Performance of 67 Native Midwestern U.S. Perennials in a Low-maintenance Landscape

in HortTechnology
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  • 1 University of Missouri–Columbia, Southwest Research Center, 14548 Highway H, Mt. Vernon, MO 65712.
  • | 2 Meredith Corp., Des Moines, IA 50309.

Hundreds of perennial plant species native to the midwestern United States have potential as ornamentals, but information on how best to use such plants in the landscape remains scarce. Many horticulturists are looking for species that perform well under low-maintenance conditions and that also attract and benefit desirable fauna, such as butterflies and birds. While many of our native plants may fit into this category, not all such species will meet aesthetic criteria for home landscapes. Some native species respond to seasonal changes in temperature and rainfall by browning or going dormant. Others have very specific site requirements for moisture, soil, and humidity that may be difficult to meet in an urban landscape, or their size, growth habit, or other characteristics may make them aesthetically undesirable in the typical home landscape. This study evaluated the performance of 67 plant taxa native to the midwestern United States selected for their promising potential in a low-maintenance landscape situation.