10 Great Native Plants for Your Akron, Ohio, Garden

Native Plants for Your Akron

Akron is known for growing some pretty cool things – basketball star LeBron James for one, along with Quaker Oatmeal Company and Goodyear Tires. So it’s not surprising that the city also grows some stunning plants that thrive in a northeast Ohio climate. Here are 10 great native plants for Akron.

Savanna blazing star

Savanna blazing star requires little maintenance and thrives in poor soil, provided it is well drained.

It blooms from August to October, producing reddish-purple flowers from the top down, giving your garden a vertical element. The flowers attract pollinators like hummingbirds and butterflies.

Savanna blazing star tolerates drought, erosion, and shallow, rocky soils. 

Plant type: Herbaceous perennial

Hardiness zones: 3 to 9

Sun: Full sun to partial shade

Height at maturity: 2 to 4 feet

Moisture requirements: Dry to medium conditions

Uses: Can be mixed with other plants in rain gardens and cottage gardens

Wild geranium 

The wild geranium does well in rich, loamy soil with abundant organic matter. Also called the cranesbill, it has a palmate-shaped leaf with five petals. 

Wild geranium bloom for about a month in late spring to early summer, producing rose pink to lavender flowers that attract honeybees, bumblebees, and syrphid flies that help pollinate the flower.

The wild geranium will add color to your landscape and act as a solid ground cover.

Plant Type: Herbaceous perennial

Hardiness zones: 3 to 9

Sun: Partial sun

Height at maturity: 1 to 2 feet

Moisture requirements: Moist to slightly dry conditions

Uses: Can be paired with other plants such as redbud trees to add spring color to the yard

Bee balm

The bee balm is a perennial flowering herb from the mint family. The plant prefers moist, rich soil and can tolerate partial shade. 

Bee balm has serrated stems with leaves that produce a sweet scent and creeping rhizomes. Also known as monarda fistulosa, it can be grown together with other plants to design the landscape in Northeast Ohio.

Bee balm produces tubular and bilaterally symmetric flowers with narrow upper lips and wider lower lips. Bees, butterflies, and hummingbirds are attracted to the flowers, which can be used to make tea and are a cold remedy.

Plant Type: Perennial herb

Hardiness zones: 4 to 9

Sun: Full sun to partial sun

Maturity height: 2 to 4 feet with dwarf varieties less than 10 inches high

Moisture requirements: Best in average conditions, but can withstand drought

Uses: Can be used in perennial borders to add color and contrast to the herb gardens, wild gardens, and native plants

Wood poppy

Wood poppy is a clumping perennial that brightens shady areas with its bright yellow flowers. It is easy to grow from seed and requires well-drained soils, resists diseases and is unpopular with pests.

Wood Poppy can colonize a large area if left undisturbed. It blooms in March and April.

Plant Type: Perennial

Hardiness zones: 4 to 9

Sun: Partial sun to shade

Height at maturity: 1 to 2 feet

Moisture requirements: Average to wet

Uses: Used in cottage gardens, woodland gardens, rain gardens, and wildflowers gardens

Obedient plant

The obedient plant is a herbaceous perennial that blooms from mid-summer to fall, producing dense spikes of pink to pale-lilac flowers, which are used for decoration.The plant is easy to grow and requires little maintenance, although it needs to be pruned in early summer to encourage branching and flowering. Its flowers attract bees, hummingbirds, and butterflies.

The obedient plant does well in fertile chalk, sand, clay, and loam soils that are well drained. It is resistant to harmful insects and herbivores, including deer, but is not toxic to humans.

The obedient plant is common in prairies. When bent, it keeps that position, which is why it’s known as the obedient plant.

Plant Type: Herbaceous perennial

Hardiness zones: 3 to 9

Sun: Full sun

Height at maturity: 3 to 4

Moisture requirements: Average conditions

Uses: Used to decorate cottage gardens, rain gardens, and borders

Perennial coneflower

The perennial coneflower, also called the orange coneflower, requires little maintenance and can tolerate tough conditions. It does well in clay and shallow, rocky soils.

The perennial coneflower blooms from July through October, producing orange or yellow flowers that blend well with grasses and daylilies, among other plants. The bloom is a food source for birds and butterflies.

Plant type: Herbaceous perennial

Hardiness zones: 3 to 9

Sun: Full sun

Height at maturity: 2 to 3 feet

Moisture requirements: Medium to dry conditions

Uses: Used in the cottage garden, borders, neutralized area, native plant garden, and meadows

White wood aster

The white wood aster blooms from August to September, producing white flowers with yellow discs at the center that gradually turn red. The flowers attract butterflies.

The white wood aster tolerates shade, drought, and rocky soils,so it is perfect in places with poor soil. In addition, the plant blends well with other plants such as solidago caesia, cordifolia, and polygonatum biflorum, among others. 

Plant type: Herbaceous perennial

Hardiness zones: 4 to 9

Sun: Partial sun to shade

Height at maturity: 2 to 4 feet

Moisture requirements: Average or dry conditions

Uses: Can be used in borders or on the edge of woodlands

Butterfly weed 

Butterfly weed is a herbaceous perennial milkweed plant with lance-shaped, dark green, hairy leaves. It blooms from May to September, producing orange to brick-red and yellow flowers, which appear like umbrella clusters. The flowers attract hummingbirds, bees, and butterflies.

Butterfly weed does well in gardens, prairies, roadsides, rocky woods, and meadows. The plant requires little maintenance and can survive in areas with disturbed soil.

Plant type: Herbaceous perennial

Hardiness zones:  3 to 9

Sun: Full sun 

Height at maturity: 3 feet

Moisture requirements: Dry, moist conditions

Uses: Used to coax butterflies into the garden

Black-eyed Susan

The black-eyed Susan is a moderately fast-growing, evergreen climber. It blooms during summer, producing yellow flowers with dark brown or purple beads in the center.

Black-eyed Susan thrives in well-drained soils rich in organic matter and a neutral pH. When grown together, the black-eyed plant tends to produce delicate species. Leave space between these plants in your garden to avoid damaging delicate branches.

The plant attracts birds and butterflies that act as pollinators.

Plant Type: Perennial biennial

Hardiness zones: 3 to 7

Sun: Full sun

Moisture requirements: Average to dry conditions

Height at maturity: 2 to 3 feet

Uses: Mixed with other plants in the garden to add beauty

Cardinal flower

The cardinal wildflower is another Ohio native that thrives in streams, swamps, and low wooded areas. This wildflower blooms during hot summers when the blooms of other plants are declining. It produces trumpet-shaped cardinal-red flowers. 

The cardinal flower thrives in boggy landscapes and can be used as a potted plant in the garden as it requires little maintenance.

Because of the shape, the cardinal flower depends on the hummingbird for fertilization, but it is hard for other insects to reach the nectar.

Plant type: Perennials

Hardiness zones: 4 to 11

Sun: Full sun to partial shade

Height at maturity: 2 to 4 feet

Moisture requirements: Medium to wet conditions

Uses: Can be paired with ferns to complement rain gardens and native gardens


1. What is the advantage of planting a native species? 

Native species are well adapted to the conditions of Ohio and thus require little maintenance.

2. Where do prairie wildflowers grow in Ohio?

Prairie wildflowers are common in open landscapes such as grasslands and pastures. They are characterized by a dark brown, cone-like top.


Native plants are an excellent choice for your Akron, Ohio, garden because they require less maintenance than plants that aren’t acclimated to this region, they produce gorgeous flowers and they attract pollinators that keep your garden healthy.

If you need any help with your Ohio-native plants, you can contact our Lawn Love gardening professionals for help.

Main photo credit: Fons Heijnsbroek on Unsplash

Millicent Onchari

Originally from Kenya, Nairobi area, Millicent Onchari is a freelance content writer. She is passionate about digital marketing, fashion and design, gardening, and health and wellness.