Native Plants – July Bloomers

Continuing my series on native plants, the July bloomers are quite spectacular. There are a number of new species that just begin to bloom at this time. And continuations of many June bloomers. Native plants have become more and more popular with each year, especially as climate and weather concerns grow. As you look to add native plants to your gardens, look for ones that bloom over several months, as well as those which are showy for only a small part of the year.

And do not forget why we add native plants to the garden. Benefits include:

  • Adaptability and resistance to climate alterations and change
  • Drought and heat tolerance (for most species)
  • Insect pollination partnership (means they are pollinated by native insects better than alien plants).
  • Insect host plant partnership
  • Sustainability in the landscape

But, be sure you are putting native plants in the right locations within the garden. Many natives do not do well in isolated locations, such as a rocked garden bed which has a plant every 3 to 4 feet. A few will work in these areas, but most prefer to be in a more natural setting. Cottage gardens, meadows, prairies, glades, butterfly gardens, and woodland gardens all work best.

Native Plants Beginning to Bloom in July

Some of these plants may not reach their peak bloom potential until late July, August, or even September. But they begin to open their flower buds and attract pollinators now in July. Some of these plants you may not have ever heard of, unless you have read my other blogs about natives or native perennials.

Heat and Drought Lovers

Now, this does not mean they do not like water, just that they are more tolerant of less water, once established and put in the proper place.

Rudbeckia ‘American Gold Rush’

This is by far on of my favorite perennials, not only for hot, full sun, but also for its adaptability in a wide range of garden settings. This is one of those plants that you can put into a rocked landscape, and expect it to thrive. However, the best place for it, being a cultivar, is the cottage garden or butterfly garden. Put it where it will attract bees and butterflies, as well as be a host plant for checkerspot butterflies. It grows 3 feet tall and wide.

Rudbeckia American Gold Rush
Rudbeckia American Gold Rush (2 plants)

Rudbeckia ‘Goldquelle’

I inherited this cultivar of Golden Glow, or cutleaf coneflower, from my Grandmother’s garden in North Central Kansas. I am just like my grandparents; I collect plants and trees, reuse farm scrap metal and machinery, and enjoy growing most of my food. ‘Goldquelle’ is a unique, double-flowered variety which is unfortunately not favored by pollinators. But it makes a great cur flower, and grow 8 feet tall by 4 feet wide.

Rudbeckia ‘Henry Eilers’

Another great member of the Rudbeckia genus. I fell in love with this plant when I worked in Topeka, in 2010. We had to remove 3 plants of it from a customers yard, because they did not like it. I got to take the plants home, and all 3 are still thriving in my Monarch Waystation, after being moved 3 times. ‘Henry Eilers’ is a natural mutation of R. subtomentosa, found in Illinois. It has quilled or rolled flower petals and the plant grows 4 to 5 feet tall by 2 feet wide.

Royal Catchfly – Silene regia

One of the brightest red flowers for the garden, this pretty native attracts hummingbirds and hummingbird moths. My first introduction to this plant was at a nature center near Kansas City. Since then, I have seen in at KNPS functions, as well as in my own garden ( added in 2021). So far, I have seen it grow around 4 feet tall and 1 foot wide, the average in its native range.

Western Ironweed – Vernonia baldwinii

One of the most butterfly loved perennials, ironweed has bright purple flowers. Unfortunately, it does not bloom for very long. And you cannot put in into a regular garden setting unless you deadhead the flowers after blooming to prevent seed production. The best location for western ironweed is in a prairie or meadow garden, where other plants keep it in check. Half a dozen moths use it for a host plant, and it grows 4 feet tall by 3 feet wide.

ironweed native plants
Western ironweed seen here with a Regal Fritillary butterfly

Culver’s Root – Veronicastrum virginicum

A great plant for many areas of the garden, Culver’s root is one of the best summer perennials for attracting bees and wasps. Many do not see wasps as a friend in the garden, but they do so many things for you, including keeping caterpillar numbers down. I put it in my Sunny Cottage Garden as well as the Monarch Waystation and Meadow Garden. It grows 3 to 6 feet tall with either white or violet flowers.

culver's root
Culver’s Root in a wet prairie

Cup Plant – Silphium perfoliatum

I found this tall native plant growing vigorously in my backyard after moving in in 2014. It was situated almost on top of the water meter. But, despite its water loving nature, cup plant has been popping up all over my meadow garden, the rest of which is bone dry. Cup plant has unique leaves which hold water after rain. Insects and birds use this water holding ability. Cup plant grows 6 to 10 feet tall and 3 to 5 feet wide, in large clumps.

Wild Senna – Senna marilandica

I found this plant growing in a glade at my grandparent’s house in Cloud County. Finding this pretty native growing wild where I least expected it was a great way to help introduce me to native plants. In my Meadow Garden, I added wild senna to attract sulphur butterflies which use it as a host plant. It grows 4 to 6 feet tall and 3 feet wide.

Blue Sage – Salvia aurea

You probably have seen blue sage blooming in late summer and fall along mowed highway roadsides. It grows in large colonies there, but usually gets mowed down before its normal bloom time, setting the blooms back until fall. In my garden, there is a large clump growing near the cup plant, and my wife likes to use the flowers for arrangements. It grows 4 to 6 feet tall and spreads out into huge colonies if there are no other plants to check it.

Common Boneset – Eupatorium perfoliatum

One of my favorite pollinator plants, common boneset attracts a lot of pollinators. Several moth species also use it as a host plant. In the garden, I was surprised to see it grow and bloom every year for 3 years so far, after not being planted correctly, but being left in a plastic crate. In the summer of 2022, my kids and I found some growing wild in Doniphan County, KS. Common boneset grows 3 to 4 feet tall and 2 feet wide.

Sneezeweed – Helenium species

Another great wildflower, and great in the garden for its awesome flower heads, sneezeweed really shines in summer. I added this first to my gardens in Powhattan, KS, where my wife and I first resided. During that time (2012), we had one of the driest and hottest years I could remember, before 2022. Lots of flowers did not make it. But sneezeweed did. There are several cultivars and species. Most grow around 2 feet tall and wide.

Prairie Blazingstar – Liatris pyncnostachya

Blazingstars have always been one of my favorite genuses of plants. They were the first native plants I learned growing up in North Central Kansas. I loved that many of them had roots that reached as much as 20 feet into the ground. Prairie blazingstar grows 3 to 4 feet tall by 2 feet wide, and attract lots of bees and butterflies. I have it in my Sunny Cottage Garden, and love when it blooms. It is the second blazingstar to bloom in the Central Great Plains.

Prairie blazingstar with a Regal Fritillary Butterfly

Dotted Blazingstar – Liatris punctata

Typically, this blazingstar does not start blooming until August most years, but may start early when moisture and heat are more abundant. Dotted blazingstar likes it hot, and is very drought tolerant, but does like moisture too. There are actually 2 subspecies, 1 which grows with corms (a type of bulbous root structure like a crocus) and 1 which has a deep taproot. It grows 1 to 2 feet tall and 1 foot wide.

Spotted Beebalm – Monarda punctata

This is a relatively new species to me. In the summer of 2021, my wife and I went to the Kansas City area to get a Great Pyrenees puppy for our farm, and on the way back, we stopped at a friend’s house to see her gardens. One of the new plants (to me) I saw was spotted beebalm. And she gave me some starts for my garden! Even if the flowers were not visited by bumblebees, their unique look would be enough for me. It grows 2 to 3 feet tall and 1 foot wide.

heat loving native plants

Moisture and Shade Loving Natives

These plants are great natives for the woodland garden, glade, meadow (wet spots), or shady spots in the cottage garden. Some of them are drought tolerant, but not for prolonged periods (more than 4 weeks without significant rainfall).

Self-heal – Prunella vulgaris

A small plant, suitable for glades (a meadow within a forested area), or even the prairie, self-heal is a member of the Mint Family. The flowers are visited by a number of bees, mostly bumblebees, and butterflies. It only grows about 1 foot tall and wide, but is an interesting plant if you have never heard of it. Self-heal does have some medicinal properties.

Wood Betony – Stachys tenuifolia

Recently I wrote about this plant in the June Plant of the Month for 2023. A somewhat rare native in Northeast Kansas, it makes an excellent addition to the woodland garden in dappled shade, or the glade. Several of the species which I found in Nemaha County, KS were on the edge of the Nemaha County Lake, south of Seneca. It grows around 1 foot tall and wide.

Giant Cat Hyssop – Agastache nepetoides

Growing naturally along woodland edges and in dapple shade, giant cat hyssop has light yellow flowers which attract bees and butterflies. Another member of the Mint Family, it grows 6 to 10 feet tall by 3 to 5 feet wide. Give this plant some space! I once thought I was getting a specimen of it from a spot in Atchison County where I saw it growing the previous season, but my cutting proved to be Maryland Figwort. The reason for the mix-up was because both plants have square stems!

Nodding Wild Onion – Allium cernuum

Barely native in the Central Great Plains, you can find this onion growing in my Woodland Border garden. I have also used it for clients who have large shade gardens. The flowers are white or pinkish, and nod or hang down when blooming on a crooked stem. Plants grow 1 to 2 feet tall and 1 foot wide. The flowers are attractive to bees and butterflies.

Cardinal Flower – Lobelia cardinalis

Another deep and brilliant red flower, cardinal flower prefers damp or moist locations in full sun. I like to use this plant where a low spot in the landscape is, in rain gardens, or wet meadow areas. The flowers attract bees and hummingbirds. I have seen specimens of the true species grow 5 feet tall by 3 feet wide.

Great Blue Lobelia – Lobelia silphilitica

This lobelia has deep blue flowers instead of cardinal flower’s scarlet. But it likes the water or wet just as much. I tried some in the drier parts of my Meadow Garden, but unfortunately it died in the drought of 2022. However, I still know of lots of thriving populations in the wetlands and marshes of Northeast Kansas. Great blue lobelia grows 2 to 4 feet tall by 2 feet wide.

Joe Pye Weed – Eutrochium purpureum

Despite often being grown in full sun, and hot dry locations, Joe Pye is native to glades and woodland edges. It is a butterfly magnet, attracting many species. However, it is a short bloomer, rarely lasting more than a few weeks. Flower buds are reddish pink opening to full pink or white flowers. It grows 3 to 8 feet tall and 3 to 5 feet wide.

shade and wet loving natives

Native Plants Still Blooming from Earlier

These are the native plants which are still blooming, having started their flowering in previous months. I will continue to keep this list running in consecutive posts, so you can see which natives are the longest bloomers.

  • Blanketflower
  • Agastache Blue Fortune
  • Allium Milennium
  • Marsh milkweed
  • Milkweed Hello Yellow
  • Butterfly Milkweed
  • Whorled milkweed
  • Coreopsis Crazy Cayenne
  • Coreopsis Creme Brulee
  • Purple coneflower
  • Coreopsis Zagreb
  • Coreopsis Jethro Tull
  • False sunflower
  • Rose verbena
  • Woolly verbena
  • Liatris Kobold
  • Liatris Alba
  • Rose mallow
  • Wild bergamot
  • Tall phlox
  • Blunt Mountain mint
  • Slender Mountain mint
  • Mexican hat
  • Greyhead coneflower
  • Missouri Coneflower
  • Giant coneflower
  • Little black-eyed Susan
  • Aromatic aster
  • Prairie petunia
  • Rattlesnake master
  • Hemp dogbane
  • Pale Indian plantain
  • Tuberous Indian plantain
  • Compassplant
  • Purple prairie clover
  • Michigan lily
  • Purple poppy mallow
  • Missouri evening primrose
  • Pitcher’s clematis
  • White Wandflower


Even though July is not considered the “big” month for wildflowers and native plants, a lot of June bloomers are still going, and many new plants begin to flower. I love working with all these native plants in order to get them more recognized by gardeners in the Central Great Plains and Midwestern regions.

Happy planting!

author of native plants

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