Six Native Plants For Your Garden.

SIX FLOWERS: Native to Nova Scotia’s Acadian Forest that are excellent for pollinators. Information is selected from William Cullina’s book Wildflowers; A Guide to Growing and Propagating Native Flowers of North America.

“There is value in preserving wilderness, but there is equal value in restoring the suburbs and cities where most of us live to something closer to balance, for our children’s sake and the sake of all the other species around us.”

-William Cullina

1. Turtlehead, Chelone Glabra

LIGHT- Part sun

SOIL- Moist to wet

HIGHT- 3 feet

COLOUR- white

BLOOM- from late summer to fall.

WILD LIFE- Nectar plants. White turtlehead is one of the two larval food plants for the lovely orange and brown Baltimore checker spot, euphydryus phaeton,

PROPAGATION- Easy from seed or cuttings.

“Although turtle heads are found in wet locations in the wild, they adapt well to average garden soils as long as drought can be avoided. They divide and transplant readily, and once established are virtually trouble free.”

2. New England Aster, Aster novae-angliae

LIGHT- Part sun

SOIL- Moist

HEIGHT- 2-6 feet

COLOUR- violet to purple or rose

BLOOM- fall

WILDLIFE- Asters are one of the most important fall nectar plants, and a patch of flowering plants seems to attract any and all the pollinators in the area, frantically trying to gather the last of the season’s bounty. A number of asters are also important food plants for butterfly larvae. Many of the crescents feed on asters.

PROPAGATION- Generally easy from seed.

One of the showiest and most often cultivated of the larger asters. Forms thick clump after a few years.

3. Swamp Milkweed, Asclepias Incarnata

LIGHT- Sun, pat shade

SOIL- Moist to wet

HEIGHT- 2-4 feet

COLOUR- white and pink

BLOOM- summer

WILDLIFE- Excellent nectar plants, food for the larval stage of the monarch and queen butterflies.

PROPAGATION- Easy from seed.

“One of the our widest ranging and showiest species with flattened, brightly coloured flower heads at the tips of tall stems. Although found in wet soils, it will thrive in the garden if soil is not droughty. Strongly clumping.”

4. Bone set, Eupatorium perfoliatum

LIGHT- Sun, part sun

SOIL- Moist to wet

HEIGHT- 2-4 feet

COLOUR- white

BLOOM- late summer

WILDLIFE- Excellent nectar plant

PROPAGATION- Easy form seed or cuttings.

Makes an excellent garden plant, with interesting foliage and hazy masses of purple or white flowers that are absolute favorites of butterflies and bees. They are tough, easy plants for range of soils and uses, and no wildflower garden would be complete without one or two. Size and presence that rivals any shrub and smoky lavender flower heads that can be as big as basketballs on 6-foot stems.

5. Cardinal Flower, Lobelia Cardinalis

LIGHT- Sun to light shade

SOIL- Moist to wet, acidic to neutral

HEIGHT- 2-4 feet

COLOUR- crimson, occasionally white or pink blooms late summer

WILDLIFE- Excellent nectar plants. Both are very attractive to hummingbirds.

PROPAGATION- Easy from seed or cuttings

6. Giant Sunflower, Helianthus giganteus

LIGHT- Sun, part sun,

SOIL- Moist to wet

HEIGHT- 6-10 feet

COLOUR- disk yellow, rays pale to strong yellow

BLOOM- fall

WILDLIFE- Nectar, also larval food. Seed head are excellent for birds.


Cullina, W. (2000) Wildflowers; A Guide to Growing and Propagating Native Flowers of North America. Houghton Mifflin

Sanders, J. (2003) The Secrets of Wildflowers: A delightful feast of little-known facts, folklore, and history.  The Lyons Press

Johnson, Lorraine. (2011) 100 Easy-To-Grow Native Plants: For Canadian Gardens. Whitecap Books

Tallamy, D. Bringing Nature Home: How You Can Sustain Wildlife with Native Plants. Timber Press.


2 thoughts on “Six Native Plants For Your Garden.

  1. Pingback: Lizzy Hill » Blog Archive » Halifax gardeners pressure nurseries to sell more native plants

  2. Great piece (and choices), and can’t recommend Tallamy’s book more highly! Correct me if I am mistaken, but 4 looks like Joe Pye Weed Eupatorium maculatum recently renamed to Eutrochium maculatum (just to drive us nuts). Boneset is normally white and is now Eutrochium perfoliata. Both are lovely, native, and useful in Nova Scotia. Lobelia cardinalis is not native to Nova Scotia (according to a variety of online range maps), but is a fine garden plant. I just happened to be looking at this info. this morning and certainly don’t have any of this flying around in my head all the time:)

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