It is estimated that more than 800 species make up the flora of Cape Cod’s shoreline. This does not even include inland species and those that have been naturalized from elsewhere in New England. So when looking for native plants for a landscaping project, where do you begin?
With so much to offer it can be overwhelming. Read on as we give our guide on the essential Cape Cod native plants you must consider.
Goat’s beard is also known as Aruncus Diocus. It is noted for its feather-like plumes of white, creamy flowers and deep green foliage. These flowers give way to a fern-like leaf in the fall, providing beautiful seasonal variation.
The plant requires a lot of space to grow as it can get extremely tall. This makes it great for creating a screen in the garden. Preferring partial shade to direct sunlight, it grows best in moist soil, though is tough enough to survive drought.
If that was not enough, it is a great plant to stimulate the ecosystem in your garden. A haven for Azure caterpillars in their early stages, it provides an excellent source for pollinators. Birds can also use them as a food source if you leave the heads on when fall arrives.
Also known as Picea Glauca, this plant is an evergreen tree that is as hardy as they come. Though not entirely native to Cape Cod, it has been naturalized throughout New England.
From heat to crowding and drought, there is not much that white spruce can not take. This makes it excellent for low-maintenance landscaping.
Plants can grow to around 30′ in height and a width of 12-20′. You can use them to denote boundaries or place them as windbreakers. Plants will have a medium growth rate of around a foot every year.
To stay strong, they do require direct sunlight. Ideally, six hours a day is recommended. They are best plated in sandy, well-drained clay soils with an acidic loam.
If you want a burst of color for your landscape options, Smooth Sumac is the answer to your prayers. It has bright red fruit and deep autumnal browns in its leaves, even though it tends to bloom in June or July.
Preferring medium to dry soils, it is a dioecious plant and only the female will produce fruit. Thriving in full sun or shade alike, it does need room to spread out. It is fantastic for tough locations, particularly slopes and embankments.
False Indigo, also known as Baptisia Australis, is a tall upright perennial with a beautiful bloom. Its indigo and blue, pea-like flowers will appear in May and June, above black seed pods that remain during winter for interest.
These plants take about a year to reach their full height, usually around four to five feet. When starting from a nursery plant, you must wait around five years before you will see flowers. Planting is best done after frost has passed in the spring months.
Growth is also best in full or partial sun with well-drained soil. The flowers will also attract a lot of butterflies to the garden, adding to its beauty. However, it should be noted that the plant is mildly toxic to animals and humans.
Blue Wood Aster
Blue wood aster is a beautiful, delicate choice for Cape Cod gardens. It is comprised of lots of tiny, delicate blue flowers loved by bees, birds, and butterflies. It will bloom in fall, so placed next to perennials, it will come to life as others are fading.
One of its great benefits is that its roots are a great deterrent to erosion, so on slopes and hillsides, it works to fortify the landscape. As it can grow in full shade to full sun, you can place it in most areas and still get great results. It will grow to three feet in height and have a one to two-foot spread.
Zig Zag Goldenrod
Goldenrod is the quintessential plant for Cape Cod landscaping. It can be spotted all over the area growing naturally and with its yellow blooms, adds brightness and joy to any garden.
It is very tolerant of shade or sun, so can sit in most locations. Living in dry and moist soils, it is extremely adaptable. However, it does spread quickly by seed and will keep going unless deadheaded.
A compact pollinator plant, Goldenrod is also home to lots of other species. Caterpillars, bees, wasps, and butterflies will be present, and it also attracts swamp sparrows and pine siskins. Its root system is also useful for erosion control.
Red Maple is vital to the environment of Cape Cod, as it is considered a keystone species. Without it, a wide range of plant and animal life would not be able to exist, including over 275 species of moth and butterfly caterpillars. The flowers it produces in spring are also a huge source of nectar and pollen.
Its appeal for landscapers is its deep red color. As it can tolerate a wide range of soils, many people also like it because of its easy-to-grow nature. Ideally suited to moist conditions, it can still thrive on dry earth.
In addition, it is extremely impervious to pollutants. This is why it is often used next to roads and in city parks.
Cape Cod Native Plants
Many of the Cape Cod native plants here are extremely tough and easy to grow. This means you should not have a problem creating a beautiful landscape garden. Plan in advance and don’t be afraid to get assistance.
Imperial Landscaping and Masonry should be your first stop. We can make your property look beautiful, with everything from outdoor lighting to landscaping. Contact us here to discuss your needs and let us improve your home’s curb appeal.