What’s Blooming at the Farm? – July 2022

Purple coneflowers picture

Summer is a delightful time for native flowers in Illinois! Our sun-loving native plants are bursting with bright blooms and buzzing with bees and butterflies.

Check out what’s blooming now in our gardens at the McDonald Farm in Naperville:

1. Royal Catchfly – Silene regia

Royal catchfly’s bright and nectar-rich flowers attract hummingbirds and butterflies. Its stem’s sticky hairs trap climbing insects and then exude digestive enzymes to break them down, hence its name “catch fly.” Royal catchfly is rare in the wild due to habitat loss.  

Exposure: Full or partial sun

Soil Conditions: Moist to slightly dry

Mature Height: 2-3 feet

Bloom Color: Red

Bloom Season: July-August

2. Bee Balm (also Wild Bergamot)—Monarda fistulosa

Bee balm’s lavender tufts of tubular flowers attract many different species of bees and butterflies. Bee balm is in the mint family and has a minty-oregano scent, which deters rabbits.

Exposure: Full or partial sun

Soil Conditions:  Moist to slightly dry

Mature Height: 2-4 feet

Bloom Color: Pink to light purple

Bloom Season: July-August

3. Black-eyed Susan—Rudbeckia hirta

Black-eyed Susan’s cheerful flowers attract a broad range of insects. Goldfinches eat their seeds in the fall.

Exposure: Full sun

Soil Conditions: Moist to moderately dry

Mature Height: 1-3 feet tall

Bloom Color: Yellow

Bloom Season: July-August

4. Queen of the Prairie—Filipendula rubra

A unique and whimsical flower that has a short bloom time in early to mid summer. You can find Queen of the Prairie in high-quality prairie habitat. The plants spread by rhizomes and can easily fill in a moist sunny area. The pink flower head plumes are stunning.

Exposure: Full sun

Soil Conditions: Moist, well-drained

Mature Height: 5-6 feet

Bloom Color: Pink

Bloom Season: June-AugustQ

5. False Sunflower—Heliopsis helianthoides

False sunflower is an easy to grow native flower, especially for difficult clay soils. It supports a wide range of pollinators.

Exposure: Full to partial sun

Soil Conditions: Moist to dry

Mature Height: 3-5 feet

Bloom Color: Yellow

Bloom Season: June-August

6. Elderberry—Sambucus canadensis

Elderberry is a multi-stem shrub with clusters of fragrant white flowers that develop into small fruits. The fruits or “elderberries” are eaten by birds, squirrels, and people too. Elderberry can be enjoyed as a syrup, jam, jelly, wine, or tea.

Exposure: Full to partial sun

Soil Conditions: Moist

Mature Height: 8-12 feet

Bloom Color: White

Bloom Season: June-July

7. Common milkweed—Asclepias syriaca

Milkweeds are well-known as the host plant for the monarch butterfly, but they attract many other kinds of nectar-seeking insects too!

Exposure: Full sun

Soil Conditions: Dry

Mature Height: 3-4 feet

Bloom Color: Purple

Bloom Season: June-August

8. Butterfly Weed—Asclepias tuberosa

Butterfly Weed is another species of milkweed. It is shorter and tidier than Common Milkweed, which makes it a good choice for native-but-neat home gardens.

Exposure: Full Sun

Soil Conditions: Dry

Mature Height: 1-2 feet

Bloom Color: Orange

Bloom Season: June-August

9. Purple coneflower—Echinacea purpurea

Purple Coneflower has large, attractive flowers that are visited by many butterflies and other pollinators. The seed heads provide food for birds in the fall and winter.

Exposure: Full to partial sun

Soil Conditions: Dry

Mature Height: 3-4 feet

Bloom Color: Pink

Bloom Season: June-August

10. New Jersey Tea—Ceanothus americanus

New Jersey Tea is a small, flowering shrub that works well in home gardens. Wondering where its name comes from? Colonists used New Jersey Tea leaves as a tea substitute during the Revolutionary War. So, support native wildlife and brew yourself a cup of tea with this charming native shrub.

Exposure: Full to partial sun

Soil Conditions: Dry

Mature Height: 3-4 feet

Bloom Color: White

Bloom Season: June-July

Join Conservation
@Home

Join Conservation@Home

Are any of these native flowers blooming in your garden? If so, your garden may be eligible for Conservation@Home certification!

Conservation@Home is a program for homeowners who are helping local nature by gardening with native plants, creating wildlife habitat, conserving water, and more. Homeowners who make these earth-friendly choices are certified as a Conservation@Home property and rewarded with a Conservation@Home sign to post in their yard. Learn more at https://www.theconservationfoundation.org/conservation-home/

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