Native Plants for the Northeast

The Eastern United States (U.S. Department of Agriculture Plant Hardiness Zones 3 through 7) only has one native hummingbird, the ruby-throated. They need a lot of food to power those busy wings upwards of twice their body weight in nectar, tree sap and insects every day. Here are some plants that support the rubies and other important Eastern wildlife.

Cardinal flower

Hummingbirds and other pollinators particularly like cardinal flower, with its bright-red fanlike blooms that flower from July to October. This mix of cardinal flower, eastern Columbine and wild bergamot also helps the bees, butterflies and moths that 96% of backyard birds rely on to feed their young. Good for part shade.

Golden Alexander

Golden Alexander welcomes bees and swallowtail butterflies with flat yellow blooms that flower from April to August. This mix also contains Jacob’s ladder and blue wood aster, keystone plants that support more than 100 species of butterfly and moth and 34 species of bees.

Carex bromoides

These grass-like perennials, also known as sedges, feature an airy foliage with arching leaves that create a pleasant aesthetic for humans and a haven for wildlife.

Besides being a host plant to several butterfly and moth species, carex bromoides can be used as a ground cover to stabilize soil and suppress weeds. “Creating pocket meadows or pocket prairies, is a sustainable way to keep some lawn, and devote some to native flora and fauna,” says Ali.

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