12 Types of Prairie Meadow Plants

Learn about the various types of prairie meadow plants and how to successfully grow them with this gardening guide.
From: DK Books - Lawns
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Photo By: DK - Simple Steps to Success: Lawns and Groundcover © 2012 Dorling Kindersley Limited

Photo By: DK - Simple Steps to Success: Lawns and Groundcover © 2012 Dorling Kindersley Limited

Photo By: DK - Simple Steps to Success: Lawns and Groundcover © 2012 Dorling Kindersley Limited

Photo By: DK - Simple Steps to Success: Lawns and Groundcover © 2012 Dorling Kindersley Limited

Photo By: DK - Simple Steps to Success: Lawns and Groundcover © 2012 Dorling Kindersley Limited

Photo By: DK - Simple Steps to Success: Lawns and Groundcover © 2012 Dorling Kindersley Limited

Photo By: DK - Simple Steps to Success: Lawns and Groundcover © 2012 Dorling Kindersley Limited

Photo By: DK - Simple Steps to Success: Lawns and Groundcover © 2012 Dorling Kindersley Limited

Photo By: DK - Simple Steps to Success: Lawns and Groundcover © 2012 Dorling Kindersley Limited

Photo By: DK - Simple Steps to Success: Lawns and Groundcover © 2012 Dorling Kindersley Limited

Photo By: DK - Simple Steps to Success: Lawns and Groundcover © 2012 Dorling Kindersley Limited

Photo By: DK - Simple Steps to Success: Lawns and Groundcover © 2012 Dorling Kindersley Limited

Butterfly Milkweed (Asclepias tuberosa)

Native to the dry grasslands of North America, this upright, bulbous-rooted perennial bears flat-topped clusters of bright orange flowers over a long period during summer. It has slightly fleshy, lance-shaped, light green leaves. This fully hardy plant prefers well-drained soil and full sun. H: 30 inches; S: 20 inches

Cone Flower (Echinacea purpurea)

An upright, vigorous, easy-to-grow plant, the cone flower bears large, solitary, daisy-like flowers on thick, hairy stems during summer. The ray florets are light purple and slightly reflexed back, revealing the central orange-brown, cone-shaped center. This fully hardy plant prefers well-drained soil and full sun. H: 3 feet; S: 3 feet

Sea Holly (Eryngium yuccifolium)

The sea holly has long, lance-shaped, spiny, glossy foliage and bears masses of tiny silvery white globes of flowers from midsummer to early fall. Bees and butterflies love the plant, and the striking flowers are ideal for flower arranging. This fully hardy plant prefers well-drained soil and full sun. H: 3 feet; S: 3 feet

Purple Joepieweed (Eupatorium purpureum)

An invaluable plant for impact in the late-summer border, this large herbaceous perennial grows up to 6 feet (2 m) high in fertile soil. The domed, pinkish-purple flowerheads are rich in nectar, making this plant attractive to butterflies and bees. This fully hardy plant prefers well-drained soil and full sun. H: 6 feet; S: 5 feet

Sneezewort (Helenium autumnale)

An attractive late summer and fall herbaceous perennial, sneezewort produces a fiery display of yellow and red-hued daisy-like flowers with prominent central discs. Cultivars provide mixes of colors, such as orange, bronze, and brown. This fully hardy plant prefers well-drained to moist soil and full sun. H: 5 feet; S: 4 feet

Zebrinus Grass (Miscanthus sinensis)

This large ornamental grass forms clumps of long, graceful, arching leaves with bands of pale yellow stripes across them; it is ideal for the back of a prairie-style border. In favorable conditions it bears silvery-pink flowery plumes in late summer. This fully hardy plant prefers well-drained to moist soil and full to partial sun. H: 6 feet; S: 4 feet

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Purple Moor Grass (Molinia caerulea "Karl Foerster")

This attractive form of purple moor grass is a clump-forming ornamental perennial with green foliage that turns golden yellow in the fall. A mass of purple flower spikes appear in late spring to summer. It is a good architectural and structural plant. This fully hardy plant prefers well-drained to moist soil and full to partial sun. H: 32 inches; S: 24 inches

Bee Balm (Monarda fistulosa)

From mid- to late summer this perennial bears whorls of lilac flowers that are very attractive to bees. It has upright stems and green, aromatic, lance-shaped foliage. It does best in slightly moist soil in summer although it is intolerant of damp winters. This fully hardy plant prefers well-drained to moist soil and full sun. H: 4 feet; S: 18 inches

Sweet Black Eyed Susans (Rudbeckia subtomentosa)

This herbaceous perennial is essential for prairie-style borders. Its flowers have bright yellow, daisylike petals surrounding a darkly colored central cone. It produces an abundance of blooms on masses of tall, upright stems in late summer. This fully hardy plant prefers well-drained to moist soil and full sun. H: 3 feet; S: 20 inches

Mexican Feather (Stipa tenuissima)

A deciduous perennial, this compact and popular species of grass has fine, arching, green foliage. It produces masses of pale, feathery flowers that almost obscure the leaves, followed by seedheads in summer. The foliage should be cut back in the fall. This fully hardy plant prefers well-drained to moist soil and full to partial sun. H: 32 inches; S: 24 inches

Blue Vervain (Verbena hastata)

Blue vervain prefers soil to be moister than it is in many prairie-style designs. It can become very large in wet areas, growing up to 6 feet tall. It produces mauve flower spikes, and the foliage is green and serrated, borne on greenish-red stems. This fully hardy plant prefers moist soil and full to partial sun. H: 3 feet; S: 28 inches

Culvers Root (Veronicastrum virginicum)

A useful architectural and structural herbaceous perennial combining beautifully with ornamental grasses for loose ephemeral planting in the prairie border. This plant bears lots of pink, small, tubular flowers carried on long flower spires. This fully hardy plant prefers well-drained to moist soil and full to partial sun. H: 4-1/2 feet; S: 32 inches

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