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Native Plants: Inspired Combinations

Mixes of blues and purples and greens that can't be beat!

native aster and amsonia in late summer

Gardeners are artists, designers, nature lovers and outdoor enthusiasts combined into one. Your collective creativity is endless.

Blue star (Amsonia hubrichtii), just beginning to turn from green to yellow in fall, sparkles when planted next to flowering lavender asters. Either the blue star above native to Arkansas, or blue dogbane (Amsonia tabernaemontana) native to the Chesapeake area would work well. While I am not sure which aster this is, bluebird smooth aster (Symphiotrichum laeve var. laeve 'bluebird') would be a perfect choice combined with either of the asmonias.

flowering blue dogbane and purple german iris

This combination of blue dogbane and purple german iris (Iris germanica) actually got me to pull my car over to the side of the road so I could get a picture (hence ... 'nuts for natives'). The german iris are, of course, not native but you could get a deep blue purple color with blue false indigo (Baptisia australis).

Blue false indigo, like german iris, is only in bloom for about two weeks but the contrast between the oval shaped leaves and blue green color of the blue false indigo foliage and the feathery texture of dogbane would look good all summer long.

flowering catmint and purple alliums

Purple alliums (Allium 'purple sensation') combined with lavender blue catmint (Nepeta) pop when blooming in May. The spherical flower shapes of the allium combined with the wand shaped flowers of the catmint are an excellent contrast in shape. Could you recreate this color palette and textural contrast with natives?

Substituting long blooming blue hyssop (Agastache foeniculum) for the catmint gets you half of the way there. You could combine your native blue hyssop with the non-native alliums. Two flowers native to the southeast which would contrast in shape with blue hyssop flowers are stokes aster (Stokesia laevis) and purple coneflower (Echinacea purpurea). If you can plant in a fairly large drift as in the inspiration photo, any of these combinations would achieve the wonderful affect.

Just a few ideas that may inspire you as they did me! 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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