Native Prairie Plants for Birds and Butterflies

Bring birds to your garden with these native prairie plants that thrive in full sun and fertile, well-drained soil.

Ohio spiderwort

A favorite nectar source, spiderwort bloms in May and June. Its pretty three-petal flowers are accompanied by grasslike foliage. Place grow 2-3 feet tall, making them ideal for the edge of a prairie garden. Zones 5-8

Butterfly weed

A calling card for Monarchs at other butterflies, butterfly weed is a bold prairie plant with vibrant orange flowers that grow in June and July on 1 to 2-foot-tall stems. Zones 4-9

Rattlesnake-master

Growing a rambunctious four feet tall, rattlesnake-master has prickly, round flowers and smooth, blue-green, swordlike foliage. Take advantage of its sculptural appearance by planting it in a prominent place. Zones 4-8

Fringed loosestrife

Upright or sprawling, this perennial reaches 1-2 feet tall, forming masses of foliage and summer blooms. Native in wetland shores and damp thickets, it prefers wet conditions. Plant it in full sun to light shade. Zones 3-9

Climbing rose

The fragrant, deep summer flowers of the wild climbing rose are followed by scarlet autumn foliage and cherry-red hips. Climing rose grows 5-6 feet tall, and its vigorous canes can be trained up a trellis. Zones 4-8

Golden Alexander

An important nectar source for many beneficial insects, golden Alexander blooms in May on two-and-a-half foot stems. Black Swallowtail caterpillars eat both the leaves and flowers. Zones 4-9

False sunflower

Radiant as the sun, false sunflower unfurls new blossoms for weeks beginning in July. This sturdy, 3- to 5-foot-tall plant has a strong branching habit and will form a large clump of foliage and flowers. Zones 4-9

Starry campion

Fringed white details on starry campion lend an airy look and make it perfect for softening bold stands of prairiegrass from June to August. Plants grow 1-3 feet tall. Zones 3-7

Incorporate Natives Into Your Landscape

Natives are a key element to any garden. Learn how to incorporate native plants and flowers for a tough yet gorgeous landscape.

3 Comments

  1. Guys, that "Golden Alexander" does not look like Golden Alexander -- unless there are 2 plants by that name. And the yellow yarrow is not a sunflower.

  2. your photos don't match the descriptions. That's definitely yarrow not false sunflower and the loosestrife looks more like phlox.

    1. and there are mistakes in the other articles too, like a picture of non-native elderberry, and listing little bluestem as only a mid-western native... glad BHG is promoting natives, but do your research :)

    2. Right, and not sure about the golden alexander, unless it's behind that sedge.

      And "wild rose" could mean a lot of things, would help for a specific name.

    3. I agree.

    4. That’s exactly what I was thinking! That is DEFINITELY garden Phlox without a doubt, and I am pretty sure a couple more are pictured wrong. C’mon B&G....need Editors?

  3. About Spiderwort. It grows wild in every flower bed at my house in Texas. It grows about a foot a day, and is impossible to eliminate. It is choking out everything else I have planted. It is attractive, but not what I want there. I have never een a hummingbird at those flowers.



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