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Monches Farm

Perennials for Special Uses

Monches Farm, LLC
5890 Monches Road
Colgate, Wisconsin
phone: 262-966-2787

Perennials for Special Uses

By Zannah Crowe, horticulturist

Among the factors you might consider when selecting perennials for your garden – beyond their beauty – is what “job” do you want your perennial plants to perform? How about attracting butterflies? Providing natural food for birds? Providing flowers for fresh bouquets or for drying? Scenting the evening air with fragrance? Deterring rabbits? Entertaining young visitors or creating conversation? The possibilities are endless…

Perennials for Attracting Butterflies & Birds

*Plants marked with an asterix are rated “top ten” nectar plants by Stokes Nature Guides

Early Season Bulbs (Crocus, Scilla, Chionodoxa, Daffodils)

Early Season Nectar Source

Phlox stolonifera & Phlox divaricata  (Woodland Phlox)

Early Season Nectar Source

Hosta

Hummingbirds

Heuchera (Coralbells)

Hummingbirds

Aquilegia (Columbine)

Hummingbirds

Centaurea montana (Perennial Bachelor Button)

Butterflies  (nectar) & Birds (seeds)

Penstemon (Beardtongue)

Hummingbirds

Coreopsis  (Tickseed)*

Butterflies (nectar)  & Birds (seeds)

Achillea (Yarrow)

Butterflies

Monarda (Beebalm)

Hummingbirds

Liatris (Gayfeather/Blazing Star)*

Butterflies

Nepeta subsessilis (Nepeta)

Hummingbirds

Eupatorium (Joe-Pye-Weed)*

Butterflies

Lobelia  cardinalis (Cardinal Flower)

Hummingbirds

Phlox paniculata & P. maculata  (Summer Phlox)

Butterflies & Hummingbirds

Silphium perfoliatum (Cup Plant)

Butterflies & Birds (water source)

Buddleia (Butterfly Bush)

Butterflies

Rudbeckia sp. (Black-Eyed-Susan)*

Butterflies  (nectar) & Birds (seeds)

Echinacea purpurea (Purple Coneflower)*

Butterflies  (nectar) & Birds (seeds)

Asclepias sp. (Butterfly Weed & Milkweed)*

Butterflies (adult & juvenile)

Solidago sp. (Goldenrod)

Butterflies

Aster novae-anglae (New England Aster)*

Butterflies (adult & juvenile)

Sedum 'Autumn Joy'

Butterflies (adult & juvenile)

Clematis paniculata (Sweet Autumn Clematis)

Birds (cover & nesting)

Parthenossisus quinquefolia (Virginia Creeper)

Birds (fruit)

Flowers & Foliage for Drying

Note: All can simply be harvested at their prime and hung upside down to dry in a cool dry area

Yarrow (Achillea)

Flowers (retain brilliant yellow color)

Anise-Hyssop (Agastache)

Flowers (fragrant)

Ornamental Onion (Allium)

Seedheads (can be colored once dried)

Artemisia

Foliage (fragrant)

Astilbe

Flowers (dry brown; can be colored once dried)

Belamcanda (Blackberry Lily)

Blackberry-like ornamental seeds & pods

Globe Thistle (Echinops)

Flowers (retain color)

Sea Holly (Eryngium)

Flowers (retain color)

Ornamental Grasses

Flowers & Seedheads (dry to tan)

Lavender (Lavandula)

Flowers & Foliage (fragrant)

Beebalm (Monarda)

Flowers (fragrant & retain color)

Peony (Paeonia)

Flowers (retain color)

Mountain Mint (Pycnanthemum)

Flower Bracts (fragrant)

Roses

Flowers (retain color)

Tansy (Tanacetum)

Flowers (retain color)

Flowers for Cutting

Actually, a vast array of flowers work well in bouquets. Experiment!

Lady’s Mantle (Alchemilla)

Beautiful “filler” in arrangements

Asters (Asters)

Fabulous color range, late season bouquets

Clematis (Clematis)

Float a single blossom in a decorative bowl

Delphinium

Striking color palette (true blues)

Dianthus, longer stemmed varieties

Long lasting as cut flower

Daisies (Dendranthema, Leucanthemum)

Classic simple bouquet or filler

Baby’s Breath (Gypsophila)

Airy “filler”

Daylily (Hemerocallis)

Each flower only lasts a day; pick a beautiful blossom  in the morning and display it on a pretty dish until evening (needs no water)

Coral Bells (Heuchera)

Dainty accent

Iris (Iris)

Fleeting but gorgeous

Gayfeather (Liatris)

Outstanding vertical accent

Peony (Paeonia)

A classic for fresh bouquets

Summer Phlox (Phlox paniculata/maculata)

Long lasting & fragrant, good color range

Pincushion Flower

Super long-lasting as cut flower

Fragrant Flowers

Plant near a patio, deck or walkway to best enjoy their fragrance.

Lily-of-the-Valley (Convallaria)

Tiny but intensely perfumed.

Dianthus

Clove-scented

Scented Geraniums

Annuals, but a “must” for patio containers

Hosta

Certain varieties have very fragrant flowers

Lilies (Lilium)

One plant can scent the entire garden!

Peony (Paeonia)

Many are sweet scented

Plants Not Favored By Deer/Rabbits

No Guarantees!

Monkshood (Aconitum)

Toxic

Ornamental Onion (Allium)

Pungent scent & flavor

Bluestars (Amsonia)

Milky sap

Artemisia

Pungent foliage

Jack-in-the-Pulpit (Arisaema)

Toxic

Astilbe

Unattractive taste

Calamint (Calamintha)

Pungent scent & flavor

Turtlehead (Chelone)

Unattractive taste

Snakeroot/Fairy Candles (Cimicifuga)

Unattractive taste

Bleeding Heart (Dicentra)

Unattractive taste

Gas Plant (Dictamnus)

Toxic

Foxglove (Digitalis)

Toxic

Joe-Pye-Weed (Eupatorium)

Unattractive taste

Spurge (Euphorbia)

Toxic

Perennial Geranium (Geranium)

Unattractive taste

Lavender & Most Herbs

Pungent scent & flavor

Grass, Ornamental

Unattractive taste

Lenten Rose (Helleborus)

Toxic

Beebalm (Monarda)

Pungent scent & flavor

Sweet Cicely (Myrrhis)

Pungent scent & flavor

Daffodils (Narcissus)

Toxic

Catmint (Nepeta)

Pungent scent & flavor

Russian Sage (Perovskia)

Pungent scent & flavor

Balloon Flower

Milky Sap

Mountain Mint (Pycnanthemum)

Pungent scent & flavor

Ornamental Sage (Salvia)

Pungent scent & flavor

Lamb’s Ear (Stachys)

Unattractive taste

Veronica (Veronica)

Unattractive taste

Plants for Entertaining Children & Other Garden Guests

Lady’s Mantle (Alchemilla)

Collects rainwater & dew like jewels on leaf edges

Jack-in-the-Pulpit (Arisaema)

Children are fascinated by the floral “house”

American Ginger (Asarum)

Putrid smelling flowers pollinated by flies (little kids love this!)

Butterfly Weed/Milkweed (Asclepias)

Monarch butterfly & caterpillar “magnets”

False Indigo (Baptisia)

Legend has it that native American children shook the seedheads of this plant to imitate their elders in ceremonies

Bleeding Heart (Dicentra)

Girls especially love these “heart plants”

Gas Plant (Dictamnus)

Gaseous emissions can supposed be lit with a match!

Cinnamon Fern (Osmunda)

Fruiting body resembles a cinnamon stick

Queen-of-the-Prairie (Filipendula)

Flowers look like cotton candy

Blanket Flower (Gaillardia)

Flowers look like native American blankets

Bedstraw (Galium)

Early settlers stuffed their mattresses with this plant

Catchfly (Lychnis)

Sticky stems were said to “catch flies”

Prickly Pear Cactus (Opuntia)

A Wisconsin cactus fascinates children

Obedient Plant (Physostegia)

Turn the blossom and it “obediently” stays where you place it

Balloon Flower (Platycodon)

Buds look like inflated balloons

Soapwort (Saponaria)

Early settlers used this plant to make soap

Hens & Chicks (Sempervivum)

Mother “hen” surrounded by baby “chicks”

Lamb’s Ear (Stachys)

Silky silver “lamb’s ear” foliage

Perennials for a Wet Site

Astilbe
Marsh Marigold (Caltha)
Turtlehead (Chelone)
Glyceria (Grass)
Houttuynia
Siberian Iris (Iris siberica)
Yellow Flag Iris (Iris Pseudacorus)
Ligularia
Perennial Lobelia (Lobelia cardinalis & L. siphilitica)
Bunchflower (Melanthium)
Water Forget-Me-Not (Myosotis scorpiodes)
Ribbon Grass ({Phalaris)
Obedient Plant (Physostegia)
Primrose (Primula)
Globe Flower (Trollius)
Culver's Root (Veronicastrum)

Perennials for around Black Walnut Trees
Black Walnut trees contain a substance called juglone that is toxic to many plants

Astilbe
Coral Bells (Heuchera)
Daylilies (Hemerocallis)
Hosta (Hosta)
Lamb's Ear (Stachys)
Lungwort (Pulmonaria)
Sensitive Fern (Onoclea)
Sedum (Sedum)
Sundrops (Oenothera)

 

Particularly Long Blooming (6+ weeks)
Deadheading will almost always extend bloom period

Yarrow (Achillea)
Perennial Marguerite (Anthemis)
Daisies (Dendranthema & Leucanthemum)
Tickseed (Coreopsis)
Yellow Bleeding Heart (Corydalis)
Fernleaf Bleeding Hearty (Dicentra eximia & cultivars)
Purple Coneflower (Echinacea)
Blanketflower (Gaillardia)
Perennial Geranium (Geranium)
False Sunflower (Heliopsis)
Daylilies (reblooming varieties)
Coralbells (Heuchera)
Knautia (Knautia)
Catmint (Nepeta)
Persicaria/Polygonum (all types)
Russian Sage (Perovskia)
Summer Phlox (Phlox)
Lungwort (Pulmonaria)
Coneflowers (Rudbeckia)
Ornamental Sage (Salvia)
Pincushion Flower (Scabiosa)

Salt Tolerant Perennials:

Highly salt tolerant:

  • Aquilegia (Columbine)

  • Armeria (Sea Thrift)

  • Dianthus (Pinks)

  • Grass-Calamagrostis ‘Karl Foerster’ (Feather Reed Grass)

  • Grass-Festuca (Blue Fescue)

  • Grass- Miscanthus (Maiden Grass)

  • Grass- Schizachyrium (Little Blue Stem)

  • Hemerocallis (Daylilies - this is GREAT news since you can visit us at the Farm and select from over 400 beautiful varieties!)

  • Waldsteinia (Barren Strawberry)

Moderately Salt Tolerant:

  • Achillea (Yarrow)

  • Anthemis (Perennial Marguerite)

  • Aster (Aster)

  • Echinops (Globe Thistle)

  • Erigeron (Fleabane)

  • Euphorbia (Spurge)

  • Helleborus (Lenten Rose)

  • Heuchera (Coral Bells)

  • Oenothera (Sundrops & Evening Primrose)

  • Penstemon (Beard Tongue)

  • Perovskia (Russian Sage)

  • Phlox (Phlox)

  • Sedum (Sedum)

  • Sempervivum (Hens & Chicks)

  • Stachys (Lamb’s Ear)

  • Veronica (Speedwell)

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