The Zinnia genus contains many species with flowers ranging in sizes and colors, including red, yellow, pink, orange, and purple. Zinnia is one of the easiest annuals to grow. Each brightly colored, daisy-like flower blooms on a single, erect stem. The flowers bloom from June to frost and attract many pollinators, including hummingbirds and butterflies. They also make excellent fresh-cut flowers. This annual will re-seed itself for next season. It is susceptible to powdery mildew; minimize overhead watering and wetting leaves to avoid this disease. Use Zinnia in mixed borders, beds, butterfly gardens, and for colorful accents around your yard. Smaller varieties can be used for edging and in containers.

Yellowroot is a low-growing shrub with yellowish bark and roots. Clusters of small, star-like, purple flowers with yellow centers bloom April-May. The attractive, green foliage can turn a golden-yellow, orange, or sometimes slightly purple color in the fall. Plant Yellowroot as a groundcover or low-growing shrub in moist, shady areas of your yard.

Virginia Chainfern, as its common name implies, is not a flowering plant, but a fern, which reproduces by spores. The leathery, evergreen fronds feature deeply-cut leaflets. It spreads aggressively in ideal conditions of wet acidic soils. Plant Virginia Chainfern in your rain garden or moist naturalized areas of the yard.

American Wisteria is a woody vine featuring fragrant, lilac-purple flowers, which bloom June-August. Full sun is needed for optimum flowering. The flowers provide an attractive nectar source for native bees. American Wisteria is a host plant for butterfly and moth larvae (caterpillars), including Marine Blue (Leptotes marina) and Zarucco Duskywing (Erynnis zarucco). It requires regular pruning to maintain control; however, it is not as aggressive as the non-native, invasive Wisteria species. American Wisteria is an excellent alternative to Chinese Wisteria (Wisteria sinensis) and Japanese Wisteria (Wisteria floribunda), both invasive. Train American Wisteria to grow on your trellis, arbor, climbing wall, or around fences in your yard.

Appalachian Barren Strawberry features small, yellow flowers, which bloom April-May. The flowers produce inedible fruits enjoyed for their ornamental qualities. Appalachian Barren Strawberry offers evergreen foliage, but can brown in very cold winters. It is intolerant of extreme heat and high humidity. It is best grown in cooler climates of northern New Jersey. Plant Appalachian Barren Strawberry as a groundcover in your yard.

Nannyberry is a deciduous shrub, which features white flowers blooming early to mid-May. The flowers provide a nectar source for native bees and butterflies. The fruits ripen September-October, changing color from green to yellow, rose, and pink, before maturing as blueish-black. The berries provide winter food for birds. Nannyberry is a host plant to butterfly and moth larvae (caterpillars), including Spring Azure (Celastrina ladon). Plant Nannyberry in your shrub border, or in natural areas of your yard.

Culver’s Root features tiny, multiple, white to pale-blue flowers, which bloom on erect spikes, June-August. The nectar is a valuable food source for native bees, honeybees, and butterflies. Culver’s Root prefers fertile, moist soil that does not dry out. Use Culver’s Root as a moist, woodland border or in your rain garden.

Wildlife Value: Butterflies and native bees,  such as sweat bees, carpenter bees and bumble bees, will visit the flowers.

New York Ironweed features purple flowers, which bloom on tall stalks, August-September. The flower nectar offers food to bees and butterflies, and the dried seeds offer food to birds. New York Ironweed can self-seed vigorously. Plant in a mass to use as a background plant in borders, meadows, and in moist naturalized areas of your yard.

Swamp Verbena features purplish-blue flowers, which bloom on tall spikes, a few at a time from bottom to top, June-September. The flowers are a nectar source for bees and butterflies. Swamp Verbena is a host plant for butterfly and moth larvae (caterpillars), including Common Buckeye (Junonia coenia). This plant prefers moist soil conditions. Use it in rain gardens, along water features, or in other moist areas of the yard. It can also be planted in borders and meadows.

Cranberry is a low-growing, woody vine with small, white-pink flowers, which bloom in abundance, May-July. The flower nectar offers a valuable food source for native bees. The edible, tart fruit, which ripens in September-October, is used in pies, muffins, sauces, and other dishes. The small green leaves turn bright red in fall. Cranberry grows in wet, boggy areas in the wild. It can be used as an evergreen groundcover in moist areas of your yard, or grow it as a specimen plant in your small garden. It is typically grown in a mass for commerical production.