growth in fall; persist into winter; drought tolerantseason; forms large sturdy non-woody stunning, delicate-looking magenta- but leaves sometimes become brown“bush” with nice form; long thin seed purple flowers; spent flower stalks could late in season.pods add interest; attractive to aphids be cut back to improve appearance; Echinacea paradoxa, yellow cone-(Homoptera: Aphidae) and stink best used in masses or scattered among flower: attractive, large, erect plantbugs (Hemiptera: Pentatomidae) but other supporting species. with tall, stately form; bold yellowunharmed by them; excellent yellow Callirhoe involucrata, purple flowers leaving behind large purplish-fall color; drought tolerant. poppy mallow: stunning, vigorous, brown fruits (cones); drought tolerant Aruncus dioicus, goat’s beard: and tough plant that is highly recom- but leaves may become brown late innice, unique plant, but foliage is dull, mended; ground cover often spreading season.purplish, and frequently mottled with 3 to 5 ft (0.9–1.5 m); excellent bright Echinacea tennesseensis (Echinacealeaf spots; attractive but short-lived foliage through mid-summer; profuse pallida var. tennesseensis), tennesseecream flowers; fruiting stalk generally numbers of bright magenta-purple coneflower: tough, long-lived plant;unattractive, brown; tolerates but turns flowers with long bloom period and much shorter than other Echinacea,brownish in drought; may perform bet- sporadic re-bloom throughout much of with ray flowers not recurved; beauti-ter under partially shaded conditions as summer; new plants appear sporadically ful soft pink-purple flowers with longits natural habitat is often semi-shaded but not aggressively; often becomes bloom and continued sporadic bloom;(Steyermark, 1963). leggy and brownish in late summer drought tolerant but ray flowers and Aster laevis (Symphyotrichum when it could be cut back; attractive leaves may turn brown.laeve), smooth aster: plant is tall, dis- new foliage growth in fall. Eryngium yuccifolium, rattlesnakeorderly, and somewhat weedy-looking; Calylophus lavandulifolius, lav- master: tall, coarse, and unique plantbrief but welcome lavender bloom in enderleaf sundrops: small, spreading, that appears spiny but is neverthelessearly October; drought tolerant. nicely-shaped plant with gray-green handsome; individual flowers are white ● July–September 2004 14(3) 385
  6. 6. RESEARCH REPORTSbut rather indistinguishable within delicate, feathery, pinkish flowers with persist well into winter.inflorescence; attractive to butterflies showy red bracts; fruits not evident Liatris scariosa, eastern blazingand other colorful insects; interesting but flowers dry, persist, and remain star: attractive pink-purple flowers fol-fruits dry and turn brown, remaining showy long after bloom; foliage deep lowed by pink fruits turning brownishintact and upright through winter; green with a touch of red or purple white with fluffy achenes; only oneleaves occasionally turn brownish in throughout fall and winter; drought plant survived into second year, lodged,late summer. tolerant but may wilt or brown if and did not recover. Eupatorium coelestinum (Cono- severe; very persistent and long-lived Melica nitens, melic grass: shortclinium coelestinum), blue mist flower: in the study. grass that generally did not performbeautiful plant with nice short form; Gillenia stipulata (Porteranthus well; individual plants are attractiveunique delicate true blue flowers in stipulatus), indian physic: gener- pale green and delicate but not effec-late summer/early fall when little else ally nice but not outstanding plant; tive; nice short-lived pale green flow-is blooming; tends to seed around but cream flowers individually attractive ers but not showy; infructescence notnot aggressively; re-seeds and may not but overall not very effective; brief persistent or showy; plants were neverbe a long-lived perennial; emerges bloom period; infructescences brown robust and gradually died out; mightvery late in spring; wilts in drought and unattractive; leaves tend to brown be used effectively in masses as it doesbut survives and recovers nicely when throughout summer; early orange to not form a clump.rain returns. red-brown to purple fall color; may Monarda bradburiana, horse- Filipendula rubra, queen of the perform better under partially shaded mint: excellent plant with nice, low,prairie: did not perform well in this conditions as its natural habitat is often mounded form and deep purple-greenstudy—plants grew poorly and foliage open woods (Steyermark, 1963). glossy foliage; showy pink bracts appearremained unattractive and brownish; Heuchera richardsonii, richard- before pink globe-shaped flowers; red-flowers delicate pink, unique and stun- son’s alum root: beautiful, compact, dish fall foliage and gray fruits persistning but few and not robust; fruit and shiny-green rosette of leaves with excel- into winter; fragrant foliage and fruits;infructescence unattractive; died out by lent, mounded form; usually evergreen drought tolerant; persistent but gradu-fourth year; may perform better in a (reddish-green) through most winters; ally died out by sixth year.wetter site as the species naturally oc- tall inflorescence with cream-colored Monarda punctata, spotted horse-curs in more moist areas (Steyermark, flowers not particularly showy; fruits mint: interesting short plant with un-1963). remain on tall brown stalks that are usual green and white mottled leaves; Gaura lindheimeri, lindheimer’s generally unattractive; could be used persistent white bracts frame small lightbeeblossom: unique, beautiful, large for excellent year-round foliage effect purple flowers; tends to become brownplant with excellent form; small cream if dead infructescences are removed; and dormant in drought but remainsflowers with attractive pink to red attractive new foliage growth in early attractive with dried infructescences;bracts and reddish peduncles; long fall; drought tolerant but some leaf fragrant foliage and fruits; attractivebloom period with sporadic re-bloom; browning may occur. to butterflies and other insects; diedplants performed well but gradually Lespedeza capitata, roundheaded out by fourth year.died out. bush clover: nice, tall, somewhat Penstemon albertinus, alberta Genista tinctoria, dyer’s green- spindly plant with slightly gray-green beardtongue: did not survive theweed: short, leafy, woody shrub with leaves; greenish-white flowers insig- initial season.attractive small deep green foliage; nificant but fruits and bracts form an Penstemon campanulatus, bell-form of plant is disorderly in appear- attractive brown “head” that persists flower beardtongue: beautiful, semi-ance; short-lived yellow leguminous well into winter; lodges frequently. evergreen plant; profuse striking brightflowers; frequently defoliated by geni- Liatris aspera, tall blazing star: purple flowers; often lodges formingsta caterpillar (Lepidoptera: Pyralidae, attractive and unusual tall plant; in- unorganized but attractive mass ofUresiphita reversalis) often leaving teresting purple buds appear and swell flowers; appeared to suffer in drought;plant weak and unsightly. Not native over long period of time; welcome survival not good and all plants hadbut naturalized in North America bright purple bloom in late summer; died by third year.(Bailey, 1949). fruits start out pink, eventually forming Penstemon cobaea, cobaea beard- Geranium maculatum, wild gera- gray-white fluffy achenes; attractive to tongue: short multi-stemmed plantnium: small plant, individually coarse butterflies and other insects; lodges oc- with glossy foliage; spectacular earlyand unattractive with leaves that often casionally; plants gradually died out. spring bloom with masses of largeturn yellow or brownish; beautiful Liatris microcephala, smallhead blueish-purple flowers that attractdelicate short-lived light purple flowers blazing star: excellent, short, colorful, bumblebees; drought tolerant butfollowed by interesting upright capsule unusual-looking plant with nice foli- stems lodge and foliage generally turnsfruits; probably better suited to light age spiraling up stems; showy purple brown and unattractive in late summer;shade (Steyermark, 1963) but appar- late-summer bloom; drought tolerant fall regrowth of foliage is attractive;ently drought and full-sun tolerant as but leaves may yellow. very has persisted many years, sometimes Liatris pycnostachya, prairie blaz- Penstemon grandiflorus, showygoing dormant in late summer. ing star: spectacular, large, unique, penstemon: multi-stemmed plant Geum triflorum, prairie smoke: multiple-stemmed plant; tall spikes with glossy green foliage; attractive inunique, very short, generally evergreen of bright purple flowers in late sum- bloom with light blue-lavender lateplant; tends to form a non-spreading mer; attractive to butterflies and other spring flowers; purple-black fruit cap-groundcover; very early, spectacular, insects; fruiting spikes interesting and sules shiny and attractive; consistently386 ● July–September 2004 14(3)
  7. 7. lodges after bloom; stems and foliage foliage; creamy-white flowers attractive beautiful yellow flowers in early falloften turn brown and unattractive in to bumblebees and butterflies; foliage followed by attractive golden brownlate summer; nice early fall foliage re- and fruits slightly fragrant; dried gray infructescences; overall poor survival.growth; short-lived in this study and infructescences attractive and persist Solidago canadensis ‘Goldendied out by third year. through winter; drought tolerant but Baby’, golden baby canada goldenrod: Penstemon pinifolius, pineleaf may brown in late summer. tough, reliable, short, multi-stemmedbeardtongue: small, stunning plant Ratibida columnifera ‘Red’, plant; large pale yellow inflorescenceswith unusual deep green narrow “pine- mexican hat: superb, tough plant that topping every branch; flowers unevenlylike” foliage that remains evergreen blooms nearly all summer; spreads in mid-summer; gray infructescencesand attractive all winter; small tubular around but not weedy; interesting attractive and persistent; leaves remainshowy red flowers with long bloom multi-colored red to orange to yellow green well into winter; drought toler-period; tends to become brownish and cone-type composite flowers produced ant and long-lived; nicest of our threeunattractive in late summer; new green profusely; grayish fruits attractive; may Solidagos.growth in fall; gradually died out. lodge but does not usually detract from Solidago sphacelata ‘Golden Penstemon tubaeflorus, white appearance because plants grow to- Fleece’, golden fleece autumn gold-wand beardtongue: multi-stemmed gether into masses; drought tolerant. enrod: attractive short plant with ro-plant is attractive with glossy green Rudbeckia missouriensis, missouri sette-like basal leaves surrounding stifffoliage in spring; striking creamy- coneflower: attractive, dainty, yellow flowering shoots; many plants producewhite flowers followed by showy shiny cone-type composite flower with long individually brown and dying branchespurple-black fruit capsules that persist bloom season; did not survive into the from crown; uneven growth amongwell into winter; plant lodges severely second season. plants; nice yellow flowers in fall thatin late summer becoming unattractive; Ruellia humilis, fringeleaf wild persist and rebloom over several weeks;drought tolerant but often browns in petunia: nice, tough, short, resilient brown infructescences abundant andlate summer; reddish bronze fall foliage plant; small blue-lavender flowers and interesting; some new green foliagecolor with new green growth; best- dark fruits are individually attractive but growth in fall; apparently drought tol-surviving Penstemon in the study. not particularly effective overall; long erant but tends to brown sometimes in Penstemon whippleanus, whipple’s bloom period; tends to seed around late summer while remaining attractivebeardtongue: did not survive the initial but is not weedy; drought tolerant but with dried infructescences.season. may brown in late summer. Sphaeralcea coccinea, scarlet Phlox maculata, meadow phlox: Salvia azurea, azure blue sage: globemallow: superb, small plant withexcellent, beautiful plant with nice, large, sometimes disorderly plant; low spreading habit and attractive paleformal, erect form; spectacular pink- spectacular, profuse deep blue flowers green leaves; small bright rose-pink topurple flowers with long bloom period persist over long period in fall when red-orange flowers sporadically nearlyand sporadic re-bloom; occasion- little else is blooming; nice gray- all summer and well into late fall; foliageally turns brown and unattractive in green foliage; attractive to migrating remains attractive and green until win-drought, although apparently drought monarch butterflies (Lepidoptera: ter; drought tolerant; did not establishtolerant as long-term survival has been Danaidae, Danaus plexippus) and well and eventually died out.excellent. other insects; few fruits are produced Talinum calycinum (Phemeran- Phlox pilosa, downy phlox: did not or are insignificant; drought tolerant thus calycinus), rock pink: attractivesurvive the initial season. but may wilt in extreme heat; excellent tiny succulent plant; spectacular pink- Potentilla arguta, tall cinquefoil: long-term survival. purple flowers that open on sunny days;interesting, tall, rather coarse plant with Scutellaria resinosa, sticky skull- long bloom period; plant short-lived inlarge dull leaves; attractive creamy yel- cap: attractive small plant with unique this study and re-seeded for first 2 yearslow-white flowers followed by unique purplish flowers nearly all summer before dying out completely; probablybrownish fruits; survival not good and long; did not survive into the second needs an even drier site as it naturallyall plants perished third year. season. occurs on very hot dry glades with thin, Potentilla recta ‘Warrenii’, sulphur Senecio plattensis, prairie ragwort: rocky soils (Steyermark, 1963).cinquefoil: showy small plant with did not survive the initial season. Thelesperma filifolium, stiff green-excellent form; masses of bright yel- Silene virginica, fire pink: did not thread: spectacular, delicate, fine-low flowers that persist and re-bloom survive the initial season. leaved, fairly large plant with excellentover several weeks, often blooming Sisyrinchium idahoense, idaho form; sporadic bright yellow flowersagain in late September; seed pods blue-eyed grass: small, attractive, and throughout much of summer andabundant and interesting; some new useful plant with deep green grass-like through October; small brown fruitsgreen foliage growth in fall; apparently foliage; spectacular dark purple flow- following flowers interesting but short-drought tolerant but foliage often turns ers with deep yellow centers are small lived; plant appears to behave as winterbrownish in late summer while remain- but effective up-close; could be used annual and easily re-seeds itself—ger-ing attractive with dried seed pods. effectively as groundcover or in masses; minating the following late summer; noNative to Europe but naturalized and very persistent. plants survived first winter but becamecommon throughout the midwestern Solidago ‘Cloth of Gold’, cloth fully re-established by spring of thirdU.S. (Steyermark, 1963). of gold goldenrod: plant is generally year and subsequently. Pycnanthemum virginianum, vir- compact and attractive but consistently Tradescantia bracteata, longbractginia mountain mint: nice, sturdy, long- produced brown and dying individual spiderwort: beautiful plant in springlived plant with excellent gray-green branches from crown that lodged; and fall, but often becomes brownish, ● July–September 2004 14(3) 387
  8. 8. RESEARCH REPORTSunattractive, and semi-dormant in latesummer; beautiful violet flowers withyellow stamens in early summer gener-ally open only in mornings; excellentgreen fall regrowth of foliage; excellentsurvival. Verbena canadensis (Glandulariacanadensis), rose verbena: beautiful,short, somewhat aggressively-spread-ing ground cover; long, sporadic bloomof showy purple flowers beginningin early spring; did not survive intosecond year. Zizia aurea, golden alexanders:attractive small spring-blooming plantwith abundant yellow flowers followedby interesting brownish umbels; didnot survive into second year.Literature citedBailey, L.H. 1949. Manual of cultivatedplants. Macmillan Publ., New York.Burrell, C.C. 1997. A heartland composi-tion. Amer. Nurseryman 185(5):38–49.Clausen, R.R. and N.H. Ekstrom. 1989.Perennials for American gardens. RandomHouse, New York.Great Plains Flora Association. 1986. Floraof the Great Plains. Univ. Press of Kansas.Lawrence.Locklear, J.H. 1995. Great plants of theGreat Plains. Horticulture 73(2):56–60.McCargo, H. 1996. Natural selection.Amer. Nurseryman 184(4):39–45.Robinson, R.T. and D.B. White. 1987.Prairie communities. AG-FO-3238. Min-nesota Ext. Serv., Univ. of Minnesota,St. Paul.Schrock, D. and A. Thomas. 1998. Na-tive midwestern herbaceous perennials forlandscape use. Univ. of Missouri–Colum-bia, Southwest Res. Ctr. Annu. Rpt., Mt.Vernon, Mo.Snyder, L.C. 1991. Native plants for north-ern gardens. Andersen Hort. Library, Univ.of Minnesota, St. Paul.Steyermark, Julian A. 1963. Flora of Mis-souri. Iowa State Univ. Press, Ames.Ulrich, C. 1993. Prairie fire. Horticulture71(11):52–57.Vickerman, L.G. and J.H. Locklear. 1995.Wildflowers of the mixed-grass prairie.Amer. Nurseryman 182(9):28–35.Weaner, L. 1996. New directions in theAmerican landscape. Amer. Nurseryman183(1):35–41.Yatskievych, G. 1999. Steyermark’s floraof Missouri, Rev. Ed., Vol. 1. MissouriBotanical Garden Press. St. Louis.388 ● July–September 2004 14(3)