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15 Best Chicago Native Plants

Create a sustainable and vibrant landscape while supporting local biodiversity with the Best Chicago Native Plants!

Explore the remarkable diversity of Chicago Native Plants, perfectly suited to grow in the city’s unique climate and soil. Discover the ideal selection to create a thriving, sustainable garden.

Read about the Common California Native Plants here

Chicago Native Plants

1. Oakleaf Hydrangea

Chicago Native Plants 1

Botanical Name: Hydrangea quercifolia

USDA Zones: 5-9

First on the list of Chicago native plants is Oakleaf hydrangea. Ideal for borders or informal hedges, it features creamy white pyramidal flowers with oak-like leaves.

Learn about Growing Hydrangeas from Cuttings here

2. Black Cherry

Botanical Name: Prunus serotina

USDA Zones: 3-9

The black cherry, a native tree highly valued for its wood, offers year-round beauty with white spring blooms, purple fruit, and vibrant autumn foliage.

3. Wild Bergamot

Chicago Native Plants 3

Botanical Name: Monarda fistulosa

USDA Zones: 3-9

Wild bergamot, with its lavender or pink petals surrounding upright tubes, adds vibrancy to any garden, blooming in the middle of summer.

4. Foxglove Beardtongue


Botanical Name: Penstemon digitalis

USDA Zones: 3-8

The next on the list of Chicago native plants is foxglove beardtongue. It grows delicate bell-shaped blooms in late spring to early summer with beautiful autumn foliage.

5. Garden Phlox

Chicago Native Plants 5

Botanical Name: Phlox paniculata

USDA Zones: 4-8

Garden phlox brings bursts of purplish-pink flowers to your yard, with delicate symmetrical petals that bloom in July. Some taller varieties may require staking for support.

Read Maryland Native Plants List here

6. Culver’s Root

Botanical Name: Veronicastrum virginicum

USDA Zones: 3-8

Culver’s root, a striking perennial, thrives with some sun, adding height and texture contrast to your garden with its tall spikes of light blue or white flowers.

7. Sweetgum

Chicago Native Plants 7

Botanical Name: Liquidambar styraciflua

USDA Zones: 5-9

The sweetgum is a narrow tree that transitions into a round form. Its vibrant star-like leaves come in shades of orange, yellow, red, and purple.

8. Elderberry Bush

Botanical Name: Sambucus

USDA Zones: 3-8

This Chicago native plant thrives in sunny conditions. Fragrant white flowers form clusters, followed by edible black elderberries that attract various bird species.

9. Butterfly Weed

Chicago Native Plants 9

Botanical Name: Asclepias tuberosa

USDA Zones: 3-9

With brilliant yellow to bright orange flower clusters, it offers long-lasting color from early spring to the first frost.

Look at the list of European Native Plants here

10. New England Aster

Botanical Name: Symphyotrichum novae-angliae

USDA Zones: 4-8

Native to most of North America, this purple-pink flowering plant is a low-maintenance perennial. It attracts honey bees and monarch butterflies.

Check out 18 Native European Plants here

11. Dense Blazing Star

Chicago Native Plants 11

Botanical Name: Liatris spicata

USDA Zones: 3-9

This tall and slender perennial showcases stunning purple flowers from July to September. Thriving in full sun and preferring moist soil, it can also tolerate dry conditions.

12. Dutchman’s Breeches

Botanical Name: Dicentra cucullaria

USDA Zones: 3-7

With its distinctive upside-down breech-like blooms, this white flowering plant thrives in indirect sunlight and is also easy to look after.

13. Wild Quinine

Chicago Native Plants 13

Botanical Name: Parthenium integrifolium

USDA Zones: 4-8

Adding elegance to your garden, this Chicago native plant features pearl-like buds that beautifully complement its dense green foliage.

14. Pale Purple Coneflower

Botanical Name: Echinacea pallida

USDA Zones: 3-10

This native flower can reach heights of up to three feet. It is low-maintenance, requiring minimal watering and care.

15. Red Columbine

Chicago Native Plants 15

Botanical Name: Aquilegia canadensis

USDA Zones: 3-8

Wild Columbine showcases delicate light pink flowers. With low maintenance needs, this plant is adaptable to sandy and clay soils, requiring minimal watering.

Check 62 Native Florida Plants and Trees here


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