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Tall Prairie Requirements and Plant Lists

PlantListTallPrairie.JPG
Photo © Illinois Department of Natural Resources 

Requitements

Size: Prairie: The size is variable. A prairie of less than an acre will allow many different species to be grown, but to attract larger and more diverse wildlife by having a variety of plant communities, more acreage is needed.

Prairie Garden: A prairie garden can be any size. An existing perennial bed may be enhanced or a new one established.

Light: Six hours or more per day of full sun should be available.

Water: No water is needed after the plants are established (after one to two years).

Elevation/Topography: Level ground is best for a prairie, but a south-facing hillside is doable as is an east or west-facing hillside. North slopes should be avoided.

Soil: Native plants will grow in a variety of soils: dry and mesic (moderately moist) plants do well in loose soils with good drainage, while wetland plants will do well when drainage is poor (standing water three to four hours after rainfall). Soil may be amended using sand.

Plant Materials: Sun-loving native forbs and grasses are recommended. See list.

Planting and Maintenance: Follow the guidelines given on the Web page, "How to Plant and Maintain Native Plants."

Special Considerations

Patience: Because native plants need to develop vast root systems, a prairie planting may take several years (five or more) to look mature, especially if started with seeds.

Plant List for Dry Soil

​azure aster (Symphyotrichum oolentangiense)
big bluestem (Andropogon gerardi)
black-eyed Susan (Rudbeckia hirta)
butterfly-weed (Asclepias tuberosa)
Canada milk vetch (Astragalus canadensis)
downy sunflower (Helianthus mollis)
foxglove beardstongue (Penstemon digitalis)
hairy white aster (Symphyotrichum plosum)
hoary vervain (Verbena stricta)
horsemint (Monarda punctata)
Indian grass (Sorghastrum nutans)
leadplant (Amphora canescens)
little bluestem (schizachyrium scoparium)
lupine (Lupinus perennis)
nodding wild rye (Elymus canadensis)
Ohio spiderwort (Tradescantia ohiensis)
pale coneflower (Echinacea pallida)
purple prairie clover (Dalea purpurea)
rough blazing-star (Liatris aspera)
round-headed bush clover (Lespedeza capitata)
sand coreopsis (Coreopsis lanceolata)
showy goldenrod (Solidago speciosa)
side-oats grama (Bouteloua curtipendula)
smooth aster (Aster laeve)
stiff aster (Oligoneuron album)
stiff goldenrod (Oligoneuron rigidum)
wild bergamot (Monarda fistulosa)
yellow coneflower (Ratibida pinnata)

Plant List for Medium Soil

big bluestem (Andropogon gerardii)
black-eyed Susan (Rudbeckia hirta)
blue wild indigo (Baptisia australis)
brown-eyed Susan (Rudbeckia triloba)
Canada milk vetch (Astragalus canadensis)
compass-plant (Siliphium laciniatum)
Culver’s-root (Veronicastrum virginicum)
foxglove beardstongue (Penstemon digitalis)
Indian grass (Sorghastrum nutans)
sand coreopsis (Coreopsis lanceolata)
New England aster (Symphyotrichum novae-angliae)
nodding wild onion (Allium cernuum)
nodding wild rye (Elymus canadensis)
ox-eye sunflower (Heliopsis helianthoides)
pale coneflower (Echinacea pallida)
prairie blazing-star (Liatris pycnostachya)
prairie dock (Siliphium terebinthinaceum)
purple coneflower (Echinacea purpurea)
purple prairie clover (Dalea purpurea)
rattlesnake master (Eryngium yuccifolium)
sand coreopsis (Coreopsis lanceolata)
smooth aster (Symphyotrichum laeve)
stiff goldenrod (Oligoneuron rigidum)
sweet black-eyed Susan (Rudbeckia subtomentosa)
white wild indigo (Baptisia alba)
wild bergamot (Monarda fistulosa)
wild quinine (Parthenium integrifolium)
wild senna (Cassia hebecarpa)
yellow coneflower (Ratibida pinnata)

Plant List for Moist Soil

big bluestem (Andropogon gerardi)
black-eyed Susan (Rudbeckia gerardii)
blue flag iris (Iris versicolor)
blue vervain (Verbena hastata)
brown-eyed Susan (Rudbeckia triloba)
common boneset (Eupatorium perfoliatum)
common ironweed (Vernonia fasciculata)
cord grass (Spartina pectinata)
Culver’s-root (Veronicastrum virginicum)
cup-plant (Siliphium perfoliatum)
dark green bulrush (Scirpus atrovirens)
fox sedge (Carex vulpinoidea)
golden Alexanders (Zizia aurea)
great blue lobelia (Lobelia siphilitica)
Indian grass (Sorghastrum nutans)
Indian plantain (Amoglossum atriplicifolium)
marsh blazing-star (Liatris spicata)
New England aster (Symphiotrichum novae-angliae)
nodding wild onion (Allium cernuum)
nodding wild rye (Elymus canadensis)
Ohio goldenrod (Solidago ohioensis)
ox-eye sunflower (Heliopsis helianthoides)
porcupine sedge (Carex hystericina)
prairie blazing-star (Liatris pycnostachya)
prairie dock (Siliphium terebinthinaceum)
rosinweed (Siliphium integrifolium)
showy tick trefoil (Desmodium canadense)
spongy sedge (Carex stipata)
spotted Joe-pye-weed (Eutrochium maculatum)
stiff goldenrod (Oligoneuron rigidum)
swamp milkweed (Asclepias incarnata)
switchgrass (Panicum virgatum)
Virginia wild rye (Elymus virginicus)
wild blue iris (Iris shrevei)
wild bergamot (Monarda fistulosa)
wild senna (Cassia hebecarpa)
yellow coneflower (Ratibida pinnata)
yellow sneezeweed (Helenium autumnale)