All-Star Native Plants for Boulevard Gardens

We follow these guidelines in selecting native plants for our boulevard gardens:
When choosing plants for harsh streetside conditions, look for...
  • drought /salt tolerance: deep roots; narrow leaves, silvery and/or hairy leaves
  • under 1 meter in height; no thorns or sharp leaves
  • native species indigenous to our local area; pollen- and nectar-rich to benefit pollinators
  • adapted to thrive in site's soil (clay/loam/sand)​ and pH (acidic, alkaline)

Native plant species vary in their light preferences. It is important to select plants best adapted to available light conditions:

  • Full sun – plants require at least 6 hours of direct, late-morning/afternoon sun

  • Partial shade – plants need 3 to 6 hours of morning or afternoon sun, but should be shaded from the hot, midday sun.

  • Full shade – plants can thrive with less than 3 hours of sun. 

For more info... 

Native Plants for Pollinators, Credit Valley Conservation

A Flower Patch for the Rusty Patched Bumblebee:Creating Habitat Gardens for Native Pollinators in the Greater Toronto Area

Blooming Boulevards uses locally-sourced seeds of native perennials for our boulevard pollinator gardens. Most withstand drought and salt.

 

The wide variety of plant species we grow may vary slightly from year to year, but all are included in those listed below. 

* Please click on image to see info and helpful link.

Showy Tick Trefoil
Showy Tick Trefoil
Blue Lobelia
Blue Lobelia
Spotted Joe Pye Weed
Spotted Joe Pye Weed
Bigleaf Wood Aster
Bigleaf Wood Aster
Canadian Columbine
Canadian Columbine

Aquilegia canadensis - part shade/sun; mid-height; spring blooms; self-seeds and wanders through garden.

Foxglove Beardtongue
Foxglove Beardtongue

Penstemon digitalis; part shade/sun; mid-height; late spring-early summer bloom.

Lanceleaf Coreopsis
Lanceleaf Coreopsis

Coreopsis lanceolate - mid-height; sun; thin airy plant self-seeds and wanders through garden; blooms throughout summer.

Evening Primrose
Evening Primrose

Oenothera biennis - upright clustered stems are100 cm tall; shade/part shade; summer bloom.

Swamp Milkweed
Swamp Milkweed
Butterfly Milkweed
Butterfly Milkweed

Asclepias tuberosa - sun; 45 - 100 cm high; must have well-drained soil; long-lived; bushy; summer bloom.

White Yarrow
White Yarrow

Achillea millifolium: Attractive to pollinators. Deadheading extends blooming season and prevents spreading from seed. Height/spread : 2-3 feet (60-90 cm) Bloom: June - Sept Light : Full sun Water : Dry to medium Soil : Sand, loam, clay

Nodding onions Allium cernuum
Nodding onions Allium cernuum

Allium cernuum - Blooms early summer. Open clusters of pinkish purple, droplet-shaped flowers along drooping, arching 2-foot-tall stems. Its foliage is bluish green.The most remarkable feature of the nodding onion is its adaptability. It will grow in almost any situation, from full sun to deep shade. Best grown in full sun and dry to medium, well-drained soil. Tolerates shade as well, especially in hot climates.

Purple coneflower Echinacea purpura with
Purple coneflower Echinacea purpura with

Echinacea purpurea - Echinacea thrives in an average to moist, well-drained soil, in full sun to partial shade. Drought tolerant once established, adaptable to heat and poor soils. Regular deadheading improves appearance, but not necessary to increase bloom time. Direct sun helps develop proper flower pigmentation. Pay special attention to plant depth: crown must be at or slightly above soil level. Freely self-seeds if finished blooms are left on the plant.

Greyheaded Coneflower
Greyheaded Coneflower

Ratibida pinnata - sun; 120+ cm tall thin stems; good plant for movement and emphasis; late summer bloom.

Pale Purple Coneflower
Pale Purple Coneflower

Echinacea pallida: Height: 2 to 3 feet Spread: 1 to1.5 feet Bloom: June to July Full sun to part shade Water: Dry to medium Maintenance: Low Attracts: Butterflies Tolerate: Deer, Drought, Clay Soil, Dry Soil, Shallow-Rocky Soil

Anise Hyssop
Anise Hyssop

Agastache foeniculum - upright, clump-forming plants. They have a small tap root and expand via spreading rhizomes. Height: 2 to 3 feet Spread: 1.5 to 3 feet Bloom Time: June to September Bloom Description: Lavender to purple Sun: Full sun to part shade Water: Dry to medium Maintenance: Medium Flower: Showy, Good Cut, Good Dried Leaf: Fragrant Attracts: Hummingbirds, Butterflies Tolerate: Deer, Drought, Dry Soil

Virginia Mountain Mint
Virginia Mountain Mint

Pycnanthemum-tenuifolium; bushy (useful as border); part shade/sun; mid-height; mid- to late summer bloom.

Wild bergamot Monarda fistulosa
Wild bergamot Monarda fistulosa

Monarda fistulosa - sun/part shade; dry to medium moisture preferred; upright stems bushy; will self-sow; 100 cm H; mid-summer blooms.

Dotted Mint
Dotted Mint

Monarda punctata - Full sun; needs dry well-drained soil; 30 - 60 cm H; pink "petals" are actually bracts; blooms throughout summer.

Pearly everlasting
Pearly everlasting

Anaphalis margaritacea - Height/width - 1 meter Full sun, drought & salt tolerant. Bloom: extended period, mid-summer-early fall. Leaves: narrow with fine silvery hairs. Pollinators magnet. Photography by Sarah Coulber

Woodland Sunflower
Woodland Sunflower

Helianthus divaricatus: * - full or partial sun - moist to dry loamy, sandy, or rocky soil - may spread aggressively - nectar and pollen attract a wide variety of insects - seeds attract birds

White Snakeroot
White Snakeroot

Ageratina altissima - part shade; 30 - 60 cm high; upright clumping habit; late July-mid Aug blooms.

Blue Vervain
Blue Vervain

Verbena hastata - clumps of stiff upright leaves, flowers are a high-value nectar plant with a long bloom season. Blooms open bottom to top with only a few open at one time. Height 1 meter, 2 feet wide. Full sun, average to moist, well-drained. Clay, loam, sand. Drought tolerant. Attracts pollinators. Medicinal plant.

Blackeyed Susan
Blackeyed Susan

Rudebeckia hirta - sun; mid-height; short-lived but renews by self-seeding; July-Aug blooms.

New England Aster
New England Aster

Symphyotrichum novae-angliae - Height 1 - 1.5 m. Full sun in moist, rich, well-drained soils. Pinch stems early in season to encourage the plant to be bushy and shorter. Blooms Sept - Oct. Tall plants may need staking Good air circulation reduces foliar problems such as powdery mildew and rust. Disease, pest, and problem resistance Drought tolerant, deer, rabbit, salt,temporary wet soils.

Smooth Aster
Smooth Aster

Aster laevis - Fragrant, flowers. Light: Full Sun Soil: Sand, Loam Moisture: Dry, Medium Benefits: Pollinators, Butterflies, Birds, Host Plant Height: 2'-4' Blooms: Aug, Sep, Oct

Heath Aster
Heath Aster

Aster ericoides- Thrives on the driest sandy and gravelly soils and produces a blizzard of bright white flowers in late summer and early fall. Creeping slowly by rhizomes to form small "bushes," Aster ericoides is one of our longest lived Asters. Plant with Stiff Goldenrod and Smooth Aster for a great fall show. Light: Full Sun Soil: Sand, Loam Moisture: Dry, Medium Benefits: Pollinators, Butterflies, Birds, Host Plant Height: 1'-3' Blooms: Aug, Sep, Oct

Stiff Goldenrod
Stiff Goldenrod

Solidago rigida - grows 100 cm tall, best in poor dry soil; stiff upright stem cluster; fall blooms, leaves turn pink in fall.

Grey Goldenrod
Grey Goldenrod

Solidago nemoralis - sun; height 80 - 100 cm; arching cluster of stems & thin leaves; clump forming; late summer/fall bloom.

Sideoats Grama
Sideoats Grama
Little Bluestem
Little Bluestem
Bottlebrush Grass
Bottlebrush Grass

Elymus hystrix - airy stems up to 120 cm tall; shade/part shade; summer blooms.