What Plants Can I Grow in Omaha?

By: Lively Root
October 27, 2021
What Plants Can I Grow in Omaha?
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Which Plants Can I Grow in Omaha?

Omaha is as rich in history and tradition as it is in character, making it an excellent place for residents and visitors alike. With historical significance like the Lewis and Clark National Historic Trail and other staples of pioneer history, it also boasts a substantial conservationist presence with the Henry Doorly Zoo and Aquarium! This appreciation for nature extends beyond wildlife, reaching to parks, gardens, arboretums, and of course, the gardeners who nurture them. If you find yourself looking to grow in the Omaha area, you're in for a treat as this region is perfect for a number of beautiful flowers, delicious fruits and veggies, and lush landscaping plants all perfectly suited to the area. Here is why Omaha is so great for gardeners:

Which Plants Grow Well in Omaha?

Even in light of harsher winters, several plants are ready to take on the bitter cold and even thrive despite the conditions. Primary growing months are accommodating and perfect for annuals among a number of other plants. With a bit of preparation and knowledge, these annuals and perennials can be the standout of any garden in the area! It all comes down to doing some homework on soil composition and weather conditions relative to your specific location. If you're in need of some inspiration or insight, you can always learn valuable lessons from any number of local parks or gardens where flowers, shrubs, and more thrive with just a little help. Looking for a place to start? Consider these plants for your Omaha garden:

Blue Phlox (Phlox divaricata): A fragrant native of the Nebraska area seen widespread across the state, they're right at home in Omaha, where conditions are more conducive to their growth. Coming in beautiful lavender or light blue colors, they grow flat in small clusters, where their notched petals add unique character and dimension to the area! Plant in partial sun and watch as pollinators flock to them in appreciation.


English Ivy Gold Child (Hedera helix 'Variegata'): Character is abundant with this plant. Star-shaped leaves of vivid green all ringed in white line its lengthy vines, which can grow up to 10 feet in the right conditions! This plant is perfect for hanging baskets, trellises, patios, or anywhere it can take a vertical journey. Be sure to give it lots of morning sun followed by dappled shade for the rest of the day, and bring it indoors for overwintering when temperatures drop below 35°F. English Ivy Glacier and English Ivy Green Ideal are two variants of Gold Child that are just as adept at climbing as their relative, making them just as ideal for railings, ladders, and more. With unique patterns and vibes of their own, consider these two for a special theme for your home or garden!

Purple poppy mallow (Callirhoe involucrata): This flower also goes by the name wine cup for its unique shape and deep shade of purple proudly worn on its petals. However, in full bloom, they can also take on shades of pink and white! They form mat foliage and are perfect for hanging baskets, and also beautifully compliment leaves of contrasting colors. Plant in full sun to partial shade and enjoy their lush color and vibrant character!

Are vegetables on your list of things to grow? Then get ready for a bountiful harvest if you're growing in the Omaha area! An incredible variety is ready to thrive in the spring and summer months, and here are a few for you to try:

  • Beets
  • Tomatoes
  • Beans
  • Soy Beans
  • Corn
  • Cucumbers

Best Landscaping Plants in Omaha?

Don't let the cold of winter cool off your gardening aspirations! Finding plants that can withstand the elements is simple with a wealth of them uniquely suited to thrive in the Omaha area. Go to one of your local parks or gardens for some insight into the plants and conditions that help them succeed to see what you can implement in your garden to start! Then, dig a little deeper by making sure you're familiar with the types that will be most compatible with your soil, humidity, and other unique conditions of your area. Once you've done that, get to planting! Here are a few ideas for you to consider:

Clove Currant (Ribes aureum): Perfect for early spring color, this thornless shrub can grow as tall as 8 feet with matching width! With deep, golden flowers that bloom in spring and exude a pleasant fragrance, these flowers give way to black currant growth in late spring to midsummer. It is also edible, perfect for jams and jellies! Give it a moist area with partial sunlight to keep it healthy.

Maidenhair Fern (Adiantum aethiopicum): this plant is more than ready to take on the cold, down to temperatures as low as -10°F, in fact! A low-maintenance choice for the Omaha gardener, its delicate fronds take on a lush, green hue which remains even through winter, lending a spring vibe wherever you plant it. Be sure to keep it in an area of high humidity and lower light for best results!

Gardeners in the Omaha area should be pleased by the variety of fruit and nut plants also available to them. They're a perfect, low-maintenance option, more than ready to give back to any gardener nurturing their growth! Here are a few to consider:

  • Harrow Delight Pear Trees
  • Hazelnut Trees
  • Pink Lady and Honeycrisp Apple Trees
  • Walnut Trees
  • Superior and Emerald Beauty Plum Trees
  • Chestnut Trees

Which Plants are Native to Omaha?

If you're considering going with native plants for your garden, you're already well on your way to success in the Omaha region. Not only are these plants perfectly adapted to survive in their native environment, but they also play an integral role in the local ecosystem, providing reliable food and habitat for many birds and essential pollinators. What's more, they're also the best at preventing soil erosion with their adapted roots. Take the time to foster any endangered plant species. You'll be the hero of any number of animals and other plants that depend on the sustained biodiversity of the region! If you need a few ideas, check in with your local nursery, who are experts on your region. Here are a few of our native favorites:

Coral Berry (Symphoricarpos orbiculatus): This flowering plant, also known as buckbrush, is a member of the honeysuckle family, growing up to 4 feet in height and forming two kinds of color clusters. Both white and green blooms can be seen from April through July. Another fun characteristic of this plant is that it maintains its color year round! Even its coral pink berries stay on through the winter, bringing lovely color to your garden. With minimal water requirements, plant in partial shade for best results.

Tall Blazing Star (Liatris aspera): Also known as prairie blazing star, this perennial wildflower can grow as high as 5 feet and makes a perfect addition to any garden looking for some vertical character. Taking on shades of rose and purple, its flower heads grow from central columns, creating a fuzzy appearance that's irresistible to butterflies and bees. Plant in full sun and enjoy!

Aromatic Aster (Symphyotrichum oblongifolium): These small perennials bloom in lovely shades of blue or light purple and have a pleasant aroma emitted from their center. Also known as Wild Blue Aster, it can grow up to 2 feet tall, blooming in September through November, making it a perfect plant for adding some color in the fall months. Needing little water, it's also tolerant of hot and cold conditions as well as dry or slightly moist soils. 

Other Plants That Grow Best In Omaha?

Wild Senna (Senna hebecarpa): This plant also goes by the name of American Senna, and blooms in beautiful yellow clusters, most prominently in the summer months. Sure to bring a host of pollinators who will appreciate its presence, it's pretty easy to care for, needing only full to partial sun and little else! Just don't eat this one, as it's poisonous to humans if consumed.

Large Beardtongue (Penstemon grandiflorus): This larger, lavender, flowering plant can also produce beautiful pink and purple flowers that take on a tubular shape that covers the plant's stems, which can reach heights of up to 3 feet. It blooms from May to late June, and does best in areas of full sunlight to reach its full potential. This is a perfect ornamental plant for any garden and a good choice for planting in large quantities.

Omaha Gardening Tips

Annuals are a safe and solid choice for any gardener in the Omaha region, as they'll make any growing season easy when spring and summer roll around given their aptly suited characteristics for the area. And there are plenty strong enough to survive in the climate! Landscaping options are just as numerous as well, so long as you're aware of your local conditions throughout any growing season. Be sure to consult your local Farmer's Almanac or similar resource both before and throughout the growing season to prepare for any variables that might arise. Be sure to start new seeds indoors at least 6 weeks before the last frost date. Hoop tunnels, raised beds, and mulch will also go a long way in getting your plants through the colder times! 

When Should I Plant My Garden in Omaha?

If you stay mindful of Omaha's first and last frost dates, you'll be well on your way to a successful growing season. The region's first frost typically lands somewhere in mid-October, while the last usually falls somewhere in mid-May. However, this will vary from area to area, so be sure to check yours in particular! Stay on top of the conditions, and as mentioned, give your seeds a head start of at least 6-8 weeks indoors prior to the last frost to ensure the best chance of maturing before the first frost!

Planting in Zone 5a

Landing in Zone 5a of the USDA Hardiness scale, the Omaha region's zone is also divided into two subzones. These subzones are 5a and 5b, and both are distinguished by their average winter temperature range. 5a has a range of -15°F to -20°F, and 5b a range -10°F to -15°F. Because of these colder conditions, overwintering is widely utilized across the region, and other options such as winter mulching, hoop tunnels, and cold frames will help encourage growth and survival. Be diligent in choosing your plants for this area and the upcoming growing season, but to those with patience and commitment, get ready to enjoy the garden of your dreams!