What to Plant in Your Garden: 5 Amazing Native Species

Aug 13, 2022 | Outdoor Gardening | 1 comment

Have you ever had difficulty keeping plants thriving in your gardens? Are you unsure of what to plant in your garden? Perhaps you run through fertilizers, watering schedules and playing with more or less light, but you still can’t seem to get your plants to thrive. Sometimes it’s not that we lack a green thumb, but that the plants aren’t meant to thrive in our region or need very special care to do well. Save yourself the struggle and consider planting more species that are native to the area. This article focuses on native species to Washington State and what to plant in your garden.

Adding Native Species to Your Landscape

To make things easier on yourself, consider adding some native species to your landscape. There are endless options for beautiful, eye-catching blooms, cascading foliage and striking colors. These plants will do better and thrive in their natural environment, providing you years and years of happy plants. Read on for a list of what to plant in your garden.

What to Plant in Your Garden


Trillium are beautiful colored blooms that grow in shaded areas like the woods. The petals are typically white, but you will see variations with a bit of pink and even a dark maroon. You will find these flowers growing in shaded gardens where cedars and furs provide a protective canopy from the hot sun. The shock of yellow at the center makes this beautiful flower stand out from the crowd with the flowing petals ripple in the wind.

What to Plant in Your Garden


This flowering bush is the state flower of Washington. It can grow in just about any landscape and provides everything other plants and animals need to thrive. Squirrels and birds love to eat the immature blooms, bees and other pollinators love the endless flowers that explode in bunches from every direction and the bushes can grow to towering heights, providing much needed shade for outdoor creatures.


Violets, violets and more violets! There are several varieties of violets native to Washington state. These flowers are a great example of what to plant in your garden. The genus, viola, has hundreds of different species around the world and the Pacific Northwest Region of Washington State is home to at least 8 species. The variations you can potentially include in your landscaping are varieties like:

  • Olympic violets – These violets are light purple with broad, dark leaves. They are absolutely stunning and will grow in arid soil or rocky areas.
  • Evergreen violets – These blooms are a light, bright yellow with slashes of brown-red in the center of the petals. The leaves and plant structure resemble the foliage of a strawberry plant.
  • Stream violets – Also known as Pioneer violets, these flowers are almost identical to Evergreen Violets with a thinner and more crinkled yellow petal.
  • Early Blue Violets – This variation is more of a purple than blue. The veins of the petals are dark blue-violet and the centers are yellowy-white.
  • Viola Beckwithii – a purple and yellow violet that looks like a pansy but has a different genus. This bloom with heart-shaped petals make a great groundcover and does well in moderate climates.
  • Viola Douglasii – This violet is a strikingly yellow and looks similar to a small lily with dark stripes.
  • Viola Palustris – The Palustris is a pale lilac-colored violet that looks similar to an orchid when it blooms. You can see tiny darker purple veins running through the petals. These are more commonly found in swampy areas. You might not have much luck keeping these in a garden unless you have a water feature in a more humid zone of the PNW.
  • Viola Trinervata – These blooms look similar to miniature iris without all the ruffles. The blooms are a lovely combination dark purple, light purple and striking yellow. This is the most highly sought-after type of outdoor violet native to Washington and the blooms will soak up the sun all summer long. This would make a perfect starter flower for any gardener.

Crimson Columbine

This structured bloom has bright orange and yellow petals in angular patterns. It almost looks like a brightly colored inverted umbrella. Columbine flowers do well in shadier areas under your cedars or rhodies.What to Plant in Your Garden

Bleeding Hearts

These interesting flowers have always been a favorite of gardens in the Pacific Northwest region. These short shrubs grow long stems of flowers with miniature, delicate heart-shaped blooms dangling from thin secondary stems like little jewels. Some of the blooms are light pink and others are a bright, hot pink. Most all have a light pink or white center and sometimes have a splash of purple.

Steps to Take After You Have Decided What to Plant in Your Garden

What to plant in your garden is equally as important as the features and substrate. Check out our soil mixes page and the landscape and decor page to complete your outdoor setting.


Information Source: