5 Plants You’ll See Everywhere When You Move to Charlotte, NC

By incorporating native plants in your new home’s landscaping in Charlotte, NC, you’re supporting the surrounding habitat, such as birds, butterflies, and native insects. Because the plants are from the area in which you live, they make your garden and landscaped area more environmentally sustainable habitats.

When you provide diversity in your landscape and garden, you help prevent the invasion of non-native plants. You also provide fruits, nuts, and nectar for birds, squirrels, hummingbirds, butterflies, and insects, depending on what each particular animal eats. The insects provide additional food for wildlife. By planting larval host plants for the caterpillars, those particular species of butterflies that the caterpillars transform into have a better chance of survival.

The plants below thrive in and around the Charlotte, NC area. Perfect for landscaping upgrades or additions to your garden in your new home!

1. Orange Butterfly Weed

  • Scientific name: Asclepias tuberosa
  • Moisture level: Dry – Moist
  • Sunlight: Full
  • Height: 1-2’
  • Coloring: Orange, yellow
  • Seasonality: Summer
  • Wildlife attraction: Butterflies and hummingbirds

These bright orange flowers have continuous bloom all summer if you deadhead on this perennial. During the summer months, Orange Butterfly Weed attracts many butterflies with Monarchs laying eggs on the plant in the late summer months. This bush is known for its flat-topped clusters of orange flowers and its long pointed leaves. The leaves are 1 ½ to  2 1/4 inches in length, pointy and have smooth edges, which create a lovely dark-green background contrasting the flowers.

Orange Butterfly Weed is mostly grown from seeds in gardens and needs full or half sun. Back in the day, the tough root was chewed by Indians to treat pleurisy and ailments affecting the pulmonary system. For this reason, another common name for it is Pleurisy Root.

2. Stokes Aster

  • Scientific name: Aster azureus
  • Moisture level: Dry – Average
  • Sunlight: Full – Partial
  • Height: 2-3’
  • Coloring: Blue
  • Seasonality: Late Summer
  • Wildlife attraction: Butterflies and birds

Once this aster is established in your garden, it needs minimal care. It will give a burst of color in the spring and into summer and comes in a range of colors such as electric blue, rosy pink and silvery white. Stoke asters have blooms as big as 4 inches with intricate centers and lovely frilly petals. It needs to be planted in areas out of the glaring sun, but it still needs sun for at least half a day for a more extended bloom time. They grow in well-drained and slightly acidic soil and will need to be well watered until established. It can be divided into sections for planting every three to four years.

3. Cardinal Flowers

  • Scientific name: Lobelia cardinalis
  • Moisture level: Moist
  • Sunlight: Full – Partial – Shade
  • Height: 3-6’
  • Coloring: Bright red

Cardinal flowers attract all kinds of birds but especially hummingbirds. When you have these planted, you won’t even need hummingbird feeders. Cardinal flowers have dark green foliage which makes a striking contrast against the trumpet-shaped brilliant red flowers. It does well in a garden, but it also grows in wildflower meadows and is good for naturalizing.

Morning sun and afternoon shade are what makes this plant grow best. The soil should be moist and fertile with plenty of organic matter to prevent evaporation. If there’s an absence of rain, water deeply. In the fall, add fertilizer. If you want the seeds to self-sow, then leave the flowerheads to whither instead of deadheading.

4. Joe-Pye Weed

  • Scientific name: Eutrochium purpureum
  • Moisture level: Average
  • Sunlight: Full – Partial
  • Height: 5-7’
  • Width: 2-4’
  • Coloring: Mauve
  • Seasonality: Summer
  • Wildlife attraction: Butterflies

This plant was initially used to help treat typhus fever and was named after the man who treated people with it. Plus, both the flowers and seeds have been used in textiles for producing pink and red dye. Joe-Pye weed prefers to be grown in full sun to partial shade in gardens, in average to fertile soil keep somewhat moist. When you plant Joe-Pye Weed make sure to give it plenty of room because they can grow from 3-12 feet high. When the withered center of the plant dies, then it’s time for division of the plant. The entire clump is dug up and the dead center discarded. The divided clusters can then be replanted in other areas.

5. Woodland Phlox

  • Scientific name: Phlox divaricata
  • Moisture level: Average
  • Sunlight: Shade – Partial
  • Height: 6-12’’
  • Width: 6-12’’
  • Coloring: Lavender or blue
  • Seasonality: Spring
  • Wildlife attraction: Hummingbirds and butterflies

This is the native phlox, not the garden variety phlox. It has beautiful powder-blue flowers with a fragrant scent which bloom in early spring. They attract butterflies such as Gray Hair Streaks, Western Pygmy Blues, Swallowtails, as well as hummingbirds. It likes partial-to-full shade with fertile, moist, well-drained soil. 12 inches in height, with leafy shoots that run along the ground. They root at the nodes and can make a two-foot-wide colony in no time.

Planting native plants can be beneficial to both insects and birds.

For more information about native plants, gardening, and lawn care in the Charlotte area, visit LawnStarter Lawn Care