Native Plant Plug Growth One Year After Planting

Plant tags for garden

Ok, so it’s not quite a year after planting, but these are plugs that were planted last July.

Have a look at some of the native plants that have already begun growing in my yard this spring! These photos are taken in early April. Remember, we are located in zone 4a here so this is a completely reasonable and exciting amount of growth for this time of year.

It is unseasonably dry out and we hope for some moisture soon. You can tell by the huge cracks in some of the soil that is not yet covered by leaves or other mulch. These were some test plugs I planted in July of last year without much forethought. I unfortunately didn’t care for them well. However, considering how well they’re growing already despite my lack of care, I feel really excited!


Achillea millefolium

Yarrow in garden

This was one small yarrow plug that I planted last July. Do you see all the little new plants, how it’s spreading so vigorously already? I’m happy about it because I have a lot of space to fill, but definitely something to keep in mind if you have a smaller area.

(Side note- is anyone familiar with the concept of a yarrow ‘lawn’? Do let me know in the comments! I’m really curious to hear about your experiences.)

Blue Flax

Linum lewisii

Blue flax photo

This is blue flax. It also seems to be taking off rapidly but not spreading about quite as quickly as the yarrow.

Prairie Smoke

Geum triflorum

Old man’s whiskers, three flowered avens, geum triflorum…whatever you choose to call it! I like ‘prairie smoke’. It’s easy to remember and pronounce.

I have three prairie smoke plugs. One is hardly growing but does look alive, one is small but definitely growing, and the above one is my best specimen!

I love how the leaves are hairy and have a purplish tinge to the edges. This is a spring blooming plant, so I haven’t actually seen it in bloom yet!


Chamaenerion augustifolium

Fireweed photo

This is my fireweed plant, which- although it’s tiny- I’m super excited about! I was worried it wouldn’t survive, since the deer nibbled it to the ground last fall. Loving the coloration on those little leaves!

Spike Goldenrod

Solidago simplex

Spike Goldenrod photo

My goldenrod didn’t bloom at all last year, so we’ll see how it does this year! It’s coming in healthily and looks good so far. This type of goldenrod is apparently not such a rampant spreader as some goldenrods, and grows only to about a foot and a half tall.

Prairie Coneflower

Ratibida columnifera

Prairie coneflower photo

These prairie coneflowers grew quickly and bloomed vigorously last year, only a month or so after the plugs were planted. Let’s see how they do this year! Apparently these guys like it really dry, which may explain why last year is the first time we saw them blooming in multiple places out in the pasture grass (it was a really dry year over here).

plant labeling tags

Aaand, I’ve started making labels for all my new plugs that will be planted this year! My plan is to carefully place all the labeled markers before planting, so that anyone helping with planting knows exactly which plugs to plant where. I haven’t done anything of this scale before, so tips are welcome! 🙂

Happy Gardening!