Hello Mesic Prairie

Leadplant illustration

Here in the US Midwest (zones 4 & 5) our predominant native plant community is prairie (what's left of it). Rolling hills, open plains, fewer trees, fertile soil, tall grasses and beautiful flowering species.

There are three types of prairie plant communities including dry, wet and mesic. I've highlighted just a few plants from the mesic community below. Note these are not drawn as whole plants...just portions of them. The actual heights are listed farther below.  

Mesic refers to sites that have good drainage, ample seasonally available water, and deep soils. A good description of mesic is moist, yet well drained (Iowa State University Extension). These are also ideal conditions for agricultural crops, which is why few of these areas still exist.

In the last twenty years matrix and drift planting schemes around the world have included some prairie plants. Why not try a few in your garden?  (As with any plant, if you live outside a plant's native zone, please check to make sure these are not invasive in your area. For example, some goldenrods are invasive in Europe.)

The scientific names for the plants listed above include:

Big Bluestem | Andropogon gerardii (height 4-6 feet)

Blazingstar | Liatris spicata, Liatris pycnostachya (height 3-4 feet) 

Goldenrod | Solidago graminifolia (height 2-3 feet) 

Leadplant | Amorpha canescens (height 1-3 feet)

Purple Prairie Clover | Petalostemum purpureum (height 1-2 feet)

Rattlesnake Master | Eryngium yuccifolium (height 3-4 feet)

Switchgrass | Panicum virgatum (height 3-6 feet)

I've also started a Pinterest board on using prairie plants in your garden here.


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