Which plants can I grow in Baltimore?
An essential and bustling port city, Baltimore is rich in history. The birthplace of our national anthem, it is also known for some exceptional seafood and aquatic wildlife, many of which are on display at the National Aquarium. Only adding to these unique attractions is the fact that Baltimore also falls into an amazing area to grow a large variety of plants in the U.S! Fruit, warm and cold season veggies, a number of flowers, and even more shrubs and trees for landscaping are enough to make any gardener giddy, so let's dive right in to see what you can grow in this fabulous city:
Which Plants Grow Well in Baltimore?
Warm, hospitable, and accommodating are some great words to describe not just Baltimore but the climate it supports for the would-be gardener, which means you'll have no shortage of options with plants to grow! A simple look around at some of your local parks and gardens is a great way to get a feel for the land with plants most adapted to the native soil and weather conditions. It's an excellent way for you to make your life that much easier during your growing season, and by staying on top of any unseasonably warm or cold conditions, you'll see just how easy it is to grow the garden of your dreams in Baltimore! Here are just a few ideas to get you started:
Woodland Sunflower (Helianthus dicaricatus): A common wildflower throughout Maryland, this perennial can grow up to 6' tall and grows beautiful yellow blooms. The nectar of these bright flowers will not only brighten up your yard but will attract pollinators such as bees, hummingbirds, and butterflies! The seeds of these flowers are also eaten by birds, making this a great way to give back to creatures that visit your yard! It thrives in full or partial sun, and needs to be watched not to spread too quickly!
American Strawberry Bush (Euonymus americanus): Despite its name, this plants berries are not at all edible! With that aside, it does have many great features that make it a fantastic addition to the garden. Small green flowers will sprout on this bush that eventually turns into stunning red seed capsules that are a tremendous food source for critters and birds. These unique red berries add color to your yard in the fall and provide an excellent option for areas in your space with partial or full shade.
English Ivy Gold Child (Hedera helix 'Variegata'): Known for its unique, star-shaped, green leaves all ringed in white, this plant is also ideal for showcasing beautiful vertical growth on trellises, ladders, lattices, and more. It can even reach heights of 10 feet in optimal conditions! Let it bask in the morning sun, then make sure to offer dappling shade after the rest of the day for best results, and make sure to bring it inside if temperatures drop below 35°F. Keep it in medium, indirect light if that's the case. English Ivy Glacier and English Ivy Green Ideal varieties are just as fond of climbing as their cousin and are both equally beautiful and capable of thriving in Baltimore. With unique vibes and patterns of their own, both will add a lovely dimension to any garden where they can climb!
If cold season vegetables are what you're hoping for, you're in luck! Baltimore is more than ready to accommodate a number of these plants, promising a bountiful harvest for you that you can start planting as early as February. Give a few of these a try:
- Swiss Chard
Similarly, warm season vegetables are just as eager to thrive in the Baltimore climate, all of which are uniquely suited to the environment with an ability to withstand hotter, drier months that cause other plants to wither. If things get a little too hot and dry, drip irrigation and shade cloth are there to ensure your plants are happy! Here are a few to get you started:
- Peppers (Hot and Sweet)
Best Landscaping Plants in Baltimore
Just as numerous and ready to earn a place in your garden and landscaping endeavors are a wide variety of flowers and herbs. Look for many of them in the local parks, gardens, and memorials around the city, as it's never a bad idea to incorporate what already works for the region. As stated, it's a great way to gain some helpful insight into what makes these plants successful, and it'll also make your gardening life that much easier! If you need a few to inspire you, look no further:
Canna Lily (Canna indica): A wide variety of lovely blooms and vibrant colors grow from a beautiful little bulb, making this plant readily sought after in the Baltimore area for many gardeners. What's more is how tough this plant really is, easily withstanding lifting if overwintering is required to survive harsher colds. However, this is rare given it's more than capable of weathering most winter months on its own. If it does need some help, just make sure to replant after the last frost!
Blue Violets (Viola sororia): Blue and purplish-blue flowers bloom from this lovely little plant when warmer temperatures roll around. Another low-maintenance plant, this one loves moisture-retentive soils, stands up well against pests, and is more than ready to handle the Baltimore climate. Plant them in fall in full sun to partial shade and enjoy!
Which Plants are Native to Baltimore?
Utilizing native plants is a great way to guarantee success for your garden and support the local ecosystem. Birds, butterflies, bees, and more all rely on these plants for reliable sources of food and habitat, and all native plants are best at preventing soil erosion with their adapted roots. If you're able to plant any endangered varieties, all the better! Check in with your local nursery to see what options you have for your particular area, both for you and the environment. Consider some of these for your garden:
Christmas Fern (Polystichum acrostichoides): This plant is known for two things: how easy it is to grow and its lovely, evergreen fronds. Capable of thriving in the shade and in acidic soils, it's also resistant to pests and makes a beautiful complement to any floral arrangements.
Coral Honeysuckle (Lonicera sempervirens): Looking for a stunning trellising vine for your fencing or railing? The Coral Honeysuckle sprouts flowers that will add unique pops of color to your yard with their trumpet-shaped red, coral flowers with yellow interiors. These large flowers are a favorite of the hummingbird and a great native addition to your landscaping!
Black-eyed Susans (Rudbeckia hirta): Seen across many places in its native U.S soil, this one is also Maryland's state flower! Relatively easy to grow and very self-sufficient in terms of seeding and spreading when given ample room, it's also beloved by a number of pollinating insects. Drought resistant and capable of thriving even in poor soil conditions, this low-maintenance plant is a wonderful addition to any garden.
Other Plants that Grow Best in Baltimore
Arrowwood (Viburnum dentatum): So named for its straight stems, this plant blooms clusters of tiny, white flowers in spring, blue flowers in summer, and it even turns from green to yellow in fall! Another favorite of pollinating insects, birds also love feasting on arrowwood fruit. A well-adapted plant with lots to offer, let it have lots of sun and enjoy!
Cardinal Flower (Lobelia cardinalis): A favorite of hummingbirds for its nectar, this perennial is equally adored by gardeners for its vivid, red flowers from where it gets its name. Easy to grow and maintain, it favors moist soils with full to partial sun and is a perfect flower for ponds or bog gardens.
Maidenhair Fern (Adiantum aethiopicum): Delicate and beautiful, this fern will thrive on your patio in the partial shade. As long as you keep this plant adequately moist and humid, it will grow happily adding a pop of green to any of your shady spaces!
Baltimore Gardening Tips
"Forewarned is forearmed," as the expression goes, and equipping yourself with knowledge from your local Farmer's Almanac or similar resource is a necessary step to success for your growing season even in areas as forgiving as Baltimore. Planting too late or too early can result in frozen plants, but by knowing what steps to take for any extreme eventualities, you'll be more than ready to care for your plants. Utilize cold frames, raised beds, or mulching when needed in colder months, and drip irrigation and shade cloth will get your plants through hot and dry spells, all of which will lead to spectacular results for your garden!
When Should I Plant My Garden in Baltimore?
Baltimore is in Zone 7 of the USDA Hardiness scale, which means you have ample opportunity for growing even as early as February! You can start seedlings indoors at this time as well, and April is a great month to plant perennials. Just be sure to do your due diligence and check for possible frosts which vary from region to region.
Planting in Zone USDA Zone 7a, 7b, and 8a
Zone 7 is divided into two subzones, 7a and 7b. Differentiated by their average winter temperature range, 7a has a range of 0°F to 5°F, and 7b a range of 5°F to 10°F. Similarly, Zone 8a has a range of 10°F to 15°F. With Baltimore fitting into these zones, overwintering tends to play a larger role in the region. It also makes perennials a great choice for any garden with their uniquely suited ability to withstand both colder winter months and sunnier, warmer summer ones. Extreme temperature disparities are rare in this area, and by preparing accordingly, you can have the growing season of your dreams in this welcoming climate!