21 Native Herbs to Grow This Season

Native herbs provide all the benefits of their ornamental and domesticated counterparts without high-maintenance attitudes. When you can match the conditions to their native habitats, these fragrant flowering plants flourish with little to no attention. Better yet, they provide abundant pollen and nectar for local pollinators, and plenty of flavor for your kitchen.

native herbs


Native herbs provide all the benefits of their ornamental and domesticated counterparts without high-maintenance attitudes. When you match the conditions to their native habitats, these fragrant flowering plants flourish with little to no attention.

Better yet, they provide abundant pollen and nectar for local pollinators and plenty of flavor for your kitchen.

Let’s dig into 21 herbaceous plants indigenous to North America and eager to grow in your garden.

Defining Native Herbs

In the plant world, native means indigenous. These plants have evolved here in America and are naturally adapted to the soil, weather, and rainfall of their respective regions. 

However, the term “herb” can be defined in three distinctive ways:

Culinary Herbs

Culinarily, most of us consider herbs to be a form of flavoring added to food. Basil, parsley, oregano, and cilantro are among the most popular in the garden. Sometimes “herb” is used interchangeably with “spice,” but most herbs are leafy or floral plant parts, while spices are often made from ground seeds.

Herbaceous Plants

Botanically, herb is short for herbaceous. Most garden herbs are herbaceous perennials, which means they grow lush non-woody foliage during the warm season and die back to the ground in the winter.

Woody perennials like trees and woody shrubs develop thick trunks, branches, and hard stems that remain in place through the winter. In contrast, herbaceous plants have thinner stems or stalks that naturally die (or get pruned) after a frost. Herbaceous plants survive by gathering energy into their root systems so they can push up new growth in the spring.

Herbal Uses

In the realm of herbalism and teas, the term takes on a third meaning. An herb could be any plant used by humans to remedy an ailment.

These plants are used by traditional herbalists, holistic doctors, and home gardeners to naturally help the body heal through teas, tinctures, salves, and other preparations.

While we can’t provide any advice on using herbs as medicine, we can certainly help you find native herbal plants to grow in your garden!

21 Native Herbs to Spice Up Your Garden

Growing indigenous flora is an amazing way to support local wildlife and draw in a beautiful diversity of bees, butterflies, and birds. Most of these native herbs fit all three definitions described above, and they all share the willingness to thrive with very few inputs. For the best results, choose species or subspecies native to your specific region.


Close-up of a Sambucus canadensis plant in a sunny garden. It is a deciduous shrub that forms groups of several stems. The leaves of American elderberry are opposite, compound, pinnately divided into 5-7 leaflets. These leaflets are serrated at the edges and have a slightly rough texture. Elderberry produces small, round berries that are deep purple to black when ripe.
The fast-growing American elderberry has various uses and features purple berries and white flowers.

Beloved for its use in cough syrups, cocktails, and various elixirs, the American elderberry is a beautiful shrub that grows quickly. The plants can reach up to 15 feet and slowly spread into colonies that make excellent privacy hedges. While elderberries are most known for their vibrant hanging clusters of purple berries, the flat-topped white flowers are equally stunning in the garden.

The native range of Sambucus canadensis (black elderberry) spans most of the United States, particularly the Northeast. Sambucus racemosa (red elderberry or Rocky Mountain elders) are abundant in the West and thrive on rural roadsides and exposed mountain slopes throughout the Rockies.

Plant elderberries in full sun for maximum flower and berry production. These plants are shallow-rooted and need plenty of water throughout their first growing season. Once mature, an elderberry shrub can typically get by on natural rainfall.


Close-up of blooming Tanacetum parthenium in the garden. Tanacetum parthenium, commonly known as feverfew, is a herbaceous perennial plant. The plant is a cluster of small daisy-like flowers with white petals and bright yellow centers. These flowers are held on thin stems that rise above the foliage. The leaves are alternate, lobed and deeply serrated, giving them a distinct and attractive appearance.
Feverfew, often mistaken for chamomile, is fragrant, self-seeding, and naturalized in the US.

Commonly mistaken for chamomile, feverfew is technically native to Europe, but it has been naturalized in the United States since the 19th century. This daisy-family wildflower is fragrant, beautiful, and eagerly self-seeds to fill a bed or meadow area.

Botanically known as Tanacetum parthenium, this low-growing herb involves moderately damp soil and little fertility. It can be grown as an annual or perennial and does not require much maintenance. One of the best benefits of Feverfew is its pest-repellent properties. The citrusy foliage repels harmful pests, while the flowers magnetize beneficial predatory insects.


Close-up of blooming Salvia greggii in a sunny garden. The plant is known for its abundance of bright flowers and fragrant foliage. The leaves of Salvia greggii are small, elliptical to spear-shaped, greyish-green in color. The flowers are bright red. They are tubular, arranged in dense clusters along the stems and are very attractive to pollinators.
The diverse Salvia genus thrives in different U.S. regions, adapts well, and attracts hummingbirds with its tubular flowers.

The Salvia genus contains a rich diversity of sage plants native to various regions of the U.S. With over 1,000 species (50 of which are native to North America), this group of mint-family plants can adapt to almost any garden. Plus, their tubular flowers are hummingbird magnets! Most sage shrubs prefer full sunshine and well-drained soil. 

Choose a species indigenous to your region and watch these low-maintenance perennial herbs thrive:

  • Salvia greggii (Autumn Sage): Native to Texas, 2-3 feet tall, mostly rose and red-colored flowers
  • Salvia coccinea (Texas Sage): Hardy to zone 7, grows 2-3 feet tall, large bright red flowers 
  • Salvia farinacea (Mealycup Sage): Native from the Midwest to the Southeast, spreads 2-3 feet, flowers in blue, purple, or white
  • Salvia apiana (Californian White Sage): Native to the Southwestern US, enjoys coastal regions, endangered, highly fragrant  

Whichever sage species you choose, you can be sure the plant will produce aromatic foliage and eye-catching flowers with little water. This genus is known for being drought-tolerant and naturally pest-deterrent. 

Echinacea (Coneflower)

Close-up of blooming Echinacea, commonly known as Coneflower, in a sunny garden. This perennial plant forms a group of strong stems. Echinacea leaves are lanceolate in shape, with a rough texture and serrated edges. The flowers are large, showy, with central copper-brown cones surrounded by purple-hued ray florets.
Echinacea is a native perennial with distinctive coneflowers attracting butterflies.

A quintessential native herb, echinacea is a perennial wildflower with distinctive “coneflowers” that attract butterflies and grace any cottage garden. These plants grow 4-5 feet tall in the summer and die back to the ground in the winter.

Their dark green basal leaves regrow in the spring, and they flower from early summer onward. The spiky seed heads add nice texture and dimension to fall gardens.

Echinacea naturally grows across the Central and Eastern U.S. in grasslands, prairies, hillsides, and woodlands. These plants are hardy in USDA zones 3 through 9.

They prefer full sun but tolerate partial shade. The deep taproots of mature plants are remarkably drought-tolerant, but young specimens require semiregular irrigation during establishment. 

Wild Anise Hyssop

Close-up of a flowering Wild Anise Hyssop plant in a sunny garden. Wild Anise Hyssop (Agastache foeniculum), also known as blue giant hyssop, is a delightful native herbaceous perennial plant that belongs to the mint family (Lamiaceae). The plant forms upright strong stems. The leaves of wild anise hyssop are lanceolate, with a slightly serrated edge, gray-green in color. The flowers are bright purple in color, collected in tall dense inflorescences.
Agastache foeniculum, or blue giant hyssop, attracts pollinators with its licorice-scented leaves and flowers.

Botanically known as Agastache foeniculum or blue giant hyssop, this wild anise smells as delightful as it looks. The leaves and flowers smell and taste like licorice or anise. They magnetize bees and pollinators to the garden all summer long and require little to no maintenance.

Native throughout the northern parts of the United States, wild hyssop has distinctive pastel purple spikes of tubular flowers. Plants have distinctive square stems unique to the mint family. The leaves make a delicious tea or ingredient in baking.

These clump-forming herbaceous shrubs reach 2-4 feet tall and slowly spread via rhizomes without becoming invasive.

Purple giant hyssop (Agastache scrophulariifolia) is similar but has greener foliage and a broader native range, including parts of the Midwest and Texas. 

American Wild Mint

Close-up of a flowering Wild Mint (Mentha arvensis) plant in a garden. This is a moisture-loving herbaceous perennial plant with fragrant leaves. The flowers appear in inflorescences around the stems and are shades of pale pink. The leaves are oval, bright green, with serrated edges.
Wild mint suits moisture-rich areas, grows up to 18 inches and can be pruned.

Most of us are familiar with peppermint and spearmint, but wild mint has all the essential oils without the intense spiciness. These moisture-loving plants are perfect for wetter parts of your garden where the soil doesn’t drain as well. Mature plants reach up to 18 inches tall, but you can easily cut back plants with pruners or hedge trimmers as often as you’d like.

Mentha arvensis grows wild along stream banks and moist lowlands throughout North America. It is one of the only native mint plants and remains perennial in USDA zones 4 through 10. The little whorls of pale pink, purple, or white flowers cluster around the stems and smell delightful. Bees love this plant!

It doesn’t mind full sun or partial shade and doesn’t require additional fertility. In exceptionally moist regions, mint can spread or become invasive in the garden, so it is best reserved for prairie gardens, containers, or margin beds where it can naturalize as a ground cover.

Blue Lobelia

Close-up of Lobelia siphilitica against a blurred green background. The plant produces bright blue tubular flowers collected in rounded apical inflorescences. The leaves are spear-shaped and have a rich green color.
Lobelia siphilitica is a vibrant purple native perennial favored by hummingbirds and pollinators.

Commonly known as blue cardinal flower or great blue lobelia, Lobelia siphilitica is a vibrant purple native perennial herb. While the species’ name sounds alarming, rest assured that it was only named siphilitica because it was once believed to be a cure for syphilis. 

Today, this is a popular native ornamental for hummingbird gardens and prairie plantings. Lobelia does not tolerate drought and prefers marsh-like garden areas near the edges of trees or woodlands. Be sure you plant it in moist, rich soils. Mulching and additional irrigation can help retain moisture during dry spells.

The 2-5 foot plants produce intriguing tubular flowers with lips. Naturally, pollinators adore these blossoms. Blue lobelia is closely related to the cardinal flower (Lobelia cardinalis) and can be grown in similar settings. However, blue lobelia is the most desirable for woodland gardens, while the red cardinal flower enjoys open meadows and pollinator gardens. Both are native to prairies, roadsides, marshes, and pastures throughout the United States. 

Wild Rose

Close-up of a blooming Rosa virginiana in a garden. Rosa virginiana is a charming native shrub that displays delicate pink to pale pink flowers. Flowers solitary, cup-shaped, with slightly wavy pink petals and yellow stamens in the centers. The leaves consist of many leaflets arranged in a feathery pattern. The foliage is bright green, providing a lush backdrop for soft-hued flowers.
Native North American rose species like Rosa virginiana are low-maintenance, fragrant, and produce vibrant rose hips.

Rosa virginiana (Virginia rose), Rosa blanda (wild prairie rose), Rosa carolina (pasture rose), and Rosa woodsii (wild woodland rose) are just a few of the 20 rose species native to North America.

If a domesticated rose bush’s high-maintenance, snooty nature sounds intimidating, these native roses are easy to maintain and naturally form boundary or privacy hedges. They may not look as prim and proper as a standard rose, but their fragrance is just as decadent (often even more powerful). 

Wild roses are naturally “own root” roses that don’t pose any of the extra care of a grafted rose. They are particularly resilient to the climates where they originate and actually flourish with neglect. Nearly any type of soil or water condi

Many native roses tolerate a fair amount of shade and can be grown in partial to full sun. The fragrant blooms can be pale pink like the wild roses that grace the Maine coastline or creamy white like the thornless prairie roses that ramble across eastern pastures.

Best of all, wild roses produce vibrant rose hips in the fall and winter to support local wildlife or add vitamin C to your fruit jams. The only downside to wild roses is they don’t come in red. You should also beware of any rose diseases that may spread to wild rose shrubs.

Wild Bergamot (Bee Balm)

Close-up of a blooming Wild Bergamot (Bee Balm) against a blurred green background. It is a herbaceous perennial plant with bright flowers. The flowers are small, tubular, purple in color, arranged around a central grey-green disc. The leaves are spear-shaped and dark green in color.
Monarda fistulosa, or wild bergamot, is a North American native perennial with ragged pompom-like clusters.

You are likely familiar with bee balm, but did you know this showy perennial comes from a native North American species called Monarda fistulosa? The flowering clusters look more like ragged pompoms than their domesticated counterparts, but this native herb is remarkably hardy and thrives in a wide range of soils. 

As an ornamental, wild bergamot has fragrant foliage and eye-catching blooms that require little maintenance. Native to nearly every state east of the Rocky Mountains, wild bergamot is extremely beneficial for native bumble bees. The plants are easy to start from seed and naturally spread via rhizomes. 

The only drawback is wild bee balm’s vulnerability to mildew. You must thin your bergamot patch at least once a year to ensure adequate airflow between the plants.


Close-up of blooming Yarrow (Achillea millefolium) in the garden. It is a hardy herbaceous perennial with upright stems and finely divided, silvery green, fern-like leaves. Yarrow inflorescences form flat-topped inflorescences consisting of many small, delicate flowers in a variety of colors, including white and pink.
Yarrow is a low-maintenance native perennial that deters pests and attracts beneficial insects.

This is a plant that practically grows itself. Once you plant a yarrow, you don’t need to do anything to reap the benefits of this native herb. It’s aromatic (the crushed leaves and flowers smell like honey) and deters pests while simultaneously attracting beneficial predatory insects.

Yarrow is one of the best companion plants for the margins of vegetable gardens because it attracts ladybugs, lacewings, and parasitic wasps that help keep aphids and flea beetles in check.

Achillea millefolium (wild yarrow) is the native ancestor of most ornamental yarrows. However, the wild type only flowers in white, while the cultivated varieties appear in every color of the rainbow. The creamy white dome-shaped flower clusters and feathery, fern-like leaves are easy to spot in wild open grasslands, mountain slopes, and roadside ditches. 

This hardy perennial is native to almost every state and hardy in zones 2-10. Yarrow loves full sunlight and will appear floppy or leggy if planted in the shade. Once it germinates, the plants rarely need supplemental water.

Best of all, yarrow tolerates (and even prefers) crappy soil and improves it over time. The deep roots accumulate minerals in the soil, making it more hospitable to neighboring plants. If you plant it in rich soil, yarrow will slack on fragrance and appear floppy. Keep this plant on dry, rugged margins and let it do its thing with little interference. 


Close-up of flowering Skullcap (Scutellaria spp.) plants in a sunny garden. Plants have square stems and opposite lanceolate leaves. The skullcap's most striking feature is its unique tubular flowers that resemble open mouths or helmets. Purple flowers grow in dense clusters along the stems.
Hoary skullcap and blue skullcap are mint-family perennials with pale purple spikes, adapting to varied conditions.

This rarer native herb is another mint-family perennial with pretty flowers. The low-growing plants max out at 3 feet tall and produce stunning pale purple 6-inch floral spikes in midsummer. 

Scutellaria incana (hoary skullcap) is endemic to the Eastern U.S’s open woods, sandy areas, and pinelands. 

Scutellaria lateriflora (blue skullcap) is native to the Midwest and Western regions. The tiny snapdragon-like flowers are especially common in wetland areas.

Skullcaps can adapt to various garden conditions, from shade to partial shade to full sun. It doesn’t mind if the soil is dry or moist as long as it’s slightly acidic. This is a great ground cover companion plant for blueberries or pine trees. Deer may browse these plants, but the colonies usually grow fast enough to resist complete demolition. The plant returns yearly as a perennial in zones 4-8 and grows as a self-sowing annual in warmer climates.


Close-up of a Goldenrod in a sunny garden. It is a herbaceous perennial known for its bright yellow flowers that form dense racemes or feathers. The plant grows upright with alternating lanceolate leaves along the stems. The plant produces showy inflorescences which consist of many tiny yellow flowers.
Goldenrod is a herbaceous aster family perennial that grows across the US with golden-yellow flowers attracting bees.

This herbaceous perennial is a member of the aster family that grows in every part of the U.S. except subtropical zones. Also known as Solidago, this native herb can reach up to 7 feet tall during summer and dies back to the ground during the winter. The vibrant golden-yellow flowering pannicles are a tremendous nectar and pollen source for bees.

Plants enjoy moist soil with moderate levels of organic matter. In the wild, goldenrod is mostly found in damp meadows and wet ditches along roadsides. It prefers full sun or partial shade.

Goldenrod spreads by rhizome, so it is best planted in the margins of your garden or semi-wild landscape areas. You can deadhead flowering stalks in the fall to prevent self-sowing. This plant is commonly confused with ragweed but reportedly does not cause the same allergic reaction as its invasive doppelganger. 

California Poppy

Close-up of California Poppy (Eschscholzia californica) flowering plant in a sunny garden. It has feathery, blue-green, fern-like leaves that form a basal rosette at the base of the plant. The flowers are bright orange, have four delicate petals and a characteristic cup-shaped structure.
The California poppy is a vibrant native herb that thrives in xeriscape gardens.

The state flower of California is more than just a dazzling orange bloom; it’s a delightful native herb that thrives in xeriscape plantings. This eye-catching poppy is native throughout the West and doesn’t mind poor soil or drought. You can direct sow seeds in full sun in the spring, and you don’t have to do much else!

Eschscholzia californica is best for filling hot, dry parts of your garden with color. The flowers are rich in pollen and excellent for native bees. This annual flower naturally self-seeds and returns each year, but won’t become a nuisance.

Native Americans have used California poppy medicinally for centuries, and the pollen was even used as body paint or eye shadow. This wildflower grows well in your garden alongside verbenas or native sage plants.


Close-up of flowering Fireweed plants in the garden. Fireweed (Chamerion angustifolium), also known as rosebay willowherb, is a native perennial wildflower. Fireweed leaves are lanceolate, arranged alternately along the stems. They are bright green and make an attractive backdrop for the plant's colorful flowers. The flowers are small, bright pink in color, collected in tall oblong spikes.
Fireweed displays giant fuchsia spires up to 6 feet, blooming from June to September.

If you’ve visited any mountain states during the summer, you’ve probably seen the giant fuschia spires of fireweed popping up alongside every slope. These stunning plants have narrow willow-like leaves and erect stems up to 6 feet tall. From June through September, immaculate clusters of brilliant pink flowers fill meadows, streams, and forest edges. As an herbaceous plant, it dies back to the ground in the winter and re-emerges the following spring.

Formerly known as Epilobium, fireweed is now classified as Chamerion angustifolium and related to evening primrose. This wildflower is native to most of the United States and is the official flower of the Yukon Territory in Canada. 

In a moist garden, fireweed can be pretty aggressive. However, this herbaceous perennial is perfect for prairie, cottage, or pollinator gardens in dryer conditions. Hummingbirds, butterflies, moths, and bees cannot get enough of this plant! The young shoots and flowers are also edible for humans, commonly used for asparagus-like sautes or fireweed bloom jellies.


Close-up of a Goldenseal (Hydrastis canadensis) plant in a garden. It is a perennial herbaceous plant, characterized by distinctive palmate leaves and small, inconspicuous flowers. Goldenseal leaves are deeply lobed and palm-shaped, typically 5 to 7 lobes radiating from a central point. They have a rich green color and a slightly waxy texture. The plant produces small, round, bright red berries.
Goldenseal is a shade-loving perennial native to Eastern US woodlands, which produces inedible red berries.

Hydrastis canadensis L., or goldenseal, is a perennial forb native to the woodlands of the Eastern United States. This shade-loving, forest-dwelling herb is named for the golden sap that flows from its underground yellow rhizomes.

Though the flowers aren’t particularly showy, gardeners predominantly plant goldenseal for its uses in herbalism or as a natural yellow dye. The plant is an ideal ground cover in shady areas of your landscape with heavy tree cover. Goldenseal also produces little red berries in the late summer that are inedible for humans but very beneficial for wildlife.


Close-up of Nettle (Urtica dioica) in the garden. It is a versatile herbaceous plant with serrated leaves and inconspicuous flowers. Nettle leaves are characterized by serrated edges and a heart-shaped base. They are usually arranged in opposite pairs along the stems and are bright green in color.
Nettles is a native edible herb that serves as a companion plant.

You may know them for their sting, but nettles (Urtica dioica) are a notable native herb that is edible and can be useful as a companion plant. Anecdotal reports say that nettles help improve the growth of vegetables such as broccoli and tomatoes and boost the potency of essential oil content of nearby herbs. The iron-rich leaves are an excellent addition to your compost that can accelerate decomposition.

Many cultures have used nettle for its nutritional content. Don’t worry; the leaves lose their sting as soon as they are cooked or dried. If you don’t want to make tea or sauté these greens, nettles still serve as a phenomenal ground cover in moist areas of the garden.

Plant nettles in full sun to partial shade in damp, moderately rich soil. The leaves sprout easily within 2 weeks of direct sowing and form into moderately sized clumps.

Subtle flowers emerge in the summer, the most common time for collecting the plant as a vegetable. Of course, you should always wear gloves and a long-sleeved shirt when handling these “stinging” leaves. 


Close-up of a flowering Milkweed (Asclepias spp.) in a garden. Euphorbia (Asclepias spp.) is a native perennial known for its distinctive leaves and bright flowers. Euphorbia leaves are large, broad and arranged in opposite pairs along the stems. They are lanceolate, dark green in color. Euphorbia flowers are intricate and attractive, forming clusters of small flowers known as umbels. These umbels consist of numerous individual flowers with five petals each. The flowers are bright orange.
Milkweed is a native herbaceous perennial that attracts butterflies, especially monarchs.

Infamous for its critical role in the monarch life cycle, milkweed (Asclepias spp.) is the top pick for any gardener who wants to attract butterflies to their gardens. This native plant is an herbaceous perennial indigenous throughout the Midwest and Eastern United States. It grows wild in forest margins, upland pastures, and disturbed areas. 

Milkweed prefers well-drained soil but is not picky about water. The exception is swamp milkweed, which needs very moist soil. It is hardy in zones 3-9 and blooms throughout the spring and summer.

The plants are best directly sown in spring or fall in the back of flower beds or a designated semi-wild area. Milkweed will self-seed and naturalize in colonies but isn’t invasive. Still, keeping it away from your vegetables or fragile cut flower species is best.


Close-up of a Cattail plant in the garden. It is a wetland plant known for its tall, cylindrical flower stalks and iconic seed heads. The leaves are long, belt-like, linear in shape. They grow from the base of the plant and form dense clumps of vertical foliage. The cattail flowers are arranged in compact brownish cylindrical spikes.
Cattails are native perennials that thrive in wetlands, are spread by rhizomes, and are suitable for waterlogged areas.

One can seldom pass a marsh or pond without spotting the distinctive cattail plant. Scientifically known as Typha, cattails are native herbaceous perennial plants that spread via rhizomes in marshy wetland areas. Any gardener who has struggled to fill a low-lying, extra-wet area in the landscape should consider this water-loving plant!

Most people don’t realize that young cattail shoots are edible and delicious. The plant is also very beneficial for wildlife. It attracts geese, goldfinches, and other birds. Its roots can help purify pond water and clean up polluted waterways.

While this isn’t a native herb you want too close to your edible gardens, it is the perfect addition to a wetland or flood-prone area of your ornamental landscape. The long slender stalks produce fluffy spike flowers that can add an intriguing dimension to bouquets or dried flower arrangements.

Red Clover

Close-up of a flowering herbaceous plant Red clover (Trifolium pratense) in a sunny garden. The leaves of red clover consist of three leaflets, which gives the plant a characteristic triangular appearance. The leaves are oval in shape with serrated edges, light green in color. The flowers are pink to reddish-purple, collected in dense round inflorescences at the tips of the stems. Each flower head consists of several individual inflorescences.
Red clover, naturalized from Europe, is a nitrogen-fixing pasture crop with edible greens and flowers.

Although red clover is native to Europe and Asia, it has been naturalized in the Americas since at least the 1500s. This perennial herb grows wild in meadows across the United States. It is a popular pasture crop because it fixes nitrogen and acts as a beneficial green manure.

Red clover is used by herbalists and chefs alike for its edible salad greens and tea-worthy flowers. The short-lived perennial plants form low-growing clumps and enrich the soil over time with their super-deep roots. The plant grows rapidly and can be invasive in some areas, so it’s best to keep it contained to raised beds (as a cover crop) or semi-wild prairie gardens.

Red clover blossoms are also highly beneficial to pollinators. Farmers use this plant to feed their livestock, and it can also serve as a trap crop to draw pests away from your veggies. 

Desert Lavender

Close-up of a blooming Desert lavender (Hyptis emoryi) in a garden. Desert lavender (Hyptis emoryi) is a multi-stemmed shrub belonging to the mint family (Lamiaceae). The leaves of desert lavender are small, gray-green, fragrant. They are covered with fine hairs. The flowers are tubular and pale lavender to dark purple in color.
Desert lavender thrives in gravelly, sunny gardens, producing silvery gray foliage and bluish-purple flowers.

Hyptis emoryi, or desert lavender, is a multi-stemmed mint-family shrub native to the Southwestern U.S. This fragrant herb is perfect for gardens with gravelly, poor soils and lots of sun. As its name implies, this native lavender is remarkably drought-tolerant. It barely needs any water once established. 

Desert lavender is frost sensitive and grows 4-8 feet tall. It has silvery gray foliage and bluish-purple flowers that attract pollinators. Pair it with jojoba, brittlebush, creosote, or yucca in a xeriscape garden.


Close-up of blooming Liatris in the garden. These plants are known for their distinctive and colorful flower spikes. Liatris leaves are linear or lanceolate, growing in basal rosettes and along the stem. The flowers are arranged in tall, thin purple spikes. The individual flowers are tubular with radiant petals, giving a feathery appearance at the top of the peduncle.
Liatris spicata, or blazing star, is a native wildflower with grass-like leaves and tall purplish spikes.

Popularly known as blazing star or gayfeather, Liatris spicata is a native perennial wildflower with grass-like leaves and elongated spikes of purplish flower heads. The feathery appearance of the stalkless flower heads adds a dazzling texture to any garden.

This plant grows up to 6 feet tall in summer and fall, then dies back to the soil level in the winter. Its native range includes most states east of the Mississippi. It only asks for moderate moisture, full sun, and average soil. Butterflies love liatris, and the native species tends to be more resilient than domesticated varieties.

Final Thoughts

No matter where you live, there are native plants eager to thrive in your landscape. Moreover, local species are more likely to offer ecological benefits to pollinators, wildlife, and your soil. Before planting native herbs, research the natural conditions of the species and ensure they aren’t invasive in your area. Remember, the lowest-maintenance gardens are the ones that mimic nature! 

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