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Podcast: Let's Argue About Plants

Episode 55: Best Natives

When considering a new plant in the New Year, why not try something that originated from your own backyard?

Some people say plant all native plants. Some people say plant a mix of native and ornamental options. Whichever side you may be on, the plants we highlight today are some stellar selections no matter where they hail from—but they’re all North American natives that we adore. It’s hard to do a show about our experiences with native plants, because what is native here in the Northeast (where we live and make this wonderful podcast) may not be native to your region. We kept that in mind, however, and selected a few options outside of our area of the country—native plants from other parts of North America that have left a lasting impression on us while traveling. Just to be sure we covered all our bases, we asked Andrea DeLong-Amaya, director of horticulture at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center in Austin, Texas (a premier authority on all things native plants), to weigh in and tell us about some of her favorite natives.


Expert testimony: Andrea DeLong-Amaya, director of horticulture at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center in Austin, Texas




Yellow trout lily (Erythronium americanum, Zones 3–8)

Cinnamon fern (Osmundastrum cinnamomeum , Zones 3–9)

Curl-leaf mountain mahogany (Cercocarpus ledifolius, Zones 5b–9)

California flannel bush (Fremontodendron californicum, Zones 9–11)



Bowman’s root (Gillenia trifoliata syn. Porteranthus trifoliatus, Zones 4–8)

Sassafrass (Sassafrass albidium, Zones 4–9)

Vancouveria (Vancouveria hexandra, Zones 5–8)

Ashe’s magnolia (Magnolia ashei, Zones 6–9)


Curl-leaf mountain mahogany
Curl-leaf mountain mahogany


Bowman’s root
Bowman’s root


Ashe’s magnolia
Ashe’s magnolia. Photo: millettephotomedia.com


Yellow trout lily
Yellow trout lily


Cinnamon fern
Cinnamon fern


California flannel bush
California flannel bush


Vancouveria. Photo: millettephotomedia.com






Listen every other Friday (or thereabouts) on iTunes’ podcast app, Stitcher, Spotify, or wherever you get your podcasts!



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