Mukdenia, Mukdenia rossii

Grown for its showy foliage and airy flowers, mukdenia is an uncommon herbaceous perennial for the shade garden. The glossy green, fan-shaped leaves are attractive throughout summer, but when they transform to bright red starting at the tips they become a stunning statement in the garden. Learn more about this introduced ornamental plant in this article…

Sea thrift, Armeria maritima

Sea thrift is a profuse spring and early summer bloomer, with pink or white flowers on low mounds of dense foliage. Coming from mountainous and coastal areas, it needs excellent drainage and lean soils to thrive so can be a challenge to grow in wet Midwestern climates. Learn more about this clump-forming evergreen perennial in this article…

Datura

With coarse foliage and big, dramatic funnel-shaped flowers on large, mound-shaped plants, datura makes a bold statement in the garden. These fast-growing annual or tender perennial herbaceous plants are easily grown as seasonal plants in colder climates. Learn more about these plants that are not only ornamental, but have been used for medicinal, religious, and cultural purposes for millennia in this article…

Shooting star, Dodecatheon meadia

With delicate, nodding purple, pink or white flowers that resemble tiny “shooting stars”, Dodecatheon meadia is a charming spring wildflower of moist prairies and open woodlands that adapts well to home gardens. Learn more about this perennial native to the central and eastern US in this article…

Twospotted Spider Mite, Tetranychus urticae

From apples to zucchini – no matter what types of plants you grow – it’s likely something spider mites will attack. The most common spider mite, the twospotted spider mite (Tetranychus urticae), is a general feeder that attacks a wide variety of fruits, vegetables, and ornamentals. Learn about this the biology of this tiny pest, the type of damage it causes and how to manage it in this article…

American Hog-peanut, Amphicarpaea bracteata

With attractive trifoliate leaves and the ability to fix nitrogen, American hog-peanut is a vigorous annual vine that twines around neighboring plants – making it welcome in some places, but usually considered a weed in ornamental landscapes. It is a somewhat unusual plant because it produces two types of flowers and seeds. Learn more about this North American native in the pea family in this article…

Scale Insects

Scale insects feed on many plants, but are often overlooked because they are immobile and many types look like small bumps that just might be plant parts blending in with the leaves, twigs and branches. These insects secrete a waxy covering – that gives them their common name – to protect them from the environment and predators. Learn more about this group of inconspicuous and atypical insects in this article…

Aphids, in-depth

Aphids may be viewed as just another pest for gardeners to try to eliminate, but they’re really fascinating insects, with bizarre lifestyles and eating habits and they’re also dinner for lots of other insects. Forming colonies covering the leaves and stems of plants, these small sap-sucking creatures reproduce incredibly fast and a few also transmit plant diseases. Learn more about this large group of insects and how to manage them in the garden in this article…

Jewelweed, Impatiens capensis

With showy orange flowers, jewelweed comes into its own in late summer and fall. Growing in dense patches in moist, shady habitats, this native plant offers nectar for hummingbirds and other pollinators. Usually grown just as a wild plant, it can be added to rain gardens or to suppress weeds in appropriate areas. Learn more about this self-seeding annual in this article…

Helenium, Helenium autumnale

For a burst of late-season color, heleniums offer something different than most other daisy-type flowers with short petals in warm, fall colors and a high, architectural center. A few of these robust perennials bloom as early as June, but most wait until August or September when the rest of the garden is waning. Learn more about the garden hybrids developed from these North American natives in this article…

Common Milkweed Insects

Almost everyone knows that monarch butterfly caterpillars live only on milkweeds, but did you know there are many other insects that feed exclusively on these plants? From other caterpillars to bugs and beetles, there are several types of insects that have developed ways to avoid being affected by the toxins in milkweeds and have become specialized feeders on these plants. Lean more about some of the most common insects found on milkweed in this article…

Support Extension