Living in the Midwest or visiting, everyone knows that we experience extreme weather and a wide range of temperatures. With this in mind, Midwestern spring and fall can display all four seasons in the same day! Because of the wide range in temperatures, it is important to understand what flowers can not only survive but also thrive in our Midwest flower gardens. This article will share with you 5 of my favorite flowering plants native to the Midwest.
The importance of native species
In addition to planting flowers that thrive in the Midwest’s climate it is above all SO important to plant flower species native to your region. Our flower gardens and landscape choices have a large impact on our native bird, insects and animal populations. Without native plants, our yards will not attract pollenating insects. Insects essential for our survival! Pollenating insects help grow crops. Humans would have to pollenate our food source by hand. Can you imagine the time that would take? Additionally, native plants demonstrate non-invasive behavior, cheaper to maintain and are easier to grow!
5 of my favorite Midwest native flowers everyone should grow
In no particular order, my favorite Midwest native plants all Midwesterners should add to their yards:
- Wild Prairie Rose
Wild Prairie Rose, scientific name Rosa arkansana, state flower of both Iowa and North Dakota is a perennial. Being a drought tolerant shrub, the deep root systems access groundwater allowing it to survive extreme heat, even fires. Rabbits, antelope and deer eat the rosehips the shrub produces. Native Americans would enjoy the flower as a source of vitamin C. They require 6 to 8 hours of direct sunlight each day to grow to full potential.
- American Pasque
American Pasques, scientific name Pulsatilla hirsutissima, a perennial, is also known as the Easter or May Day flower because they show up at the first sign of spring! American Pasque drought tolerant and bee friendly. Although well suited for hot climates, they also withstand tough Midwestern winters. Plant in full sun to part shade ensuring regular, weekly waterings.
- Black-eyed Susans
Black Eyed Susans, scientific name Rudbeckia hirta, is a perennial that is a common, beautiful sight growing on prairies in the Midwest. Black Eyed Susans, growing over 3 feet tall, allow for amazing cut flowers. Bees and butterflies love the bright, yellow flowers, and they show favorable as a pollenating plant. By the way, while heat and drought tolerant, they also withstand temperatures down to -30 degrees. Yikes! Additionally, here are the Black Eyed Susan seeds I used to fill in an open spot in my yard.
Echinacea, known as the Purple Cone Flower, thrives on neglect, making it perfect for the Midwest climate! Bees, birds and butterflies love this perennial. Coolest thing about this flower? Echinacea tea can be used to fight viruses and infections like the flu and cold. Additionally, they strengthen our immune systems. You can use the flower and plant parts fresh or dried to make tea. As a rule, the flowers generally thrive in full sun to part shade. All in all, what a beneficial plant to have around! For additional Midwest plants and flowers that contain medicinal properties, check out this book that I refer to often, Edible and Medicinal Plants of the Midwest.
- Butterfly weed
Butterfly Weed, scientific name Asclepias tuberosa, known by several other names such as orange milkweed and Indian Paintbrush. This plant can grow in multiple dry environments like prairies, fields and roadsides. Appropriately named, bees and butterflies enjoy pollenating this “weed”. Butterfly weed enjoys bright sunlight and poor soil. The plant is strong and hearty and as a result can withstand our Midwest winter temperatures of -23 degrees!
- Bonus Plant: Hen and Chick Succulent.
By the way, I had to mention this adorable succulent that loves harsh environments and thrives in the Midwest! When deciding on a flower garden, make sure you include this succulent. Check out my post to find out the 5 Reasons the Hen and Chick Plant is awesome for the Midwest.
Final thoughts on flowering plants native to the Midwest
So, there is no doubt that the Midwest highlights amazing flowering plants! As noted earlier, adding native plants to your flower garden and landscape benefits our butterfly and bee friends and their natural habitat. Midwestern native plants, especially drought tolerant, thrive in unfavorable conditions. By the way, the Midwest has a LOT of gorgeous native plants to choose from! However, this list just happens to be the best, in my opinion!