Native plants are a natural choice for your Cincinnati landscaping. These plants have adapted to the climate and soil conditions here, so they need less water, fertilizer, and maintenance. Here are some of our favorite native plants for Cincinnati gardens.

    Flowering Dogwood

    These are very popular ornamental trees, and you’ll find them throughout Ohio and most of the Eastern United States. They flower in early spring with showy white or pink blooms. In the fall, they bear crimson fruit and red leaves. They prefer moist, well-drained soil and partial sun.

    Purple Coneflower

    Summer, Garden, Flowers, Pink, The Petals, Plant

    The pretty purple flowers of this perennial make it a popular addition in many Cincinnati gardens. The stalks are sturdy and can reach a height of 5 feet. It grows well in any type of soil and draws bees and butterflies. 

    Prairie Dropseed

    File:Sporobolus heterolepis 14zz.jpg
    Credit: David Stang

    As the name implies, this low-maintenance, drought-tolerant grass is a prairie native. It has a unique fountain shape with delicate green leaves. The plant produces pink and brown-tinted blossoms in summer and drops its seeds in the fall. It’s on the list of endangered plants because much of the prairie has disappeared.


    Goldenrod makes a great border flower for your garden. These plants repel pests naturally, are drought-tolerant and bloom in the fall. While they don’t spread aggressively, they can grow to a height of 4 feet.

    Blue False Indigo

    This beautiful drought-tolerant plant produces pea-like indigo flowers that grow on woody spikes. The flowers bloom from late spring through early summer. Early American colonists used the juice from this plant as a substitute for true indigo dye. It’s slow to establish and may not flower for the first two or three seasons. Once established, it’ll grace your garden for a long time.

    Black-Eyed Susan

    You’ll see this wildflower in bloom all over Cincinnati from July to September. It has yellow daisy-like flowers with a black center. It grows well in most conditions and attracts butterflies.


    This plant is no slouch: It gets its name from its sturdy, upright stem. Its bright purple-crimson flowers attract butterflies when they bloom in late summer. It does well in many soils, but it will grow taller in damp soil. If you don’t want it to reach its full height of 4 to 6 feet, cut it back in late spring.

    Joe-Pye Weed

    The pinkish-mauve flowers of this plant bloom from July to September. The deep red stems and green leaves make it a colorful addition to your garden even when it’s not in bloom. It can grow from 5-8 feet in height, so it needs some space. Some gardeners consider it a weed because it’s an enthusiastic spreader. You’ll find it along many roadsides. 

    Bee Balm

    Bee Balm’s bright scarlet flowers attract bees, butterflies, and hummingbirds (plant them close to a window so you can watch the show). It flowers in mid to late summer. The leaves smell minty and can be used to make tea. This perennial prefers moist soil and full sun, but it will also grow in partial shade.

    Ohio Buckeye

    You can’t talk about native plants for Cincinnati without mentioning the Ohio buckeye (shown at the top of the page). You’ll see this attractive tree in many backyards here. It blooms in early spring and produces striking orange and yellow leaves in late summer and the fall.

    Choosing native plants is a smart idea. They help the environment because they need less water and fertilizer to survive. They boost your property value for the same reason. You’ll also save yourself money and effort, allowing you more time to enjoy your garden oasis.

    Still have questions about your lawn and garden? Visit our Cincinnati, OH lawn care page.