For year-round interest in your landscape, there’s no better choice than perennials. Which ones are the best? Native perennials are beautiful and low maintenance, making them the clear winners. Here are 15 perennials to include in your landscape design in Camp Hill, PA.
What are native plants, and why are they best for the Pennsylvania climate? By definition, native plants are those that grow naturally in an area and existed locally before any settlers arrived.
Natives have many advantages: They are well-adapted to our climate, hardy, easy to care for once established, and prefer less fertile soil (this means little or no fertilizer). But the best reason to choose native perennials could be to preserve Pennsylvania's biodiversity. For neighborhoods filled with exotic (imported) plants and monocultures of lawn, it can be tough for local insects, birds, and wildlife to survive. The more native plants you can have in your landscape, the healthier your landscape is likelier to be.
Although natives have a clear advantage in terms of suitability for the climate, you still need to match their growing needs with the location. This includes soil type, location (sun or shade), and growing room. Always have your soil tested before planting native perennials. Highly fertilized soil is actually not the best choice for perennials. Compost is the best organic matter you can use, for those plants that like richer soils.
Most of all, you wouldn’t want to collect perennials from the wild! This disrupts the ecosystem, and wild-grown plants aren’t always amenable to transplanting. The best source is a reputable nursery.
Here are 15 colorful perennials for a beautiful landscape, categorized by location.
Foam flower: Foot-tall, with white flowers, this perennial loves moist, shady spots.
White wood aster: Beautiful white flowers grace this 2’ tall shade- to partial-shade loving perennial.
Jacob’s ladder/Greek valerian: This lovely pink-blooming plant grows to 10-15” high in moist conditions.
Alumroot: This versatile perennial groundcover is at home in many conditions but prefers shade.
Virginia bluebells: These lovely flowers will grace a moist, shady corner of your landscape.
Columbine: This grows 1-2’ tall, with red and yellow flowers that bloom in spring, and it prefers moist to dry conditions.
Wild geranium: This spring bloomer graces your landscape with its delicate pink flowers.
New England aster: Up to 6’ tall, this lavender/pink flower blooms from August until frost.
Turtlehead: This beautiful white-flowering plant prefers moist conditions such as creek banks.
Bee balm: This purple perennial attracts—you guessed it—bees, which can use all the help we can give them.
Indian grass: This ornamental grass grows 3-8’ tall, and features wonderful fall color.
Little bluestem: Another native ornamental grass that loves sunshine and grows from 3-6’ tall for a pop of fall color.
Black-eyed Susan: This cheerful perennial brightens late-summer/early fall gardens.
Slender mountain mint: This perennial attracts beneficial insects and birds to your garden.
Tall coreopsis: Often used as a back border, this 3-9’ tall perennial blooms all summer.
For Best Results
To give your native perennials the best chance of thriving, group plants that like to be in the same conditions, test your soil and amend as necessary, and nurture them through their first few seasons until they are well established.