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Thursday - June 03, 2010

From: Black Creek, WI
Region: Midwest
Topic: Groundcovers, Herbs/Forbs
Title: Short flowering plant that will grow in sand in Black Creek WI
Answered by: Barbara Medford


I would like to know what kind of flowering plant would grow good in sand? A short plant.


There are not many plants that short, and something that will grow in sand in east central Wisconsin, USDA Hardiness Zones 4b to 5a is even more rare. We found a few, as examples, and will tell you how to use our database to find more. Since we were not sure what "short" meant to you, we stayed in the range of 1 to 2 ft. tall; if you considered something a little taller, that would give you more range of choice. When we search for plants, we search for plants native to the state from which the question comes. There might be a whole lot more plants that qualified in, say, Utah, but they wouldn't grow in Wisconsin.

If you wish to make your own list, we'll give you instructions for using our Native Plant Database. First, go to our Recommended Species section, and click on Wisconsin on the map. You will get a list of all the plants we recommend that are native to Wisconsin. On the sidebar of drop-down menus, click on General Appearance. We first chose "Herbs," (herbaceous blooming plants) because they have the best chance of being short. We got a list of 94 possibilities. On the list, unless we knew without looking that it was too tall, we clicked on the scientific name, which took us to the webpage on that plant. Usually (but not always) there is a size range in the first paragraph or further down the page; if it was more than 2 ft. tall, we went on to the next plant. When we found one of an acceptable height, we scrolled down the page to "Growing Conditions." Some plants don't have this, probably because we have never gotten that information. But most will include the type of soil this plant grows in; when we found one that said "sand" or "sandy soil," that went on our list. We did notice that many more of the plants native to Wisconsin call for moist, rich soils, or soils with lots of humus in them.  Sand does not qualify, but some did say the plant grew in rocky, sandy soil. Now, if you really want to know if the plant will grow in your area, make sure you know approximately where Outagamie County appears in Wisconsin, then scroll down to where it says:

Additional resources

USDA: Find Anemone canadensis in USDA Plants (or whatever the plant is you are looking at the webpage for.)

FNA: Find Anemone canadensis in the Flora of North America (if available)
Google: Search Google for Anemone canadensis

Click on the scientific name of the plant in USDA Plants; this will show all the states and Canadian provinces (in green) where that specific plant is known to grow. Then, click on the outline of Wisconsin on that map, and you will get a map of the state, with green in the counties where the plant grows. If the counties where it will grow occur are fairly close to your area, you can usually count on that being a viable choice. If you want still more information on that plant, click on the Search Google line, which will give you several choices of information resources on that plant. 

For more choices besides the herbaceous blooming plants, you can go back and repeat the search by indicating "Shrubs" on the drop-down index for General Appearance. Most shrubs will be taller than our chosen height of 1 to 2 ft., but there will be a few. Finally, we tried "Cacti and Succulents" under General Appearance, and found one that was short. Wisconsin generally isn't a cactusy kind of place. 

We are going to list the ones that we found that fit your qualifiers; we certainly did not find all the plants that fit your profile, by a mile, so you can keep looking and find more. If you want all the short plants that will grow in sand in North America, including Canada, just leave "All states and provinces" in the State or Province drop-down menu. If you are thinking of a specific space in your garden, it would help if you indicated how much sunlight the spot had, and the soil moisture on the same sidebar on the right side. 

Short Herbaceous Blooming Plants that Grow in Sand around Outagamie Co., Wisconsin:

Anemone canadensis (Canadian anemone)

Asarum canadense (Canadian wildginger)

Campanula rotundifolia (bluebell bellflower)

Dodecatheon meadia (pride of Ohio)

Short Shrubs that Grow in Sand around Outagamie Co., Wisconsin: 

Arctostaphylos uva-ursi (kinnikinnick)

Short Succulents that Grow in Sand around Outagamie Co., Wisconsin: 

Opuntia macrorhiza (twistspine pricklypear)

From our Native Plant Image Gallery:

Anemone canadensis

Asarum canadense

Campanula rotundifolia

Dodecatheon meadia

Arctostaphylos uva-ursi

Opuntia macrorhiza






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