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Become an expert on native flowers

Keep local love growing this spring with local plants.

MKT Butterfly Milkweed

Plant some of this, and you may find yourself playing host to monarchs.

Photo via Wikimedia Commons

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You love local food, music, business, and art — so while you’re planning your garden this spring, why not choose local plants, too?

Native plants are naturally adapted to the local climate, provide sustenance to native wildlife, and save water by thriving on normal rainfall. Plus, they’re more visually diverse than, say, lawn grass.

Consider planting some Tennessee flora this spring. We’ll get you started.

Butterfly Milkweed

Asclepias tuberosa

Water needs: Moist, dry
Light needs: Sun, shade, part-shade
Bloom time: May-September

Growing tips: Butterfly weed attracts aphids, which you can deal with by spraying with soapy water, blasting with high-pressure streams, or by leaving the aphids for ladybugs.

Attracts: Hummingbirds, butterflies (Monarch + Grey Hairstreak)

Carolina Jessamine

Gelsemium sempervirens

Water needs: Moist
Light needs: Sun, part-shade
Bloom time: March-May; may bloom again in early fall and December

Growing tips: Make sure your soil is never completely dry. Use elastic stretch ties and prune Jessamine early in its blooming season to train and maintain your desired shape.

Attracts: Hummingbirds, butterflies (Spicebush Swallowtail)

Trumpet honeysuckle

Also called coral honeysuckle, don’t confuse this native plant with invasive bush honeysuckle. | Photo by Wikimedia Commons

Trumpet Honeysuckle

Lonicera sempervirens

Water needs: Moist
Light needs: Sun, part-shade
Bloom time: March-June

Growing tips: Rich soil and structural assistance will help this vine climb to its full potential — up to 20 feet.

Attracts: Quail, purple finch, goldfinch, hermit thrush, and American robin

Wild Blue Indigo

Baptisia australis

Water needs: Moist
Light needs: Sun
Bloom time: April-July

Growing tips: Sow indigo in late fall or spring — but the historic South Carolina sprig is a labor of love, and won’t flower for up to three years.

Attracts: Native bumble bees

Wild Red Columbine

Aquilegia canadensis

Water needs: Moist, dry
Light needs: Shade, part-shade
Bloom time: February-July

Growing tips: Plant columbine in thin, well-drained soil to ensure a long lifespan. This flower struggles in heat, so plant in the shade before temperatures climb in spring.

Attracts: Hummingbirds, bees, butterflies, hawk moths, finches, and buntings

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