Fall Blooming Native Plants September 2021
Terri Litchfield, Native Plant Propagation Committee
Asters and goldenrods are major actors at this time of the year in the native plant garden because of their high value as late season nectar sources for pollinators and migrating butterflies. Goldenrods are represented in three genera, listed here with the number of Ohio native species in each: Solidago (22), Euthamia (2), and Oligoneuron (4). Taxonomically, some of these plants, such as Oligoneuron rigidum (Stiff Goldenrod), have volleyed between these genera multiple times over the years. The Herb Society of America has a great resource on goldenrods, “Essential Guide to Solidago, Notable Native Herb™ 2017: An HSA Native Herb Selection.” Read more HERE.
Likewise, asters fall into multiple genera including Aster, Eurybia, Ionactis, Oclemena, Seriocarpus, and Symphyotrichum. According to the USDA PLANTS Database, there are 36 Ohio native species whose common names include “aster.” One of the most recognizable is New England Aster, Symphyotrichum novae-angliae.
Both goldenrods and asters support over one hundred species of lepidoptera, and are host plants for a number of bee specialists. See Pollen Specialist Bees of the Eastern United States and scroll down to see the large number of times the goldenrod and aster genus names listed above appear. And check out this ODNR Publication to learn more about native plants which support butterflies.
Coneflowers July 2021
Butterfly Weed (Asclepias tuberosa) June 2021
I grew Butterfly Weed from seed for the first time last growing season to attract Monarch butterflies and to provide a food source for their caterpillars. After a 30-day cold and moist stratification period, I started the seeds under grow lights in my basement in early spring and, by May, I had about 5 plants at least 6 inches tall ready for transfer to an east-facing bed I had dedicated in the back of my house. Once planted outdoors, the small plants thrived with little to no extra maintenance from me. Boy, what a spectacle these plants provided! Not only did they provide color interest in my yard, but they also at-tracted so much life to my garden – it was so fun to watch!
Butterfly Weed (Asclepias tuberosa)