Why choose native plants for your garden?
- Native plants are low maintenance and thrive with little care.
- Native plants are quick to establish.
- Native plants help create wildlife habitats.
- Native plants have resistance to local pests.
- And…native plants provide color.
If you live here in the northwest, you know that gardens are often challenged with multiple light conditions. Variations of full sun, part sun, part shade, and full shade can make it difficult when choosing the right plant. Soil moisture conditions are just as important to be aware of such as, dry, moist, or soggy areas. When purchasing plants at a nursery be sure to read the plant tags, they typically have valuable information, or ask the nursery’s in-house plant expert.
Favorites for Sun to Part Shade
A common situation found in many NW gardens are areas with both sun and part shade due to tall trees or buildings. Many backyard gardeners have difficulty choosing plants for these areas because sun angles change throughout the day and with the seasons. For a reliable selection, below are my top five native plant picks for gardens with sun to part shade.
1) Pacific dogwood – Cornus nuttalli. Deciduous tree, full sun to part shade. White flowers in spring. USDA zones 6 – 7. Sunset zones 3b - 9 and 14 – 20.
2) Vine maple – Acer circinatum. Deciduous tree, full sun to part shade. Fall colors of yellow, orange or red. USDA zones 7 - 8. Sunset zones A3, 2b - 6 and 14 - 17.
3) Pacific rhododendron – Rhododendron macrophyllum. Evergreen shrub, sun to part shade (avoid hot afternoon sun). Rose-Purple flowers in late spring to early summer. USDA zones 6 – 9. Sunset zones best in 4 – 6.
4) Bald hip rose – Rosa gymnocarpa. Deciduous shrub, sun to part shade. Pink flowers in May – June. USDA zones 7 – 9. Sunset zones 4 – 7.
5) Beach strawberry – Fragaria chiloensis. Perennial ground cover, sun to part shade. White flowers in spring sometimes followed by tiny berries. USDA zones 7 – 10. Sunset zones 4 – 24.
Photo credits: The Wild Garden, www.nwplants.com “a non-profit repository of information about plants native to the Pacific Northwest". If you need native plants and live near Gig Harbor, visit Woodbrook Native Plant Nursery. www.woodbrooknativeplantnursery.com
Author: Susan Combs Bauer, Landscape Architect at BauerCombs & Associates, Inc.
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Susan Combs Bauer, Landscape Architect www.bauercombs.com