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Midwest Regional Reports

Unique North American Natives for the Midwest

Expand your garden’s palette with these lesser-known native plants

The cheery pink blooms of Tennessee coneflower anchor this garden scene. Photo: Erin Presley

As the weather turns colder in autumn, many Midwesterners are reflecting on the gardening season and already making planting plans for next year—whether to fill a conspicuous gap in the border or to find a place to shoehorn in a new must-have perennial. When thinking of native plants to add to your garden, take a step beyond purple coneflower (Echinacea purpurea, Zones 3–9) and consider these fascinating, top-performing but lesser-known North American natives. While many of these selections are native to areas south of our region, it is notable that heat- and humidity-loving Southern native plants frequently flourish here with our summers becoming increasingly hotter, and some can be surprisingly winter hardy. Expect to find a new favorite garden plant among this list of unique native beauties.

three-leaved stonecrop
The bright, starry flowers of three-leaved stonecrop meander through shade perennials. Photo: Erin Presley

Three-leaved stonecrop (Sedum ternatum, Zones 3–9)

Native range: Much of…

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