15 Top Native Plants of the Pacific Northwest

Make gardening a breeze with these easy-care native plants.

By Kelly D. Norris


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Goat's beard, Aruncus dioicus
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Goatsbeard

    The native version of Astilbe, goatsbeard produces tall plumes of white blooms in early summer. This excellent background plant tolerates a range of soil and light conditions.

    Name: Aruncus dioicus

    Growing Conditions: Sun or shade and well-drained soil

    Size: To 5 feet tall

    Zones: 4-8

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Alpine Strawberry

    Enjoy this groundcover's delicious red fruits in late summer, as well as the charming white flowers. Plant it where it can send out its long runners and form a beautiful colony of rich-green foliage. Or, for extra variety, try 'Variegata', a selection with creamy swirls through the leaves.

    Name: Fragaria vesca

    Growing Conditions: Part-shade and moist, well-drained soil

    Size: To 6 inches tall

    Zones: 4-9

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Broadleaf Lupine

    This top-notch, drought-tolerant evergreen perennial offers silvery leaves and spires of wonderful blue-violet flowers in spring.

    Name: Lupinus latifolius

    Growing Conditions: Full sun and well-drained soil

    Size: To 2 feet tall

    Zones: 6-10

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Camass

    A late-spring-blooming bulb, camass throws up delightful spikes of star-shaped blue flowers. It looks especially good in mass plantings.

    Name: Camassia leichtlinii

    Growing Conditions: Full sun to part shade and moist soil

    Size: To 40 inches tall

    Zones: 5-9

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Blanket Flower

    One of the longest-blooming perennials, blanketflower produces flowers all summer long if you deadhead it. Traditional types have red and yellow flowers, but watch for newer selections that bloom in shades of orange and rust.

    Note: Blanket flowers are short-lived but reseed to continue for many years.

    Name: Gaillardia aristata

    Growing Conditions: Full sun and well-drained soils

    Size: To 2 feet tall

    Zones: 4-10

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Lewisia

    One of the Northwest's most beautiful wildflowers, lewisia bears charming pink, red, and white flowers in spring and summer. Their evergreen foliage is a great winter accent, too.

    Tip: Lewisia needs excellent drainage and does well in rock gardens.

    Name: Lewisia cotyledon

    Growing Conditions: Full sun and well-drained soil

    Size: To 1 foot tall

    Zones: 6-8

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Satin Flower

    This underused, under-appreciated annual offers beautiful flowers with a satiny texture. The blooms appear in shades of lilac, pink, rose, and white and appear through the summer.

    Name: Clarkia amoena

    Growing Conditions: Full sun or part shade and moist, well-drained soil

    Size: To 3 feet tall

    Zones: Annual

8/16
Blue Columbine

    One of the most graceful spring-blooming perennials, columbine is adored by butterflies, hummingbirds, and gardeners alike. It's also easy-to-grow and carefree.

    Name: Aquilegia caerulea

    Growing Conditions: Full sun and moist, well-drained soil

    Size: To 18 inches tall

    Zones: 3-8

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Pacific Bleeding Heart

    This compact shade lover blooms with pinkish white flowers in late spring. Keep it cool and moist and see more flowers on and off though fall. Even when not in bloom, enjoy the gorgeous blue-green ferny foliage.

    Name: Dicentra formosa

    Growing Conditions: Part shade and moist, well-drained soil

    Size: To 1 foot tall

    Zones: 4-10

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Shooting Star

    Shooting star bears delicate, intricate flowers in spring. Unfortunately, this ephemeral goes dormant for the summer after blooming -- so site it with a companion so you don't have a bare spot of soil.

    Name: Dodecatheon pulchellum

    Growing Conditions: Part shade and moist, well-drained soil

    Size: To 15 inches tall

    Zones: 3-7

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Broadleaf Sedum

    Try broadleaf sedum for a tough, drought-tolerant groundcover. This tough plant offers cheery yellow flowers and silvery foliage.

    Name: Sedum spathulifolium

    Growing Conditions: Full sun, and well-drained soil

    Size: To 6 inches tall

    Zones: 5-9

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Oregon Grapeholly

    One of the finest flowering shrubs, Oregon grapeholly offers beautiful evergreen foliage. In spring, it bears clusters of golden-yellow blooms that are followed by blue fruits loved by birds.

    Name: Mahonia aquifolium

    Growing Conditions: Full shade and moist, well-drained soil

    Size: To 4 feet tall

    Zones: 6-9

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Miniature Hollyhock

    Resembling its taller cousin, this miniature plant is beautiful in the middle of the border or as a cut flower. The blooms appear in shades of pink, red, and lavender. One of our favorite selections is 'Brilliant', a variety with lipstick-red flowers.

    Name: Sidalcea oregana

    Growing Conditions: Full sun and moist soil

    Size: To 3 feet tall

    Zones: 4-9

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Fireweed

    Held on tall stalks, fireweed's hot-pink flowers appear in late spring and continue through the summer. It definitely attracts attention -- and hummingbirds.

    Name: Epilobium angustifolium

    Growing Conditions: Full sun and moist, well-drained soil

    Size: To 5 feet tall

    Zones: 3-6

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Tufted Hairgrass

    One of the more elegant ornamental grasses, tufted hairgrass offers soft, fine-textured, green foliage. It makes a great backdrop for other drought-tolerant perennials such as coneflowers and black-eyed Susans.

    Name: Deschampsia caespitosa

    Growing Conditions: Full sun and well-drained soil

    Size: 3-4 feet tall

    Zones: 4-9

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