Adding flags is not the only way to make your garden patriotic.
Red, white and blue — plenty of native, pollinator-friendly options exist to add some Americana to your landscape.
Royal catchfly (Silene regia)
The avian courtyard at the Dickinson County Nature Center features royal catchfly, and its tiny, red blooms draw in many flitting, fluttering ruby-throated hummingbirds. Swallowtail butterflies also love this plant.
Royal catchfly is rare in the wild and is even endangered in some states, but it is easy to grow in gardens and blooms June-August. It grows up to 4 feet in height in well-drained soil, but it can also thrive in sandy or gravel areas as well.
Smooth blue aster (Symphyotrichum laeve)
Many asters have rough leaves, but the smooth blue aster is just that, smooth. It has small, frilly blue-violet blooms and a strong stem that helps it stand tall even into the fall.
Wild white indigo (Baptisia alba)
Bumblebees flock to wild white indigo and help to pollinate this native prairie plant’s white flowers. The foliage is a food source for several species of skipper butterflies as well as moths.
Indian paintbrush (Castilleja coccinea)
Petals of Indian paintbrush look like they have been dipped in red-orange paint that melts into a green base. Clustered in dense spikes that grow longer as the plant matures, this native is a fun addition to any prairie garden.
Bottle gentian (Gentiana andrewsii)
Bottle gentian needs bumblebee buzz pollination to survive, because the tightly closed flowers are too difficult for any other pollinator to open. They are a great late bloomer for pollinator gardens, blooming August-October.
Yarrow (Achillea millefolium)
Common yarrow has flat clusters of white flowers 2-4 inches across and fine, feathery leaves that look almost like ferns.
Columbine (Aquilegia canadensis)
Columbine is a great plant for pollinator gardens, because it is one of the first plants to provide nectar in the spring for bees, butterflies and hummingbirds. It blooms April-June. Columbine works in many gardens because it tolerates a range of soils as well as sun types.
Harebell (Campanula rotundifolia)
Harebells are delicate with their slender, bright green stems and small blue-violet, bell-shaped flowers. They are a long bloomer, from June-September. Harebells grow in clusters and rise up to 12 inches in height.
Canada anemone (Anemone canadensis)
Although its name makes it sound more Canadian than Midwestern, this prairie plant is native. It is in the buttercup family and has small, white flowers with yellow-tipped stamens. It acts as hardy, ground cover in gardens.