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Ratibida to Virginia Bluebells

Common Name Height (in) Space (ft) Flower Colors Flowering
Ratibida (Coneflower) 18-30 1 Yellow July-August

Prairie ConeflowerFlowers have prominent cones and showy drooping rays; resemble Mexican sombreros. Crushed heads are pungently fragrant; flowers attract butterflies. Leaves are pinnately lobed or divided with 3 or more toothed segments. Prefers full sun; plants tend to be weak and floppy in partial shade. Does better in somewhat lean soils.
 

Ribbon Grass (see Ground Cover)

Common Name Height (in) Space (ft) Flower Colors Flowering
Rudbeckia (Black Eyed Susan) 1-1.5 July-Sept
  `Goldstrum' strain 24-30 Yellow
  Gloriosa Daisy 24-36 Yellow Bicolors

Goldstrum RudbeckiaRudbeckia fulgida `Goldstrum' has mounds of daisy-like flowers on nicely branched stems; yellow with brown centers. Cut back for rebloom; long lasting cut flowers. Attract butterflies. Do well in sun to partial shade and somewhat lean soil. Best planted in masses. Wet early spring soil can shorten life. Don't come true from seed. Very short lived. Borderline in hardiness. Rudbeckia hirta `Gloriosa Daisy' has single or double flowers with a dark base on the ray flowers; good cut flowers. Young plants overwinter much better than older ones.  Do well in sun to partial shade and somewhat lean soil. Powdery mildew can be a problem. Commonly self seeds; short lived plants. `Marmalade' (shorter), `Indian Summer' has large flowers (5-6") but doesn't overwinter well.

Common Name Height (in) Space (ft) Flower Colors Flowering
Russian Sage 36-48 1.5-2 Blue,Purple July-Sept

Russian SagePerovskia atrilicifolia has small two lipped flowers in 12-15 inch sprays above the foliage; soft grayish green leaves are finely divided and arranged on the four sided stems. Highly aromatic when crushed or bruised; bees love. Silky gray seed heads are attractive in fall. Dies back in winter; cut back severely in the spring.  Best in full sun; in shade loses upright form, may become floppy and need staking. Must have good drainage especially where winters are wet; better in less fertile soil. Best grown in groups. Species is a little hardier, more vigorous and has wider leaves; better here.

Common Name Height (in) Space (ft) Flower Colors Flowering
Salvia (Sage) 18-30 1.5 Blue,Pink,Purple June & Aug

East Friesland Hybrid SageSalvia X superba has 4-8" long spikes of small, double lipped flowers on square vertical stems; cut to the ground after bloom. Will regrow and bloom again in fall. Leaves are oval or lance-shaped, coarse in texture, opposite, soft, slightly grayish and usually aromatic. Need well drained soil especially in early spring; tolerate poor alkaline soil. Too much shade, overly rich or moist soil can cause them to be leggy and floppy. Good air circulation helps prevent mildew.

Common Name Height (in) Space (ft) Flower Colors Flowering
Sea Lavender (Statice) 12-24 1-2 Various August

Sea LavenderLimonium latifolium has strap-like, leathery dark green basal leaves and dainty flowers in long sprays. Pick early and dry for winter bouquets. Flowers hold their color for long periods. The richer the soil, the larger the flower heads; may need staking. Likes full sun; tolerant of drought but water in dry weather.
 

Low Growing Sedum (see Ground Cover)

Common Name Height (in) Space (ft) Flower Colors Flowering
Shasta Daisy 12-30 1.5 White June-July

Shasta DaisyLeucanthemum x superbum has coarsely toothed, narrow, lance-shaped leaves with 2-3" daisy-like flowers with yellow centers on upright stems; single or double. Rebloom if dead headed; good cut flower. Prefers full sun to partial shade and moderately fertile soil. More compact plants and nicer flowers if divided frequently. Winter protection is needed; heavy feeders. Wet cold spring soil can shorten life; 3-5 year life span if protected with mulch. Aphids can be a problem. `Alaska' is a good variety; single flowers.

Common Name Height (in) Space (ft) Flower Colors Flowering
Showy Sedum 12-24 1.5-2 Pink, Purple, Red August-Sept

Autunm Joy SedumSedum spectabile is an upright growing plant with light green succulent foliage; red leafed forms are not hardy. Large plate-like flower heads on top of the stem. Leave heads uncut in fall; attractive and holds snow. Favorite of butterflies. Does best with full sun and lean soils. Very drought tolerant; needs good drainage especially in the spring. Don't like to be disturbed. `Autumn Joy' is an excellent cultivar.
 

Common Name Height (in) Space (ft) Flower Colors Flowering
Sneezeweed 24-48 1-1.5 Red, Yellow July-Sept

SneezweedHelenium autumnale has small daisy-like flowers on dark brownish black stems. Pinch in spring to reduce height and increase bushiness; will delay flowering. Stop pinching 6 weeks before flowering. Prefers full sun; fairly tolerant of moist soils and cool temperatures.  Best when grown in groups.
 

Common Name Height (in) Space (ft) Flower Colors Flowering
Snowdrop Anemone 12-18 1 White May-June

Sundrop AnemoneAnemone sylvestris has a mound of dark green foliage and fragrant nodding 2" flowers followed by fluffy white fruits; may rebloom through summer and fall. Prefers sun to partial shade and fairly fertile soil. Needs adequate moisture; likes shelter from hot afternoon sun. Self seeds.

 

Snow in Summer (see Ground Cover)

Common Name Height (in) Space (ft) Flower Colors Flowering
Spiderwort 18-24 1 Various May-July

SpiderwortTrandescantia has narrow, linear leaves along fleshy sprawling stems; blooms are borne in terminal flower heads. Individual flowers last only one day but the number of buds insures that flowering lasts up to 8 weeks. By late summer leaves look rather untidy; cut back for regrowth and possible rebloom. Does well in all light conditions; tolerate poor soil, poor drainage and dry conditions. Rich soil leads to rapid spreading. Will not tolerate long periods of drought.

Common Name Height (in) Space (in) Flower Colors Flowering
Tulip 12-30 3-6 Various April-May

TulipsMany types and colors available. Earliest flowering types tend to be shortest; latest tallest. Flowers last 10 days to 2 weeks; good cut flower. Don't cut foliage back until it has completely dried up. Best when planted in mass; all should be planted at the same depth for uniform flowering time. Does well in sun or part shade; fertilize in fall with bulb food or 5-10-5 fertilizer. Needs dry soil in July and August to survive; won't tolerate poorly drained soil. Mulch or snow cover is beneficial. Plant in October; small bulbs 3-4" deep and larger bulbs 5-6" deep. Larger bulbs flower better. Need at least 3 weeks to root.

Common Name Height (in) Space (ft) Flower Colors Flowering
Veronica (Speedwell) 1-1.5
latifolia (creeping) 6-20 Blue, Purple June-July
spicata(spike) 12-36 Blue, Pink, White July-August

Crater Lake VeronicaHas narrow, sawtooth edged green to gray-green leaves; tiny star-like flowers are borne on graceful sturdy flower spikes. Good cut flowers; dead head to extend flowering. Spikes of taller varieties may droop. Good in mass plantings. Needs adequate moisture and good air circulation; mildew and leaf spot diseases. Does well in full sun and moderately lean soil; rich soil can cause sprawling plants and weak flower stems. `Crater Lake Blue'   is dense with a rounded shape; `Sunny Border Blue'  is a taller spike form with coarser foliage; dead head for July to October bloom.

Vinca minor - Common Periwinkle (see Ground Cover)

Common Name Height (in) Space (ft) Flower Colors Flowering
 Viola 6-12 .5-1 Various May-Sept

Johnny Jump UpViola and Johnny Jump-ups are low growing, tuft or clump forming plants. Johnny Jump-ups have glossy heart-shaped leaves and small pansy-like flowers well above foliage on long stems; fragrant. May bloom all summer if flowers are dead headed and soil is moist and not too hot. Do well in any light condition. May become weedy; short lived plants.
 

Common Name Height (in) Space (ft) Flower Colors Flowering
 Virginia Bluebells 15 1-1.5 Blue, White April-May

Virginia BluebellsMertensia virginianahas soft green foliage with clusters of funnel-shaped flowers; buds are pink but flowers turn light blue when open. Blossoms are in a nodding pattern of one sided clusters on tips of plant stems. Prefers partial shade and medium rich soil. Foliage dries up in early July; don't plant annuals over dormant roots.
 


Todd Weinmann, Extension Horticulturist & Master Gardener Coordinator
Phone: (701) 241-5707
E-mail: todd.weinmann@ndsu.edu

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