Rivercities Garden Club

Meeting 1/4/04


Program - Gardening with Native Plants  - Sandra Gibbs

There are four categories of soil here in Louisiana

Plants which like dry don't do well with wet. However they will do reasonably well if they are planted in one level away from what they like.

Sun exposure


Native plants fromTexas to the east coast will do well here except the west Texas plants from the mountains require alkaline soil.

Plants that are obtained from nurseries close to home may grow better.  When buying plants from a nursery make sure that they are nursery propagated.  These plants cannot be dug and shipped. There is simply too much stress on the plant from root injury and shipping.  Depend on seed and cuttings rather than digging the plant out of the ground.


Sources of Information

La Native Plant Society  meets at the science building at Centenary College on the fourth Thursday of the month.  There is a sale of native plants by the  plant society on the 4th Thursday in March att the highland center.



Common Native Plants of Louisiana

Flowering and Fruiting Trees 15  to 25  Tall

Aesculus pavia   Red Buckeye

Amelanchier arborea,    Serviceberry, Shadbush, Junebush

Asamina triloba,  PawPaw, Indian Banana

Chionanthus virginicus,   Grancy Greybeard, Fringetree, Old Man s Beard

Crataegus marshallii,   Parsley Hawthorn

Cyrilla racemiflora,  Swamp Cyrilla, Titi, Leatherwood

Halesia diptera,   Two-winged Silverbells - Provide a nice bloom in spring, they provide food for squirls.  The plants are small and have a single trunk.

Hamamelis virginica,   Witchhazel

Illicium floridanum,   Florida Anice - Blooms are about the size of a 50 cent piece.  The pods are read.  Is also called "stink bush."

Rhus copallina,   Winged Sumac

Viburnum obovatum,   Walter's Virburnum - All of the viburnum grow easily.  The plants provide  substantial amount of wildlife food.

Viburnum nudum,   Possumhaw Viburnum

Viburnum rufidulum,   Rusty Blackhaw Viburnum

Tall Shrubs 5  to 15  Tall

Agarista populifolia,   Florida leucothoe, Tall Fetterbush Myrica heterophylla   Southern Bayberry, Wax Myrtle - large, evergreen, has a strong fragrance.  The berries are very popular with birds.

Flowering and Fruiting Shrubs Under 15  Tall

Aesculus parviflora,   Bottlebrush Buckeye

Callicarpa americana,   American Beautyberry, French Mulberry - white and red berries also a great bird food.

Calycanthus florida,    Sweetshrub, Carolina Allspice, Strawberry Shrub

Clethra alniflora,   Clethra, Sweet Pepperbush - Has a pleasant smell in spring.

Euonymus americanus,    Strawberrybush, Hearts a bustin , Wahoo

Fothergilla major,   Large Fothergilla, Witchalder

Hydrangea quercifolia,   Oak-leaf Hydrangea - Blooms all summer.  Needs dry shade.

Neviusia alabamensis,   Alabama Snow Wreath, Wild Spirea

Rhododendron species    Several varieties of Wild Azalea - Wonderful fragrance, early spring blooms.

Rosa palustris,    Swamp Rose

Viburnum dentatum,   Arrow-wood - Clusters of white blooms and berries.  It spreads quickly.

Low Shrubs

Hydrangea arborescens,   Wild Hydrangea, Mountain Hydrangea, Sevenbark - Smaller than other hydrangia.  Spreads nicely underground.

Itea verginianana,   Itea, Virginia Willow, Virginia Sweet spire - nice show in spring

Leucothoe axillaris,   Coastal Leucothoe

Lyonia lucida,   Fetterbush, Pink Fetterbush

Malvaviscus arboreus,   Turk's Cap

Rosa caroliniana,  Carolina Rose - Is very well behaved and likes woodland conditions.  It stays small so won't eat the house.

Viburnum acerifolium, Maple Leaf Viburnum


Bignonia capreolata, Crossvine

Clematis crispa, Curly Clematis

Gelsemium sempervivum, Caroline Jessamine, Poor Man s Rope

Lonicera sempervirens, Coral Honeysuckle

Lonicera sulphurea, Sulphur Honeysuckle - Has a pink form

Wisteria frutescens, American Wisteria


Asplenium platyneuron, Ebony Spleenwort

Athyrium fllis-flmina ,Southern Lady Fern

Dryopteris marginalis, Marginal Woodfern, Marginal Shieldfern

Polystichum acrostichoides, Christman Fern

Osmundia cinnamomea, Cinnamon Fern

Osmundia regalis, Royal Fern

Thelypteris novaboracencts, New York Fern

Woodwardia areolata, Netted Chain Fern

Woodland Flowers

Amsonia taebernaemontana, Woodland Bluestar - Bloom early in the spring and is hard to find because it is difficult to propagate.

Aquilegia canadensis,  Wild Red Columbine - plety of seed.  If planted with other colors fo Columbine the colors the next year will be mixed.

Aquilegia chrysantha,  Wild Yellow Columbine

Aquilegia hinldyii, Dwarf Yellow Columbine

Dentaria laciniata,Toothwort

Geranium maculatum,  Wild Geranium - Is native here.

Heuchera americana, Alumroot

Iris cristata, Crested Iris - Likes wooded areas and has a huge bloom. Doesn't mind the sun.

Phlox divaricata, Blue Woodland Phlox, Louisiana Phlox - Pink, blooms late in the season, is a rare plant..  Likes the sun.

Podophylum peltatum, Mayapple - Blooms in early spring.  Only the forked braches will bloom.

Polygonatum biflorum, Solomon's Seal

Ruellia, Trailing Wild Petunia

Tradescantia virgiian.   Spiderwort - Has several colors blue, pink, lavender and white.

Spigelia marilandica, Indian Pink, Spigelia - Likes the top of a hill in shade.

Viola saroria, Wild Violet - Violets like shade and hybridize easily.

Viola walterii, Walter Violet

Zephyranthes atamasco, Atamasco Lily - Large flowers blooming with shade and moisture.

Garden Flowers

Amsonia ciliata,   Texas Bluestar

Asclepias tuberosa,   Butterflyweed  - Likes the sun.  Flowers are red, or orange.

Aster oblongifolia,   Aromatic Aster - Bloom in the fall.  Blooms are quarter sized.  Likes the sun.

Boltonia asteroides,   Boltoma

Callirhoe involucrata,   Wine Cups - Poppy, perennial.

Chrysanthemum leucanthemum,   Ox-eye Daisy - Does well in full sun and with partial shade.

Coriopsis stern Tayler - Roadside plant, red center. 

Wild ageratum - invasive, blue flowers, likes sun, tolerant of lack of water.

Gaillardia pulchella  Indian blanket, firewheel , bkanket flower, - briliant daisy like flower also a perennial variety.

Verileaf sunflower - needs lots of room.

Milnarda - white, lavender, hard to kill, likes sun.

Calylophus hartwegii, Sun drops - many varieties up to six feet tall.

Oenothera, Mexican Primrose - bright yellow, likes sun.

 Penstomen hirsutus , Penstomen digitalis - Hairy BeardtongueBlooms over long periods of time, likes good drainage and sun.

Penstomen smalleye - Purple flowers likes sun and dry ground.

Ratibida columnifera, Upright coneflower, yellow coneflower, yellow prairie coneflower, long-head coneflower, columnar prairie coneflower, prairie coneflower, pyramid flower, Mexican hat, red Mexican hat.  Gets tall, small blooms and is very dependable ad will come back for years.

Rudbeckia hirta, Black Eyed Susan - Gold storm is one of the best varieties.

Rebecca maxima - Has yellow flowers growing up to six feet.  Likes sun.

Ruellia brittoniana Mexican petunia - Grows easily and will grow three to four feet tall.  The plant likes the sun ad is very invasive.  There are several colors.


If you would like to see what some of these flowers look like go to the page http://www.wildflowers.reach.net/list.html


Sandra Gibbs is a member of the Master Gardener program. She provided substantial help with the Master Gardener Program The World of Gardening last fall.  She owns a wholesale nursery specializing in native plants.

The use of native plants in a suburban setting can be advantageous especially on small plots

Naturally belong to a given region climate and geology, they become acclimated to the weather.  Here in Shreveport we have cool wet winters, long hot dry summers,   and lots of bugs, critters, and  fungi.  As a result these plants are hardier and more disease resistant.  These plants need much less maintainence to survive.  Wildlife are much more likely to use native plants.  All plants have an idea of what they need to survive  Native plants extremely flexible and will live just about anywhere.



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