Mexican sunflower, Tithonia rotundifolia

With showy red flowers popular with pollinators, tithonia or Mexican sunflower is a warm season annual that thrives in the heat of summer. The species, which grows over 6 feet tall, makes a great backdrop or seasonal screen, but there are shorter cultivars better suited to small gardens. Learn more about this low maintenance Mexican native in this article…

Wheat celosia, Celosia spicata

With soft, dense feathery spikes of bright pink, red or purple produced in profusion, wheat celosia adds eye-catching upright flower architecture in the ornamental garden. Easily grown from seed, the flowers are great for fresh and dried flower arrangements, too.  Learn more about this long-flowering annual plant in this article…

Irish and Scotch Moss, Sagina subulata and Arenaria verna

With a lush, velvety appearance, Irish or Scotch moss forms a luxurious carpet of green or gold, respectively. Not a true moss but a flowering plant, these evergreen ground cover plants resemble moss until their small white star-shaped flowers begin to bloom. Learn more about these plants that make a great filler between flagstones or spilling over rocks…

Hummingbirds in the Garden

Hummingbirds are a large group of tiny birds with iridescent feathers, looking like sparkling jewels zipping among the flowers. These nectar-feeding birds utilize a wide range of plants to supply their enormous metabolic needs. Learn more about this fascinating group of birds and how to encourage ruby-throated hummingbirds, the Midwest’s only hummingbird species, in your garden in this article…

‘Husker Red‘ Foxglove Beardtongue, Penstemon digitalis ‘Husker Red’

With showy panicles of tubular white flowers and deep maroon foliage, ‘Husker Red’ foxglove beardtongue is a star in the garden in late spring into early summer. One of few Penstemon species to thrive in humid climates, P. digitalis is a nice addition to rain gardens, perennial borders and natural areas. Learn more about this selection of this eastern North American native in this article…

Twinleaf, Jeffersonia diphylla

With short-lived pure white flowers and curious-looking seedpods, this early spring bloomer named after a US President makes a great addition to native plantings or as a shady groundcover. Its common name of twinleaf comes from the interesting butterfly-shaped leaves. Learn more about Jeffersonia diphylla in this article…

Chamomile, Matricaria chamomilla

With attractive ferny foliage and eye-catching blooms, chamomile can be a nice addition to the ornamental garden or herb garden. This Eurasian annual is easily grown from seed for its yellow and white daisy flowers that are harvested to make chamomile tea. Learn more about Matricaria chamomilla in this article…

Grape Hyacinth, Muscari armeniacum

For a hit of intense blue in the garden in mid-spring, Muscari armeniacum can’t be beat. This small perennial bulb produces clusters of bell-shaped flowers that resemble bunches of grapes, giving rise to the common name grape hyacinth. Learn more about this European species in this article…

Rhubarb, Rheum rhabarbarum

Rhubarb is the first “fruit” of the season – used as a fruit, but grows like a vegetable. With huge leaves on long red to green petioles it can also make a dramatic statement in the garden. This old fashioned perennial is very easy to grow, coming back bigger year after year with little care. To learn more about rhubarb, read this article…

Lenten Rose, Helleborus ×hybridus

Early in the spring when little else but spring bulbs are blooming, Lenten Rose is pushing up its flower spikes and deeply divided, leathery, umbrella-like leaves. The long-lasting sepals in an open, bell shape offer ornamental interest long after the seeds have developed. Learn more about this herbaceous perennial native to Asia and Europe in this article…

Woodland Phlox, Phlox divaricata

For soft blue flowers in partly shady spots in spring, nothing beats woodland phlox. This North American native thrives in dappled shade and moist, well-drained soils. With an open, relaxed habit it fits well in informal shady beds, rock gardens and wild or naturalized areas.  Learn more about this pretty late spring to early summer bloomer in this article…

Prairie dropseed, Sporobolus heterolepis

One of the showiest prairie grasses, Sporobolus heterolepis is frequently cultivated as an ornamental for its attractive fountain of fine textured, emerald-green leaves, delicate flower and seed heads, and colorful fall color. Learn more about this elegant native North American bunchgrass that makes a great addition to almost any type of landscape…

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