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Wild Seed Project: Returning native plants to the Maine landscape

Wild Seed Project’s recommended NATIVE PLANTS for Maine Landscapes

All species are adaptable to landscape and garden situations and once established, make lovely low-maintenance plantings. Species with an * are tolerant of tough urban and roadside conditions such as infertile soil and salt spray. A # indicates an American plant native south or west of Maine.

To see photos and wild habitat information, visit Go Botany.

Sun to Part Shade

Plants for soils with moderate moisture and fertility:

SHRUBS and SMALL TREES

  • Canadian serviceberry Amelanchier canadensis, A. laevis
  • Chokeberry Aronia arbutifolia and A. melanocarpa*
  • Bottlebrush Buckeye Aesculus parviflora#
  • Red Buckeye Aesculus pavia#
  • American hornbeam Carpinus caroliniana
  • Common buttonbush Cephalanthus occidentalis
  • Coastal sweet-pepperbush Clethra alnifolia
  • Alternate-leaved dogwood Swida alternifolia (syn. Cornus alternifolia)
  • Silky dogwood Swida amomum, S. racemosa and S. sericea (syn. Cornus spp.)
  • Flowering big-bracted-dogwood Benthamidia florida (syn. Cornus florida (needs careful siting)
  • American hazelnut Corylus americana, C. cornuta
  • Hawthorn Crataegus spp*
  • Bush-honeysuckle Diervilla lonicera*
  • Shrubby-cinquefoil Dasiphora floribunda*
  • American witch-hazel Hamamelis virginiana
  • Wild Hydrangea Hydrangea arborescens#, H. quercifolia#
  • Shrubby St. John’s-wort Hypericum prolificum
  • Common winterberry Ilex verticillata
  • Sweet-bay Magnolia virginiana#
  • Hop-hornbeam Ostrya virginiana
  • Atlantic ninebark Physocarpus opulifolius
  • Mountain fetterbush Pieris floribunda#
  • Canada plum Prunus nigra
  • Swamp rose Rosa palustris
  • Flowering raspberry Rubus odoratus (needs space as it forms a large clump)
  • Rosy meadowsweet Spiraea tomentosa
  • American mountain-ash Sorbus americana
  • Northern white-cedar Thuja occidentalis
  • Viburnum Viburnum dentatum, V. lentago, V. nudum, V. trilobum, and V. prunifolium#

Groundcovers
These plants are low sturdy growers and make a dense covering that will crowd out weeds once established. Combine at least 2-3 species to create a beautiful tapestry of foliage and blooms. 

  • Canada windflower Anemone canadensis
  • Bush-honeysuckle Diervilla lonicera*
  • Common strawberry Fragaria virginiana
  • Golden groundsel Packera aurea
  • Fragrant Sumac Rhus aromatica#*
  • Heart-leaved golden Alexanders Zizia aptera#
  • Eastern hay-scented fern Dennstaedtia punctilobula

Perennials

  • Asters Doellingeria umbellata, Symphyotrichum novae-angliae, S. novi-belgii
  • Swamp milkweed Asclepias incarnata, A. purpurescens#
  • Common milkweed Asclepias syriaca Note, for meadows and roadsides ,not gardens
  • Nodding Onion Allium cernuum#
  • Eastern bluestar Amsonia tabernaemontana#
  • Purple-stemmed Angelica Angelica atropurpurea
  • Red columbine Aquilegia canadensis (no heavy mulch or standing water)
  • Hawthorn Crataegus spp. (20 in Maine)
  • Spotted crane’s-bill Geranium maculatum
  • Tuberous sunflower Helianthus tuberosus
  • Sunflower-everlasting Heliopsis helianthoides
  • Blue iris Iris versicolor
  • Blazing-star Liatris scariosa#, Liatris spp.#
  • Beardtongue Penstemon digitalis, P. hirsutus, P. smallii#
  • Black-eyed coneflower Rudbeckia hirta, R.triloba
  • Green-headed coneflower Rudbeckia laciniata
  • Canada burnet Sanguisorba canadensis
  • Mad dog skullcap Scutellaria lateriflora
  • Blue Vervain Verbena hastata
  • New York ironweed Vernonia noveboracensis#
  • Culver’s-root Veronicastrum virginicum#
  • Heart-leaved golden Alexanders Zizia aptera#
  • Common golden Alexanders Zizia aurea#

Vines
For planting on chain link and wood fences, along walls, or to grow up a trellis. Sun to shade (there will be more blooms with sun).

  • Common ground-nut Apios americana
  • American bittersweet Celastrus scandens
  • Virginia virgin’s-bower Clematis viginiana,
  • Wild Cucumber Echinocystis lobata
  • Large-leaved Dutchman’s pipe Isotrema macrophyllum#
  • Trumpet Honeysuckle Lonicera sempervirens#
  • Trumpet-creeper Campsis radicans#
  • Virginia-creeper Parthenocissus quinquefolia
  • Wild Grape Vitis labrusca, V. riparia
  • American Wisteria Wisteria frutescens#

 

Plants for Full to Part Shade

These are woodland and forest edge species that grow well in part to full shade (planted on the north, east or west side of buildings or under deciduous trees ) Soil should be amended with compost or leaf mold and mulched every fall with deciduous leaves.

SHRUBS and SMALL TREES

  • Goosefoot maple Acer pensylvanicum
  • Mountain Maple Acer spicatum
  • Red Buckeye Aesculus pavia#
  • American hornbeam Carpinus caroliniana
  • Redbud Cercis canadensis#
  • Coastal sweet-pepperbush Clethra alnifolia
  • Alternate-leaved dogwood Swida alternifolia (syn. Cornus alternifolia)
  • Flowering big-bracted-dogwood (Benthamidia florida (syn. Cornus florida)
  • American hazelnut Corylus americana, C. cornuta
  • Bush-honeysuckle Diervilla lonicera
  • Black huckleberry Gaylussacia baccata
  • American witch-hazel Hamamelis virginiana
  • American hydrangea Hydrangea arborescens#
  • Mountain American-laurel Kalmia latifolia
  • Northern spicebush Lindera benzoin
  • American honeysuckle Lonicera canadensis
  • Sweet-bay Magnolia virginiana#
  • Great rosebay Rhododendron maximum
  • Early azalea Rhododendron prinophyllum
  • Clammy azalea Rhododendron viscosum
  • Flowering raspberry Rubus odoratus (give space, becomes a colony)
  • Red elderberry Sambucus racemosa
  • Common snowberry Symphoricarpos albus
  • Blueberry Vaccinium spp.
  • Viburnum Viburnum lantanoides, V. acerfolilum, V. dentatum, V. nudum

Shade Groundcovers
These plants are low growers and make a dense covering that will crowd out weeds once established. Combine at least 2-3 species to create a beautiful tapestry of foliage and blooms.

  • Canada windflower Anemone canadensis
  • Wood Asters Eurybia divaricata, Symphyotrichum cordifolia, S. divaricatuss, S. macrophyllus)
  • Common strawberry Fragaria virginiana
  • Golden groundsel Packera aurea
  • Canada-mayflower Maianthemum canadense
  • Mandrake Podophyllum peltatum#
  • Spreading Jacob’s-ladder Polemonium reptans
  • King Solomon’s-seal Polygonatum biflorum var. commutatum
  • Ferns- Eastern hay-scented fern Dennstaedtia punctilobula, New York Fern Thelypteris noveboracensis, Fiddlehead fern Matteuccia struthiopteris, Lady Fern Athyrium filix-femina

Woody Groundcovers

  • Bush-honeysuckle Diervilla lonicera
  • Shrub yellowroot Xanthorhiza simplicissima
  • Flowering raspberry Rubus odoratus

Perennials

  • Red columbine Aquilegia canadensis
  • Doll’s-eyes Actaea pachypoda & A. rubra
  • Thimbleberry Anermone virginiana
  • Ramps Allium tricoccum
  • Astilbe Astilbe biternata
  • American spikenard Aralia racemosa
  • Jack-in-the-pulpit Arisaema triphyllum
  • Canada wild ginger Asarum canadense
  • Wood Asters Eurybia macrophylla, E.divaricata, Symphyotrichum cordifolia
  • Southern bellflower Campanula divaricata
  • Blue cohosh Caulophyllum thalictroides
  • Golden Star Chrysogonum virginianum#
  • Black bugbane Actaea racemosa#
  • White turtlehead Chelone glabra, C.lyonii#
  • Wild bleeding-heart Dicentra eximia#
  • Eastern shooting star Dodecatheon meadia#
  • White snakeroot Ageratina altissima
  • Common strawberry Fragaria virginiana
  • Andrew’s bottle gentian Gentiana andrewsii
  • Spotted crane’s-bill Geranium maculatum
  • Sunflower-everlasting Heliopsis helianthoides
  • Crested iris Iris cristata#
  • Jewelweed Impatiens capensis, I. pallida
  • Twinleaf Jeffersonia diphylla#
  • Blue lobelia Lobelia siphilitica
  • Meehan’s mint Meehania cordata#
  • Allegany Spurge Pachysandra procumbens#
  • Golden Groundsel Packera aurea
  • Wood Phlox Phlox divaricata# & Phlox stolonifera#
  • Spreading Jacob’s-ladder Polemonium reptans#
  • King Solomon’s-seal Polygonatum biflorum
  • Mountain Mint Pycnanthemum muticum, P. virginicum
  • Blood-root Sanguinaria canadensis
  • Woodland stonecrop Sedum ternatum
  • Feathery false Solomon’s-seal Maianthemum racemosum (syn. Smilacina racemosa)
  • Early meadow-rue Thalictrum dioicum
  • Foam-flower Tiarella cordifolia
  • Goldenseal Hydrastis Canadensis#
  • Small’s penstemon Penstemon smallii#
  • Woodland Goldenrod Solidago caesia, S. flexicaulis
  • Bellworts Uvularia grandiflora, U. sessilifolia
  • New England violet Viola novae-angliae
  • Fiddlehead fern Matteuccia struthiopteris

Plants for dry sandy or gravelly soil in part or full sun

Shrubs

  • Chokeberry Aronia arbutifolia and A. melanocarpa*
  • New Jersey redroot Ceanothus americanus
  • Sweet-fern Comptonia peregrina*
  • Gray dogwood Swida racemosa(Cornus racemosa)
  • Hazelnut Corylus americana and C. cornuta
  • Bush-Honeysuckle Diervilla lonicera *
  • Shrubby St. John’s-wort Hypericum prolificum
  • Juniper Juniperus communis, J. horizontalis, J. virginiana
  • Small bayberry Morella caroliniensis (syn. Myrica pensylvanica*)
  • Beach Plum Prunus maritima*
  • Dwarf Sand Plum Prunus pumila
  • Staghorn sumac Rhus hirta * (syn.Rhus typhina for large landscapes)
  • Virginia rose Rosa virginiana *
  • Rosy meadowsweet Spiraea tomentosa
  • Viburnum Viburnum nudum and V. prunifolium#

Perennials

  • Butterfly milkweed Asclepias tuberosa*
  • Lavender giant-hyssop Agastache foeniculum #
  • Pearly everlasting Anaphalis margaritacea
  • Asters Eurybia spectabilis# Symphyotrichum concolor#, S. ericoides, S. laeve S. linariifolius*, Symphyotrichum oblongifolium#
  • Flax-leaved stiff-aster Ionactis linariifolia
  • Nodding wild onion Allium cernuum#
  • Pasqueflower Anemone patens#
  • Field pussytoes Antennaria neglecta*
  • Yellow wild indigo Baptisia tinctoria*
  • Purple prairie clover Dalea purpurea#
  • Prairie coneflowers Echinacea angustifolia, E. pallida, E. paradoxa, E. purpurea, E. tennesseensis
  • Wild Strawberry Fragaria virginiana*
  • Woodland sunflower Helianthus divaricatus
  • Blazing star Liatris squarrosa*, Liatris spicata#, L. punctata#, Liatris pycnostachya#
  • Wood lily Lilium philadelphicum
  • Blue flax Linum perenne.v.lewisii#
  • Sundial lupine Lupinus perennis*
  • Spotted bee-balm Monarda punctata#
  • Foxglove beardtongue Penstemon digitalis, P. hirsutus
  • Sand/moss phlox Phlox bifida, P. subulata
  • Three-toothed-cinquefoil Sibbaldiopsis tridentata
  • Virginia mountain-mint Pycnanthemum virginianum
  • Gray-headed Mexican-hat Ratibida pinnata
  • Blue Eyed Grass Sisyrinchium montanum, S. angustifolium
  • Goldenrod Solidago rugosa (S. rugosa), S. rugosum, S. sempervirens*
  • Virginia meadow-beauty Rhexia virginica#
  • Black-eyed coneflower Rudbeckia hirta*
  • Virginia spiderwort Tradescantia virginiana
  • Culver’s root Veronicastrum virginicum#
  • Bird-foot violet Viola Pedata

Plants for wet soils in part or full sun

Shrubs

  • Alder Alnus spp.
  • Common buttonbush Cephalanthus occidentalis
  • Coastal sweet-pepperbush Clethra alnifolia
  • Dogwood Cornus amomum and C. racemosa and C. sericea
  • American witch-hazel Hamamelis virginiana
  • Northern spicebush Lindera benzoin
  • Sheep American-laurel Kalmia angustifolia
  • Evergreen winterberry Ilex glabra
  • Common winterberry Ilex verticillata
  • Sweetgale Myrica gale
  • American hydrangea Hydrangea arborescens#
  • Mountain holly Ilex mucronata
  • Canada rosebay Rhododendron canadense
  • Rosy meadowsweet Spiraea tomentosa
  • Pussy willow Salix discolor
  • Elderberry Sambucus canadensis
  • Highbush blueberry Vaccinium corymbosum,
  • Viburnum Viburnum dentatum, V. nudum, V. trilobum

Perennials

  • Swamp milkweed Asclepias incarnata
  • Asters Symphyotrichum novae-angliae, S. novi-belgii, S. puniceum, S.umbellatus
  • Marsh-marigold Caltha palustris
  • Purple-stemmed Angelica Angelica atropurpurea
  • Turtlehead Chelone glabra, C. lyonii#
  • Virginia virgin’s-bower Clematis virginiana
  • Spotted Joe-Pye weed Eutrochium maculatum
  • Boneset thoroughwort Eupatorium perfoliatum
  • Andrew’s bottle gentian Gentiana andrewsii
  • Water avens Geum rivale
  • Wild sunflower Helianthus decapetalus, H. giganteus H. divaricatus
  • Sunlower-everlasting Heliopsis helianthoides
  • Jewelweed Impatiens capensis, I. pallida
  • Blue Iris Iris versicolor
  • Blazing Star Liatris pycnostachya, L. spicata
  • Carolina sea-lavender Limonium carolinianum*
  • Cardinal-flower Lobelia cardinalis,
  • Blue lobelia Lobelia siphilitica
  • Canada lily Lilium canadense
  • Wood lily L. philadelphicum#
  • Swamp yellow-loosestrife Lysimachia terrestris
  • Bee-balm Monarda fistulosa, Monarda didyma#
  • Allegheny monkey-flower Mimulus ringens
  • Golden groundsel Packera aurea
  • Obedient false dragonhead Physostegia virginiana #
  • Three-lobed coneflower Rudbeckia triloba
  • Mad dog skullcap Scutellaria lateriflora
  • New York American-aster Symphyotrichum novi-belgii
  • Blue vervain Verbena hastata
  • New York ironweed Vernonia noveboracensis#

Ferns

  • Northern maidenhair fern Adiantum pedatum
  • Sensitive fern Onoclea sensibilis
  • Fiddlehead fern Matteuccia struthiopteris
  • Cinnamon fern Osmundastrum cinnamomeum
  • Royal fern Osmunda regalis

Shrubs and Perennials for Wet Shade

  • Coastal sweet-pepperbush Clethra alnifolia
  • American witch-hazel Hamamelis virginiana
  • Northern spicebush Lindera benzoin
  • Highbush blueberry Vaccinium corymbosum
  • Ferns- Fiddlehead fern Matteuccia struthiopteris, Cinnamon fern Osmundastrum cinnamomeum, Royal fern Osmunda regalis
  • Cardinal-flower Lobelia cardinalis
  • Blue lobelia Lobelia siphilitica
  • Golden groundsel Packera aurea

Plants for medium to dry and highly acidic soil (near conifers) in sun to part shade

Shrubs

  • Kinnikinnick Arctostaphylos uva-ursi
  • Sweet-fern Comptonia peregrina
  • Eastern spicy-wintergreen Gaultheria procumbens
  • Black huckleberry Gaylussacia baccata
  • American witch-hazel Hamamelis virginiana
  • Bayberry Morella caroliniensis* (syn. Myrica pensylvanica)*
  • Bush-honeysuckle Diervilla lonicera*
  • Juniper Juniperus horizontalis, J. virginiana
  • American Honeysuckle Lonicera canadensis
  • Red elderberry Sambucus pubens
  • Common lowbush blueberry Vaccinium angustifolium

Perennials

  • Wild sarsaparilla Aralia nudicaulis
  • Bunchberry, Chamaepericlymenum canadense
  • Sundial lupine Lupinus perennis
  • Bird-foot violet Viola pedata
  • Ferns – Eastern hay-scented fern Dennstaedtia punctilobula, New York fern Parathelypteris noveboracensis
  • Black-eyed coneflower Rudbeckia hirta

Plants for part to full shade with acidic soils

Shrubs/Small Trees

  • Goosefoot maple Acer pensylvanicum
  • Mountain maple Acer spicatum
  • Bush-honeysuckle Diervilla lonicera
  • Black huckleberry Gaylussacia baccata
  • American witch-hazel Hamamelis virginiana
  • American honeysuckle Lonicera canadensis
  • Red elderberry Sambucus pubens
  • Common lowbush blueberry Vaccinium angustifolium
  • Viburnum Viburnum acerfolium, V.cassinoides

Perennials

  • Wood Aster Eurybia macrophylla, Symphyotrichum cordifolium, S. divaricatus
  • Canada-mayflower Maianthemum canadense
  • Bunchberry Chamaepericlymenum canadense
  • Wood sunflower Helianthus divaricatus
  • Woodland Goldenrod Solidago caesia, S. flexicaulis

Ferns

  • Eastern hay-scented fern Dennstaedtia punctilobula
  • New York fern Parathelypteris noveboracensis
  • Broad beech fern Phegopteris hexagonoptera

Large Shade Trees

  • Maples Acer rubrum, A. saccharinum, A. saccharum
  • Yellow Buckeye Aesculus flava
  • Birches Betula papyrifera, B. populifolia, B. alleghaniensis, B.lenta
  • Shagbark hickory Carya ovata
  • Northern catalpa Catalpa speciosa# (historically planted in the city of Portland)
  • Common hackberry Celtis occidentalis
  • Kentucky yellow-wood Cladrastis kentukea#
  • American beech Fagus grandifolia
  • Walnut and Butternut Juglans nigra, J. cinerea
  • Tuliptree Liriodendron tulipifera#
  • Big Leaf Magnolia Magnolia macrophylla#
  • Black-gum Nyssa sylvatica
  • Hop0-hornbeam Ostrya virginiana
  • American sycamore Platanus occidentalis
  • Aspens Populus grandidentata, P. tremuloides
  • Black cherry Prunus serotina
  • American plum Prunus americana
  • Oak Quercus alba, Q. bicolor, Q. coccinea, Q. montana, Q. macrocarpa, Q. rubra, Q. velutina
  • Black willow Salix nigra
  • Sassafras Sassafras albidum
  • American linden Tilia americana
  • American elm Ulmus americana

Conifers

  • Atlantic white cedar Chamaecyparis thyoides
  • Spruce Picea glauca, P.rubens
  • Balsam fir Abies balsamea
  • Eastern red cedar Juniperus virginiana
  • American larch Larix laricina
  • Pines Pinus resinosa, P. rigida, P. strobus, P. banksiana
  • Northern white-cedar Thuja occidentalis
  • Eastern hemlock Tsuga canadensis