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Plant List

Updated May 28 2020

This is the 2020 plant list (scroll down). There will be additions through the season. 

LOCATION: Just north of Elmvale, Ontario, inland from Georgian Bay, north of Barrie, east of Wasaga Beach, south of Midland, west of Orillia. The address is 1186 Flos Rd. 10. Elmvale ON L0L 1P0. 

Do not use GPS to get to our nursery - it will mislead you! Follow directions on this MAP


You may order in advance and arrange to do a curbside pickup.

Call 705-322-2545 or email return.native(at) to make an appointment to pick up an order. Or make an appointment to come and browse. Social distancing will be practiced. 

Payment by e-transfer, cheque or exact cash (no change).
 No credit or debit cards


We will also be selling some of our native plants through Turnview Farm, purveyors of honey, beekeeping products and more. They are located just south of Waverley at 6424 Highway 93. Their store is open 7 days a week. Call Turnview Farm at 705-627-3378 for more information. Link to Turnview website 

- About our plants: All plants are potted and hardy in the Huronia area. We use no pesticides or commercial fertilizers, to ensure that our plants are safe for pollinators and other insects and therefore safe up the ecosystem food chain. Most are grown from seed at the ROTN nursery. Some are sourced from other Ontario native plant propagators. No peat is used in our potting mix, which relieves pressure on the world's dwindling wetlands. The soil-based mix helps your plants accommodate quickly to their natural, non-peat surroundings and over-winter with better protection from frost getting into their root systems.
- About this nursery:
It runs out of the garden of our family home. Think of it as a small boutique operation, with a varied selection of perennial species, some not easily found. 
- Plant sales: no shipping (except for books). Large deliveries can be arranged.
- Please recycle:
We are always happy to have our pots and plastic labels returned.

 Useful reference for lakefront residents: Lake Huron Coastal Dune Plants Guide

*Slideshow photography by Anne McArthur

Services include:
  • Advice on creating an ornamental garden that works for you, your birds, your bees etc...
  • Advice on creating a traditional Medicine Wheel Garden
  • Advice on controlling invasives (See also, what not to plant)
  • Onsite consultations are not being arranged in May because of COVID-19. 
  • Speaker (for when the COVID-19 crisis is over). Topics include native plants, Monarch butterflies, pollinators, birds in your garden, creating habitat, the nature of soil, invasive species and related topics. Fee: $100.
  • Contract growing, contract potting
  • Find-a-plant. We are always interested in trying to track down a native plant if you have a specific request.
Quantities may be limited. Prices subject to change

Annuals & Biennials

Cirsium discolor – Field Thistle
Up to 2 metres. Native thistles are becoming rare on our landscape. Large flowers and abundant nectar attract pollinators, the seed is enjoyed by birds. Purple flower heads consisting of many narrow tubeshaped flowers appear from July to September. A biennial or short-leaved perennial, self-seeds readily on open soil. From August onwards, this plant starts to look the worse for wear. The bees still love it! but it's not for the gardener with conventional aesthetic standards. Full sun, accommodates to a wide range of soil conditions. 1 gal pot $7

Echinocystis lobata - Wild Cucumber
Very attractive climbing vine. Not edible. Deeply lobed leaves, curly tendrils and fragrant frothy white flowers in August that attract pollinators, interesting prickly seedpods that dry out to a delicate filigree. Self-seeds readily, squash-like seedlings are easy to spot in early spring and pull out where not wanted. Cold moist stratification. 3.5''pot $5 

Phaseolus coccineus - Scarlet Runner Bean
The Phaseolus genus originated from the mountains of Central America and travelled up the trade routes to be widely cultivated by the indigenous peoples of Ontario before the Europeans arrived. The Scarlet Runner is one of five main species that was domesticated in pre-Columbian times. It's an ornamental pole vine, with beautful red flowers. Pick beans earlier than the size at which they are offered for sale at stores. That's when the pods are young and tender (but wouldn't travel well). 4'' pot $4 or 3 for $10.


Actaea pachypoda – White Baneberry not yet available 
Up to 70 cm Also known as Doll’s Eyes, for the black-dotted white fruit on red stalks that appear in August. Lovely frothy white flowers in June. Finely dissected grey-green foliage. Deciduous shade (needs sun in spring). Accommodates to a variety of soil conditions. 1/2 gal pot $7

Agastache foeniculum – Anise Hyssop
100 cm approx. Our all-round favourite pollinator plant! Highlighted as a top performer by the Xerces Society. Member of the mint family. Bees and butterflies are irresistibly drawn to these pretty blue-purple flower spikes with leaves that smell and taste of anise (delicious in teas, salads and cooking). Grows into effective clumps, not fussy, not aggressive, self-seeds readily. Flowers early and late, in fact it's one of the last plants to stay in flower in fall, providing sustenance for tardy pollinators. Sun, part shade. 1 gal pot $7

Allium cernuum - Wild Nodding Onion 
20-60 cm. A stand-out among members of the onion family that are grown for their decorative value. Nodding white-pink flowers in July-August. A Carolinian plant that's now rare in the wild, found principally on the Lake Erie islands. Attracts butterflies, bees. Full sun, average soil conditions. 1/2 gal pot $7

Amsonia ciliata - Fringed Bluestar
50-80 cm Clump-forming perennial with clusters of lovely star-like, pale blue flowers. Blooms in June. Attractive narrow leaves turn gold in fall. Not native to Ontario*, but further south on eastern North American continent - as far north as North Carolina. USDA map It is perfectly hardy here in Huronia. Accommodates to a variety of soils. Sun with some shade. 1 gal $7

Anaphalis margaritacea – Pearly Everlasting ADDED
Soft grey foliage offers spring-fall interest, pretty white flowers bloom in August and make a great dried flower. Host plant for the caterpillars of the American Painted Lady butterfly, an ornamental addition to any garden (don't freak out when the caterpillars chew up the plan in mid-summer, it will recover). Shade. 1/2 gal pot $5

Anemone canadensis - Canada Anemone
See under Groundcovers

Anemone cylindrica - Thimbleweed
60 - 100 cm. Small white flowers in early summer, with long-lasting thimble-shaped seedheads in summer and fall that burst into fluffy cottony masses for winter interest, and wildlife food and nesting material. Pleasing deeply divided foliage. Does best in poor soil. Drought tolerant Self-seeds readily. Sun or shade. 1 gal  $7

Anemone acutiloba - Sharp-lobed Hepatica SOLD OUT
One of the first woodland flowers to bloom in spring - such a lovely signal that winter is over. White or mauve flowers with conspicuous stamens and three-lobed mottled semi-evergreen leaves that give it one of its common names, Liverleaf. Shade, part shade. Accommodates to a variety of soils, from moist to dry (in the wild, grows in deciduous forests under moisture-depleting trees like Sugar Maple). 1/2 gal pot $7

Antennaria neglecta - Field Pussytoes
See under Groundcovers

Aquilegia canadensis - Wild Columbine
30-80 cm Flowers in May-June, one of the glories of Ontario's deciduous forests, more glorious also than any other aquilegia. Its delicate hanging flowers have tubular red and yellow petals, flat red sepals and long spurs with yellow anthers. Attractive green foliage. Pollinated by hummingbirds and long-tongued bumble bees. Best in well-drained soil in partial shade but adaptable - grows in sun in dry rocky terrain and poor gravelly soil. Self-seeds. 3.5''pot $5 1/2 gal pt $7

Aralia racemosa – American Spikenard 
120-180 cm Attractive shrub-like plant (it is a herbaceous perennial, dying back each fall) with widely spreading branches of compound, heart-shaped leaves, bearing racemes of small greenish-cream flowers in August that attract large numbers of pollinators, followed by plentiful purple-red berries, edible for humans and wildlife. Dappled or part shade. Moisture preferred but accommodates to range of average soils. Interesting write-up 1/2 gal $9

Argentina anserina - Silverweed Cinquefoil
See under Groundcovers

Artemisia ludoviciana - White Sagebrush
60-80 cm Also known as Silver Wormwood and Western Mugwort. Aromatic pale grey foliage. Prefers poor soil and dry conditions. Can spread aggressively. One of the four medicine plants, used in purification ceremonies (smudging) 1 gal $7

Asarum canadense - Wild Ginger
See under Groundcover

Asclepias incarnata - Swamp Milkweed 
Up to 120 cm. Also known as Rose or Red Milkweed. One of several milkweeds native to Ontario, this one is particularly beautiful, with a round cluster of pale and dark pink blooms in June-July. Don't be put off by the "weed" part of its name – it's elegant, it doesn't spread with underground runners and it's a good plant to have, being a host to the Monarch butterfly (its caterpillars feed only on native Milkweed foliage). A wetland plant, it does require some moisture in the soil. Sun or part shade. 1 gal pot $7

Asclepias syriaca - Common Milkweed

80-100 cm. The perfect Monarch host, a beautiful plant with fragrant dusky pink flowers held in drooping globes from end of June to early August. Attracts a wide variety of pollinators. Dry to moist soil conditions, sun or shade. Spreads - in the right circumstances, but as is pointed out on the Monarch Watch website, being a good colonizer does not necessarily mean that a plant species is a good competitor. In fact, Common Milkweed tends to be out-competed by more vigorous species and disappear as plant succession progresses. 13 cm pot $7

Asclepias tuberosa - Butterfly Weed
40-80 cm. Brilliant orange flowers from June to September make this member of the Milkweed family, also a host to the Monarch butterfly, a most desirable garden plant. Clump-forming - doesn't send out underground runners, but does form a large taproot, making transplanting difficult. Drought-tolerant. Late to break dormancy.  Sun or part-shade. 3.5'' poy $5  

Caulophyllum thalictroides - Blue Cohosh 

30-60 cm Lovely purple blue foliage emerges in spring, turning blue green as the season progresses. Small yellowish flowers turn into bright blue berries. Slow to establish, will spread by underground rhizomes. Needs dappled sunlight or light shade in spring, and shade for the rest of the year as well as abundant organic matter from decaying leaves and other plant materials. 1/2 gallon pot $7

Chelone glabra - White Turtlehead 
30-90 cm Spikes of white flowers in August- September, the distinctive shape of the flower gives the plant its common name. Narrow lance-shaped leaves. Larval host for the Baltimore Checkerspot butterfly.  Visited most frequently by worker bumblebees and hummingbirds -  bees must push their way into the flower by forcing open the upper and lower lips to access the nectar. Full sun or part shade. Some moisture needed in the soil. 1 gal pot $7

Conoclinium coelestinum - Blue Mistflower
70-90 cm Native to points south and west of the Great Lakes* - USDA map. Beautiful flat-top clusters of delicate powder-blue flowers that look like Ageratum. Closely related to the white-flowered Bonesets (Eupatorium spp.), and is sometimes referred to as Eupatorium coelestinum. Good cut flower, rain garden plant. Full sun to light shade - prefers moist conditions, can spread aggressively in moist, open ground. 1 gal pot $7

Coreopsis grandiflora - Large-flowered Tickseed 
60 cm Showy yellow flowers from June to September (remove deadheads to prolong blooming), sun or part sun, likes good drainage in a variety of soils. Attracts pollinators. 3.5'' pot $5

Coreopsos tripteris - Tall Coreopsis
A tall (2 metres plus), picturesque plant with long stems that sway in the wind. Daisy-like pale yellow flowers with maroon centres from July to September. Accommodates to most soils, good in sand. Sun. 3.5'' pot $5

Echinacea purpurea – Purple Coneflower
70 cm A classic: large pink daisy-like flowers with orange-bronze centres on erect stems. One of the joys of an Ontario summer. A nectar plant that's visited by many pollinators, including hummingbirds and Monarch butterflies. Sun or light dappled shade. Average soil. 1 gal $7

Eupatorium perfoliatum – Common Boneset
100-160 cm Showy clusters of white flowers really brighten up a shady spot. Leaves are "perfoliated," meaning they clasp the stem. This made it a folk remedy, based on the idea that a poultice of this plant could help broken bones knit together. Blooms August-October. Pollinator plant. Shade, part shade. 3.5'' pot $5

Eurybia divaricata - Wood Aster
see under groundcovers

Eurybia macrophylla - Large-leaved Aster
Approx 80 cm Large white flowers in flat-topped flower heads, mainly white, some with tinges of blue or lavender. Blooms in August-September.  Shade or part shade. 1 gal $7 

Euthamia graminifolia – Flat-topped Goldenrod
30-150 cm. Also known as Lance-leaved or Grass-leaved Goldenrod. In fact, in a different genus to other familiar Goldenrods that are in the Solidago genus (both are in the Asteraceae family). Pretty fragrant pale yellow flowers and a delicate form make this a desirable garden plant. Most Goldenrods (although not the shade ones that are also listed here) do seed, spread and try to take over. While this is not the worst offender, it is a spreader, and - like the others - a gorgeous celebration of the end of summer. Sun, average soil. 1 gal pot $7

Eutrochium maculatum – Spotted Joe Pye Weed
180 cm plus Formerly known as Eupatorium maculatum. One of the most glorious native plants in our area, Joe Pye grows six feet tall and is covered with a cloud of dusky pink flowers in July and August. Attracts hummingbirds, butterflies and pollinators. Later, the fluffy seeds are much relished by white-crowned and white-throated sparrows as they pass through on their fall migration. A wetland plant that accommodates to a variety of soils. But leaves will scorch if conditions are too dry. Sun.3.5'' pot $5 1 gal pot $7 1.5 gal $9

Filipendula rubra - Queen of the Prairie
1 to 1.5 m Absolutely fabulous! 'cotton candy' panicles of fragrant pink buds and flowers (with pink petals, long white stamens and pink anthers). The large-lobed bright green leaves are also fragrant. A plant of moist meadows that will take to rich garden soils. Needs space, this is a spreader - by rhizomes. Not an Ontario native* although widel naturalized in this province, Queen of the Prairie comes to us from south and west of the Great Lakes (USDA map). Full sun. 1 gal $9

Fragaria virginica – Wild Strawberry
See under groundcovers

Geum rivale - Water Avens not yet available
25-50 cm. Nodding reddish purple flowers in June and July attract bees and other pollinators. A denizen of slow-draining or wet soils. Aromatic root, hairy stem, compound leaves. Rhizome spread forms slowly expanding clumps. Sun or part shade. 1 gal $7

Helenium autumnale – Helen's Flower

Up to 1 m Also known as Sneezeweed (no, it won't make you sneeze). Yellow daisy-like flowers with pleasingly recurved petals in July-August, attracts bees and butterflies. Full sun, accommodates to a variety of soils. 1/2 gal $5

Helenium flexuosum - Purple-headed Sneezeweed 
45-90cm. Like Helen's Flower (H. autumnale), with the same attractive recurved yellow petals, but a little shorter, and distinguished by its decorative purple centres. Prefers moisture. An Eastern Seaboard native south of the Great Lakes, but not considered native in Huronia; the USDA map shows it to be naturalized as far north as Hudson Bay. * 3.5''pot $5

Helianthus divaricatus - Woodland Sunflower  
90 cm plus Bright yellow daisy-like flowers, about 4 cm across, from July to September. Lights up difficult-to-plant dry shady beds and attracts a variety of pollinators, which makes it an excellent plant for the woodland garden. Larval host for the Silvery Checkerspot, Gorgon Checkerspot and Painted Lady butterflies. Spreads by underground rhizomes, is said to be aggressive, but I have found it a boon if grown in shade.  1 gal $7

Helianthus giganteus - Giant Sunflower
2 m. A dramatic narrow-leaved perennial sunflower with numerous pale yellow flowers on reddish stems, July-October. Likes full sun, moist ground. Use in naturalizing, not in perennial beds, as it spreads and self-seeds aggressively. Like Jerusalem artichokes, produces edible tubers (but fewer and smaller).  From Heather Holm’s Bees: 'Sunflowers have a high wildlife value as they support many species of specialist bees, several moth and butterfly species and produce seeds sought after by songbirds.' 3.5'' pot $5

Heliopsis helianthoides - Oxeye Sunflower  
1 m approx Also known as Smooth Oxeye. A striking yellow daisy, member of the aster family, not to be confused with the invasive, non-native white oxeye daisy. Grows in dry soils in sun or part shade. Flowers June-September. Great meadow plant. Attracts butterflies and pollinators. Deer resistant, juglone (walnut) resistant. 3.5'' pot $5

Hypericum ascyron - Giant St. John's Wort
70 cm Robust shrub-like perennial with large yellow flowers bearing many stamens that produce large quantities of pollen (no nectar); attracts bees and butterflies. Leafcutter bees cut pieces of leaf for lining and dividing brood cells. Part shade, moist soil. 3.5'' pot $5

Iris versicolor – Northern Blue Flag Iris
See under Pond Plants

Lobelia cardinalis - Cardinal Flower
60 cm Glorious spikes of scarlet flowers from July-September. The best red! Picky about where it will grow. Needs moisture and sun or part sun. Pollinated by hummingbirds, butterflies and bees. 3.5''pot $5 

Lobelia siphilitica - Great Blue Lobelia 
Up to 90 cm Clump-forming perennial with dense spikes of clear blue tubular flowers from August-October. Attracts bees, hummingbirds, butterflies. Full to part sun, average to moist soil. 3.5'' pot $5

Lupinus perennis - Wild Lupine  
40-60 cm Lovely spikes of blue flowers in June. This is the host plant for the caterpillars of the Karner Blue and the Dusky Wing, two butterflies that are extirpated in Ontario, as well as for the endangered Frosted Elfin. Grows in dry sand, tolerant of a wide range of soils. Full sun. 3.5'' pot $5

Mentha arvensis - Wild Mint
65 cm Aromatic foliage, fragrant mauve flowers that bloom July-September in whorls around the axils of the leaves. Attracts small bees, wasps, butterflies. Sun or part sun, moist to average soil. Can be used to make tea. 1 gal $7

Mertensia virginica - Virginia Bluebells
30 cm A magical woodland plant, producing dramatic blue bells in May, and then going dormant and disappearing until next year (so mark the spot). Shade. Adapts to a variety of soil conditions. Spreads through shade by self-seeding. 3.5'' pot $5 

Mimulus ringens - Monkey Flower

60-100 cm Bushy plant with pretty mauve flowers that bloom for about a month some time from late June to mid-August. Needs consistent moisture, good for a rain or bog garden. Sun 1 gal pot $7

Monarda didyma - Oswego Tea Beebalm
80-100 cm approx Also known as Crimson Beebalm or Red Bergamot – striking red blooms on tall stalks, aromatic foliage, a great favourite with humming birds. Full sun, will tolerate some shade, average to moist soil. Spreads slowly. 1 gal pot $7

Monarda fistulosa – Wild Bergamot Beebalm
60-80 cm approx Also known as Bee Balm. Soft mauve flowers, sweetly scented, attractive to pollinators - bees, butterflies and hummingbirds. A Xerces Society favourite. Easy to grow, flowers all summer long, self-seeds nicely. 1 gal pot $7

Monarda punctata – Dotted Beebalm
30-60 cm Also known as Spotted Horsemint. Delightful rosettes of creamy tubular flowers with maroon dots occur in whorls, forming a dense, elongated spike at the end of the stem or from leaf axils, each whorl resting on conspicuous leafy bracts (think poinsettia, only in light pink or lavender instead of red). Aromatic foliage can be used for tea. Ontario Wildflowers offers this advice: “A plant for really hot and dry areas. It requires open sandy soil to be happy and reseed, since it is short lived. Because it is rare (it is only found in two places in the wild in Ontario) it should not be planted in the wild.” Drought-tolerant pollinator plant. The Great Golden Digger Wasp is one of its visitors. 1/2 gal pot $7

Oenothera fruticosa – Narrow-leaved Sundrop
To 60 cm No-problem plant with bright yellow flowers that flourishes in poor soil. Member of the Evening Primrose family, but blooms in daytime. Drought-tolerant. Spreads. Shallow-rooted so easily controlled. Blooms June-July. Visited by hummingbirds, butterflies and many insects (including its own bee - the native Lasioglossum oenotherae bee which is an Evening Primrose specialist and will collect pollen only from plants of this family. No Oenothera, no bee). Songbirds visit for seeds. Sun or shade 1/2 gal $5

Opuntia humifusia - Eastern Prickly Pear Cactus not yet avaiable
Up to 25 cm  Ontario’s only native cactus. A low-spreading succulent, with dramatic large pale yellow flowers in June, followed by fruit that turn red in fall. Natural populations are listed as endangered provincially and federally. Needs full sun, well-drained sand or gravel. Keep clear of weeds, handle with care or prickles will get you. 1/2 gal pot $10

Packera paupercula - Balsam Ragwort
35 cm Bright yellow daisy-like flowers with recessed petals grow from a basal rosette. This is a plant found in the Carden Alvar in challenging conditions of little soil, intense drought and seasonal flooding. Also said to prefer moist sandy soil and full or partial sun. Also to be ideal for rock gardens and xeriscaping. 1/2 gal pot $7

Parnassia glauca – Fen Grass-of-Parnassus
20-40 cm Single brilliant white flowers on stems that rise above a basal rosette. Grows in bogs, fens, wet meadows, dune systems (including Wasaga Beach, in the wet, ungroomed areas). Waxy white petals delicately traced with pale green veins that act as a visual cue to guide bees and other pollinators to the nectar. One of the bees, Andrena parnassiae, is a specialist pollinator of this plant - which is not a grass. The name comes from a member of the same family (Saxifrage) that grows on Mount Parnassus. This is a little gem for a rain garden or other wet habitat. Needs full sun, consistently moist soil containing some gravel or sand, and protection from competition. 1/2 gal pot. $10 

Penstemon digitalis – Foxglove Beardtongue
80 cm approx Penstemons are one of the most beautiful North American flowering species. Clusters of white bell-shaped flowers on tall erect stems. It's not a member of the foxglove family. Clump-forming, drought-tolerant, sun or part sun/shade, average soils. 1/2 gal pot $7 

Penstemon hirsutus – Hairy Beardtongue
60 cm approx Lavender bell-shaped flowers, gets its name from the hairs on the stem. A little shorter than the Foxglove Beardtongue, clump-forming, drought-tolerant. Sun or part sun/shade, average soils. 1/2 gal pot $7

Physostegia virginiana - Obedient Plant
100-130 cm Mauve or white flower spikes. So named because the flowers can be bent into position and will stay that way for a while. Another name is False Dragonhead. An underrated plant that is very effective at the back of the border and is always buzzing with pollinators - hummingbirds, butterflies, bees, etc. Spreads but relatively easy to control as it is shallow rooted. 1 gal pot $7

Podophyllum peltatum - Mayapple SOLD OUT 
30 to 45 cm Also known as Mandrake. Beautiful colonies of this plant spread along the edge of woodlands (the right spot is in sun for part of the day, and shade for the rest). The large umbrella-like leaves come up in early May. You have to lean in to see the pretty white flower that then appears, dangling underneath the leaf. A large pale green fruit follows - reportedly edible if ripe but use caution and research well - all other parts of the plant are toxic, as is the unripe 'apple.' Partial sun, shade  10 cm pot $7

Polygonatum biflorum - Great Solomon's Seal
45 cm approx. So beautiful in spring, when the double white bells hang down from the elegant arch of the stem. Later, a dark blue berry forms, to be enjoyed by birds. The perfect shade plant. Adaptable to a wide variety of soil conditions. 1/2 gal $7

Polygonum pennsylvanicum - Pennsylvania Smartweed
Attractive pink bottle-brush shaped flowers in June. The large seeds are an important food source for birds. This plant is said to be invasive, but I find it's easily controlled if planted in hot dry sun; it's a wetland plant, so the dry conditions keep it in check. Of course, if you have a wetland, let 'er rip. 1/2 gal $5

Pycnanthemum virginianum - Virginia Mountain Mint
30 to 90 cm - Grown for its wonderful fragrance, medicinal and culinary uses, but most of all because it is an amazing nectar plant, beloved by pollinators for its densely packed clusters of white flowers with purple dots and long bloom time (July-September). A spreader, not as aggressive as mint, but give it its own space. The bees and butterflies will be grateful. Full to partial sun, moist to average soil. 1/2 gal  pot $7

Ratibida pinnata - Grey-headed Coneflower 
50-150 cm A tall plant of South-western Ontario’s tall grass prairie. Blooms June-September. Showy flower - with a prominent central disk, which is initially light green or gray and later turns dark brown, and extremely reflexed yellow petals. Attracts birds, butterflies, bees. Thrives in dry soil, excellent for xeriscaping. Sun or part shade. 3.5'' pot $5

Rudbeckia hirta - Black-eyed Susan

60-80 cm The cheerful face of summer in Ontario. Short-lived perennial. Self-seeds. Full sun to part shade, most soils. 1 gal $7

Ruellia humilis - Wild Petunia
45 cm Not a petunia. Gorgeous pale lilac petunia-shaped flowers from July to October make this plant a stand-out. Shape is a neat clump, leaves and stems are hairy. Self-seeds.  Native to points south of the Great Lakes* (USDA map). Full sun, flourishes in dry conditions in any type of soil. 1/2 gal $7

Silphium perfoliatum - Cup Plant  
2 to 2.5 m One of the tallest native perennials.. Showy yellow daisy-type flowers from July-October. Drought-tolerant. Leaves clasp the stem to make a cup that holds rainwater for several days where it is used by songbirds, butterflies and other insects. Develops deep roots. Accommodates to a variety of soils. Sun. 1 gal $7

Solidago caesia - Blue-stemmed Goldenrod ADDED
30-90 cm One of two shade-loving Goldenrods on this list, an elegant plant, blooms September to end of season. Yellow flowers appear in clusters along the wiry, often blue-green, stalks. Attracts birds, butterflies, bees. Does not spread aggressively. Dry to average moisture in loamy soil (forest floor conditions). Shade or partial shade. 3.5'' $5

Solidago canadensis - Canada Goldenrod not yet available
1.5 m Goldenrods are the number one herbaceous plant in terms of the number of pollinators they support - so finding the right spot for this species will enhance the ecological value of of your garden. Ragweed, a native that flowers at the same time, is the one responsible for people's allergies, although Goldenrod, being conspicuous, gets unfairly blamed. Canada Goldenrod has large branching heads of tiny yellow flowers. One of the most common Goldenrod species in Ontario, it spreads aggressively and creates a riot of colour in summer and fall. Great for naturalizing. Not advised for small gardens where plants are required to play nicely. 1 gal $7

Solidago flexicaulis - Zigzag Goldenrod 
45-90 cm Yellow flowers on a zig-zag stem in September-October. Moist soils from sand to loam - forest floor conditions. Important source of nectar for many insects. Very shade-tolerant. Spreads by underground rhizomes, forming a mass in the woodland garden. 3.5'' pot $5 1 gal pot $7

Solidago graminifolia – Flat-topped Goldenrod
See Euthamia graminifolia.

Symphyotrichum novae angliae - New England Aster
85 cm Also known as Michaelmas Daisy – the essential fall flower, much loved by pollinators feeding up before winter. Drought-tolerant, salt-tolerant. Blooms from September to October. Sun, part shade. A lovely purple to offset the yellows of many fall-flowering plants. Accommodates to a variety of soils. 1 gal $7

Symphyotrichum laeve - Smooth Aster ADDED
30-90 cm With showy blue flowers surrounding a yellow disk that darkens to a purplish red, this is one of the most attractive blue asters. Light  green foliage is smooth, almost waxy. Full to part sun in moist to  medium dry soil conditions. 3.5'' pot $5 

Symphyotrichum urophyllum - Arrow-leaved Aster
30-90 cm Small white flowers (occasionally pale blue to lilac) in dense clusters, yellow discs turn purple. Blooms August-October. Great pollinator plant. Partial sun. Variety of soils. 3.5'' pot $5

Tiarella cordifolia – Foamflower  
See under groundcovers 

Tradescantia ohiensis - Ohio Spiderwort
120 cm Very attractive to bees and other pollinators. Lovely blue three-petalled flowers with showy yellow stamens open early morning, closed by afternoon. Lance-like foliage. At its best in June, but continues flowering through summer and into fall, albeit less intensely. Develops a spreading fibrous root system that is hard to dig up - so plant it where it is to stay. Self-seeds. Good for a prairie planting, erosion control and bank stabilization. Most at home in full sun and well-drained  sandy soil, but adapts easily to part shade and a full range of soil conditions. 10 cm pot $5

Verbena hastata – Blue Vervain not yet available
60-180 cm Candelabra-like inflorescences of slender spikes of purple-blue flowers, often seen in ditches. Short-lived perennial, will self-seed. Attracts butterflies and bees. Larval host for the Common Buckeye Butterfly. Sun, average to poor soil, needs some moisture. 1 gal pot $7

Verbena stricta - Hoary Vervain  
60-90 cm A standout showy vervain with spikes of large blue or purple flowers in July-September. A preferred nectar plant for butterflies and bees. Flourishes in arid conditions - needs sun and sandy or dry soil. Drought tolerant. (Very different habitat requirements to those of Blue Vervain, which prefers more loamy moist conditions). 3.5'' pot $5 1 gal $7

Vernonia gigantea- Tall Ironweed
160 cm plus or minus. An impressive addition to the fall garden. Clusters of small fluffy, deep purple, composite flowers – August to October - attract pollinators. Tall stems bearing attractive tawny-golden seedheads remain standing all winter and are a resource for birds. Grows in damp in the wild but still flourishes in dry soil. Pamper it with a mulch of rotted leaf litter. 1 gal pot $7

Zizia aurea – Golden Alexanders
Up to 75 cm. Brilliant yellow flower umbels in May and June resemble Queen Anne's Lace (both are members of the carrot family and like others in the family are a host plant for the Black Swallowtail butterfly). Attracts pollinators. Drought tolerant. Sun or part shade, grows in a wide range of soils. 1/2 gal pot. $7

Grasses & Sedges

Andropogon gerardii - Big Bluestem
140-180 m. One of the dominant species of the North American tallgrass prairie prior to settlement. Highly ornamental with grey-green foliage turning bronze-red in autumn. Appearing in August, the inflorescences consist of three-pronged purplish spikelets from which depend pretty contrasting yellow anthers and resemble (some say) a turkey’s foot, giving it one of its alternative names – Turkeyfoot. Deeply rooted, forms a dense clump. A high-protein forage species, also being considered as potential feedstock for ethanol production. Songbirds eat the seeds, grasshopppers, katydids and other insects eat the foliage. Drought-tolerant. Full sun to part shade, accommodates to a wide variety of soils. 1 gal $7

Bouteloua curtipendula - Side Oats Grama

40 - 75 cm Arching narrow blue-green leaves turn bronze in fall. Spaced out floral spikes hang from one side of the stems, turning from pale green to purplish red to light tan. Found in mixed grass prairies. Fed on by grasshoppers and various bugs, seeds consumed by birds. In areas with little competition, can form a dense sod. Full sun, various soils including gravel. Drought tolerant. 10 cm pot $7

Carex muskingumensis - Muskingum Sedge
40-100 cm. Also known as Palm Sedge. Native to the Great Lakes region. Beautiful form and lovely glossy green foliage which branches out from the main stem, resembling palm fronds. Native to wooded lowlands. Prefers moist soil and will grow in shallow water. Full sun sun to part shade. Spreads. 1/2 gal $7

Carex hystericina - Porcupine Sedge
100 cm An attractive sedge of marshes and wet meadows with a bristly flower spike, provides food for many species of wetland birds. Will grow in average dry soil. Full sun 8.5 cm pot $5

Chasmanthium latifolium - Northern Sea Oats not yet avaialble
60-150 cm A lovely grass with arching panicles of flat drooping spikelets in late summer that start a light green and turn a purplish bronze in fall. Great in dried flower arrangements. Leave foliage in place over winter to add interest and protect crowns from cold. Self-seeds and spreads vigorously by underground rhizomes. Prefers partial shade, moist conditions. 10 cm pot $7

Elymus canadensis – Canada Wild Rye
1.2 m A native grass that grows in riparian woodlands, many types of forest, lakeside sand dunes, and tallgrass prairie. Arching stems are weighted by the nodding, whiskery inflorescences that appear in August. Can be used for stabilizing eroded areas. Seeds feed birds. Full to part sun. Accommodates to a variety of soil conditions. 1 gal $7

Elymus hystrix - Eastern Bottlebrush Grass presently not available 
60 to 120 cm Sometimes called (erroneously) Hystrix patula. A clump-forming woodland native that looks great in the shade garden. Attractive seedheads resembling bottlebrushes appear from July onwards, Can be used in dried arrangements. Medium to loam soil. Part to full shade. 10 cm pot $6

Hierochloe odorata - Sweet Grass temporarily out of stock
Aromatic grass, grows to about 20 cm (8 inches), spreads vigorously through underground rhizomes. One of the four medicine plants, used in North American indigenous purification ceremonies (smudging). 1/2 gal $6 

Panicum virgatum - Switchgrass presently not available 
70 cm A plant of the tallgrass prairie in Ontario, adaptable to many soil types and conditions, used for sand dune stabilization, soil erosion control and wildlife habitat. Delicate  airy panicles turn bronze in fall. 1 gal $7

Sisyrinchium montanum – Blue-eyed Grass
See under perennials

Schizachyrium scoparium - Little Bluestem
70 cm Another of the dominant species of the tallgrass prairie. Finely textured clumping grass with a blue-green summer colour. Purple-bronze flowers in August. In fall through winter, fluffy silvery seed heads on grass that turns a rosy rust colour. Adapts to most soils, except for wet or highly fertile ones. Full sun. Drought tolerant. Cut to the ground in late winter to early spring. 1/2 gal pot $7

Sorghastrum nutans – Indian Grass

100-140 cm A dramatically beautiful tallgrass prairie plant, with bronze spikelets in June from which tiny golden flowers depend. Deep-rooted, clump-forming, great fall colour and continuing winter interest. Major wildlife value – various species of grasshopper (an important food for many songbirds) feed on the foliage. Birds consume the seeds and use the foliage for nesting material and cover. Sun. Accommodates to a variety of soils. 3.5'' pot $5

Spartina pectinata - Prairie Cord Grass
1.2-2.1 m A dominant grass of the wet prairies. Dramatically tall wth gracefully arching foliage. Spreads rapidly by rhizomes, making it useful for wetland restoration and erosion control. Provides valuable cover and sometimes food for gamebirds, songbirds and small mammals. Interesting fall colour. Showy seedheads attract birds. Pioneers and aboriginal peoples used it for thatching their dwellings and making rope and cord. 13.5 cm pot $7

Pond Plants

Acorus americanus - Sweet Flag
30-90 cm A pond plant with a curious pale yellow flower. The straplike leaves are aromatic, the root is favoured by muskrats. Sun to part shade, moist to wet soil. 1 gal pot $7

Carex muskingumensis - Muskingum Sedge
See under Grasses and Sedges

Iris versicolor – Northern Blue Flag Iris 
60-90 cm A plant for the edge of the pond, strappy foliage, elegant blue flowers with a yellow highlight, blooms from May to August. Attracts bees, hummingbirds. 1/2 gal $5


Cystopteris bulbifera - Bulblet Fern
60 cm Graceful rock-loving fern that will also grow in average soil in part sun / part shade. Round bulblets form on the light green fronds and can fall to grow into a new plant. 1/2 gal pot $7

Matteuccia struthiopteris – Ostrich Fern
75-125 cm A tall, striking fern that works well in formal gardens. Moist shade, but adaptable to many conditions. A vigorous spreader - don't plant unless you can give it space to run. Coiled spring shoots are edible (remove bronze-coloured sheath and boil in 3 waters). Sun, shade or part shade.1 gal $7 

Onoclea sensibilis – Sensitive Fern
Up to 50 cm Its sensitivity is to frost, its fronds will wither at the first touch, but the plant is hardy and will be back in spring. Moist shade or part shade. Spreads. 1/2 gal $7  


Anemone canadensis - Canada Anemone
30-60 cm Charming white flowers, good foliage with deeply cut sharply toothed leaves, blooms from late May to early July. Spreads aggressively - don't plant unless you can give it space to run, or can contain it, like mint. Medium to moist soil, sun or shade. 1/2 gal $5

Antennaria neglecta - Field Pussytoes
15-30 cm Low growing spreader has white flowers resembling a cat’s paw and grey foliage. Blooms from late April to early June and attracts many pollinators. Host plant for the American Painted Lady butterfly. Prefers full sun, sand or average dry soils but accommodates to a variety of conditions. Works in rock gardens, xeriscapes, can thrive in lawns (delay mowing until caterpillar development is complete). 10 cm pot $4

Argentina anserina - Silverweed Cinquefoil 
25 cm Previously known as Potentilla argentina. Low-growing, attractive compound foliage with silvery hairy underside, spreads aggressively with red runners, yellow flowers from June to September. Attracts bees. This is a pioneer plant species that helps stabilize wetlands, dunes, and beaches. So, preference is for sandy or gravelly soil, but will accommodate to average conditions. Salt tolerant. Leaves and roots are said to be edible. 1/2 gal pot $7

Asarum canadense - Wild Ginger
30 CM Beautiful rounded leaf with a satin sheen, this is an excellent groundcover for shade. You have to lift the foliage to find the intriguing tricorn maroon flowers that appear in April, lying close to the ground. Ants disperse the seed. Flourishes in moist conditions but will do fine in dry ground. Shade. 1/2 gal $7

Eurybia divaricata - Wood Aster 
Also known as Heartleaf Aster. Blooms late summer and early fall in dry shade – few plants are this accommodating. Spreads into large clumps. The clouds of white stars contrast sharply with its wiry black stems and show up well in shade. Shade, part shade. 1/2 gal $7

Fragaria vesca – Wild Strawberry
A low-growing, spreading groundcover. Accommodates to average soils, from sand to clay to loam. Good pollinator plant. Sun or shade. Produces tiny fragrant fruit in sun. 10 cm pot $5

Hydrophyllum virginianum - Virginia Waterleaf 
20-50 cm A low-growing woodland plant with clusters of pretty blue (sometimes white) flowers in May and June, deeply divided foliage. Shade or part shade, some moisture preferred. Leaves are said to be edible, raw or cooked, best when picked young. Spreads readily by seed and rhizome. 3.5'' pot $5

Tiarella cordifolia – Foamflower  
15 cm (5 inches). An attractive woodland groundcover that spreads slowly by runners. White or pale pink flower spikes create a soft cloud-like effect mid-May to early June. Charming maple-shaped leaves offer continuing interest into fall. Shade or part shade. Average soil (prefers moisture but does fine in dry shade). 1/2 gal $7


Clematis virginiana - Virgin’s Bower
Up to 6 m Woody vine with clusters of pretty white flowers from June to September and fluffy seedheads that persist to provide winter interest. Prefers moist soil in sun or part shade. 1/2 gal $7

Echinocystis lobata - Wild Cucumber
See under Annuals

Parthenocissus quinquefolia - Virginia Creeper
Beautiful five-lobed leaves that turn brilliant red in fall. Virginia Creeper is not destructive of masonry and adds a level of cooling insulation in summer. It's good nesting habitat and the berries are a high-quality food for birds. A vigorous grower that does have invasive tendencies – but easy to pull out where not wanted. 1 gal $7


Aronia melanocarpa - Black Chokeberry
1-2 m Multi- stemmed shrub, good hedging material, salt tolerant. White flowers tinged with pink in June, glossy green foliage turning deep red in fall, with dark blue berries for which many claims are made regarding health-promoting properties. Good for wildlife. Prefers moist conditions, adaptable to most soils. 60 cm 1 gallon $9

Cornus alternifolia – Pagoda Dogwood
See under Small Trees

Cornus sericea - Red Osier Dogwood

1m Noted for red stems that look great in winter against snow. Clusters of white flowers in spring. White berries. Wildlife value. Excellent for erosion control. Sun. 1 gal $7

Rubus odoratus – Purple-flowering Raspberry
1 m An excellent shrub with large well-shaped aromatic foliage, fragrant deep pink flowers from June to September. Edible berries (not as sweet as cultivated varieties, but enjoyed by birds). Spreads. Sun, some shade. 1 gal $10

Salix bebbiana – Bebb’s Willow
2-4 m Also known as Beaked Willow or Diamond Willow, the latter name due to a fungus that creates diamond-shaped patterns in the wood which is then prized for canes and other ornamental craftwork. Silvery grey foliage, fast–growing. Larval host for Mourning Cloak and Viceroy butterflies. Sun or part sun, most soils, moist or wet. 1 gal 40-60 cm $5 

Small Trees

Acer pensylvanicum - Striped Maple
8 m with a spread of up to 6 m This understory tree (widespread in the white pine forest of Tiny Township) gets its name from the bark’s attractive vertical stripes. Also known as Moose Maple, a reference to the fact that deer and moose like to browse on the twigs in winter - so if these mammals are an issue, protect the lower part of the tree with deer netting or burlap until it is tall enough. Its large, three-lobed leaves turn lemon-yellow in fall. Green flowers and, later, winged seeds hang in clusters. Moist acidic sandy soil, shade or part shade. 2 m height 2 gal pot $54

Aescula Glabra – Ohio Buckeye 

9-12 m Showy yellow flowers in May-June are pollinated by the Ruby-throated Hummingbird and various long-tongued bees. Attractive compound leaves and shiny brown ‘conker’ nuts in prickly husks. This is the North American cousin of the European Horse Chestnut and, as with that tree, all parts are toxic to humans and other mammals. Moist, humusy soil in sun or part shade. 1 gal 20 cm $9 

Cornus alternifolia – Pagoda Dogwood SOLD OUT more soon
About 7 m Just a joy - an elegant small tree that arranges its branches in layers – like a pagoda. It can grow as a shrub. White flowers in spring, blue-black berries in July-August that are devoured by birds. Fast-growing. Shade or part shade. 1 gal $5 

Prunus virginiana - Chokecherry
8 m Fast-growing suckering tree or shrub with great wildlife value. Fragrant white blossoms in spring, purple fruit in fall that is edible but very tart - leave it for the birds! 20 cm 1 gal $7

Shade Trees

Acer rubrum - Red Maple 
20-25 m, with a spread of 10-15 m This is the tree that lights up a brilliant scarlet in fall (not to be confused with the European Crimson King and other dark red cultivars of the Norway Maple, an invasive species). Delicate bright red flowers in spring attract early pollinators. Needs full sun. Average to wet soil. 60 cm 2 gal pot $24


Abies balsamea – Balsam Fir

25 m Christmas tree shape with aromatic resin. A mixed conifer windbreak of Balsam Fir, White Spruce and Cedar makes good wildlife habitat. 1 gal pot $5

Picea glauca - White Spruce

25 m A handsome 'Christmas' tree that is important habitat and food for grouse, seed-eating birds and red squirrels. Adaptable to different soil types. 1 gal pot $5

*Note: I am a supporter of assisted migration - which means I favour including plants that are native to further south on the Eastern North American continent. We still need to intensify our efforts to restore the plants that belong in our ecosystems here and now, but we should not take an exclusonary view of natives that may need to move northwards because of changing conditions but be unable to keep pace with the accelerating manmade disaster that is climate change. More details on the theory of assisted migration.