Kennebec County Soil & Water Conservation District

to protect and enhance Maine's soil and water resources by providing educational programs, conservation information and technical assistance to municipalities, schools, landowners and residents of Kennebec County."

PERENNIAL HERBS & FLOWERS

 For more information on any of these plants use this link: PLANTS DATABASE

 Click on Common Name for a picture of the plant

Anise Hyssop  (Agastache foeniculum)  Not related to Anise or Hyssop.  Grows to 3 feet with a 2 foot spread or less, if crowded.  Bushy, aromatic herb with long-blooming spikes of purple flowers attractive to bees, butterflies and hummingbirds.  Anise-scented foliage and flowers used medicinally and in teas.  Spreads by self-seeding.  Full sun.  Moist soil.  Zone 4

 Artemesia  (Artemesia sp.)  Also known as Wormwood.  Several species and varieties available.  Range in height from 6 inches to 6 feet with 1 to 3 foot spreads.  All have silvery, delicate, fern-like, aromatic foliage that persists into winter and can be used dried.  Most have inconspicuous flowers that blend with the foliage.  Sun to part-sun.  Poor, dry soil.  Tolerates drought but not excess moisture or fertilizer.   Zone 3

 Aster  (Aster sp.)  Most are varieties of A. alpinus, A. novae-angliae and A. lateriflorus.  Bushy plants with either a mounded or open habit and colorful, daisy-like flowers.  Growth ranges from 6 inches to 6 feet.  Taller ones may require staking and therefore may not be appropriate for naturalized buffer plantings.  Flowers come in all colors.  Most bloom in late summer but some bloom in spring also.  Full sun although some tolerate some shade.  Best in well-drained soil; some tolerate wet soil also.  Some species are native.  Zone 3 

 Astilbe  (Astilbe sp.)  Many varieties available.  Grow 1 to 4 feet with most in the 2 to 3 foot range.  Delicate, fern-like leaves and showy plumes of flower clusters in white, pink, red and purple.  Summer-blooming.  Do best with occasional dividing.  Sun to part-sun.  Moist to wet, rich soil.  Not drought tolerant and not tolerant of winter wetness.  Zone 4

 Baptisia  (Baptisia sp.)  Two or three species available.  Also called False Indigo.  Bushy plant grows 3 to 4 feet with rich, bluish-green leaves and loose clusters of pea-like flowers in white, yellow or blue in spring or summer.  Sun to part-sun.  Best in rich soil but tolerates poor, dry soil and wet soil.  Zone 3

 Barren Strawberry  (Waldsteinia sp.)  Grows 6 to 8 inches and spreads to form a nice ground cover.  Strawberry-like, semi-evergreen foliage.  Yellow flowers in late spring.  Easy to grow.  Sun to shade.  Well-drained soil.  Zone 4

 Barrenwort  (Epimedium sp.)  Grows 8 to 15 inches high as a compact, spreading ground cover.  Strong rhizomes help in erosion control.  Bright-green, compound leaves and white, yellow or red flowers in spring.  Yellow, bronze or red fall color.  Part-sun to shade.  Rich, moist soil.  Tolerates wet conditions.  Good ground cover; may be slow getting established.  Zone 3

 Basket of Gold  (Aurinia sp. or Alyssum sp.)  Also called Perennial Alyssum.  Grows 6 to 12 inches in a spreading mound.  Semi-evergreen, grayish-green foliage  Masses of brilliant yellow flowers in early spring to summer.  Rapid growth.  Sun to part-sun (blooms best in full sun).  Well-drained soil.  Good in rocky areas.  Zone 3

 Bee Balm  (Monarda didyma)  Other species also cultivated.  Grows 2 to 4 feet and spreads quickly.  Lush, aromatic foliage and interesting, showy clusters of white, pink, red or purple flowers that attract bees, butterflies and hummingbirds.  Sun to part-sun.  Rich, moist soil best.  Tolerates wet soil.  Excellent for naturalizing.  Zone 4  N

 Bellflower  (Campanula sp.)  Also called Harebell.  Cultivated from native and non-native species.  Many varieties are available but not all are appropriate for natural plantings.  Ones to consider include varieties  of C. carpatica, C. glomerata, C. lactiflora, C. latifolia and C. poscharskyana.  They vary in height from low, spreading ground covers to 3 foot, bushy plants.  All are spreading if given the right conditions.  Attractive, deep-green foliage and clear blue, white or lavender bell-shaped flowers, sometimes in large clusters.  Bloom in summer.  Sun to part-sun.  Moist well-drained soil.  Some tolerate drought and some wet soil.  Zone 4 

Bergenia  (Bergenia cordifolia)  Grows 12 to 18 inches.  Vigorous, spreading plants with large, bold, glossy, semi-evergreen leaves that turn from green to burgundy in cold weather.  Showy spikes of white, pink or red flowers in early spring.  Sun to part-sun.  Moist soil.  Tolerates wet soil.  Good as ground cover in damp, sunny or partly sunny areas.  Zone 4

 Bird’s Foot Trefoil  (Lotus corniculatus)  Grows 18 to 24 inches.  A common wildflower in the Midwest.  Useful as erosion control and quick cover on road banks and other disturbed areas.  Bright-green foliage and brilliant yellow, pea-like flowers in spring and summer.  Full sun.  Tolerates a wide variety of soils (not sandy).  Some drought tolerance.  Zone 3

Black-eyed Susan  (Rudbeckia sp.)  Also called Yellow Coneflower.  Several species and varieties; some native, some not; some short-lived and others long-lived and spreading.  Some are invasive. Grows 1 to 4 feet with lush, green foliage and large, yellow to orange, daisy-like flowers with dark centers.  Blooms summer to fall.  Rapid growth.  Easy to grow.  Sun to part-sun.  Moist soil.  Zone 3  N

 Blazing Star  (Liatris sp.)  Several species cultivated.  Also called Gay Feather.  Grow 2 to 4 feet in clumps with stiff, grass-like foliage and tall flower spikes in summer.  Flowers available in white, pink or purple.  Good in natural areas.  Sun to part-sun.  Best in well-drained soil.  Sandy soil okay.  Some tolerate wet.  Most are native to the Midwest and have become established in New England.  Zone 3

 Bleeding Heart  (Dicentra sp.)  Grows 1 to 3 feet and can spread to clumps 3 to 4 feet across.  Dwarf and non-spreading varieties are available.  Graceful, arching stems with fern-like leaves and arching sprays of heart-shaped flowers in white, pink or red in late spring.  Part-sun.  Tolerates full sun in cool areas.  Moist, well-drained soil.  Good near woodlands.  Zone 4

 Blue Star Flower  (Amsonia tabernaemontana)  Also called Willow Amsonia.  Grows 2 to 3 feet with willow-like, gray-green leaves and clusters of sky-blue, star-shaped flowers in late spring.  Foliage turns yellow in fall.  Nice, low-maintenance plant for natural settings.  Does best in part-sun and cool, moist soil.  Tolerates full sun and drier soils but is not as vigorous.  Native to the Midwest.  Zone 3

 Blueberry  (Vaccinium angustifolium)  Also called Lowbush Blueberry.  Grows to 1 foot and spreads by suckering.  Small, glossy leaves turn bright-red in fall.  Small, white flowers, followed by edible, blue fruit in mid to late summer.  Sun to part-sun.  Well-drained, acid soil.  A sturdy, adaptable ground cover.  Good for birds and small mammals.  Zone 3  N

 Boltonia  (Boltonia asteroides)  Grows 2 to 4 feet.  An informal, vigorous, spreading, aster-like plant with blue-green foliage and profuse, small, white to pink, daisy-like flowers in late summer to fall.  Easy to grow.  Good for natural areas.  Full sun best.  Moist soil.  Tolerates wet.  Zone 4

 Boneset  (Eupatorium perfoliatum)  Grows 3 to 5 feet.  Vigorous, spreading, coarse-leaved plants with showy clusters of white flowers in summer and fall.  Naturally occurs in moist, open areas.  Sun to part-sun.  Moist to wet soil.  Good in natural plantings.  Zone 3  N

 Bugbane (Cimicifuga sp.)  Also called Snakeroot or Black Cohosh.  Tall, slender, woodland plants, growing 3 to 7 feet tall, with deep-green, fern-like foliage and 1 to 2 foot, arching stalks of fragrant, white to purple flowers in late summer to fall.  Part-sun to shade.  Rich, moist soil.  Tolerates wet soil.  Good in a wild garden.  Zone 3

 Bugleweed  (Ajuga sp.)  Several species and varieties.  A low, dense, fast-growing ground cover reaching a height of 6 to 9 inches.  Ajuga reptans spreads the most while others are more mounded in habit.  Lush, lustrous foliage ranges from dark-green to bronze-purple with some variegated forms.  Full sun enhances foliage variations.  Short spikes of flowers bloom late spring to early summer in shades of white, pink, blue and purple.  Sun to shade.  Any well-drained soil.  Zone 3

 Bugloss  (Brunnera macrophylla)  Grows 12 to 18 inches.  Fast-growing woodland plant with large, heart-shaped leaves, and small clusters of Forget-Me-Not-like flowers in spring.  Sun to shade.  Moist to almost wet soil.  Good in woods and along pond or stream edges.  Zone 3

Bunchberry  (Cornus canadensis)  A naturally-occurring woodland ground cover that is now available at some nurseries.  Grows to 6 inches and spreads underground.  Has four leaves and white ‘dogwood’ type flowers in early summer, followed by clusters of red berries.  Needs undisturbed areas to become established.  Shade.  Cool, moist, acid soil.  Zone 3  N

 Butterfly Weed  (Asclepias tuberosa)  Grows 2 to 3 feet.  Vigorous, upright plants with narrow, green leaves and showy, bright-orange flowers in summer that attract butterflies.  Full sun.  Sandy, well-drained soil best.  Tolerates dry, infertile soil.  Zone 4 

 Cardinal Flower  (Lobelia cardinalis)  Grows 2 to 4 feet.  Vigorous plants with rich, green foliage and tall spikes of scarlet flowers in summer.  May need dividing to maintain vigor; self-seeds.  May need winter protection in Zone 3; check when purchasing.  Sun to part-sun.  Best in part-sun.  Rich, moist, well-drained soil.  Tolerates wet conditions.  Good in naturalized areas and near water.  Zone 3  N

Chameleon Plant  (Houttuynia cordata)  Grows 6 to 9 inches.  Vigorous, spreading plant with heart-shaped leaves variegated in green, red, yellow and pink.  Small, white flowers in spring.  Easy to grow; can be invasive.  Good ground cover for wet areas.  Sun to shade.  Moist to wet soil.  Zone 3

 Chinese Lantern  (Physalis alkekengi or franchetii)  Grows to 2 feet and spreads.  Dark-green, coarse leaves and small, creamy-white flowers in summer. Ornamental, papery, golden-orange seedpods are used in dry arrangements.  Easy to grow but very aggressive.  Sun to part-sun.  Moist soil.  Zone 3

 Comfrey  (Symphytum officinale)  Grows 1 to 2 feet.  Vigorous, coarse, hairy, branching plant forms clumps.  Large leaves at base of plant; smaller as they go up.  Loose, branching clusters of white, pink, purple to blue flowers all summer.  Good in natural settings.  Part-sun.  Moist to wet soil.  Zone 4

 Coneflower  (Echinacea angustifolia & purpurea)  Several varieties with different flower colors are available.  Grows 2 to 4 feet.  Sturdy plant with dark-green leaves and large, daisy-like flowers with raised centers.  Colors range from deep-pink to white  to yellow.  Easy to grow.  Full sun.  Moist, well-drained soil, especially in winter.  Tolerates heat, drought and wind.  Native to the Midwest.  Zone 3 

 Cornflower  (Centaurea sp.)  Also called Perennial Bachelor’s Buttons.  Varieties available in several heights and colors.  Grow 18 inches to 4 feet and bloom anywhere from late spring to late summer.  Large, spreading plant with lush, green foliage and large, fringed flowers.  Full sun.  Best in well-drained, alkaline soil.  Good for large areas where it can spread.  Zone 3

 Cranesbill  (Geranium sp.)  Many species and varieties.  Attractive, full, mounded plant growing 6 inches to 2 feet and spreading.  Geranium-shaped leaves occur in different sizes, depending on variety, and most have attractive red color in fall.  Numerous bright flowers held above the foliage in shades of white, pink, red, purple and blue.  Most bloom all summer.  Easy to grow.  Sun to part-sun.  Moist, well-drained soil.  Some varieties are tolerant of more moisture, or dry soil, or shade.  Many make good ground covers.  Check with nursery for your specific needs.  Zones 3 to 5

 Creeping Jenny  (Lysimachia nummularia)  Also called Moneywort and Creeping Charlie.  Rapidly spreading ground cover mounding 4 to 8 inches high.  Smooth, rounded, bright-green leaves and numerous, fragrant, bright-yellow flowers throughout summer.  Sun to part-sun.  Moist to wet soil.  Tolerates some shade.  Good in moist woodlands and pond and stream edges.  Zone 3  N

 Creeping Phlox (Phlox stolonifera)  Grows to 8 inches.  Low, spreading plant forms dense ground cover.  Profuse, fragrant, early spring flowers in shades of white, blue and pink.  Part-sun to shade.  Moist, well-drained soil.  Good in woodland settings and semi-shaded areas.  Zone 3 

Crown Vetch  (Coronilla varia)  Grows to 2 feet and spreads vigorously.  Tangled, sprawling vines with small, pea-like foliage and masses of white to pink clusters of flowers that bloom all summer.  Good for erosion control on banks and in large areas.  Very aggressive.  Sun to part-sun.  Well-drained soil.  Tolerates poor, dry soil.  Zone 3

 Culver’s Root   (Veronicastrum virginicum)  Grows 3 to 7 feet with handsome whorls of  slender leaves and long spikes of tiny, white to pink to blue, tube-like flowers in late summer.  May be slow to establish.  Good for moist meadows and woods.  Sun to part-sun.  Moist soil.  Zone 3  N

 Cushion Spurge  (Euphorbia epithymoides)  Grows 12 to 18 inches.  Long-lived, spreading clumps form a dense mound.  Dark-green leaves are somewhat fleshy and turn red in fall.  Covered with bright-yellow flowers in spring and summer.  (Milky sap from stems can cause irritation in sensitive people.)  Easy to grow.  No maintenance.   Full sun.  Any well-drained soil.  Tolerates dry soil.  Zone 3

 Daisy  (Chrysanthemum X superbum & C. rubellum)  Many species and varieties of daisies are available but these (Shasta Daisy and Hybrid Red Chrysanthemum) are best suited to the natural planting.  Both are vigorous and spreading.  Both do best in full sun and rich, moist soil.  C. rubellum is compact and branching, grows 2 to 3 feet and has masses of large, fragrant, pink to red, daisy-like flowers in late summer.  Tolerates some shade.  Hardy to Zone 5.  Shasta Daisy is available in several varieties.  Most grow 2 to 3 feet (‘Little Princess’ grows to only 12 inches) with deep-green foliage and large, white, daisy-like flowers.  Prefer well-drained soil.  Zone 4

 Daylily  (Hemerocallis sp.)  Many, many varieties available.  Heights vary from 15 inches to 4 feet.  Long, narrow, lily-like leaves form large clumps. Large, fragrant, lily-like flowers in many shades of white,  yellow, orange, pink and red.  Bloom for long periods during the summer.  Hardy and easy to grow.  Good for naturalizing.  Sun to part-sun.  Moist, well-drained soil.  Heat and drought tolerant.  Also tolerates wet soil.  Zone 3

 Evening Primrose  (Oenothera sp.)  Also called Sundrops.  Several species available.  Spreading, somewhat shrubby plants, growing 6 inches to 2 feet.  Smaller varieties can be useful as ground covers.  Profuse, bright-yellow (some white to pink) flowers throughout summer.  Sun to part-sun.  Well-drained soil (some do best in poor, sandy, dry soil).  Zones 4 to 5  N

 False Lupine  (Thermopsis caroliniana & lanceolata)  Grows 2 to 4 feet and resembles a sprawling lupine.  Attractive, blue-green foliage and tall spikes of yellow flowers in summer.  Easy to grow and long-lived.   Good in natural plantings.  Sun to part-sun.  Moist soil.  Tolerates drought.  Zone 3 

 False Sunflower  (Heliopsis scabra)  Grows to 3 feet.  A showy, informal plant with golden sunflower-like flowers in summer.  Easy to grow.  Good in natural plantings.  Sun to part-sun.  Moist soil.  Tolerates some drought and poor soil.  Zone 3       

 Fleabane  (Erigeron speciosus)  Varieties are cultivated from native species.  Grows 2 to 3 feet.  A sturdy plant good for natural plantings.  Clusters of large, pink to purple, daisy-like flowers in summer.  Sun best.  Tolerates some part-sun.  Sandy, well-drained, poor soil.  Zone 4  N

 Foamflower  (Tiarella sp.)  Forms clumps 6 to 12 inches high with low, broad leaves, either lobed or heart-shaped.  Leaves turn bronze in fall.  Some are slow-growing; others rapid.  Profuse airy, white to pink flowers on long stalks in late spring to summer.  Part-sun to shade.  Moist, rich soil.  Tolerates wet.  Low-maintenance ground cover for woodland areas.  Zone 4  N

Forget-Me-Not  (Myosotis sp.)  Native and non-native species available.  A somewhat short-lived perennial but will self-seed and become well-established if given the right conditions.  Form clumps 6 to 18 inches high with many, small, clear-blue flowers in early spring to summer.  Sun to part-sun.  Moist soil.  Some do well with more shade and moisture,  Good in woodland settings.  Zone 3  (N)

 Germander  (Teucrium chamaedrys)  Standard and dwarf varieties are available.  The standard is shrubby and compact and grows 1 to 2 feet tall.  The dwarf grows 6 to 10 inches tall and spreads to 3 feet, making a good ground cover.  Both are aromatic and have shiny, green leaves and small, pinkish-purple flowers late in summer.  Full sun best but tolerates some shade.  Any well-drained soil.  Zone 5

Globeflower  (Trollius sp.)  Several species and varieties available.  Grows 1 to 3 feet with large, white to yellow to orange, buttercup-like flowers on stems above the mounded leaves.  Bloom in spring or summer.  Vigorous.  Sun to part-sun.  Moist to wet, cool soil.  Do well in semi-shaded, boggy areas and pond edges.  Zone 3

 Globe Thistle  (Echinops ritro)  Grows 2 to 4 feet.  Coarsely divided leaves are whitish underneath.  Large, ball-shaped, steely-lavender-blue flower heads on long stems in late summer.  Easy to grow.  Full sun.  Dry soil.  Tolerates drought.  Zone 3

 Goat’s Beard  (Aruncus sp.)  Shrub-like perennials, forming large clumps over time, but not invasive.  Both standard and dwarf species available.  Standard grows to 5 feet with 2 to 3 foot compound leaves and large, feathery, creamy-white plumes of flowers in summer.  Dwarf form grows to 12 inches with deeply cut leaves and creamy flowers.  Sun to part-sun.  Moist soil.  Zone 4  N

 Goldenrod  (Solidago sp.)  Several varieties available.  Grow 2 to 4 feet with varying forms and foliage.  Bright golden-yellow clusters or plumes of flowers in late summer and fall.  Vigorous plants; some can become invasive.  Good in natural plantings.  Good for butterflies and bees.  Do not cause hayfever.  Full sun.  Moist, well-drained soil.  Tolerate dry soil.  Zone 3  N

 Heather  (Calluna sp.)  Check hardiness before using this one.  In an appropriate, protected spot, this can be a good ground cover.  Evergreen, spreading mound with tiny, sharp, needle-like leaves and lots of tiny white to purple flowers in summer to fall.  Full sun.  Moist, well-drained, peaty, acid soil.  May tolerate dry soil.  May need winter protection.  Zone 4

 Helen’s Flower  (Helenium autumnale & bigelovii)  Also called Sneezeweed.  Varieties developed from native species.  Adaptable, sturdy and informal.  Good in natural plantings.  Grows 3 to 5 feet in clumps with narrow leaves and numerous, showy, daisy-like flowers in yellow to bronze.  Blooms late summer to fall.  Full sun.  Moist soil.  Tolerates wet soils.  Zone 3  (N)

 Horehound  (Marrubium vulgare)  A bushy, erect herb growing 1 to 2 feet high.  Vigorous and spreading.  Crinkled, wooly, highly aromatic, grayish-green leaves and small, white flowers close to the stem.  Not native but has become naturalized in many areas.  Full sun.  Any well-drained soil.  Does well in poor, dry, sandy soil.  Can be used as a tall ground cover.  Zone 3

 Hosta  (Hosta sp.)  Also called Plaintain Lily.  Many species and varieties available.  Grow 6 inches to 3 feet.  Lush, leafy plants slowly spreading in clumps.  Foliage comes in all shades of green with many variegated forms.  Flowers are white to purple in clusters on very short or very long stalks.  Bloom in summer.  Easy to grow.  Many uses, from hedges to ground covers to fillers under trees and shrubs.  Sun to shade; do best in part-sun to shade.  Moist soil.  Zone 3

 Hyssop  (Hyssop officinalis)  Beautiful, semi-bushy, aromatic herb growing 2 to 3 feet with small, shiny, dark-green leaves and long spikes of profuse, fragrant, tiny, blue flowers late summer to fall.  Attracts bees and butterlies.  Reseeds vigorously.  Sun to part-sun.  Moist, well-drained soil.  Zone 3

 Iris  (Iris sp.)  Several species and varieties available.  Grow 3 inches to 4 feet in height, depending on the variety.  Plants spread by rhizomes and have long, slender, sword-like leaves and unique, showy flowers, ranging from white to yellow, pink, bronze, purple and blue.  Some are highly fragrant.  Flowers occur late spring to summer.  Sun to part-sun.  Most prefer moist, well-drained soil and tolerate some drought.  Some require more moisture.  Look for easy-care varieties.  Some are native.  Zones 3 to 5  (N)

Jacob’s Ladder  (Polemonium caeruleum & reptans)  Also called Greek Valerian.  Grows 1 to 3 feet.  P. caeruleum is larger and forms clumps while P. reptans is smaller and spreads to form a ground cover.  Delicate, light-green, fern-like foliage and loose clusters of white, blue or purple flowers in late spring to summer.  Part-sun.  Prefers cool, moist soil, some wet.  Good at woodland edges.  P. reptans is native to New England but probably not to Maine.  There are other species native to Maine.  Zone 3  (N)

 Jewelweed  (Impatiens capensis)  Also called Touch-Me-Not.  This is a native plant that may not be available at nurseries but can be spread by seed and occurs naturally in moist to wet, shaded locations.  It grows 2 to 5 feet with light-green succulent stems and leaves like cultivated Impatiens.  Spotted orange flowers hang on slender stems beneath the leaves.  Blooms in summer.  Ripe seedpods pop open when touched.  Part-sun to shade.  Moist to wet soil.  Zone 3  N

 Joe-Pye Weed  (Eupatorium purpureum)  Grows 4 to 7 feet.  Vigorous, spreading into large clumps.  A large plant with large, coarse, vanilla-scented leaves and large, showy clusters of dull pink to purple flowers in late summer and fall.  Sun to part-sun.  Moist to wet soil.  Good in wet, natural plantings.    Zone 3 N

 Lady’s Mantle  (Alchemilla mollis)   Other species and varieties are available but this one is probably best for a natural planting.  Grows 12 to 18 inches and forms large, mounded, spreading clumps.  Useful as a ground cover.  Large, rounded, semi-lobed, gray-green leaves and masses of small, bright, yellow, star-shaped flowers that bloom in early summer.  Sun to part-sun.  Moist, well-drained soil.  Zone 3

 Lamb’s Ears (Stachys byzantina & officianalis)  Also called Betony or Woundwort.  Several varieties with differing shades of foliage and flowers or no flowers.  Grows 8 to 20 inches depending, on variety.  All have large, soft, velvety, gray, silver to green foliage.  Spread to form clumps or mats.  Some varieties make good ground covers.  Some are non-blooming, others have spikes of small pink to purple flowers.  Sun to part-sun.  Moist, well-drained soil.  Tolerates some shade if soil is on the dry side.  Zone 4

 Lamiastrum  (Lamiastrum galeobdolon or Galeobdolon luteum)  Also called Yellow Archangel  and Golden Deadnettle.  Grows 1 to 2 feet high and spreads.  Striking silver splashes on foliage and dense clusters of yellow flowers in spring.  Useful as a ground cover and for naturalizing in difficult shady areas.  Can be invasive.  Part-sun to shade.  Any well-drained soil.  Zone 3

 Lamium  (Lamium maculatum)  Also called Spotted Deadnettle.  Several varieties.  Grows 4 to 12 inches.  Vigorous, spreading ground cover forms a leafy mat.  Can be invasive.  Sturdy and easy to grow.  Variegated foliage with clusters of small, snapdragon-like, white, pink or purple flowers in spring.  Part-sun to shade.  Any well-drained soil.  Tolerates some drought.  Good shady ground cover.  Zone 3

 Lavender  (Lavandula angustifolia)  Grows 1 to 2 feet.  A bushy, evergreen perennial with narrow, gray-green, fragrant foliage and spikes of fragrant, purple flowers in summer.  Leaves and flowers used for their fragrance.  Full sun.  Moist, rich, well-drained soil.  Tolerates sandy soil.  Zone 5

 Lemon Balm  (Melissa officianalis)  Bushy herb grows 2 to 3 feet high and spreads by seed and underground.  Deeply-veined, heart-shaped, shiny, light-green, lemon-scented leaves and small, white flowers throughout summer.  Used for teas and fragrances.  Easy to grow.  Attracts honeybees.  Sun to part-sun.  Rich, well-drained soil.  Zone 4

 Ligularia  (Ligularia sp.)  Grows 3 to 5 feet with large, decorative, toothed or deeply cut leaves up to 20 inches wide and loose clusters or tall spikes of yellow or orange daisy-like flowers in summer.  Large, dramatic plants.  In some, the undersides of the leaves are bronze or purple and some have black or purple stems.  Need moist, cool locations.  Do well near bogs, streams and ponds.  Part-sun to shade.  Rich, moist soil.  Tolerates wet soil.  Zone 4

Lily  (Lilium sp.)  Many species and varieties available.  Grow 2 to 4 feet tall.  Look for long-lived, easy-care (i.e., ones that do not need staking or need to be divided regularly) varieties.  Some are spreading and can fill in areas nicely, coming up through grass and weeds.  Turk’s Cap Lily is good for naturalizing.  Flowers are typical lily flowers in a wide variety of colors and shapes.  Many are fragrant.  Bloom summer to fall.  Sun to part-sun.  Moist, well-drained soil.  Zones 3 to 5

Lily of the Valley  (Convallaria majalis)  Grows 6 to 12 inches with 8 inch long, deep-green leaves and extremely fragrant, bell-shaped, white flowers hanging along the stems.  Blooms in spring.  Spreads underground to form a ground cover in cool, moist, shaded areas.  Good in woodland settings.  Part-sun to shade.  Moist soil.  Zone 3

 Lily-turf  (Liriope spicata)  Rapidly-spreading, grass-like lily.  Grows 8 to 18 inches in mounds.  Deep-green foliage is evergreen and may need winter protection from ice.  Clusters or spikes of light-purple flowers in summer, followed by black berries.  Easy ground cover.  Holds well on slopes.  Sun to shade.  Tolerates a variety of soils; best if well-drained.  Tolerates poor soil and drought and wet soil.  Zone 4

Lungwort  (Pulmonaria sp.)  Several varieties available, varying in flower color and leaf variegation.  Grow 9 to 18 inches in spreading clumps.  A good ground cover in cool, moist areas.  Lush foliage is green and speckled with white or silver in most varieties.  Loose clusters of white, pink, blue or purple flowers open in early spring with or before the foliage.  Part-sun.  Moist to wet, well-drained soil.  Zone 3 

Lupine  (Lupinus perennis)  Wild Lupine.  Cultivated hybrids are also available but not as long-lived unless very well established.  Wild forms will reseed in natural settings.  Vigorous plants grow 1 to 2 feet (hybrids somewhat taller).  Form attractive mounds of interesting, palmately lobed leaves with tall, upright spikes of blue, pink, red, white or yellow flowers.  True wild lupine usually occurs in blue but other colors have been developed.  Sun to part-sun.  Acid, well-drained soil best.  Tolerates poor, dry conditions once established.  Zone 4  N

 Mallow  (Malva sp.)  Several species and varieties available.  Grows 2 to 4 feet.  An informal, free-flowering, somewhat shrubby plant.  Deeply lobed to feathery foliage and clusters of large white to pink flowers throughout summer into fall.  Good for naturalizing; self-seeds readily and forms large patches.  Full sun.  Dry, alkaline soil.  Tolerates drought.  Not native but has become naturalized.  Zone 4

 Masterwort  (Astrantia major)  Several varieties available.  Grows 18 inches to 3 feet tall and spreads quickly.  Clusters of greenish-white to rose-pink to crimson-red flowers in summer to fall. Easy to grow and reliable if given plenty of moisture. Part-sun to shade. Moist, rich soil; high in organic matter.  Zone 4

 Meadow Rue  (Thalictrum sp.)  Several species and varieties, native and non-native.  Graceful plant with airy, fern-like foliage and loose clusters of delicate flowers with a fluffy appearance in spring and summer.  Grows 3 to 5 feet.  Forms loose clumps.  Foliage ranges from light-green to bluish-green and flowers range from white to yellow to light-purple.  Good at edges of woods and water.  Sun to part-sun.  Some varieties do best in part-sun.  Rich, moist soil.  Some tolerate wet soil.  Zones 3 to 5  (N)

 Meadowsweet  (Filipendula sp.)  Several species are available, differing in flower color and tolerance of dry soil.  Grow 2 to 6 feet.  Easy to grow, require little care as long as there is plenty of moisture.  Good in natural settings.  Attractive, divided leaves; some fern-like.  Masses of white, pink or red,  fluffy flower clusters in summer.  Sun to part-sun.  Moist to wet soil.  Does not like acidic soil.  Zone 4

 Milkweed  (Asclepias incarnata)  Also called Swamp Milkweed.  Vigorous, upright plant with narrow foliage and fragrant, white or pink flowers that attract butterflies.  Grows 3 to 4 feet and blooms in summer.  Easy to grow.  Interesting seedpods.  Spreads easily by seed.  Good for naturalizing wet areas.  Full sun.  Dry to wet soil.  Zone 3  N

 Mint  (Mentha sp.)  Many species available.  Spreading, aromatic herbs with small white to pink to purple flowers.  Some species are invasive.  Many make good ground covers.  Upright plants grow 1 to 3 feet tall with branching stems and dark-green, deeply veined leaves (Pennyroyal, M. pulegium, has creeping stems).  They flower in summer, with tiny flowers either close to the stem or in spikes at the tips of the stems.  Many are native; many are not.  Sun to part-sun.  Rich, moist, slightly acidic soil.  Many are found naturally near water and in wet places.  Zones 3 to 5  (N)

 Moss Phlox  (Phlox subulata)  Also called Moss Pink.  Grows 4 to 9 inches high in a spreading mat or mound.  Makes a good ground cover in sunny, well-drained areas.  Short, needle-like leaves and masses of blue, white or pink flowers in spring.  Sun to part-sun.  Sandy, well-drained soil best.  Native west of Maine; naturalized here.  Zone 3  (N)

 Obedient Plant  (Physostegia virginiana)  Slender, upright plant grows 2 to 4 feet high and spreads rapidly.  Good in natural settings where it can spread but can be very aggressive.  A dwarf form is available which only grows to 18 inches.  Varieties that spread less vigorously also have been developed.  Narrow, coarse leaves and long spikes of showy, white, pink or purple flowers in late summer.  Sun to part-sun.  Acidic, moist soil.  Tolerates wet soil.  Zone 3  N

 Oregano  (Origanum vulgare)  Grows to 18 inches in a spreading, trailing mat.  Small, highly aromatic leaves and clusters of tiny white to purple flowers in summer.  Plant parts used as flavoring in cooking.  Good ground cover for small areas.  Full sun.  Well-drained, non-acidic soil best.  Zone 3 

 Pachysandra  (Pachysandra terminalis)  Also called Japanese Spurge.  Several varieties available, differing in color of leaves and growth habit.  Grows 6 to 12 inches and spreads underground.  Glossy, green leaves, some variegated and spikes of white flowers in late spring.  An excellent ground cover for shaded areas.  Part-sun to shade.  Moist, well-drained soil.  Best with high organic matter.  Zone 4

 Pearly Everlasting  (Anaphalis margaritacea)  Other cultivated species are available.  Slender plant grows to 2 feet with narrow, gray-green, woolly leaves and masses of small, white flowers in late summer.  Flowers used for drying.  Native and extremely drought tolerant.  Full sun.  Moist to dry soil.  Zone 3  N

 Periwinkle  (Vinca minor)  Also called Myrtle.  Several varieties available with different flower colors and growth heights.  The standard species is the hardiest.  A trailing, spreading, evergreen plant growing to 10 inches high with glossy, dark-green leaves and white, blue or lavender flowers in spring.  An excellent, hardy, long-lived ground cover that has become naturalized in our area.  Sun to shade.  Moist, well-drained soil.  Does not do well in drought.  Zone 4

Phlox  (Phlox paniculata)  Also called Garden Phlox.  There are other species and varieties of Phlox that also would do well in natural plantings (Wild Sweet William P. maculata & Woodland Phlox P. divaricata).  Grows 2 to 4 feet in large clumps.  Large, pyramid-shaped clusters of extremely fragrant flowers in many shades of white, pink, lilac and red.  Summer-blooming.  Full sun.  Moist, rich soil.  Has become naturalized in our area.  Zone 3

 Plume Poppy  (Macleaya cordata)  Large, handsome plants grow 5 to 10 feet tall.  Spreads rapidly in good conditions.  Large, rounded and lobed, gray-green leaves with silver undersides and long, creamy, white plumes of feathery flowers in summer.  Easy to grow.  Grow where there is room to spread.  Sun to part-sun.  Moist soil, well-drained soil.  Zone 3

 Potentilla  (Potentilla sp.)  Also called Cinquefoil.  Several varieties and species; some spreading and some not.  Look for ones that make good ground covers.  Easy to grow.  Grow from 3 to 18 inches, either erect or sprawling, depending on variety.  Three to five-lobed foliage may be semi-evergreen and is often woolly.  Bright flowers in spring or summer are red, apricot or yellow.  A good choice is P. tabernaemontani.  It forms a 6 to 9 inch high, spreading, evergreen mat with yellow spring flowers.  Sun to part-sun.  Tolerates a variety of soils.  Light, sandy soil best.  Zone 5

Pussy-toes  (Antennaria dioica)  Low, 1 inch high, gray-green or silver basal leaves and 3 to 8 inch flower stalks.  Rapidly spreads to form a mat.  Clusters of small, white or pink, fuzzy flowers on stalks in spring.  Makes a good ground cover in sunny, dry, poor areas where little else will grow.  Full sun.  Dry soil.  Zone 3  (N)

Sage  (Salvia sp.)  Several species and varieties available with different growth habits and soil requirements.  Look for ones that do not require winter mulching or other special care.  Several are tolerant of heat and drought.  Grow from 1 to 4 feet depending on variety.  Dark-green, blue-green or gray-green, aromatic leaves and spikes of pink to purple flowers in summer or fall.  Form slowly spreading clumps.  Full sun.  Moist to dry, well-drained, acid soil best.  Some are drought tolerant.   Zones 3 to 5

 Sedum  (Sedum sp.)  Also called Stonecrop.  Many species and varieties available, differing in growth height and flower color.  Easy to grow; many spreading to form mounds or ground covers.  Grow from 2 to 24 inches with succulent leaves and profuse clusters of white, pink, red or yellow flowers.  Bloom time varies from spring to summer with many having long bloom times lasting into fall.  Attract butterflies.  Full sun best but some tolerate part-sun.  Most prefer fertile, well-drained soil but many tolerate poor, dry soil and many tolerate drought and heat.  Good ground covers for sunny, rocky or sandy areas.  Zone 3

 Skullcap  (Scuttelaria sp.)  Several species; some native and some not.  Grows 1 to 2 feet and spreads.  Slender plant with bright-green leaves and numerous, small, deep-blue flowers sometimes in spikes and sometimes close to the stem.  Bloom summer to fall.  Part-sun.  Rich, moist to wet soil.  Zone 4

 Snow-in-Summer  (Cerastium tomentosum)  Grows 6 to 8 inches in spreading mounds.  Easy to grow; spreads quickly.  Small, silvery leaves and masses of small, white flowers in late spring and summer.  Full sun.  Must have well-drained soil.  Some varieties grow in pure sand.  Zone 3

 Snow-on-the-Mountain  (Aegopodium podagraria)  Also called Bishop’s Weed.  A leafy ground cover.   Grows 8 to 18 inches high with variegated green and white leaves.  Spreads rapidly - very aggressive.  Small, white flowers in clusters on long stalks in early summer.  Grows well where nothing else will grow.  Has become naturalized in some areas.  Sun to shade.  Wet to dry, rich to poor soil.  Zone 3

 Solidaster  (Solidaster luteus)  A cross between aster and goldenrod.  Grows 18 to 30 inches.  Large, bushy plants with small, narrow leaves and masses of small, yellow, daisy-like flowers in summer.  Good for naturalizing.  Full sun.  Moist, well-drained soil.  Zone 5

 Solomon’s Seal  (Polygonatum sp.) Three species available, varying in height from 18 inches to 7 feet.  Some are native.  Handsome plants with lily-like leaves along an arching stem and white, bell-shaped flowers hanging below leaves in late spring.  Some are fragrant.  Excellent in woodland settings.  Spread underground.  Part-sun to shade.  Moist, acid soil.  Tolerates wet.  Shady, damp woods best.  Zone 3

 Sunflower Heliopsis  (Heliopsis helianthoides)  Also called False Sunflower and Oxeye.  Several varieties available.  Grows 3 to 6 feet.  Low-maintenance, hardy plants form clumps but do not spread.  Coarse, dark-green leaves and showy, yellow to gold, sunflower-like flowers (2 to 3 inches across) summer to fall.  Good in natural plantings.  Full sun.  Moist, well-drained soil best but tolerates drought and poor soils.  Native to northern midwest.  Zone 3

 Sweet Flag  (Acorus calamus)  This is a native plant that may not be easy to find at nurseries but would make a valuable addition to a shoreline, wet area planting.  It grows 1 to 4 feet tall with long, sword-like leaves and a dense spike of small, tightly-packed, greenish-yellow flowers along the stem.  Full to part-sun.  Wet soil.  Does well on stream and pond edges.   Zone 3  N

 Sweet Woodruff  (Galium odoratum or Asperula odorata)  Grows 9 to 12 inches and spreads rapidly.  Small, fragrant, glossy-green leaves in whorls around the slender, many-branched stems.  Loose clusters of small, white, star-shaped, fragrant flowers in spring and summer.  Makes a good ground cover in moist, shady areas.  Part-sun to shade.  Moist, well-drained soil.  Zone 4

 Swordleaf Inula  (Inula ensifolia)  Vigorous, low-maintenance plant growing 1 to 2 feet in spreading clumps.  Slender, pointed, rich-green leaves and numerous, bright, golden-yellow, daisy-like flowers in summer.  Full sun.  Any moist, well-drained soil.  Tolerates wet soil.  Zone 3

 Tansy  (Tanacetum vulgare)  Vigorous, spreading plants grow to 3 feet with highly aromatic, fern-like foliage and bright-yellow, button-like flowers in late summer.  Good for naturalizing sunny areas.  Related to a native species.  Has become naturalized in many areas.  Full sun best.  Tolerates part-sun.  Any well-drained soil.  Zone 3

 Thin-leaved Sunflower  (Helianthus decapetalus)  Vigorous, spreading, native, sunflower-like plant.  Grows 3 to 5 feet high with large, coarse leaves and large, yellow sunflower-like flowers in late summer.  Good for natural plantings.  Full sun.  Moist, well-drained soil.  Zone 3  N

 Thyme  (Thymus sp.)  Several varieties of low, spreading, aromatic herbs.  Grow 2 to 12 inches, depending on variety.  Small, shiny leaves and masses of tiny rose to purple clusters of flowers in spring or summer.  Good ground covers for sunny, dryish areas.  Some varieties tolerate high traffic.  Best in full sun and well-drained, acid soil.  Tolerates part-sun.  Zone 4

 Turtlehead  (Chelone sp.)  Chelone glabra (white turtlehead) is native; C. lyonii & obliqua are not.  Grow 2 to 4 feet high with coarse, dark-green leaves and long-blooming spikes of snapdragon-like flowers in white to pink to red.  Bloom summer to fall.  Spread to form patches.  Found in wet areas along streams and lakes.  Full to part-sun.  Rich, acidic, moist to wet soil.  Zone 4  (N)

Valerian  (Centranthus sp. or Valeriana sp.)  Vigorous, bushy plants growing 2 to 3 feet high with green to blue-green leaves and showy clusters of small, fragrant, white to deep-red flowers in summer.  Spreads by self seeding.  Full to part-sun. Poor, moist, well-drained soil. Does not like acidic soil. Zone 4

 Veronica  (Veronica sp.)  Also called Speedwell.  Many species and varieties available.  Reliable, hardy, easy to grow.  Grow from 6 to 24 inches; many form clumps; many good as ground covers.  Foliage is usually dense and ranges from silvery-gray ro glossy, dark-green.  Flowers occur in clusters or spikes of numerous small flowers in shades of white, pink, purple and blue.  Many bloom from spring to fall.  Full to part-sun.  Moist, well-drained soil.  Nice, versatile plant.  Zones 3 to 5

 Violet  (Viola sp.)  Many species and varieties available; some are native.  Grow 3 to 12 inches and spread under proper conditions.  Bright-green, heart-shaped, oval or divided leaves and numerous, unique flowers in spring.  Occur in many colors; some bicolor; many fragrant.  Good in moist, woodland settings.  Full to part-sun.  Moist, fertile, well-drained soil.  Spread best in semi-shaded locations.  Good ground cover.  Zones 3 to 5  (N)

 Virginia Bluebells  (Mertensia virginica & siberica)  Easy to grow, woodland plant.  Clump-forming plants grow 1 to 2 feet high with delicate, gray-green leaves and drooping clusters of sky-blue, bell-shaped flowers.  Some die back after blooming so need to be planted with plants that will fill in the area through the summer.  Part-sun to shade.  Rich, moist soil.  Zone 3 

 White Clover  (Trifolium repens)  New Zealand is best variety for durability.  Hardy and long-lived; spreads quickly once established.  Grows to 8 inches with typical, 3-lobed leaves and small, white blossoms in summer.  Good in steep areas and areas with high foot-traffic.  Sun to part-sun.  Moist soil.  Tolerates heavy clay soils, heat and excessive moisture.  Does not do as well in sand.  Zone 3

 Wild Ginger  (Asarum sp.)  Native and non-native species available.  Should not be collected from the wild.  Found in moist, rich woods.  Grows 4 to 8 inches high with large, glossy, heart-shaped leaves and a single, inconspicuous, reddish-brown cup-shaped flower close to the ground.  Grown mostly for its leaves as a woodland ground cover.  Spreads underground.  May need protection from competition until established.  Part-sun to shade.  Rich, moist, well-drained soil.  Zones 3 to 4  (N)

 Wintercreeper Euonymus  (Euonymus fortunei)  Several varieties available.  Dense, leafy, spreading ground cover.  Grows 3 to 20 inches high and some can spread up to 5 feet.  Glossy, green leaves; some variegated; some turn purple in winter.  Insignificant flowers.  Full sun to shade. Moist soil.  Zone 4

 Wintergreen  (Gaultheria procumbens)  Also called Checkerberry.  Low, native, evergreen, slow-creeping ground cover.  Grows 3 to 6 inches.  Small, glossy, bright-green, wintergreen-tasting leaves; small, white to pink, bell-shaped flowers in spring, followed by wintergreen-tasting red berries that persist into winter.  Leaves turn red in fall.  Good in woodland settings.  Part-sun to shade.  Moist, acid, sandy or peaty soil best.  Zone 3  N

 Yarrow  (Achillea sp.)  Several species and varieties available; some native, some not.  Grow 6 to 36 inches with fragrant, fern-like foliage.  Taller varieties better for natural plantings.  Easy to grow, forming large clumps.  Numerous, small flowers in showy, rounded or flat-topped clusters ranging in color from white to shades of yellow, pink and red.  Full sun.  Well-drained soil.  Drought tolerant.  Zone 3  (N)