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TREES & plants

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  • Bloomerang™ lilac (Syringa 'Penda')

    Also known as: Bloomerang lilac, Bloomerang Purple

    The Bloomerang™series lilacs are known for their highly fragrant, reblooming flowers, compact habit and smaller leaves. Excellent for smaller gardens.

    Size Range: 
    • Medium shrub (5-8 feet), 
    • Small shrub (3-5 feet)

    Light Exposure: 
    • Full sun (6 hrs direct light daily), 
    • Partial sun/shade (4-6 hrs light daily)

    Native Locale: 
    • Non-native

  • Blue ash (Not recommended) (Fraxinus quadrangulata)

    Also known as: blue ash

    Due to susceptibility to emerald ash borer (EAB), blue ash is not recommended for planting anywhere in this region and usually requires removal and/or replacement. Blue ash, a Midwest native, is often found growing in limestone outcrops. It has distinctive, 4-sided winged stems and gray platy bark. Currently, ash trees cannot be sold in Illinois. Check with your state for quarantine restrictions.

    Size Range: 
    • Large tree (more than 40 feet)

    Light Exposure: 
    • Full sun (6 hrs direct light daily)

    Native Locale: 
    • Chicago area, 
    • Illinois, 
    • North America

  • Blue fescue (Festuca glauca)

    Also known as: Blue fescue

    Blue fescue is a small, mounded, cool season grass grown for its compact size and blue foliage. It is a non-native, clumping grass. The blue coloration can vary, so it is best to buy named cultvars for uniformity of color.

    Size Range: 
    • Small plant (6-12 inches)

    Light Exposure: 
    • Full sun (6 hrs direct light daily), 
    • Partial sun/shade (4-6 hrs light daily)

    Native Locale: 
    • Non-native

  • Blue grama (Bouteloua gracilus)

    Also known as: Blue grama, mosquito grass

    Blue grama is smaller than the closely related side oats grama, growing only 8 to 15 inches tall. It was a common grass in the shortgrass prairie.

    Size Range: 
    • Medium plant (12-24 inches), 
    • Small plant (6-12 inches)

    Light Exposure: 
    • Full sun (6 hrs direct light daily)

    Native Locale: 
    • Illinois, 
    • North America

  • Blue lyme grass (Leymus arenarius)

    Also known as: Blue lyme grass, European dune grass, sand wild rye

    Blue lyme grass is an attractive blue-leaved grass, but it should be used with caution. This is a running grass with aggressive tendencies. It has been classified as invasive in Wisconsin, especially in areas that border Lake Michigan.

    Size Range: 
    • Large plant (more than 24 inches)

    Light Exposure: 
    • Full sun (6 hrs direct light daily), 
    • Partial sun/shade (4-6 hrs light daily)

    Native Locale: 
    • Non-native

  • Blue oat grass (Helictotrichon sempervirens)

    Also known as: Blue oat grass

    Blue oat grass is a cool season clumping grass with blue foliage, attractive flowers and a mounded form.

    Size Range: 
    • Large plant (more than 24 inches)

    Light Exposure: 
    • Full sun (6 hrs direct light daily)

    Native Locale: 
    • Non-native

  • Blue passionflower (ANNUAL VINE) (Passiflora caerulea)

    Also known as: Blue passionflower, blue passion vine

    Blue passionflower is a tropical vine with beautiful, ornate flowers. It is an annual vine in the Midwest, but will grow rapidly and produce flowers.

    Size Range: 
    • Large plant (more than 24 inches)

    Light Exposure: 
    • Full sun (6 hrs direct light daily)

    Native Locale: 
    • Non-native

  • Blue spruce (Picea pungens)

    Also known as: blue spruce, Colorado spruce, Colorado blue spruce, blue Colorado spruce

    Blue spruce, also known as Colorado spruce, is a conical-shaped evergreen tree with stiff horizontal branches and short stiff needles. It is a commonly used tree in Midwest landscapes. In nature the needles are often green, but many specimens produce blue-green needles.

    Size Range: 
    • Large tree (more than 40 feet), 
    • Medium tree (25-40 feet)

    Light Exposure: 
    • Full sun (6 hrs direct light daily), 
    • Partial sun/shade (4-6 hrs light daily)

    Native Locale: 
    • North America

  • Bluebeard (Caryopteris x clandonensis)

    Also known as: Bluebeard

    A mounded woody plant with cornflower-blue flowers in late summer and fragrant, silvery-green foliage. Though bluebeard is technically a shrub, it should be treated as a perennial in the Midwest because it tends to die back in harsh winters.

    Size Range: 
    • Small shrub (3-5 feet), 
    • Low-growing shrub (under 3 feet)

    Light Exposure: 
    • Full sun (6 hrs direct light daily), 
    • Partial sun/shade (4-6 hrs light daily)

    Native Locale: 
    • Non-native

  • Bog birch (Betula pumila)

    Also known as: bog birch; American dwarf birch; dwarf birch; low birch; swamp birch

    Bog birch is common in the upper Midwest. It is a medium-sized, short-lived, clump-forming shrub for wet habitats. It may be difficult to find in the nursery trade.

    Size Range: 
    • Large shrub (more than 8 feet), 
    • Medium shrub (5-8 feet)

    Light Exposure: 
    • Full sun (6 hrs direct light daily)

    Native Locale: 
    • Chicago area, 
    • Illinois, 
    • North America

  • Border Forsythia (Forsythia x intermedia)

    Also known as: Border forsythia

    Border forsythia is a multi-stemmed shrub noted for the bright yellow flowers in early spring. An excellent shrub for mixed borders, in mass or as an informal hedge. Flower bud hardiness varies by cultivar and should be selected wisely.

    Size Range: 
    • Large shrub (more than 8 feet), 
    • Medium shrub (5-8 feet), 
    • Small shrub (3-5 feet)

    Light Exposure: 
    • Full sun (6 hrs direct light daily)

  • Boston-ivy (Parthenocissus tricuspidata)

    Also known as: Boston-ivy, Japanese creeper, Boston ivy

    Despite its name, Boston-ivy is not native to Boston but to eastern Asia. This deciduous vine is often used to cover brick walls and other hard surfaces of old universities buildings or famous ball fields. Dark green leaves turn a brilliant red in the fall.

    Size Range: 
    • Large plant (more than 24 inches)

    Light Exposure: 
    • Full sun (6 hrs direct light daily), 
    • Partial sun/shade (4-6 hrs light daily), 
    • Full shade (4 hrs or less of light daily)

    Native Locale: 
    • Non-native

  • Bottlebrush buckeye (Aesculus parviflora)

    Also known as: Bottlebrush buckeye

    Bottlebrush buckeye is a handsome shrub that has memorable long fluffy white flower clusters in early July. It is useful as an understory planting in woodland gardens, as a specimen plant, or in a shrub border. Also known as Aesculus macrostachya.

    Size Range: 
    • Large shrub (more than 8 feet)

    Light Exposure: 
    • Full sun (6 hrs direct light daily), 
    • Partial sun/shade (4-6 hrs light daily)

    Native Locale: 
    • North America

  • Bottlebrush grass (Elymus hystrix (syn. Hystrix patula))

    Also known as: Bottlebrush grass, Eastern bottlebrush grass, glumeless wild rye

    Bottlebrush grass is a native grass that is found in wooded areas rather than in prairies. It can be used for naturalizing in shady sites.

    Size Range: 
    • Large plant (more than 24 inches)

    Light Exposure: 
    • Partial sun/shade (4-6 hrs light daily)

    Native Locale: 
    • Chicago area, 
    • Illinois, 
    • North America

  • Boxelder (Acer negundo)

    Also known as: boxelder, box elder, ash-leaved maple

    Boxelder is actually a maple tree. This native tree, while very cold hardy, is not widely sold due to its ability to self-seed aggressively. It also attracts boxelder bugs which often enter homes in fall.

    Size Range: 
    • Large tree (more than 40 feet), 
    • Medium tree (25-40 feet)

    Light Exposure: 
    • Full sun (6 hrs direct light daily)

    Native Locale: 
    • Chicago area, 
    • Illinois, 
    • North America

  • Boxwood hybrids (Buxus hybrids)

    Also known as: Boxwood, hybrid boxwood, common box, boxwood cultivars

    Boxwoods are excellent, low-growing, evergreen shrubs with dark green, finely textured leaves. Boxwoods can be used as hedges, rounded specimens and neatly compact background plants in any landscape. Many of the boxwoods sold today are hybrids with complex parentage.

    Size Range: 
    • Small shrub (3-5 feet), 
    • Low-growing shrub (under 3 feet)

    Light Exposure: 
    • Full sun (6 hrs direct light daily), 
    • Partial sun/shade (4-6 hrs light daily)

    Native Locale: 
    • Non-native

  • Bridal wreath (Spiraea vanhouttei)

    Also known as: Bridal wreath spirea, Vanhoutt's spirea, Vanhoutte spirea

    A large, old-fashioned shrub with arching, fountain-like stems. Very showy clusters of white flowers appear along the branches and brighten a spring landscape. Best used en masse, at the back of a shrub border, or as a screen.

    Size Range: 
    • Large shrub (more than 8 feet)

    Light Exposure: 
    • Full sun (6 hrs direct light daily), 
    • Partial sun/shade (4-6 hrs light daily)

    Native Locale: 
    • Non-native

  • Bristly locust (Robinia hispida)

    Also known as: bristly locust; rose acacia; roseacacia locust

    Bristly locust is an upright, suckering shrub used to stabilize slopes. The purplish-pink pendulous flowers, blue-green foliage, bristle seed pods add seasonal interest. May be difficult to find in nurseries.

    Size Range: 
    • Large shrub (more than 8 feet)

    Light Exposure: 
    • Full sun (6 hrs direct light daily), 
    • Partial sun/shade (4-6 hrs light daily)

    Native Locale: 
    • Non-native

  • Brown's honyesuckle (Lonicera x brownii)

    Also known as: Brown's honeysuckle, scarlet trumpet honeysuckle

    Brown's honeysuckle is a hybrid that produces tubular red flowers for most of the growing season.

    Size Range: 
    • Large plant (more than 24 inches)

    Light Exposure: 
    • Full sun (6 hrs direct light daily), 
    • Partial sun/shade (4-6 hrs light daily)

    Native Locale: 
    • Non-native

  • Buffalograss (Buchloe dactyloides)

    Also known as: Buffalograss

    Buffalograss is native to the western areas of the tallgrass prairie. It is sometimes listed as native to the Chicago region, but it is thought to be introduced from further west. This is a low-growing, warm season, running grass.

    Size Range: 
    • Small plant (6-12 inches), 
    • Low-growing plant (under 6 inches)

    Light Exposure: 
    • Full sun (6 hrs direct light daily)

    Native Locale: 
    • Illinois, 
    • North America

  • Bugleweed (Ajuga reptans)

    Also known as: Bugleweed, carpet bugleweed, ajuga

    The low, dense spreading habit of bugleweed makes an excellent ground cover for part-shade or shady areas.

    Size Range: 
    • Small plant (6-12 inches), 
    • Low-growing plant (under 6 inches)

    Light Exposure: 
    • Full sun (6 hrs direct light daily), 
    • Partial sun/shade (4-6 hrs light daily), 
    • Full shade (4 hrs or less of light daily)

    Native Locale: 
    • Non-native

  • Bur oak (Quercus macrocarpa)

    Also known as: bur oak

    The stately bur oak, native to the Midwest, is a great choice as a shade tree and for specimen plantings in parks, spacious yards, and other large areas.

    Size Range: 
    • Large tree (more than 40 feet)

    Light Exposure: 
    • Full sun (6 hrs direct light daily)

    Native Locale: 
    • Chicago area, 
    • Illinois, 
    • North America

  • Burkwood's Daphne (Daphne x burkwoodii)

    Also known as: Burkwood's daphne, Burkwood daphne

    Burkwood's daphne is a semi-evergreen shrub for sandy, well-drained soils. The wide spreading, 3 to 4 feet high shrub is grown for its extremely fragrant flower clusters in May. This plant will suffer in cold winters and should be located in a protected site. The cultivar, 'Carol Mackie' is a popular variegated form. May be difficult to find in local nurseries.

    Size Range: 
    • Small shrub (3-5 feet)

    Light Exposure: 
    • Full sun (6 hrs direct light daily)

    Native Locale: 
    • Non-native

  • Burning bush (Euonymus alatus)

    Also known as: Burning bush; burningbush; burning-bush; winged euonymus

    Burning bush is a popular large shrub common in yards and gardens throughout North America. This Asian shrub is invasive and should not be planted. It is known for its bright red fall color. It has invasive traits that enable it to spread aggressively. This shrub is under observation and may be listed on official invasive species lists in the near future.

    Size Range: 
    • Large shrub (more than 8 feet), 
    • Medium shrub (5-8 feet)

    Light Exposure: 
    • Full sun (6 hrs direct light daily), 
    • Partial sun/shade (4-6 hrs light daily)

    Native Locale: 
    • Non-native

  • Bush-honeysuckle (Diervilla lonicera)

    Also known as: Bush-honeysuckle, Dwarf bushhoneysuckle, bush honeysuckle

    Bush-honeysuckle is a low-growing, spreading, native shrub providing yellow flowers for several weeks in early summer. Reddish young stems is 4-sided, contrasting with dark green leaves.

    Size Range: 
    • Small shrub (3-5 feet), 
    • Low-growing shrub (under 3 feet)

    Light Exposure: 
    • Full sun (6 hrs direct light daily), 
    • Partial sun/shade (4-6 hrs light daily)

    Native Locale: 
    • Chicago area, 
    • Illinois, 
    • North America

  • Butterfly Bush (Buddleja davidii)

    Also known as: Butterfly bush, Summer lilac

    A long-blooming shrub or woody perennial with dense clusters of fragrant flowers, butterfly bush attracts butterflies and hummingbirds. Often considered a sub-shrub because it dies back to the ground. A great addition to sunny borders and dry open gardens. Also known as Buddleia davidii.

    Size Range: 
    • Large shrub (more than 8 feet), 
    • Medium shrub (5-8 feet)

    Light Exposure: 
    • Full sun (6 hrs direct light daily)

    Native Locale: 
    • Non-native

  • Butterfly weed (Asclepias tuberosa)

    Also known as: Butterfly weed, Butterfly milkweed, Butterfly plant

    Plant advice from The Morton Arboretum: Like other milkweeds, this plant is a nectar source for many species of butterflies, giving it its common name. It is also a caterpillar and larva host for the monarch butterfly, which may blend in with the abundant clusters of vibrant orange flowers that cover the tops of the plants in summer. Butterfly weed is native to prairies and glades in the Chicago area and the Midwest.

    Size Range: 
    • Medium plant (12-24 inches)

    Light Exposure: 
    • Full sun (6 hrs direct light daily)

    Native Locale: 
    • Chicago area, 
    • Illinois, 
    • North America

  • Butternut (Not recommended) (Juglans cinerea)

    Also known as: butternut, white walnut

    Due to susceptibility to butternut canker, butternuts are not recommended for planting anywhere in this region and usually require removal and/or replacement. Butternut, also called white walnut, is a native tree found throughout the Midwest in moist, well-drained soils. Butternut canker, an introduced fungus, has killed off many native stands of butternut. The tree is related to black walnut and is also allelopathic. The wood is prized for the wood and the fruit produces a yellow dye that was used in the Civil War to color uniforms.

    Size Range: 
    • Large tree (more than 40 feet)

    Light Exposure: 
    • Full sun (6 hrs direct light daily), 
    • Partial sun/shade (4-6 hrs light daily)

    Native Locale: 
    • Chicago area, 
    • Illinois, 
    • North America

  • Buttonbush (Cephalanthus occidentalis )

    Also known as: Buttonbush

    Buttonbush is great shrub for naturalizing in wet areas. The glossy green leaves and fragrant, round flower clusters during mid-summer attract butterflies. Round, persistent fruits add to winter interest. Native to Chicago area and eastern U.S.

    Size Range: 
    • Large shrub (more than 8 feet), 
    • Medium shrub (5-8 feet)

    Light Exposure: 
    • Full sun (6 hrs direct light daily), 
    • Partial sun/shade (4-6 hrs light daily)

    Native Locale: 
    • Chicago area, 
    • Illinois, 
    • North America

  • Callery pear (Not recommended) (Pyrus calleryana)

    Also known as: Callery pear

    Callery pear has invasive traits that enable it to spread aggressively. This tree is under observation and may be listed on official invasive species lists in the near future. Review of risks should be undertaken before selecting this tree for planting sites. The various cultivars of this species are more commonly available than the species itself. Callery pear has a weak wood and branch structure and is susceptible to ice storm damage.

    Size Range: 
    • Large tree (more than 40 feet), 
    • Medium tree (25-40 feet)

    Light Exposure: 
    • Full sun (6 hrs direct light daily)

    Native Locale: 
    • Non-native

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