Connecticut is a beautiful state with a diverse ecosystem – and it’s one that boasts a variety of native plant species. And if you’re thinking about revamping your landscape, you may have wondered if any of these native plant species might be able to play a role.
Native plants are plants that have naturally grown in an area for thousands of years. They have adapted to the climate, soil, and other conditions of their local environment.
Using native plants in your garden can have numerous benefits, not just for the environment but for you as well. In this blog post, we’ll explore the key benefits of using native plants in Connecticut – and give you some ideas of which ones to use to make a major impact.
Let’s get started!
What Are the Benefits of Native Plants?
Creating a stunning landscape is a dream for many homeowners, but often it comes at a price. The constant upkeep, fertilizers, pesticides, and water usage of non-native plants can be costly and harmful to the environment.
That’s why more and more people are choosing to use native plants in their landscapes. Native plants are plants that occur naturally in a particular region, and they offer several benefits that non-native plants cannot match.
For one, native plants require less maintenance. They are already adapted to the climate and soil conditions, so they require less water and fertilizers (and, in some cases, less pruning).
Native plants also play a vital role in supporting local ecosystems. They provide essential habitats and food for native wildlife, such as birds, bees, and butterflies.
By incorporating native plants into your landscape, you are supporting the local biodiversity and helping to reduce the risk of invasive species. The presence of native plants can help improve soil quality and prevent soil erosion.
What Are Some Native Flowers in Connecticut?
Native flowers in Connecticut are always a sight to behold. They range from delicate wildflowers to blooming perennials, showcasing an abundance of color and fragrance. Here are some great options to consider.
This lovely perennial plant typically blooms in late summer and early autumn, displaying a dizzying array of blue and purple flower heads. It thrives in both direct sunlight and partial shade and can reach up to two feet high. This hardy and low-maintenance plant’s high tolerance to droughts and pests makes it an excellent addition to any landscape.
Narrow-Leaf Mountain Mint
This perennial herb has narrow leaves and a lovely scent that attracts bees and butterflies, making it an ideal plant to promote biodiversity in a garden. Native to Connecticut, this plant blooms from late summer until early fall, showcasing an array of white and purple flowers that add sublime beauty to your landscape.
Eastern Purple Coneflower
The Eastern Purple Coneflower grows up to four feet tall and attracts butterflies, hummingbirds, and bees. It is a drought-resistant plant that thrives in sunlight. It blooms in July and August, and its attractive deep-pink to purple flowers persist for several weeks.
This perennial plant has tiny flowers that bloom in early to mid-spring and are primarily white or pale blue. They are a popular choice for rock gardens or front-row edgings that need some early-season color. They thrive in moist soils and typically prefer partial shade.
This plant’s conspicuous blue stems support vibrant yellow flower heads, standing tall up to six feet in full sun or partial shade. Blooming from late summer till fall, this goldenrod attracts an array of pollinators like butterflies, native bees, among many others.
Eastern Red Columbine
This beautiful perennial is among the most elegant native flowers of Connecticut. Its showy red and yellow flowers attract hummingbirds and pollinators that help facilitate cross-pollination, ultimately aiding in plant propagation. The Eastern Red Columbine is a shade-loving plant that blooms late in spring, making it a perfect addition to brighten any dark corner of your garden.
Which Shrubs and Trees are Native to Connecticut?
Looking for some larger plantings to add to your landscape? Here are some good options.
This beautiful tree is native to Connecticut and is characterized by its dark, deeply furrowed bark. It’s also a favorite of many types of wildlife, including birds and squirrels.
This coniferous evergreen tree is another favorite of wildlife. It provides cover and shelter for many animals, and its needles make excellent nesting material for birds.
Tree of Heaven
Technically, the Tree of Heaven is actually native to China. However, it’s been in Connecticut for so long that it’s considered a natural part of the ecosystem. It’s a fast-growing tree with large, compound leaves that are particularly stunning in the fall.
This tree is a favorite of landscapers because of its striking bark, which peels away to reveal patches of cream and gray beneath. It also produces large, round seed pods that are a favorite of squirrels.
This twining vine is a favorite of gardeners because of its vibrant orange berries, which are particularly striking in the fall. It’s also an important food source for many types of wildlife.
This tree is characterized by its hard, heavy wood, which has long been prized for its durability and strength. It’s also a great source of food for many types of wildlife, including squirrels and deer.
This tree is a favorite, prized for its stunning fall foliage, as well as its delicious sap, which is used to make maple syrup.
This tree is also notable for its sap, which can be used to make birch beer. It’s also a great source of food for wildlife, including deer and birds.
Northern Red Oak
This tree is characterized by its deeply lobed leaves and its striking fall colors, which range from bright red to deep orange.
This evergreen shrub is a great choice for borders and hedges. It produces small, black berries that are a favorite of many types of wildlife.
What Grasses are Native to Connecticut?
Connecticut is known for its harsh winters and hot summers, which means that not all grass types will fare well here. The good news? There are some native grasses that can handle the unique challenges of the state, too.
Little bluestem is a perennial grass that grows in clumps and can reach up to 3 feet in height. It has blue-green foliage that turns reddish-bronze in the fall, providing a striking color contrast to your landscaping. It’s drought-tolerant and can grow in a variety of soil types. It also provides a valuable habitat for birds and other wildlife.
Autumn bentgrass is a cool-season grass that thrives in Connecticut’s cooler temperatures. It’s a fine-textured grass that is often used in golf courses because of its ability to create a dense, uniform turf. It’s low-growing and doesn’t require frequent mowing, making it a great choice if you’re looking for a low-maintenance grass.
Wavy hairgrass is a tall, slender grass that can reach up to 5 feet in height. It’s a wetland grass that thrives in moist soils, making it a great choice if you have a rain garden or other wetland area in your yard. It’s also drought-tolerant and can grow in a variety of soil types.
Northern Sea Oats
Northern sea oats is a clumping grass that can reach up to 3 feet in height. It’s known for its unique seed heads that resemble little bamboo stalks. It’s a shade-tolerant grass that can grow in a variety of soil types and provides a valuable food source for birds.
Indian grass is a tall, upright grass that can reach up to 6 feet in height. It has blue-green foliage that turns bronze in the fall, providing a beautiful fall color. It’s drought-tolerant and can grow in a variety of soil types. It also provides a valuable habitat for wildlife.
Pennsylvania sedge is a low-growing grass that thrives in moist, shady areas. It’s a great choice for groundcovers and doesn’t require mowing. It’s also drought-tolerant and can grow in a variety of soil types.
Blue Ribbon Sedge
Blue ribbon sedge is a clumping grass that can reach up to 3 feet in height. It’s a wetland grass that thrives in moist, well-drained soils. It has blue-green foliage and provides a valuable habitat for wildlife.
How to Choose the Best Plants for Connecticut Landscapes
Choosing the right grasses for your Connecticut landscaping can be a challenge, but by selecting native plants that can withstand the climate and thrive in your area, you can create a beautiful and sustainable landscape that will enhance your property for years to come. At Bellingrath Bros. Landscape & Design, we have years of experience choosing the best plants for our clients’ landscaping needs.
Contact us today to learn more about how we can help with your next landscaping project!