30 Great Plants for Northern Gardens: The Complete List

northern garden design

Combine great plants into a beautiful northern garden, like this Minneapolis garden.

One of the MSHS Facebook fans requested that we put up a list of all the 30 great plants for northern gardens that we profiled in November. The list is below, but one thing we realized in working through this month of great plants is how many wonderful options we northern gardeners have. Which of your favorite plants did we miss? Tell us in the comments!


Great Plants: The Complete List

1) Peonies: Varied, colorful, a sure sign that summer is here.

2) Black Hills spruce: You've got to have an evergreen in a northern garden, and this is a great choice.

3) Northern Lights azaleas: Rock-solid rhododendrons!

4) Turtlehead: A native wildflower that thrives in wet sites.

5) Ligularia: If you want a plant that's big and green for shade, try this one.

6) Siberian iris: When a plant's name starts with "Siberian," you know it's a good choice for Minnesota.

7) Karl Foerster feather reed grass: A reliable grass for northern gardens.

8) Martagon lilies: Upside down flowers make these a pretty addition to the garden.

9) Foamflower: Can't be beat for exciting foliage.

10) Chokeberry: A native shrub you and the birds will love.

memorial day rose

'Memorial Day' rose

11) Hardy roses: There are so many choices for northern gardens that everyone should be able to find a rose for their yard.

12) Fleece flower: Here's a less common, but fabulous choice.

13) Blue Heaven bluestem: A short grass that's tall on great qualities.

14) Serviceberry: Another standout native shrub.

15) Native columbine: The red flowers are a knockout.

16) Bleeding heart: An old-fashioned favorite, hardy to USDA Zone 2.

17) Asters: A perfect choice for late summer color.

18) Northern pin oak: Every yard needs a significant tree, and this native retains its leaves.

19) Cardinal flower: If you want hummingbirds, plant this.

20) Balloon flower: Children are fascinated by this plant's flower.

21) Crab apple trees: A beautiful option for spring color.

22) Bee balm: A diverse option for pollinator-friendly gardens.

23) Groundcovers: Ajuga, wild ginger, thyme—we could not name just one.

24) Asiatic and Oriental lilies: What would July be without the scent of lilies?

25) Joe-Pye weed: A big plant for sunny gardens.

blue hydrangea26) Techny and Technito arborvitae: Two choices for smallish evergreens.

27) Hostas: We have lots of hosta collectors in Minnesota.

28) Hydrangea: Can you get your Endless Summer hydrangeas to grow blue?

29) Globe flower: An adaptable perennial that likes moist sites.

30) Heuchera: Also called coral bells, many northern gardeners grow this one for its foliage.

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