Any local who’s planted a vegetable garden can tell you: Maine’s growing season is rather short. But some parts of the Pine Tree State are seeing an increase in the growing season. Even with frosts arriving later and leaving earlier, you want to make the most of Maine’s 135 frost-free days. Opting for native wildflowers ensures your landscape reaches its full potential every year.
Benefits of Choosing Wildflowers Native to Maine
In decades past, gardeners often chose the plants they liked and altered the terrain to help them grow. This approach is expensive and labor-intensive. Accommodating plants from different regions often requires fertilizer and irrigation. And despite all that work, some non-native plants simply won’t thrive in local conditions. Others are so prolific and invasive that they’ll crowd out your native plants.
When you plant Maine natives, many of these issues disappear. These plants have lived for hundreds of years on the rain Mother Nature provides. They attract birds, butterflies, and other local pollinators. And they’ll be happy completing their life cycles in Maine’s modest growing season.
Wildflowers for Maine Properties
Once you’ve decided to use native plants for your landscaping, you’ll find there are plenty to choose from. Native shrubs, vines, and groundcover plants provide color and texture to your landscape. For shade, beauty, and a few edible fruits and nuts, there are dozens of beautiful native trees that will love your yard’s growing conditions.
When it comes to native Maine wildflowers, you have hundreds of options. There are definitely a few tried and true crowd favorites, though. And each of them is a guaranteed hit when it comes to both looks and ease of maintenance:
- Asters and goldenrods are beautiful, local, and easy to grow. As a bonus, they are also excellent flowers for attracting pollinators. Plant them at the edge of your garden!
- Tiger lily and Dutch orange lily are Maine wildflowers with bright, elaborate blossoms. While these flowers look similar, you can distinguish the tiger lily by its spots.
- Lupines come in several varieties that thrive in Maine. Their distinctive blossom pattern and vibrant colors make these flowers a hit wherever they are found.
Most native wildflowers are easy to find in local garden centers and nurseries. You can also ask neighbors for cutting or seeds. Like many states, Maine doesn’t allow you to take plants from state or national parks. You may collect cuttings from other public lands, but you’ll need a permit from the Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry.
Plants to Avoid
There are some plants every Maine homeowner should avoid. These non-native species have become so well acclimated to the local growing conditions, they’ve become invasive. Once they take hold, they push out any species in their way. In fact, it’s illegal to sell, import, export, or buy 33 invasive plants including:
- Norway maple (Acer platanoides)
- Japanese barberry (Berberis thunbergii)
- Asiatic bittersweet (Celastrus orbiculatus)
- Burning bush (Euonymus alatus)
- Japanese knotweed (Fallopia japonica)
- Glossy buckthorn (Frangula alnus
- Non-native honeysuckles (Lonicera spp.)
- Purple loosestrife (Lythrum salicaria)
Moveable Landscaping for Smaller Spaces
Even if you don’t have an expansive lawn, you can still enjoy the beauty of native flowers on your property. By starting a container garden, you get many of the pros of a traditional plot without the cons. Wildflowers grown in containers can go inside when frost arrives. This use of containers means you’ll have more options when it comes to species selection, and you’ll be better prepared for early frosts.