Plants With a Purpose

The use of native and tolerant plants provides solutions for many situations. These plant communities work together and will help lower maintenance costs, attract wildlife, filter stormwater, tolerate dry and wet conditions and reduce erosion.

Download all Plants With a Purpose as a pdf.

Rain Garden​

Plants that can absorb excess moisture or tolerate standing water for short periods of time as well as thrive during dry periods.

Asclepias incarnata Swamp Milkweed
Acorus – Sweet Flag
Chelone glabra – Turtlehead
Eupatorium – Joe Pye Weed
Hibiscus moscheutos – Mallow
Iris virginica -  Louisiana Iris
Lobelia cardinalis – Cardinal Flower
Monarda – Bee Balm
Myosotis – Forget-me-not
Solidago – Goldenrod
Tradescantia – Spiderwort

Butterfly Garden

Plants that attract and will increase the number and variety of butterflies that visit your garden.

Perennials  

Achillea-Yarrow
Agastache – Hyssop
Asclepias tuberose – Butterfly Weed
Buddleia – Butterfly Bush
Coreopsis-Tickseed
Echinacea – Coneflower
Eupatorium – Joe Pye Weed

Liatris - Gayfeather
Monarda – Bee Balm
Phlox – Garden Phlox
Rudbeckia – Black Eyed Susan
Sedum – Stonecrop
Scabiosa-Pincushion

Annuals  

Cosmos
Heliotrope
Lantana

Nicotiana
Salvia
Zinnia

Hummingbird Garden

Hummingbirds are attracted to red and prefer tubular shaped flowers.

Perennials  

Aquilegia – Columbine
Campanula – Bellflower
Campsis – Trumpet Vine
Heuchera – Coralbells
Lonicera – Honeysuckle Vine

Monarda – Bee Balm
Penstemon – Beard Tongue
Physostegia – Obedient Plant
Veronica

Annuals  

Fuschia
Lantana

Mandeville
Salvia

Shrubs  
Hibiscus syriacus-Rose of Sharon Rhododendron Catawba

 

Drought Tolerant

Plants for hot, dry, sunny areas of the garden. Tolerant of poor soils. These plants require less water and low maintenance.

Perennials

Achillea – Yarrow
Agastache – Hysop
Allium – Flowering Onion 
Artemesia ‘Silver mound’ 
Aster spp.
CalaminthaCarex – Sedge
Caryopteris – Blue Mist Shrub
Delosperm – Ice Plant
Echinacea
Eragrostis – Purple Love Grass
Festuca – Fescue Grass

Gailardia – Blanket Flower
Geum triflorum – Prairie Smoke
Helictotrichon – Blue Oat Grass
Lavender
Nepeta – Catmint
Penstemon – Beard Tongue
Perovskia – Russian Sage
Salvia – Garden Sage
Schizacerium scoparium-Blue Oat Grass
Solidago spp. – Goldenrod
Sporobolus spp. – Prairie Dropseed Grass
Stachys –  Betony / Lamb’s Ear

 Shrubs
 

Diervilla
Sambucus

Yucca

Woodland

Plants that thrive in filtered shade, protection of tall trees and enjoy a rich, well drained soil.

Perennials
 
Asarum canadense-Canadian Ginger
Aquilegia – Columbine
Brunnera - Bugloss
Carex – Sedge
Cimicifuga - Snakeroot
Ferns

Helleborus – Lenten Rose
Hosta
Mertensia – Virginia Bluebells
Podophyllum – Mayapple
Polygonatum – Solomon’s Seal
Trillium grandiflora


 

Plants That Tolerate Poor, Dry Soil

 Trees
 
 

Acer ginnala – Amur Maple
Betula – Birch
Carpinus – Hornbeam
Celtis – Hackberry
Crataegus – Hawthorn


Fraxinus – Ash
Gleditsia – Honeylocust
Gymnocladus – Kentucky Coffee Tree
Syringa reticulata – Japanese Tree Lilac
Viburnum prunifolium – Blackhaw Viburnum


 
 Shrubs

 
 

Aronia – Chokeberry
Berberis – Barberry
Cornus racemosa – Grey Dogwood
Cotoneaster
Juniperus – Juniper
Myrica pennsylvanica – Northern Bayberry
Philadelphus virginalis – Mockorange
Physocarpus – Ninebark


 

Potentilla
Rhus – Sumac
Ribes alpinum – Alpine Currant
Rosa rugosa – Rugosa Rose
Spiraea japonica – Japanese Spirea
Syringa meyeri – Dwarf Korean Lilac
Viburnum dentatum – Arrowwood Viburnum


 Evergreens

 
 Pinus - Pine

 

Plants That Tolerate Shade

Trees

 

Acer palmatum – Japanese Maple
Alnus glutinosa – Black Alder
Amelanchier – Serrviceberry
Carpinus caroliniana – American Hornbeam
Carpinus betulus – European Hornbeam
Cercis Canadensis – Eastern Redbud
Chionanthus virginicus – White Fringe Tree
Cornus alternifolia – Pagoda Dogwood
Cornus florida – Flowering Dogwood


 
Cornus kousa – Kousa Dogwood
Cornus mas – Cornelian Cherry Dogwood
Crataegus viridis – Green Hawthorn
Crataegus crus-galli ‘Inermis’ – Thornless Hawthorn
Fagus sylvatica – European Beech
Hamamelis – Witchhazel
Magnolia


 Shrubs  

Aronia – Chokeberry
Buxus – Boxwood
Clethra – Summersweet
Cornus racemosa – Grey Dogwood
Cornus sericea – Redosier Dogwood
Corylus – Hazelnut
Cotinus – Smokebush
Cotoneaster
Euonymus
Fothergilla
Hibiscus syriacus – Rose of Sharon

Hydrangea quercifolia – Oakleaf Hydrangea
Hypericum – St. Johnswort
Itea – Sweetspire
Kerria – Japanese Kerria
Myrica – Bayberry
Philadelphus – Mockorange
Physocarpus – Ninebark
Rhododendron (deciduous azaleas)
Rhus – Sumac
Ribes – Alpine Currant
Viburnum


 
 Evergreens  

Buxus – Boxwood
Chamaecyparis – False Cypress
Euonymus fortunei – Euonymus
Ilex – Holly
Mahonia – Oregon Grape Holly
Microbiota – Carpet Cypress
Picea abies – Norway Spruce

 

Pinus mugo – Mugo Pine
Pinus strobus – White Pine
Rhododendron
Taxus – Yew
Thuja – Arborvitae
Tsuga canadensis – Canadian Hemlock







Plants That Tolerate Wet Conditions


 Perennials  
 

Acorus – Sweet Flag
Asclepias incarnata – Swamp Milkweed
Caltha – Marsh Marigold
Carex – Sedge
Equisetum – Horsetail Reed Grass
Houttuynia – Chameleon Plant


Iris virginica – Louisiana Iris
Ligularia
Lobelia – Cardinal Flower
Lysmachia – Loosestrife / Creeping Jenny
Tradescantia - Spiderwort
Typha – Cattail


 
 Trees  
 

Alnus – Alder
Amelanchier – Serviceberry
Aronia – Chokeberry
Betula nigra – River Birch
Clethra – Summersweet
Cornus racemosa – Grey Dogwood
Cornus sericea – Redosier Dogwood
Cranberry
Fraxinus pennsylvanica – Green Ash
Gleditisia – Honeylocust
Gymnocladus –  Kentucky Coffee Tree
Hamamelis – Witchhazel


Hypericum – St. Johnswort
Larix – Larch
Myrica pennsylvanica – Northern Bayberry
Platanus acerifolia – Planetree
Populus – Poplar
Quercus palustris – Pin Oak
Salix – Willow
Taxodium – Bald Cypress
Viburnum dentatum – Arrowwood Viburnum
Viburnum opulus – European Viburnum
Viburnum trilobum – Dwarf American


 
 Evergreens  
 

Thuja – Arborvitae


 

Plants That Tolerate Salt

 Trees  
 

Acer platanoides – Norway Maple
Amelanchier – Serviceberry
Celtis – Hackberry
Cercidiphyllum japonicum – Katsura
Fraxinus – Ash
Ginkgo
Gleditsia – Honeylocust
Gymnocladus – Kentucky Coffee Tree


Hamamelis – Witchhazel
Hypericum – St. Johnswort
Larix – Larch
Populus – Poplar
Syringa reticulata – Japanese Tree Lilac
Quercus – Oak
Taxodium distichum – Bald Cypress


 
 Shrubs  
 

Aronia – Chokeberry
Clethra – Summersweet
Cotoneaster acutifolia – Peking Cotoneaster
Hydrangea
Philadelphus virginalis – Mockorange
Potentilla

Prunus x cistena – Purpleleaf Plum
Rhus aromatica – Gro-low Sumac
Ribes alpinum – Alpine Currant
Rosa (shrub types) – Rose
Viburnum dentatum – Arrowwood Viburnum
Viburnum prunifolium – Blackhaw Viburnum


 Evergreens  
Picea pungens – Colorado Spruce
Pinus mugo – Mugo Pine

 Pinus nigra – Austrian Pine


Plants That Tolerate Urban Conditions

* "Urban conditions" refers to the presence of higher levels of pollution due to soot, dust and carbon monoxide, and salt or de-icing products.
** These plants are identified as being more tolerant of drying winds and rapid temperature changes created by building and street micro-climates.

 Trees  
 

Acer ginnala – Amur Maple**
Celtis – Hackberry**
Chionanthus virginicus – White Fringe Tree
Crataegus – Hawthorn
Fraxinus – Ash
Ginkgo
Gleditsia – Honeylocust
Gymnocladus – Kentucky Coffee Tree


Hamamelis – Witchhazel
Magnolia x soulangiana – Saucer Magnolia
Magnolia stellata – Star Magnolia
Malus – Crabapple**
Platanus – Planetree
Pyrus calleryana – Ornamental Pear
Taxodium distichum – Bald Cypress
Tilia – Linden


 
 Shrubs  
 

Aronia – Chokeberry**
Berberis – Barberry
Clethra – Summersweet
Cornus mas – Cornelian Cherry Dogwood**
Cornus racemosa – Grey Dogwood
Cornus sericea – Redosier Dogwood
Cotoneaster
Euonymus


Forsythia**
Myrica pennsylvanica – Northern Bayberry
Ribes alpinum – Alpine Currant
Spiraea x vanhouttei – Vanhoutte Spirea
Viburnum dentatum – Arrowwood Viburnum**
Viburnum
Weigela
Yucca filamentosa – Yucca


 
 Evergreens  
 

Juniperus – Juniper
Pinus Nigra – Austrian Pine


Taxus – Yew


 

 

Turf and Sod

Lurvey Select® Salt-Tolerant Sod

IDOT specified seed blend of turf produced on a silt clay loam soil. Will perform well in low maintenance installations.  Will tolerate more shade than bluegrass turf blends.  Harvested with a soil depth of 5/8" ± 1/4" with 2-1/2" leaf blade length.  Ideal for areas bordering parking lots, highways, roadways, between curb and sidewalks.

 


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