Native perennials for Pennsylvania landscapes

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Pennsylvania Native Perennials

What exactly does native mean?

By definition, a native Pennsylvania perennial is a perennial that grew in Pennsylvania before the European settlers arrived. More than 2,100 plant species make up the native botanical heritage of Pennsylvania.

Advantages of native perennials:

Provide native wildlife with the diverse habitat and food they need to survive.

They are the foundation of local ecosystems and form the basis of food chains that support bees and other pollinators.

They are well-adapted to the local climate and are usually easy to care for.

They will need less fertilizer because they are already adapted to their surroundings.

Pennsylvania's native plants give a sense of place that is enjoyed by locals and visitors. It is best not to collect from the wild. Collecting them this way causes the depletion of native species and disruption of the ecosystem. It is always best to purchase plants from a reliable, knowledgeable nursery. Here at Acorn Farms Wholesale Nursery, we offer a wide variety of Pennsylvania native trees, shrubs and perennials, including ferns, grasses and groundcovers.

Learn more about our native perennial stock - select from below:

Asclepias tuberosa
(Butterfly Milkweed)
Asclepias tuberosa - Pennsylvania native perennial plant

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ASCLEPIAS TUBEROSA-  con 1 -  Qty: 26
Butterfly Milkweed (Ht. 24-30" - Wd. 24-30") is a hassle-free native perennial with large, tangerine blooms from June through August. A favorite of butterflies, bees and hummingbirds. It is a larval food plant of the queen and monarch butterflies!

Unlike many other milkweeds, this species does not have milky-sapped stems. Flowers give way to spindle-shaped seed pods which split open when ripe releasing numerous silky-tailed seeds for dispersal by the wind. Seed pods are valued in dried flower arrangements.

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Baptisia australis
(Blue Wild Indigo)
Baptisia australis - Pennsylvania native perennial plant

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BAPTISIA AUSTRALIS-  con 1 -  Qty: 99
Blue Wild Indigo (Ht. 3-4' - Wd. 2-3') is a standout native perennial that typically grows in rich woods, thickets and along streambanks from Pennsylvania south to North Carolina and Tennessee. It has lovely purple flowers atop flower spikes extending well above its mound of clover-like bluish-green foliage. It blooms in spring and when flowers fade, their seed pods turn charcola black and have an attractive ornamental interest. Stems with seed pods are a valuaable addition to dried flower arrangements.

Its common name of False Indigo refers to the use of native baptisias by early American colonists in making dye from its blue flowers. True indigo was expensive and Baptisia, which made a similar blue dye, grew like weeds....thus why it is called False Indigo.

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Echinacea purpurea
(Purple Coneflower)
Echinacea - Pennsylvania native perennial plant

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ECHINACEA PURPUREA-  con 1 -  Qty: 21
Native Purple Coneflower (Ht. 2-3' Wd. 18-24") is native to moist prairies, meadows and open woods of the central to southeastern US. This pretty native perennial blooms throughout summer into autumn. It has showy lavender-pink, cone-shaped flower heads that can be spotted distance away by butterflies, bees and birds. The dead flower stems will remain erect well into the winter, and if flower heads are not removed, the blackened cones may be visited by goldfinches or other birds that feed on the seeds. Easy to grow and a big score for pollinators!

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Iris cristata
(Crested Iris)
Iris cristata - Pennsylvania native perennial plant

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Iris cristata (Ht. 3-6" Wd. 12-18"), commonly called Dwarf Crested Iris, is a low-growing, fast growing, spreading native perennial that features pale blue - lavender (occasionally white) iris flowers with gold crests on the falls. Short stems and narrow, yellowish green foliage. Typically occurs on rocky, rich wooded slopes and floodplain forests in dappled shade.

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Iris versicolor
(Northern Blue Flag)
Iris versicolor - Pennsylvania native perennial plant

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Northern Blue Flag Iris (Ht. 2-3' Wd. 18-24") is a native iris that tends to form large clumps from thick, creeping rhizomes. The erect stems have blue-green leaves that fold on the midribs so that they form an overlapping flat fan. Flower stalks rise from the clump to 30" tall in late spring with each stalk producing 3-5 bluish-purple flowers up to 4" wide with bold purple veining. The falls (sepals) have a central yellow blotch surrounded by a white zone. It is native to marshes, swamps, wet marshes and ditches.

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Monarda bradburiana
(Bradbury Monarda)
Monarda bradburiana - Pennsylvania Native Plant

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This native Eastern Beebalm (Ht. 12-24" Wd. 12-24") occurs in dryish, acidic soils in open, rocky woods and glade margins. It is a member of the mint family and has a compact, clump-forming habit with pinkish-white, purple speckled flowers. It is an early bloomer for about 3-4 weeks starting mid spring and is a pollinator favorite! The foliage of gray-green aromatic leaves may be used for flavor teas. It is best suited for well-drained perennial borders, wild gardens, prairies and meadows.

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Opuntia humifusa
(Eastern Prickly Pear)
Opuntia - Prickly Pear - Pennsylvania Native Plant

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Eastern Prickly Pear (Ht. 6-9" Wd. 12-18") is a clump-forming succulent shrub with round, fleshy, purple-tinged, green pads covered in bristles and sharp spines. This may sound extreme, however, the flowers followed by seed pods more than make up for the hazard.

The pads light up with a multitude of the most beautiful 3" yellow flowers in late spring. A pollinator magnet, these blooms give way to large, bright red fruit that are almost as pretty as the flowers. Edible, they are most often used to make candies and jams. Frost hardy and very decorative year-round.

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Packera aurea
(Golden Ragwort or Groundsel)
Packera aurea - Pennsylvania native perennial plant

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Golden Ragwort (Ht. 6-9" Wd. 12-18") is a native groundcover that bears small, gold, daisy-type flowers in the spring. It is valued for its ability to thrive in moist, shady locations, naturalizes rapidly and produces a long bloom season. Easy to grow and spreads rapidly with undergound roots that form large colonies.

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Ratibida pinnata
(Yellow Coneflower)
Ratibida - Yellow Coneflower - Pennsyvania native plant

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RATIBIDA PINNATA-  con 1 -  Qty: 174
Pinnate Prairie Yellow Coneflower (Ht. 15" Wd. 18-24") is a native coneflower that typically occurs in dry woods, prairies and along railroad tracks and roads. It has golden blooms on long slender stems that bloom all summer. Although the flowers have little to no scent, the seedpods have a fragrance of anise when crushed. An interesting and showy perennial for the sunny border, native plant garden, meadow or prairie. Best used in massed plantings.

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Rudbeckia triloba
(Brown-Eyed Susan)
Rudbeckia triloba - Brown-eyed Susan - Pennsylvania Native Plant

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RUDBECKIA TRILOBA-  con 1 -  Qty: 83
Brown-Eyed Susan (Ht. 3-4' Wd. 18-24") is a species of flowering plant in the sunflower family which is native to Pennsylvania and the US. You can see this native perennial in old fields and along roadsides. This much-branched, hairy-stemmed perennial thrives in full sun and moist soil. Deadhead to encourage additional booming and prevent any unwanted self-seeding.

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Spigelia marilandica
(Woodland Indian Pink)
Spigelia marilandica - Pennsylvania native perennial plant

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Woodland Indian Pink (Ht. 15-18" Wd. 12-18") is an easy to grow, clump-forming native perennial that occurs in moist woods and streambanks. It has glossy green foliage and upward facing, trumpet-shaped 2" red flowers atop 18" stems. Each flower is yellow inside and flares at the top to form five pointed lobes. A truly unique bloom! Blooms attract hummingbirds!

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Carex pensylvanica
(Pennsylvanica Sedge)
Carex pensylvanica - Pennsylvania Sedge - Pennsyvania native grass

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CAREX PENSYLVANICA-  con 1 -  Qty: 253
Pennsylvanica Sedge (Ht. 6-9" Wd. 12-18") is native to thickets and dry woodland areas in Pennsylvania and other woodland areas in the US. It grows in loose colonies and has a creeping habit with its reddish brown roots and deep green, semi-evergreen foliage. It tolerates heavy shade and wet soils though its ideal location is dry shade. This perennial also makes a great underplanting for taller perennials or even a lawn replacement. It is pest resistant and not tasty to deer and other herbivores.

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