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.
Moundlily Yucca, or Spanish Dagger, is an evergreen shrub with a unique form similar to Yucca filamentosa. It features creamy-white, bell-shaped flowers, which bloom on an erect 5- to 8-foot panicle, July-August. The dried fruits persist atop the panicles. The leaves are thick and have sharp, dagger-like tips, hence its common name. Spanish Dagger is a host plant for butterfly and moth larvae (caterpillars), including Cofaqui Giant Skipper (Megathymus cofaqui) and Yucca Giant Skipper (Megathymus yuccae). Its drought- and salt-tolerance make it a good choice for coastal gardens. Plant it as a specimen, in groups, in borders, or for accents around your yard.
Adam’s Needle, or simply Yucca, is a broadleaf evergreen shrub with a unique form. It features yellowish-white flowers, which bloom in clusters on 3- to 6-foot panicles reaching above the foliage, May-July. The flowers attract bees and butterflies. The leaves are thick, fibrous blades, which extend both vertically and horizontally from the center of the basal stem, terminating in a sharp point — like a needle. Adam’s Needle is a host plant for butterfly and moth larvae (caterpillars), including Yucca Giant-Skipper (Megathymus yuccae) and Cofaqui Giant-Skipper (Megathymus cofaqui). Yucca perfers dry, sandy soil and is drought-tolerant, making it a good choice for New Jersey yards. Plant Adam’s Needle in groups as accents, around foundations or borders, or as stand-alone specimens in your yard.
Arrowwood is a wildlife-friendly deciduous shrub featuring white flowers with yellow stamens, which bloom May-July. The flowers provide a nectar source for native bees and butterflies. Blue-black berries follow the flowers, and offer a valued food source for birds and wildlife. Fall foliage can be yellow, glossy red, or reddish-purple. Arrowwood is a host plant for Spring Azure (Celastrina ladon) butterfly larvae. Use this durable plant in massed plantings, shrub borders, and in shrub hedges.
Burkwood Viburnum is a cross between V. utile and V. carlesii. Fragrant white flowers bloom in April, followed by red, berry-like fruits, which ripen to black in summer. The leaves turn dark red in the fall. Burkwood Viburnum tolerates a wide range of soils, but prefers well-drained loamy soil. Plant Burkwood Viburnum as a shrub border in your yard.
Speedwell features deep blue-purple flowers on tall spikes, which bloom June-August. Deadhead flowers to promote continuous blooms. Speedwell prefers constant moisture in well-drained soil, but it will tolerate drought once established. The genus Veronica contains many cultivars offering other colors and characteristics. Use it in rock gardens and borders around your yard.
Lowbush Blueberry is a flowering deciduous shrub with edible fruit. It features small, white, bell-shaped flowers with pink/reddish edges, which bloom April-May, offering a valuable nectar source to native bees. The sweet and edible fruit ripens in summer and provides an important food source for birds. The berries are used in pies, muffins, and other dishes, and eaten fresh. Showy fall foliage is bronze, scarlet, and crimson. Plant Lowbush Blueberry along borders, as a tall groundcover, as small hedges, or in naturalized areas of your yard.
Mother-of-Thyme features tiny, red-purple flowers, which bloom in abundance, June-September. The nectar offers a valuable food source for native bees and butterflies. Mother-of-Thyme is easily grown in dry, sandy, rocky, gritty soil in full sun. This plant withstands light foot traffic. Use Mother-of-Thyme as a groundcover, edging plant, or along walkways or cascading borders. Mother-of-Thyme also tolerates drought well, making it a good choice for Jersey-Friendly Yards.
Arborvitae is an evergreen tree, which offers winter interest to yards and landscapes. It tolerates a wide range of soils, but prefers moist, slightly alkaline loam. Use Arborvitae for a specimen, accent plant, or foundation tree, or group in hedges, shelter-belts, and privacy borders. It is susceptible to diseases and insects (including bagworm, heart rot, leaf miner, and spider mites) and to deer browse.
English Yew is an evergreen tree, which can be grown as a shrub or hedge. The berries are attractive to birds, but poisonous to humans. It is dioecious; both male and female plants are needed to produce fruit. English Yew prefers shady areas and needs protection from cold winter winds. Use English Yew for foundation plantings, screens, and topiaries.