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Chesapeake Native Flowers: Red and Yellow

Red and yellow flowers fill ecological niches and their attractive coloring entices birds and pollinators. From spring through the end of summer, red and yellow natives can flourish in part shade or part sun in your garden.

native columbine in full bloom


Native eastern Columbine (Aquilegia canadensis) is a small perennial with dainty foliage that sends up 2 to 3 foot stalks of incredibly intricate red and yellow flowers in spring. These flowers en masse are stunning. They are small so be sure to plant them where you can view them up close. They thrive in moist soils though will grow in drier conditions in part shade or sun. If the area is moist, the foliage will last through the summer. These also self sow but not crazily. I have planted these with success in containers too. Hummingbirds are attracted to the flowers as well.

Indian Pink

Indian pink (Spigelia marilandica) is a small, strong stemmed perennial the forms clumps 1 to 2' high and wide. The red and yellow tubular flowers emerge in a flush in early summer and then bloom sporadically the remainder of summer. They grow in part shade to shade in medium to moist soil. I have read these can be tricky to get established. I planted both quart sized plants and plugs. The larger plants established more quickly though only three of five survived. The plugs have taken over three years to reach 10 inches or so. At the same time, I recently saw this plant growing, blooming and thriving in a small crevice between a sidewalk and fence where it must have reseeded itself so you just never know! Once established, it has great green foliage all summer, is really unusual for the color it brings to shady spots and attracts hummingbirds.

Blanket Flower

Blanket flower (Gaillardia pulchella) is an annual wildflower that is somewhat floppy but blooms all summer in the hottest conditions with yellow and red daisy like flowers. These grow in full sun to part shade and can handle very dry conditions. They are often included as part of wildflower mixes. A number of perennial hybrids exist that have stronger stems and more blooms though most are "short-lived" perennials meaning they may last only a few years. Once the heat sets in though, this is a great plant for color on the hottest days in the hottest spots.

These are all worth trying and will delight hummingbirds and finches, and in some shade, no less!

Happy gardening.


We want you to be as excited about planting Chesapeake natives as we are. “Plant This or That” gives you a native alternative to popular plants. Other posts highlight really fabulous fauna native to the Chesapeake.

Nuts for Natives, avid gardener, Baltimore City admirer, Chesapeake Bay Watershed restoration enthusiast, and public service fan.

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