Native Perennials and “Nativars”

Did you know that Alberta is home to dozens of garden-worthy wild perennial species? Thanks to our numerous biomes, we are lucky to have a surprisingly diverse range of native plant species in the province, despite our harsh climate and short growing season.


Why grow native plants?

Plants that are native to Alberta are naturally adapted to our climate, which means you can expect high reliability and strong garden performance, as long as they are grown in a location they are suited to (for example, native plants will still have preferences in terms of sun exposure and soil moisture). They will also be preferred by our native pollinators, since they are the plant species our local pollinators have evolved to live with.

What is a “Nativar”?

A “nativar” (portmanteau of “native” and “cultivar”) is a garden selection of a native plant, so while it belongs to a native species, it is not from a wild population. Nativars have been selected for traits that are desirable in the garden. For example, they may be better behaved, more compact, more disease resistant, or have a longer bloom period than typical wild examples of the species. Nativars are almost always just as hardy and reliable as wild forms of native plants.

Native Perennials and Nativars Available in Spring 2024

Campanula rotundifolia (Harebells)
Campanula rotundifolia (Harebells)
Castilleja miniata
Castilleja miniata (Scarlet Paintbrush)
Cypripedium parviflorum
Cypripedium parviflorum var. pubescens (Large Yellow Lady’s Slipper)
Cornus canadensis
Cornus canadensis (Bunchberry)

Anemone multifida ‘Rubra’ (Windflower)

Antennaria microphylla (Littleleaf Pussy Toes)

Arctostaphylos uva-ursi (Kinnikinnick)

Artemisia ludoviciana (White Sagebrush)

Asclepias speciosa (Showy Milkweed)

Aster laevis, syn. Symphyotrichum laeve (Smooth Aster)

Athyrium filix-femina (Lady Fern)

Bouteloua gracilis ‘Blonde Ambition’ (Mosquito Grass)

Campanula rotundifolia (Harebells)

Castilleja miniata (Scarlet Paintbrush)

Clematis occidentalis (Blue Clematis)

Cornus canadensis (Bunchberry)

Cypripedium parviflorum var. pubescens (Large Yellow Lady’s Slipper)

Deschampsia cespitosa ‘Bronzeschleier’ (Tufted Hair Grass)

Deschampsia cespitosa ‘Goldtau’ (Tufted Hair Grass)

Deschampsia cespitosa ‘Northern Lights’ (Tufted Hair Grass)

Dodecatheon pulchellum (Saline Shooting Star)

Dryas drummondii (Yellow Mountain Avens)

Dryas octopetala (Mountain Avens)

Dryopteris filix-mas ‘Barnesii’ (Male Fern)

Erigeron compositus (Cutleaf Fleabane)

Erigeron speciosus (Showy Fleabane)

Eupatorium maculatum ‘Gateway’ (Joe Pye Weed)

Fragaria vesca (Wild Strawberry)

Fragaria vesca ‘Golden Alexandria’ (Wild Strawberry)

Gaillardia aristata (Wild Blanketflower)

Geum triflorum (Prairie Smoke)

Goodyera oblongifolia (Western Rattlesnake Plantain)

Gymnocarpium dryopteris (Oak Fern)

Helenium autumnale (Helen’s Flower)

Hierochloe odorata, syn. Anthoxanthum nitens (Sweet Grass)

Iris versicolor (Blue Flag)

Liatris ligulistylis (Meadow Blazing Star)

Liatris punctata (Dotted Blazing Star)

Lilium philadelphicum (Western Wood Lily)

Linnaea borealis (Twinflower)

Linum lewisii (Wild Blue Flax)

Matteuccia struthiopteris (Ostrich Fern)

Opuntia fragilis ‘Alberta Sunset’ (Fragile Prickly Pear Cactus)

Opuntia fragilis ‘Pony’ (Fragile Prickly Pear Cactus)

Opuntia polyacantha (Plains Prickly Pear Cactus)

Penstemon fruticosus var. scouleri (Littleleaf Shrubby Beardtongue)

Phacelia sericea (Scorpion Weed)

Pulsatilla patens (Prairie Crocus)

Ratibida columnifera (Prairie Coneflower)

Ratibida columnifera ‘Red Midget’ (Prairie Coneflower)

Sarracenia purpurea ssp. purpurea (Purple Pitcher Plant)

Schizachyrium scoparium ‘Shining Star’ (Little Bluestem)

Schizachyrium scoparium ‘Standing Ovation’ (Little Bluestem)

Silene acaulis (Moss Campion)

Viola pedatifida (Crow’s Foot Violet)

Yucca glauca (Soapweed)