Plant Now (Part 2)! These Native Species Can Rescue Your Garden

Plant Now (Part 2)! These Native Species Can Rescue Your Garden

  • This article was contributed by Jessica Mino, Resource Management Coordinator for the Kane County Division of Environmental & Water Resources as part of the 2018 Pollinator Series.

As a follow-up to last week’s article, we are adding more plant suggestions to our list highlighting native plants.

This upcoming weekend is about the last chance to do your planting, so get to it!

Purple Prairie Clover in Resource Management Coordinator Jessica Mino’s garden.

Purple Prairie Clover (Dalea purpurea)

This purple flower with yellow flecks not looks gorgeous, but is also a member of the legume family — meaning it is good for soil health as well (by adding nitrogen to the soil)! Prairie Clover reaches about 2 feet tall, making a slender filler for native garden beds. Psst … Prairie Clover also comes in white (Dalea candida)!

Purple Coneflower at the Government Center.

Purple Coneflower (Echinacea purpurea)

A popular plant for both small gardens and large prairie meadows. It is easy to grow and somewhat drought resistant, tending to bloom profusely for up to two months in mid to late summer. Purple Coneflower is a hardy plant, known to be drought-tolerant and deer resistant, maturing to four feet high.


Aster comes in several varieties, and provides a burst of blooms in early to late fall – making this a late season favorite for Monarchs and other butterflies.

Smooth Blue Aster (Symphyotrichum laeve)

Smooth Blue Aster

A single Smooth Blue Aster plant can provide an enormous amount of color and food for pollinators, as shown in the photo below. This softer aster variety, to the touch and visually, is a favorite of mine. Although an individual plant can be quite full, the non-aggressive root system allows the plant to spread slowly, supporting a diverse garden.

New England Aster

New England Aster (Symphyotrichum lateriflorum)

This aster provides a more vibrant purple than the previously mentioned Smooth Blue Aster, but is a late bloomer like most Asters. It thrives in full sun and a broad range of soil conditions. New England Aster can reach up to five feet, providing an excellent backdrop.

Anise Hyssop (Agastache foeniculum)

The showy, fragrant flowers of the Anise Hyssop is an excellent addition to any garden type. The leaves are described to smell like licorice when crushed, and have been used to make tea. A pollinator favorite, the plant blooms from June through September.

Anise Hyssop, Photo credit: Jack Kramer of Lily Lake, IL.

Other native plant suggestions for bees and other pollinators are:

  • Cardinal Flower (Lobelia cardinalis)
  • Common Milkweed (Asclepias syriaca)
  • Cup Plant (Silphium perfoliatum)
  • Lanceleaf Coreopsis (Coreopsis lanceolata)
  • Leadplant (Amorpha canescens)
  • Rattlesnake Master (Eryngium yuccifolium)
  • Whorled Milkweed (Asclepias verticillata)

Black-eyed Susan (Rudbeckia hirta) at the Government Center Rain Garden.

Remember, this is not an exhaustive list! There are so many other beautiful and beneficial native plants for Northern Illinois. Have fun exploring other native plants and planning your garden with the following links:

Many natives can be planted in the fall (plant now!), but others are best planted in the spring (plan now!). Happy Planting!

Read The Pollinator Series