Choosing Your Plants
If you would like some guidance when planning your gardens, we have created lists of many of our popular plant categories to make your planning & purchasing easier. Note that these are general guides of plants typically grown by Painters, but you'll want to check our current availability list to be sure we offer them this season.
Planting native plants is very important for local wildlife, and attracting bees and other beneficial insects will in turn provide enhanced pollination and improved garden health. Regional insects and wildlife have co-evolved with native plants; many of these plants provide needed food and shelter for these species (you will also find that many native plants are more resistant than non-natives to mammal pests as a result of this co-evolution). Insects have specific dietary needs which require those plants with which they have co-evolved. You can help support wildlife and the productivity of your gardens if you incorporate natives into your landscape.
NC Native Plants by Season and Color
All of these native plants are perennials and should return each year if planted properly.
They all attract pollinators, provide a food source, and are available commercially.
If your local nursery does not sell these native plants – encourage them to do so!
Native Cultivars vs. Straight Species
Native cultivars are all derived from native species - they have simply undergone some level of selection. This varies from basic selection from the wild to further selection within a breeding program, but all still maintain the same scientific classification as the straight species. By growing a cultivar versus a straight species, you are still contributing to the population of that species while also benefitting from enhanced desirable traits that have been selected for from the native population (eg. disease resistance, growth habit, bloom appearance). Some cultivars have been selected primarily for ornamental traits, and it occasionally changes some of their ecological benefit in comparison to the straight species. In most cases it does not, but some cultivars such as the Fanfare Blaze Blanket Flower have been selected for highly irregular bloom shape (tubular petals), which may lessen their benefit to pollinators/feeders. It is important to note that cultivars that have undergone extensive selection are not harmful - just may not be quite as beneficial to wildlife as the straight species. We carry very few cultivars with such heavy modification - most are very close to their natural-found counterparts.
Supporting Pollinators & Wildlife
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You’ve probably heard about the decline of our native bee populations – there is concern that some of our agricultural practices (use of pesticides, genetically modified crops, etc) are partly at fault. Bees play a critical role in our own food production, so even if you aren’t a big bee fan, helping bees helps us all!
Bee City USA
Asheville became the inaugural Bee City USA in 2012, officially designating the community as one of the first in the nation to champion pollinators and educate residents and businesses about the essential role of the honey bee and other pollinators in making our world bloom and fruit. Bee City USA affiliates make commitments to conserve native pollinators and Painters is proud to be included on their list of local greenhouses selling native plants. Click to learn how you can support bees and other pollinators with your gardening choices.
Guide to a Bird-Friendly Backyard
Supporting native birds and creating habitat corridors for them is very important. Audubon is committing to growing Bird-Friendly Communities across North Carolina. You can be part of the movement by growing native plants in your yard.
How to Grow a Thriving Herb Garden
Herbs are an excellent addition to any home garden. Not only do they complement dishes with delicious flavors, many contain cancer-fighting antioxidants, help with disease prevention, and reduce inflammation in the human body. Learn how you can help your herbs thrive!
When people think about growing food in urban areas, the first idea is usually to hide the vegetable garden somewhere in the backyard. Edible landscaping offers an alternative to conventional residential landscapes; edible plants can be just as attractive while producing fruits and vegetables. One can install an entirely edible landscape or incorporate some edible plants into existing gardens.
Vegetable Gardening Handout
Everything you need to know to start planning your vegetable garden. Including where to plant, planting times, how to plant, companion plants, harvest times, and more!
Garden with Your Kids
Explore fun ways to share the magic of plants and gardening with the children in your life.
Pest ID and Treatment
This is a guide to common pests as well as beneficial insects and includes some eco-friendly treatment options.
Shrubs & Trees
Tree & Shrubs Planting Guidelines
For those of you who haven't done much landscaping with larger perennials, or if you are uncertain of the specific needs for your new purchase, click below for a handout covering the basics of how to plant shrubs and trees as well as our plant guarantee for such items.
Guide to Mulching
Mulching can save a lot of work in the long run – choose natural mulch without chemical treatments (finely ground cedar or pine bark is good), and insulate the surface of the soil with about 2-3 inches of mulch. Mulching can literally reduce weed problems by up to 90% and watering needs by up to 50% if done properly and maintained. Visit the link below for detailed information to ensure you are properly mulching.
In addition to mulching, here are a few other ways to conserve water and create a garden that has low water needs (and therefore requires less time).
Gardening with Water Conservation in Mind
An excellent guide to gardening with water conservation in mind, including ideas for low-maintenance plantings, easy ways to set up automatic watering, and ways to save water on your lawns.
Compost is organic material that can be used to improve soil and create a better medium for gardening. Mature compost contains a substance called humus that is dark brown or black and has a soil-like smell. It is created by combining organic wastes (yard trimmings, food wastes, manures) in proper ratios into a composting container/pile, then adding bulking agents (wood chips) as needed to accelerate the breakdown of organic materials, and finally allowing the finished material to fully stabilize and mature through a curing process. Learn how!
Learn How to Compost
A really handy website that covers everything from what composting is, to how to do it and what can be composted, to commonly asked questions. This site is a great tool if you are teaching your kids about composting, as it is very user friendly and has a colorful, visual layout.
Backyard Composting of Yard, Garden, and Food Discards
A detailed handout from the North Carolina Cooperative Extension Service. Don’t get too worried about understanding/maintaining the exact ratios discussed here – basically, if something has a high C:N ratio (like sawdust), then it will take longer to break down in your compost. If you add more nitrogen (a great source is a little bit of 10-10-10 or a similar fertilizer), then you can achieve the C:N balance needed to speed up the decomposition. As nitrogen is typically lacking, it is best to always include a little fertilizer.
Guide to Apartment Composting
A person doesn't need to live in a house or have a yard to compost. People who live in condos or apartments can also make compost for their potted plants, and they can even do it right from their kitchen. Vermicomposting is a popular composting method for people who live in condos. It is discreet, is odor-free when properly maintained, and can be done in a small bin. Learn how!
How to Reuse Coffee & Tea
Coffee grounds and tea both have excellent uses in the garden, particularly as compost and wonderful pest repellants. If you’re getting your garden started early in the season, it is always a great idea to make sure your soil is providing the best possible nutrients directly to your plants.
The Benefits of Worm Castings
Over 100 years ago, Charles Darwin observed the action of earthworms and the benefit of the castings they produced. Worm castings are not actually compost. Composting worms eat animal manures, newspaper, green waste, household scraps, bio-solids (human sewage), etc.- anything that has previously been living. Their digestive process kills pathogens (without the need for heat like traditional composting), and adds a complete array of beneficial biological organisms to the castings. Up to 10,000 different biological species are added! These beneficial organisms then provide conversion mechanisms so plants can more easily access needed nutrients.
Worms Can Recycle Your Garbage
Step-by-step directions on how to use worms for composting. Vermiculture is very easy, can be done in small spaces and even inside, the worms expedite the composting process, and your final product is even more nutrient-rich and beneficial in your gardens! To read more about the benefits of using worm castings as a fertilizer, soil ammendment and pest control, click the link below. We sometimes have worm castings available at the greenhouse, but if not, there are several local suppliers.