12 Great Native Plants for the Mesic Woodland Garden
If you are just starting out, don't throw your leaves away in the fall, woodland natives need the protection of leaves to help keep their roots cool in summer, and blanketed in winter.
It blooms from May to June and likes sandy-loam to loam soils, dry-mesic to mesic moisture.
It spreads by rhizomes forming a nice mass once established. Combine with woodland phlox or large flowered bellwort.
Wild Geranium is one of my favorites, flowering from April to June, the large pink to purple flowers are extremely showy and abundant. It has a mounding habit with attractive palmately-divided leaves that turn bright red in the fall. Combine with false solomon's seal, and woodland phlox. It can get up to three feet tall in rich soils, so don't plant next to tiny ephemerals that can get overpowered by wild geranium.
Virginia waterleaf is extremely easy to grow, it readily reseeds once you have some established plants. The young leaves are speckled with silver to white spots. Pink to purple flowers arranged in cyme bloom from late April to June. Virginia waterleaf can reach heights of 24", but more typically the flowerheads top out at 12-16". Combine with false solomon's seal and downy yellow violets near the edge of your woodland planting.
Wild Ginger is a very attractive, low growing native. Often used massed for best effect, the red to maroon flowers develop under the leaves and are not always visible. The foliage however, looks great through the summer months in mesic soils. It spreads by rhizomes and easy to divide. Seeds are dispersed by ants.
Very good plant for dry soils.
© Heather Holm, 2015. Heather Holm