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Ohio Native Plants List – 10 Plants You’ll Love In Your Garden

Ohio is a place of natural beauty with rolling hills, lush forests, and waterfalls. Everywhere you look you will find beautiful foliage so let’s take a look at ten of our favorites on the Ohio native plants list that will add something beautiful to your garden.

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Ohio Native Plants List

Ohio, The Buckeye State is in the heart of the country and is known for many things, such as:

  • Ohio State University
  • Rock and Roll Hall of Fame
  • Columbus Zoo

It is also known for its amazing native plants, like the Buckeye tree that grows naturally in rolling hills and valleys and along interstate highways.

1. Ohio goldenrod (Olgoneuron ohioense)

Ohio goldenrod

Ohio Goldenrod is named for its brilliant deep yellow foliage with lush lance-inspired leaves that bloom like a rod from the base of the plant. There are actually 22 species of Goldenrod throughout Ohio. They show their beautiful yellow show in late summer and early fall.

Goldenrod is a hardy perennial that thrives in moist soil and partial to full sun. Like many of Ohio’s wildflowers, the pollen is transported by butterflies, bees, and other pollinators so it is commonly seen in fields, forests, and alongside the road.

Goldenrod is great for planting in an area on your property that you want to fill with color. Keep in decorative pots if you want it to be part of your garden as it grows very fast and can be invasive. 

2. Black-eyed Susan (Rudbeckia hirta)

Bulk Package of 30,000 Seeds, Black-Eyed Susan (Rudbeckia hirta) Open Pollinated Seeds by Seed Needs

Black-eyed Susans are a very hardy perennial. They are low-maintenance wildflowers and are considered pioneer plants because they are usually the first plant to grow in an area recovering from natural disasters and fires.

The Black-eyed Susan is named for the big, round black centers and bright, cheerful yellow petals. They thrive in full sun and are known to bloom from June to September.

If you add them to your garden, provide plenty of space because they can be invasive and take over wherever they can. They are perfect for large areas because they seed in abundance and will grow back every year. 

It is important to note that the Black-eyed Susan is a favorite food of deer, small mammals, and snails. These Ohio native plant beauties make wonderful bouquets and will remain beautiful in water for up to eight days if not longer.

3. Yellow trout lily (Erythronium americanum)

5 Large Yellow Trout Lily Bare Root RHIZOMES - Erythronium americanum Bulbs

The Yellow Trout Lily is a perennial that grows from a toothlike shaped bulb. Their name is because their mottled leaves look like markings on a brook trout fish.

This gorgeous flower is basically stemless and has bright lemon yellow blooms with six curved petals. The anthers and leaves are reddish-brown, bronze color. They grow in rich soil and thrive in most wooded areas and bloom in the spring from mid-March to late April.

The yellow trout lily is common throughout Ohio except in the northwestern counties. Other names for the Yellow Trout Lily are dogtooth violet, yellow adder’s tongue, and fawn lily. It’s a close relative to the White Trout Lily also a native plant to Ohio.

4. Wild geranium (geranium maculate)

Wild geranium flowers

Wild Geranium is a woodland perennial in Ohio that grow a lovely bright lavender flower and dark green foliage. This Ohio native plant features five large white petals with bright pink or purple veins.

This showy flower blooms in the spring and lasts up to seven weeks with the foliage offering beauty all year long. It makes a gorgeous ground cover and will expand year after year.

Wild Geraniums attract birds and butterflies to a garden. Wild Geraniums thrive in the shade but will grow well in the sun if the soil remains moist. It is also called Cranesbill because the seed pods resemble a crane’s beak or bill.

5.  Butterfly weed (Asclepias tuberosa)

Butterfly Weed Flower - Perennial Garden Flower Root

Butterfly Weed also commonly referred to as Milk Weed is native to every county in Ohio. It normally blooms in the summer from June to August.

Butterfly Weed is a perennial that features orange flowers with ball-shaped clusters and large teardrop-shaped seed pods that are covered with wart-like bumps. The flowers feature downward pointing petals that grow in clusters that attract butterflies and hummingbirds.

Butterfly weed is called Milk Weed because if it is cut or crushed a milky white sap is found inside. Butterfly Weed can be seen growing along meadows, roadsides, railways, fields, and most open locations.

This hardy drought-resistant perennial thrives in full sun with very little shade. It grows best in rich sandy and soil with gravel.

The caterpillars of Monarch butterflies are attracted to this beauty that is on Ohio native plants list. It also makes a beautiful cut flower for vases and bouquets. 

6. Buckeye tree (Aesculus glabra)

1 Ohio Buckeye Tr.ee (Aesculus Glabra) 8" in Tall

The Buckeye tree, Ohio’s state tree, is one of the most recognized plants in the state. This distinctive tree is so beloved by folks from Ohio that it is The Ohio State University’s mascot, there is a delicious cookie named after it, and Ohio is nicknamed The Buckeye State and folks who live in Ohio call themselves, buckeyes!

The Ohio Buckeye is a deciduous tree with low sweeping branches and dense compound leaves that are shaped like five fingers. The bark, leaves, and flowers have an unpleasant odor.

The Native Americans named the tree, buckeye because the seeds resembled the eye of a buck or male deer. The “buckeye” grows inside a prickly capsule that begins growing in early spring. According to Ohio folklore, when you carry a buckeye in your pocket, it will bring good luck and fortune.

7. Mountain laurel (Kalmia latifolia)  

Kalmia lat. 'Sarah' (Mountain Laurel) Evergreen, pinkish-red flowers, #3 - Size Container

The hardy, shade-loving Mountain Laurel is a beautiful shrub that grows showy flowers that bloom in late spring and early summer. Mountain Laurel, also called spoonwood or calico bush, is related to azaleas, rhododendrons, and blueberries.

It thrives in Ohio’s dense forests, along rocks and other wooded areas. The Mountain Laurel plant is a broadleaf evergreen perennial so when the blooms drop to the ground, the deep dark green leaves and foliage remain so even in the coldest temperatures, it provides visual beauty.

This beauty on our Ohio native plants list features amazing clusters of delicate bell-like blossoms that take over the shrub when it is in full bloom. The color of the blossoms ranges from white to pink to deep rose and has purple dots and/or streaks providing interest and dimension.

One interesting characteristic is the way it pollinates. When a bee lands on the flower, its weight releases the stamen, and the pollen catapults from the flower. Mountain Laurel is a perfect choice for gardens that don’t offer direct sunlight and have well-drained soil. It is a beautiful companion with rhododendrons and azaleas.

8. Flowering dogwood (Cornus florida) 

Live Plant - Pink Flowering Dogwood Tree - 10-18" Tall, Quart Pot - Cornus Florida VAR. rubra - Flowering Plant

The amazing Flowering Dogwood is found throughout the state of Ohio. It is a beautiful native tree that provides beauty throughout the entire year in forests, parks, and gardens. It blooms magnificent flowers in spring, maintains lovey foliage in the summer, red berries in the fall, and keeps its magnificence in the winter. 

The flowering dogwood’s beauty attracts birds, who enjoy snacking on the tree’s tasty red berries that are poisonous to humans. 

Dogwood flowers are either white or pink, but the distinctive feature is the shape of the petals. They are actually bracts or leaves that look like petals. The actual flowers are interestingly clustered at the center of the bracts. The Flowering Dogwood is so popular that many festivals are held throughout Ohio to celebrate its beauty.

9. White trillium (Trillium grandiflora)

White Trillium Qty 10

White trillium is a beautiful herbaceous perennial wildflower that grows in all 88 counties of Ohio. It can grow and thrive for many years. It is part of the lily family and is also referred to as White Wake Robin and Large Flower Trillium. They feature a large single white waxy flower that grows above the large oval, veined leaves.

The flower turns pink as it matures and is fun to watch the transformation. Low maintenance White Trillium is the perfect addition to wildflower gardens. Trilliums go dormant in the summer so plant them in partial to full shade in rich moist well-drained soil.

 10. Bracken fern (Pteridium aquilinum)

Bracken Fern, Pteridium aquilinum Bare Root (10 Plants)

The Brackenfern is a common native perennial and one of the most common ferns that thrive in Ohio. Some folks consider it a weed as it grows happily in a variety of habitats including shaded woods, full and partial sun, and in private gardens.

It commonly grows wild in Ohio’s thickets, forests, and along the roads and highways. This striking green perennial features horizontal leaves that are tri-pinnate meaning the leaflets divide three times forming tiny frondlets that resemble little green combs. Bracken ferns can grow as large as 6.5 feet tall!  The Brackenfern is also called a female fern, fiddlehead, hog brake, and pasture brake.

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