Type of Plant

Primary Color

Location

Season

Absalon Tulip

Acacia

Adam's Needle

African Marigold

Alfalfa

Alpine Squill

American Plum

Apple

Apricot

Asparagus

Balsam

Banana

Basket of Gold

Beautyberry

Bee Balm

Beets

Black Locust

Black-eyed Susan

Blackberry Lily

Blackhaw

Blue False Indigo

Blue Flag Tulip

Blue Sky Vine

Boston Marrow Squash

Boxwood

Breadseed Poppy

Broccoli

Broom Corn

Browallia

Brown-eyed Susan

Buckeye

Bullnose Pepper

Bush Bean

Bush Lima Bean

Butter and Eggs Daffodil

Butterfly Pea

Butterfly Weed

Byzantine Gladiolus

Cabbage

Calendula

Candytuft

Canterbury Bells

Cardinal Flower

Carolina Allspice

Carolina Jessamine

Carrot

Cauliflower

Cayenne Pepper

Celery

Charles de Mills Rose

Cheese's Mallow

Chicory

China Aster

Chinaberry

Chives

Clary Sage

Climbing Old Blush Rose

Cockscomb

Coffee

Cotton

Cowpea

Cowslip

Cranberrybush

Crimson Clover

Crocus 'Cloth of Gold'

Crown Imperial

Cucumber

Damask Rose

Dame's Rocket

Dipper Gourd

Drumstick Allium

Duc van Tol Red and Yellow Tulip

Duc van Tol Rose Tulip

Early Louisiana Daffodil

Eastern Redbud

Eglantine Rose

Egyptian Walking Onions

Elecampane

Endive

English Bluebells

English Daisy

English Lavender

Fall Daffodil

Fava Beans

Fig

Fish Pepper

Flaming Parrot Tulip

Flax

Florentine Tulip

Fothergilla

Four O'clock

Foxglove

French Marigold

French Striped Marigold

Garden Phlox

Garlic

German Bearded Iris

Germander

Globe Amaranth

Globe Artichoke

Globe Candytuft

Globe Thistle

Gloriosa Daisy

Golden Standard Tulip

Gooseberry

Gray Santolina

Great Blue Lobelia

Halberd-leaf Rose Mallow

Heliotrope

Helmar Tulip

Hollyhock

Honesty

Honeysuckle

Hoop Petticoat Daffodil

Horseradish

Hydrangea

Jatropha

Jerusalem Artichoke

Joe Pye Weed

Johnny Jump-Up

Jospeh's Coat

Kale

Keizerskroon Tulip

Kentucky Coffeetree

Key Lime

Lac van Rijn Tulip

Lady Tulip

Lamb's Ears

Lantana

Larkspur

Leeks

Lemon

Lemon Balm

Lettuce

Leucothoe

Lilac

Live Oak

Lombardy Poplar

Long Island Cheese Pumpkin

Love-in-a-Mist

Love-Lies-Bleeding

Maltese Cross

Mangelwurzel

Maximus Daffodil

Mock Orange

Monkshood

Muscadine Grape

Muskmelon

Mustard Greens

Nasturtium

New England Aster

New York Ironweed

Nora Barlow Columbine

Obedient Plant

Odorus Flore Pleno Daffodil

Okra

Old Blush Rose

Oleander

Onion

Orange

Oregano

Oriental Poppy

Palmetto

Parsnips

Pawpaw

Peach

Pear

Peas

Peony

Persian Fritillary

Persian Lilac

Persimmon

Pheasant's Eye Daffodil

Pincushion Flower

Plum

Pole Beans

Pole Lima Bean

Pomegranate

Potato

Pummelo

Purple Coneflower

Radish

Raspberry

Red Currant

Red Hue Tulip

Rhododendron

Rhubarb

Roman Hyacinth

Rosa Mundi Rose

Rose Campion

Rose Mallow

Rosemary

Rutabaga

Sage

Sago Palm

Sainfoin

Salad Burnet

Salsify

Scarlet Rose Mallow

Scotch Rose

Seminole Squash

Seventeen Sisters Daffodil

Siberian Iris

Silver Standard Tulip

Snake's Head Fritillary

Snapdragon

Sneezeweed

Snowdrop

Southern Catalpa

Southern Magnolia

Spiderwort

Spinach

Stock

Strawberry

Strawberry Bush

Sugar Maple

Summersweet

Sunflower

Swan's Neck Daffodil

Sweet Alyssum

Sweet Cherry

Sweet Potato

Sweet William

Swiss Chard

Sycamore

Tart Cherry

Tennessee Red Valencia Peanut

Threadleaf Coreopsis

Thyme

Tiger Daylily

Tobacco

Tournesol Tulip

Turnip

Twin Sisters Daffodil

Valerian

Van Sion Daffodil

Virginia Pine

Virginia Sweetspire

Virginia White Gourdseed Corn

Wallflower

Wapen van Leiden Tulip

Watermelon

Weeping Willow

White Oak

White Rose of York

Wild Bergamot

Wild Columbine

Willing's Barbados Bird Pepper

Winter Aconite

Winter Rye

Winterberry Holly

Woodland Phlox

Yellow Crookneck Squash

Yellow Willow

Absalon Tulip

History

Date of introduction: 1780

Details

Absalon is one of the rarest tulips grown at Mount Vernon. It features yellow flames on maroon petals and is one of the few remaining truly broken tulips.

Latin Name Tulipa 'Absalon'
Family Liliaceae
Bloom Season May - May
Native Range Africa and Eurasia
Max Height 1.5'
Max Spread 0.5'
Tollerances Black Walnut
Uses Flower Border

Colors

Planted at Mount Vernon

Hardiness Zones

Acacia

History

Washington planted acacia in his botanic garden in 1785.

Details

This unique subtropical plant was used in the West Indies for building enclosures. It is a multi-trunked thorny tree with yellow flowers through the winter.

Latin Name Vachellia farnesiana
Family Fabaceae
Also Known As Needle Bush
Bloom Season November - March
Native Range Mexico and Central America
Max Height 35'
Max Spread 25'
Uses Hedge

Colors

Planted at Mount Vernon

Hardiness Zones

Adam's Needle

History

This Virginia native was grown by a wide variety of historical figures including John Custis, Lady Jean Skipwith, and Thomas Jefferson.

Details

This unique plant looks more suited to a desert climate, but it is found wild up and down the east coast. Its strappy leaves are crowned by huge spikes of creamy white flowers every other year.

Latin Name Yucca filamentosa
Family Asparagaceae
Also Known As Common Yucca
Spanish Bayonet
Needle Palm
Bloom Season June - July
Native Range Southeastern United States
Max Height 8'
Max Spread 3'
Tollerances Air Pollution
Deer
Drought
Dry Soil
Erosion
Rabbit
Uses Flower Border
Naturalize

Colors

Planted at Mount Vernon

Hardiness Zones

African Marigold

History

Aztec marigolds were brought to Europe by Spanish explorers in the 16th century. By 1770, John Bartram of Philadelphia was offering them for sale.

Details

This upright yellow-flowering plant, with its distinctive odor, is a classic of the summer border.

Latin Name Tagetes erecta
Family Asteraceae
Also Known As Mexican Marigold
Aztec Marigold
Bloom Season June - October
Native Range Mexico, Central America
Max Height 4'
Max Spread 2'
Tollerances Deer
Clay Soil
Uses Annual
Flower Border
Edible

Colors

Planted at Mount Vernon

Hardiness Zones

Alfalfa

History

Washington wrote in his diary in March of 1760 that he, "Began plowing the field by the Garden for Lucern."

Details

This plant is used as a perennial fodder crop for livestock.

Latin Name Medicago sativa
Family Fabaceae
Also Known As Lucerne
Bloom Season July - July
Native Range South-central Asia
Max Height 2'
Max Spread 1.5'
Tollerances Drought
Uses Ground Cover
Crop

Colors

Planted at Mount Vernon

Hardiness Zones

Alpine Squill

History

This is an old garden plant that was grown widely in Europe by the mid-1700s.

Details

These tiny blue flowers are some of the most shade tolerant of the spring flower bulbs.

Latin Name Scilla bifolia
Family Asparagaceae
Bloom Season March - April
Native Range Central and southern Europe, Turkey
Max Height 0.5'
Max Spread 0.5'
Tollerances Deer
Rabbit
Uses Flower Border

Colors

Planted at Mount Vernon

Hardiness Zones

American Plum

History

Washington wrote in his diary in March of 1786, "Hoed the ground behind the Garden again and planded therein, in three Rows 177 of the wild, or Cherokee plumb; (sent me by Mr. Geo. A Washington) 8 inches a part in the rows with 18 inch intervals."

Details

This native plum has a sprawling habit, which showcases the beautiful white flowers in spring and the unique pink plums in midsummer. The plants become scaly with age and are somewhat disease prone.

Latin Name Prunus americana
Family Rosaceae
Also Known As Wild Plum
Bloom Season March - March
Native Range Eastern and Central North America
Max Height 25'
Max Spread 25'
Tollerances Drought
Dry Soil
Uses Naturalize
Edible

Colors

Planted at Mount Vernon

Hardiness Zones

Apple

History

They were grown primarily in the colonial period for cidering. Washington grew apples at all of his farms for cider production.

Details

Apples are ideally planted in multiples of different varieties for optimal fruit production. Look for good fruit production every other year. They are frequently as wide as they are tall and benefit from appropriate pruning and treatment of diseases.

Latin Name Malus pumila
Family Rosaceae
Bloom Season April - April
Native Range Europe, Asia
Max Height 20'
Max Spread 15'
Uses Flowering Tree
Edible

Colors

Planted at Mount Vernon

Hardiness Zones

Apricot

History

Apricots have been grown at Mount Vernon since 1762 when Washington notes that he was grafting them.

Details

This underappreciated stone fruit has lovely blossoms early in the spring. Because of their early bloom time, the flowers are susceptible to freezing.

Latin Name Prunus armeniaca
Family Rosaceae
Bloom Season April - April
Native Range Asia
Max Height 20'
Max Spread 10'
Uses Edible
Flowering Tree

Colors

Planted at Mount Vernon

Hardiness Zones

Asparagus

History

George Washington was growing asparagus in his south (lower) garden in 1785.

Details

Asparagus is an unusual plant that is primarily cultivated for its edible tender young shoots in the spring. When mature, it has large ferny foliage that is pale green.

Latin Name Asparagus officinalis
Family Asparagaceae
Native Range North and South America
Max Height 4'
Max Spread 2'
Tollerances Rabbit
Uses Vegetable
Edible

Colors

Planted at Mount Vernon

Hardiness Zones

Balsam

History

In 1793, a Mr. Minton Collins of Alexandria advertised balsam seeds for sale which he had received in a shipment from London.

Details

This plant is ideally used in the front of the flower border and is prone to reseeding. It was a common garden plant in the 18th century.

Latin Name Impatiens balsamina
Family Balsaminaceae
Also Known As Touch-Me-Not
Bloom Season June - September
Native Range India, Southeast Asia
Max Height 2.5'
Max Spread 1.5'
Tollerances Drought
Dry Soil
Uses Annual
Flower Border

Colors

Planted at Mount Vernon

Hardiness Zones

Banana

History

George Washington received banana plants in 1799 in a shipment of plants and seeds from the East Indies.

Details

Since bananas must reach a certain size to set fruit, today they are mostly used in the garden for their dramatic foliage.

Latin Name Musa coccinea
Family Musaceae
Native Range Indochina
Max Height 10'
Max Spread 10'
Uses Ornamental

Colors

Planted at Mount Vernon

Hardiness Zones

Basket of Gold

History

Horticulturist Henry Middleton of South Carolina had this plant in his garden by 1800.

Details

These sweet-smelling golden flowers are ideal for the front of the border in spring when bulbs are blooming.

Latin Name Aurinia saxatilis
Family Brassicaceae
Also Known As Golden-tuft Alyssum
Rock Madwort
Gold Dust
Bloom Season April - May
Native Range Central and Southeastern Europe
Max Height 1'
Max Spread 1.5'
Tollerances Drought
Dry Soil
Shallow-Rocky Soil
Uses Annual
Flower Border
Ground Cover
Naturalize

Colors

Planted at Mount Vernon

Hardiness Zones

Beautyberry

History

It was first sent to England in 1724 by Mark Catesby.

Details

All parts of this bold shrub are fragrant. It particularly deserves its name for the profusion of amethyst purple berries borne on its long branches.

Latin Name Callicarpa americana
Family Lamiaceae
Bloom Season June - August
Native Range Southeastern United States
Max Height 6'
Max Spread 6'
Tollerances Clay Soil
Uses Naturalize
Flower Border

Colors

Planted at Mount Vernon

Hardiness Zones

Bee Balm

History

William Faris referred to this plant as "Bergamot Balm" and kept it in his Annapolis garden.

Details

Bee Balm is a tall summer-blooming perennial with brilliant red flowers and unique slightly fuzzy foliage. It should be restrained or it will take over in the garden.

Latin Name Monarda didyma
Family Lamiaceae
Also Known As Oswego tea
Bergamot
Bloom Season July - August
Native Range Canada, United States
Max Height 4'
Max Spread 3'
Tollerances Black Walnut
Clay Soil
Deer
Rabbit
Wet Soil
Uses Flower Border
Edible
Naturalize
Rain Garden

Colors

Planted at Mount Vernon

Hardiness Zones

Beets

History

George Washington's gardeners recorded many instances of planting beets.

Details

Beets are a popular root crop used for pickling, roasting, and salads. They come in an array of colors, including red, yellow, and red and white striped.

Latin Name Beta vulgaris
Family Amaranthaceae
Native Range Europe, northern Africa, southern Asia
Max Height 1.5'
Max Spread 1'
Uses Vegetable
Edible

Colors

Planted at Mount Vernon

Hardiness Zones

Black Locust

History

Jefferson was growing black locusts in 1771.

Details

Black locusts are a tall, spindly tree with fragrant white pea-like flowers. They have prominent thorns when they are young and deeply furrowed bark when mature.

Latin Name Robinia pseudoacacia
Family Fabaceae
Also Known As False Acacia
Bloom Season May - June
Native Range Eastern and central United States
Max Height 80'
Max Spread 35'
Tollerances Air Pollution
Deer
Drought
Uses Shade Tree
Street Tree

Colors

Planted at Mount Vernon

Hardiness Zones

Black-eyed Susan

History

John Bartram of Philadelphia was selling orange coneflower in his 1770 catalog.

Details

A cottage garden favorite, black-eyed susan features masses of ferociously yellow flowers that attract butterflies. They are incredibly hardy and tolerate a wide variety of conditions, making them ideal for naturalizing.

Latin Name Rudbeckia fulgida
Family Asteraceae
Also Known As Perennial coneflower
Orange coneflower
Bloom Season June - October
Native Range Eastern North America
Max Height 3'
Max Spread 3'
Tollerances Air Pollution
Deer
Drought
Clay Soil
Dry Soil
Shallow-Rocky Soil
Uses Flower Border
Naturalize

Colors

Planted at Mount Vernon

Hardiness Zones

Blackberry Lily

History

Lady Jean Skipwith planted these in her Virginia garden in 1793.

Details

Blackberry lilies are named for their glossy black seeds which look nearly identical to an actual blackberry. They have beautiful orange flowers with darker spots on long graceful stems above strappy green foliage.

Latin Name Iris domestica
Family Iridaceae
Also Known As Leopard Lily
Bloom Season July - August
Native Range Central Asia, India, China, Japan
Max Height 3'
Max Spread 2'
Tollerances Drought
Uses Flower Border

Colors

Planted at Mount Vernon

Hardiness Zones

Blackhaw

History

Blackhaws are an American native that initially appeared on John Bartram's lists in 1739.

Details

These large spring blooming shrubs with edible berries do best in natural areas where they can achieve their full size.

Latin Name Viburnum prunifolium
Family Adoxaceae
Also Known As Sweet Haw
Stag Bush
Bloom Season May - June
Native Range Eastern and Central North America
Max Height 15'
Max Spread 12'
Tollerances Air Pollution
Black Walnut
Clay Soil
Drought
Uses Edible
Hedge
Naturalize

Colors

Planted at Mount Vernon

Hardiness Zones

Blue False Indigo

History

False indigo was originally cultivated as a potential dye, but the color proved weaker than true indigo. It was noted in the early 18th century by Williamsburg naturalist John Clayton.

Details

This unique plant features bright blue-purple flowers on tall green stalks followed by interesting black seedpods. It forms a deep taproot and does not transplant well, so be certain of its location before planting.

Latin Name Baptisia australis
Family Fabaceae
Also Known As Rattleweed
Blue Wild Indigo
Bloom Season May - June
Native Range Eastern United States
Max Height 4'
Max Spread 4'
Tollerances Drought
Rabbit
Clay Soil
Erosion
Dry Soil
Shallow-Rocky Soil
Uses Flower Border
Naturalize

Colors

Planted at Mount Vernon

Hardiness Zones

Blue Flag Tulip

History

Date of introduction: 1750

Details

Blue Flag is a petite double tulip with flouncy purple petals. Its short stature makes it ideally suited for the front of the border.

Latin Name Tulipa 'Blue Flag'
Family Liliaceae
Bloom Season May - May
Native Range Africa and Eurasia
Max Height 1.5'
Max Spread 0.5'
Tollerances Black Walnut
Uses Flower Border

Colors

Planted at Mount Vernon

Hardiness Zones

Blue Sky Vine

History

George Washington received blue sky vine plants from Thomas Law, who was his grandson-in-law, in 1799.

Details

Blue sky vine is a large, twining vine that boasts beautiful pale blue flowers. It is a rapid grower and becomes quite large over the course of a season.

Latin Name Thunbergia grandiflora
Family Acanthaceae
Also Known As Bengal Clockvine
Native Range Northern India
Max Height 30'
Max Spread 6'
Uses Ornamental

Colors

Planted at Mount Vernon

Hardiness Zones

Boston Marrow Squash

Details

Boston Marrows are large, bright orange squashes that can weigh anywhere between 10 and 50 lbs., although 25 lbs. is more common. They are an excellent eating squash and can be turned into soups or pies.

Latin Name Cucurbita maxima 'Boston Marrow
Family Cucurbitaceae
Bloom Season July - September
Native Range South America
Max Height 1.5'
Max Spread 15'
Uses Annual
Edible
Ornamental
Vegetable

Colors

Planted at Mount Vernon

Hardiness Zones

Boxwood

History

After visiting Mount Vernon in 1796, Benjamin Latrobe observed, "On one side of the lawn is a plain Kitchen garden, on the other side a neat flower garden laid out in squares, and boxed with great precission [sic]."

Details

Several varieties are grown in the Mount Vernon gardens including: Buxus sempervirens (American); Buxus microphylla var. japonica 'Green Beauty', 'Morris Dwarf'; and Buxus sinica var. insularis 'Justin Brouwers.' Boxwoods are the quintessential southern garden hedge plant. They are popular for use in knot gardens, parterres, topiaries, and edging.

Latin Name Buxus spp.
Family Buxaceae
Native Range Europe, Asia
Max Height 5'
Max Spread 5'
Tollerances Deer
Rabbit
Uses Hedge
Flower Border
Ornamental

Colors

Planted at Mount Vernon

Hardiness Zones

Breadseed Poppy

History

Historically, this plant has been used for cooking and medicinal purposes. Brother August Schubert of Bethabara was growing breadseed poppies in 1761.

Details

This elegant annual forms an attractive seedhead after blooming and is ideal for the middle of the border in the spring garden. It self-sows reliably, but does not transplant well.

Latin Name Papaver somniferum
Family Papaveraceae
Also Known As Lettuce-leaf Poppy
Bloom Season May - June
Native Range Eastern Mediterranean
Max Height 3'
Max Spread 2'
Uses Annual
Flower Border

Colors

Planted at Mount Vernon

Hardiness Zones

Broccoli

History

George Washington's gardener recorded planting "brockley" in the "high" garden on June 9, 1798.

Details

Broccoli is a cool season vegetable which has been cultivated since the Roman Empire. It is grown for its tender florets which can be eaten raw or cooked.

Latin Name Brassica oleracea (Italica)
Family Brassicaceae
Max Height 2.5'
Max Spread 2.5'
Uses Vegetable
Edible

Colors

Planted at Mount Vernon

Hardiness Zones

Broom Corn

History

This was a popular colonial plant used for making brooms.

Details

This large plant is used to make brooms. However, it is not a true corn.

Latin Name Sorghum vulgare
Family Poaceae
Bloom Season July - August
Native Range Central Africa
Max Height 12'
Max Spread 3'
Uses Annual
Crop

Colors

Planted at Mount Vernon

Hardiness Zones

Browallia

History

It was introduced into cultivation in 1735, and was recommended by Philadelphia nurseyman Bernard McMahon in The American Gardener's Calendar (1806).

Details

Airy blue flowers form a stunning mass mid-border late in the season when many other flowers are fading. In southern climates, this plant self-sows with vigor.

Latin Name Browallia americana
Family Solanaceae
Also Known As Amethyst Flower
Bush Violet
Bloom Season August - October
Native Range South America
Max Height 3'
Max Spread 2'
Uses Annual
Flower Border

Colors

Planted at Mount Vernon

Hardiness Zones

Brown-eyed Susan

History

The plantsman John Bartram sold Brown-eyed Susans in his catalog in 1770.

Details

Brown-eyed Susans form masses of bright gold flowers above dark green foliage. It will flop without a midseason trim to keep it from getting too tall. It is ideal for naturalizing because it reseeds readily.

Latin Name Rudbeckia triloba
Family Asteraceae
Also Known As Thin-leaved Coneflower
Three-leaved Coneflower
Bloom Season July - October
Native Range Central United States
Max Height 5'
Max Spread 2'
Tollerances Deer
Drought
Uses Flower Border
Naturalize

Colors

Planted at Mount Vernon

Hardiness Zones

Buckeye

History

An entry in Washington's diary on April 13, 1785 states "Planted & Sowed in boxes placed in front of the Green House the following things—Box No. 1 partition No. 1 Six buck eye nuts, brought with me from the Mouth of Cheat River..."

Details

Buckeyes are large deciduous shade trees. Despite their showy flowers, they are most commonly known for their large chestnut-colored nuts, which historically were pocketed by midwesterners as a lucky token.

Latin Name Aesculus sp.
Family Sapindaceae
Bloom Season April - May
Native Range Eastern United States
Max Height 75'
Max Spread 50'
Uses Shade Tree

Colors

Planted at Mount Vernon

Hardiness Zones

Bullnose Pepper

History

Thomas Jefferson was growing Bullnose peppers in 1774.

Details

The bullnose pepper is a type of sweet pepper which produces abundantly. Its fruits are somewhat smaller than modern bell peppers and they are susceptible to sunscald. However, they have an excellent flavor.

Latin Name Capsicum annuum
Family Solanaceae
Native Range South and Central America
Max Height 3'
Max Spread 2'
Tollerances Drought

Colors

Planted at Mount Vernon

Hardiness Zones

Bush Bean

History

George Washington wrote to Arthur Young in November of 1787, saying, "I have a high opinion of Beans as a preparation for wheat, and shall enter as largely upon the cultivation of them next year, as the quantity of seed I can procure, will admit."

Details

Bush beans are compact, low growing plants that produce large crops of beans. They can be used for fresh eating or as dry beans.

Latin Name Phaseolus vulgaris
Family Fabaceae
Max Height 2'
Max Spread 2.5'
Uses Annual
Edible
Vegetable

Colors

Planted at Mount Vernon

Hardiness Zones

Bush Lima Bean

History

George Washington sent a letter to William Pearce in 1794 where he included lima beans for the gardener to plant.

Details

Bush lima beans are vigorous, productive plants. Their smaller size makes them easy to grow in the home garden and they still provide a bounteous harvest. They can be used dry or fresh.

Latin Name Phaseolus lunatus
Family Fabaceae
Also Known As Butter Bean
Native Range Central America
Max Height 2'
Max Spread 2'
Uses Annual
Vegetable
Edible

Colors

Planted at Mount Vernon

Hardiness Zones

Butter and Eggs Daffodil

History

Date of Introduction: 1777

Details

Butter and Eggs is pale yellow double daffodil with many frilly petals. Its height makes it well suited to the middle of the flower border.

Latin Name Narcissus incomparabilis aurantius plenus
Family Amaryllidaceae
Bloom Season April - May
Native Range Southern Europe and northern Africa
Max Height 1.5'
Max Spread 0.75'
Tollerances Deer
Drought
Rabbit
Uses Flower Border

Colors

Planted at Mount Vernon

Hardiness Zones

Butterfly Pea

History

George Washington received butterfly pea seeds from his grandson-in-law Thomas Law in 1799.

Details

Butterfly peas are short lived tropical perennials with striking blue flowers. They have a twining habit and prefer rich, moist, well-drained soils. They make attractive container plants in Virginia.

Latin Name Clitoria ternatea
Family Fabaceae
Also Known As Asian Pigeonwings
Blue Pea
Native Range Tropical Asia
Max Height 15'
Max Spread 6'
Uses Ornamental

Colors

Planted at Mount Vernon

Hardiness Zones

Butterfly Weed

History

They are native in all counties of Virginia and have long been popular in gardens, including Lady Skipwith's garden at Prestwould in 1793.

Details

This plant features brilliant orange flowers that light up the garden and are attractive to pollinators, including monarchs and honeybees.

Latin Name Asclepias tuberosa
Family Apocynaceae
Also Known As Pleurisy Root
Bloom Season June - August
Native Range Eastern United States
Max Height 2.5'
Max Spread 1.5'
Tollerances Deer
Drought
Erosion
Shallow-Rocky Soil
Dry Soil
Uses Flower Border
Naturalize
Rain Garden

Colors

Planted at Mount Vernon

Hardiness Zones

Byzantine Gladiolus

History

Lady Skipwith planted corn flags at her Virginia estate, Prestwould, in 1793.

Details

This petite, graceful gladiolus features bright pink flowers on long, elegant stems. It is somewhat hardier than most modern gladioli.

Latin Name Gladiolus communis
Family Iridaceae
Also Known As Corn Flag
Bloom Season June - July
Native Range Southern Europe and northwestern Africa
Max Height 2'
Max Spread 1'
Uses Flower Border

Colors

Planted at Mount Vernon

Hardiness Zones

Cabbage

History

George Washington had cabbage planted between his rows of corn at several of his farms.

Details

Cabbage is a cool season annual that was a staple crop in the colonial period and continues to be so today.

Latin Name Brassica oleracea
Family Brassicaceae
Max Height 2'
Max Spread 2'
Uses Vegetable
Edible

Colors

Planted at Mount Vernon

Hardiness Zones

Calendula

History

Thomas Jefferson was growing calendula at his home as early as 1767.

Details

Calendulas are an old fashioned herb with bright yellow or orange flowers. They are profuse bloomers in the spring and fall, but will stop blooming during the hot part of the summer. Their flowers can be used in salads and soaps.

Latin Name Calendula officinalis
Family Asteraceae
Also Known As Pot Marigold
Scotch Marigold
Bloom Season May - June
Native Range Southern Europe
Max Height 2'
Max Spread 2'
Tollerances Black Walnut
Rabbit
Uses Annual
Edible

Colors

Planted at Mount Vernon

Hardiness Zones

Candytuft

Details

This compact plant is covered in drifts of tiny white flowers in the spring. It blooms at the same time as many of the spring bulbs and provides a nice accent among them.

Latin Name Iberis sempervirens
Family Brassicaceae
Also Known As Evergreen Candytuft
Bloom Season April - May
Native Range Southern Europe
Max Height 1'
Max Spread 1.5'
Tollerances Rabbit
Deer
Drought
Uses Ground Cover

Colors

Planted at Mount Vernon

Hardiness Zones

Canterbury Bells

History

George French of Fredericksburg, Virginia offered seeds of these for sale in January of 1799.

Details

Canterbury bells are a common sight in cottage gardens. Their bright purple flowers add a richness of color to the pastels of late spring and early summer. They are a short-lived perennial and often need to be replanted.

Latin Name Campanula medium
Family Campanulaceae
Also Known As Bellflower
Glass Flower
Bloom Season May - July
Native Range Southern Europe
Max Height 3'
Max Spread 1.5'
Tollerances Deer
Uses Annual
Flower Border

Colors

Planted at Mount Vernon

Hardiness Zones

Cardinal Flower

History

The Marquis de Lafayette wrote to George Washington requesting seeds of the cardinal flower for the gardens at Versailles.

Details

The vibrant red blooms of the cardinal flower makes it an ideal plant for the shady summer garden. It reseeds readily and is ideal for naturalizing and sharing with friends.

Latin Name Lobelia cardinalis
Family Campanulaceae
Bloom Season July - September
Native Range North America
Max Height 4'
Max Spread 2'
Tollerances Deer
Rabbit
Wet Soil
Uses Flower Border
Naturalize
Rain Garden

Colors

Planted at Mount Vernon

Hardiness Zones

Carolina Allspice

History

In May of 1786, Washington's diary records that he "Planted or rather transplanted from the Box sent me by Colo. Wm. Washington of So. Carolina 6 of the Sweet scented, or aromatic shrub in my Shrubberies, on each side the Serpentine walks on this (or East) side of the Garden gate."

Details

Give this shrub ample room to sprawl, as it tends to sucker when it's happy. The unusual chocolatey maroon flowers give off a spicy sweet fragrance which is echoed in cut twigs and leaves.

Latin Name Calycanthus floridus
Family Calycanthaceae
Also Known As Sweetshrub
Bloom Season May - July
Native Range Southeastern United States
Max Height 10'
Max Spread 12'
Tollerances Clay Soil
Deer
Uses Flower Border
Naturalize
Ornamental

Colors

Planted at Mount Vernon

Hardiness Zones

Carolina Jessamine

History

Washington's gardener planted four yellow jessamines by the garden gates in 1786.

Details

This rambling evergreen vine sports masses of fragrant tubular yellow flowers in late winter and early spring. It is well-suited for use on arbors and fences.

Latin Name Gelsemium sempervirens
Family Gelsemiaceae
Also Known As Evening Trumpetflower
Woodbine
Bloom Season February - April
Native Range Southern United States, Mexico, Guatemala
Max Height 20'
Max Spread 6'
Uses Ground Cover
Ornamental

Colors

Planted at Mount Vernon

Hardiness Zones

Carrot

History

Washington references carrots many times in his garden log.

Details

Carrots are a root crop which comes in a wide variety of colors. They can be yellow, orange, or purple. While the purple colored varieties are some of the oldest types, orange varieties of carrots were popular by the mid-1700s. They can be served fresh in salads, or cooked.

Latin Name Daucus carota var. sativa
Family Apiaceae
Native Range Afghanistan
Max Height 3'
Max Spread 3'
Uses Vegetable
Edible
Annual

Colors

Planted at Mount Vernon

Hardiness Zones

Cauliflower

History

In May of 1798, Washington's gardener records that he planted "calliflowers" in the lower garden.

Details

Cauliflower is a cabbage relative with broad blue-green leaves and a large white head. It is slow to harvest and benefits from a long cool season.

Latin Name Brassica oleracea (Botrytis)
Family Brassicaceae
Native Range Western Europe
Max Height 2.5'
Max Spread 2'
Uses Vegetable
Edible

Colors

Planted at Mount Vernon

Hardiness Zones

Cayenne Pepper

History

Washington planted cayenne peppers in his botanical garden in 1785.

Details

Cayenne peppers are large prolific plants. They produce bountiful crops of slender, spicy red peppers that can be used fresh or dried.

Latin Name Capsicum annuum
Family Solanaceae
Native Range Tropical North and South America
Max Height 4'
Max Spread 2'
Tollerances Drought
Uses Annual
Edible
Vegetable

Colors

Planted at Mount Vernon

Hardiness Zones

Celery

History

Brother Lung of the Moravian settlement at Bethabara, North Carolina was growing celery in the Upland Garden in 1759.

Details

Celery is a familiar component of Bloody Marys, salads, and soups. It is grown primarily for its crisp stalks which add a mild flavor to food. Celery is a cool season vegetable and does not like the hot summers of the southern part of the country.

Latin Name Apium graveolens var. dulce
Family Apiaceae
Native Range Europe
Max Height 2.5'
Max Spread 1.5'
Uses Vegetable
Edible

Colors

Planted at Mount Vernon

Hardiness Zones

Charles de Mills Rose

History

The Charles de Mills rose has been known in cultivation since approximately 1790.

Details

This Gallica class rose is full-flowered with luscious petals of a deep crimson. It has fragrant flowers in the spring.

Latin Name Rosa gallica 'Charles de Mills'
Family Rosaceae
Bloom Season May - May
Native Range Central and southern Europe
Max Height 5'
Max Spread 5'
Uses Flower Border

Colors

Planted at Mount Vernon

Hardiness Zones

Cheese's Mallow

History

John Bartram of Philadelphia listed High Mallow for sale in his plant catalog by 1770.

Details

High Mallow is an upright, bushy plant with magenta flowers and darker purple stripes. It reseeds readily and naturalizes quickly in the garden.

Latin Name Malva sylvestris
Family Malvaceae
Also Known As High Mallow
Common Mallow
Bloom Season July - September
Native Range Western Europe, Northern Africa, Asia
Max Height 4'
Max Spread 3'
Uses Flower Border
Naturalize
Annual

Colors

Planted at Mount Vernon

Hardiness Zones

Chicory

History

Washington was experimenting with chicory as a field crop.

Details

This blue-flowered perennial is common as a roadside weed, but has a long history of being used as an edible or fodder.

Latin Name Cichorium intybus
Family Asteraceae
Also Known As Wild Endive
Succory
Coffeeweed
Bloom Season May - October
Native Range Europe, northern Africa, western Asia
Max Height 4'
Max Spread 2'
Uses Edible
Crop

Colors

Planted at Mount Vernon

Hardiness Zones

China Aster

History

They have been cultivated in the United States since 1737, when John Custis was growing them in his Williamsburg garden.

Details

The pink, purple, or white flowers of this cheerful daisy are an excellent midsummer accent in any flower garden.

Latin Name Callistephus chinensis
Family Asteraceae
Also Known As Annual Aster
Bloom Season July - September
Native Range China
Max Height 3'
Max Spread 1.5'
Uses Annual
Flower Border

Colors

Planted at Mount Vernon

Hardiness Zones

Chinaberry

History

George Washington planted Pride of China in 1785 and 1786. In his diary in 1785, he writes, "Perceived a few Plants of the Pride of China (the Seed of which were Sowed on the 13th. of June) to be coming up."

Details

The Chinaberry tree is noted for its invasive qualities in the south and has naturalized along roadsides and fencerows. While it has somewhat attractive blossoms, they are not recommended due to their weedy tendencies.

Latin Name Melia azedarach
Family Meliaceae
Also Known As Pride of China
Bead Tree
Ceylon Mahogany
Bloom Season April - May
Native Range Northern India, central and western China
Max Height 50'
Max Spread 50'
Uses Ornamental

Colors

Planted at Mount Vernon

Hardiness Zones

Chives

History

William Byrd II recorded chives on his plant list in 1736.

Details

Chives are a small clump-forming onion relative. The stems are frequently used as a culinary herb, and the flowers are attractive to pollinators.

Latin Name Allium schoenoprasum
Family Amaryllidaceae
Bloom Season April - May
Native Range Balkans, Siberia, Asia Minor
Max Height 1.5'
Max Spread 1.5'
Tollerances Deer
Drought
Black Walnut
Uses Herb
Edible

Colors

Planted at Mount Vernon

Hardiness Zones

Clary Sage

History

John Bartram of Philadelphia listed Clary sage in his 1770 catalog.

Details

Spires of pink and white bracts crown this large-leafed salvia. It has been used as an herb since the Middle Ages and is currently used as flavoring for wines, vermouth, and liqueurs.

Latin Name Salvia sclarea
Family Lamiaceae
Bloom Season June - August
Native Range Europe to Central Asia
Max Height 4'
Max Spread 3'
Tollerances Deer
Drought
Shallow-Rocky Soil
Uses Flower Border
Herb
Edible

Colors

Planted at Mount Vernon

Hardiness Zones

Climbing Old Blush Rose

History

Climbing Old Blush is a sport of the Old Blush rose and has been cultivated since the 1750s.

Details

This elegant climbing rose sports large pink flowers from spring until nearly Christmas. It is lightly fragrant and easily trained to a graceful climbing habit against walls or over trellises.

Latin Name Rosa chinensis 'Climbing Old Blush'
Family Rosaceae
Bloom Season May - December
Native Range Eastern Asia
Max Height 20'
Max Spread 20'
Uses Flower Border

Colors

Planted at Mount Vernon

Hardiness Zones

Cockscomb

History

John Custis of Williamsburg received cockscomb seeds from plantsman Peter Collinson of London in 1738.

Details

A sturdy long-blooming annual, this impressive plant is ideal for the back of the border. Its bright flowers come in many colors, including hot pink, peach, deep rose, yellow, and red.

Latin Name Celosia argentea var. cristata
Family Amaranthaceae
Bloom Season July - October
Native Range India
Max Height 5'
Max Spread 2'
Tollerances Drought
Dry Soil
Uses Annual
Flower Border
Edible

Colors

Planted at Mount Vernon

Hardiness Zones

Coffee

History

George Washington received coffee plants from Thomas Law, who was his grandson-in-law, in 1799.

Details

Coffee forms a large shrub with glossy green leaves. It has small white flowers. This plant produces the coffee beans so many of us rely on every day, but in this part of the world is primarily used as an ornamental.

Latin Name Coffea arabica
Family Rubiaceae
Native Range Tropical Africa
Max Height 15'
Max Spread 15'
Uses Ornamental

Colors

Planted at Mount Vernon

Hardiness Zones

Cotton

History

George Washington wrote to John Jay in March of 1794, "I thank you for the Nankeen Cotton-seed with which you had the goodness to furnish me. It shall be sent to Mount Vernon with orders to my Gardener to be particularly attentive thereto, but with little hope, I confess, of success; that climate & country being too high & cold for this plant."

Details

This crop is grown for the fibers it produces, although ornamental varieties do exist.

Latin Name Gossypium hirsutum
Family Malvaceae
Also Known As Upland Cotton
Bloom Season July - October
Native Range West Indies, Northern South America, Central America, Mexico
Max Height 8'
Max Spread 4'
Uses Crop

Colors

Planted at Mount Vernon

Hardiness Zones

Cowpea

History

In Washington's May 6, 1786 diary entry, he writes "Found that all the large (Indian) Peas I had, had been sown with the drill plow yesterday, at Dogue run"..." only compleated 8 rows—after which, they proceeded to sow the small black eyed pea & finished with them."

Details

The name "cowpea" was probably coined for their use as a fodder crop for cows, and while grown for their edible bean, the leaves and pods can also be consumed. Black-eyed peas can be harvested as a snap bean, or dried, and are the main ingredient in Hoppin' John, a traditional Southern dish ritually served on New Year's Day.

Latin Name Vigna unguiculata
Family Fabaceae
Also Known As Black-eyed pea
Southern pea
Yardlong bean
Catjang
Crowder pea
Bloom Season July - August
Native Range Western and eastern Africa
Max Height 2.5'
Max Spread 4'
Uses Edible
Crop
Vegetable

Colors

Planted at Mount Vernon

Hardiness Zones

Cowslip

History

Lady Jean Skipwith recorded English cowslips in her Prestwould, Virginia garden in 1793.

Details

This cute perennial forms small masses of green foliage with bright yellow or red flowers in the early spring. It is particularly sweet when planted with bulbs or other spring ephemerals in the front of the border.

Latin Name Primula veris
Family Primulaceae
Also Known As Primula
English Cowslip
Fairy Cups
Tittypines
Bloom Season April - May
Native Range Temperate Europe and Asia
Max Height 0.75'
Max Spread 1'
Tollerances Deer
Rabbit
Wet Soil
Uses Flower Border

Colors

Planted at Mount Vernon

Hardiness Zones

Cranberrybush

History

Washington received some young guelder rose plants from his neighbor George Mason at Gunston Hall in 1785.

Details

Cranberrybush has stunning white flowers reminiscent of a hydrangea, which makes up for its somewhat coarse texture and stiffly upright growth.

Latin Name Viburnum opulus
Family Adoxaceae
Also Known As Snowball Bush
Guelder Rose
Bloom Season April - May
Native Range Europe, northern Africa, and Asia
Max Height 15'
Max Spread 15'
Uses Hedge
Naturalize
Flower Border

Colors

Planted at Mount Vernon

Hardiness Zones

Crimson Clover

History

George Washington planted red clover extensively as a cover crop at all his farms.

Details

This clover is used primarily as a cover crop and fodder, but it is also a good nectar source for bees.

Latin Name Trifolium incarnatum
Family Fabaceae
Also Known As Italian Clover
Bloom Season April - May
Native Range Europe
Max Height 1.5'
Max Spread 1'
Tollerances Dry Soil
Clay Soil
Uses Annual
Crop

Colors

Planted at Mount Vernon

Hardiness Zones

Crocus 'Cloth of Gold'

History

This bulb was first discovered in 1587 and were well known in England by 1629.

Details

Crocuses cheerfully herald the coming spring with bright yellow flowers. They naturalize easily in gardens, offering clumps which grow larger year by year.

Latin Name Crocus angustifolius 'Cloth of Gold'
Family Iridaceae
Bloom Season March - April
Native Range Europe to Western Asia
Max Height 0.5'
Max Spread 0.5'
Tollerances Black Walnut
Clay Soil
Deer
Uses Flower Border

Colors

Planted at Mount Vernon

Hardiness Zones

Crown Imperial

History

The Marquis de Lafayette requested seeds of this plant from Washington in 1784.

Details

This large bulb has striking orange flowers borne on long lily-like flowers in spring. It is best placed on its side to prevent rotting and should not be disturbed after planting.

Latin Name Fritillaria imperialis 'Rubra Maxima'
Family Liliaceae
Also Known As Kaiser's Crown
Bloom Season May - May
Native Range Western Asia to Himalayas
Max Height 3'
Max Spread 1.5'
Tollerances Black Walnut
Deer
Uses Flower Border

Colors

Planted at Mount Vernon

Hardiness Zones

Cucumber

History

John Custis sent cucumber seeds to Peter Collinson in 1738.

Details

Cucumbers are a vining plant with yellow flowers and slightly prickly stems. There are many varieties which produce cucumbers of different sizes and shapes.

Latin Name Cucumis sativus
Family Cucurbitaceae
Native Range South Asia
Max Height 1.5'
Max Spread 8'
Uses Annual
Edible
Vegetable

Colors

Planted at Mount Vernon

Hardiness Zones

Damask Rose

History

The Damask rose has a long and storied history, but its origin remains unclear. We know that it was documented in England by 1540, and in 1791 Thomas Jefferson was growing a variety of damask rose in his garden at Monticello.

Details

The highly fragrant damask rose offers a profusion of pink flowers in the spring. Flowers from this large and mostly upright shrub have been used for centuries in perfume making, as well as for rose oil, rose water, and for cooking.

Latin Name Rosa x damascena
Family Rosaceae
Also Known As Rose of Castile
Bloom Season May - June
Native Range Eurasia
Max Height 6'
Max Spread 6'

Colors

Planted at Mount Vernon

Hardiness Zones

Dame's Rocket

History

The English plant collector Peter Collinson sent seeds of Dame's Rocket to John Custis of Williamsburg in 1735.

Details

A fragrant spring bloomer, this perennial naturalizes readily. Its white flowers are refreshing among all the pink and blue spring blooms. This flower cuts nicely for pleasant smelling bouquets.

Latin Name Hesperis matronalis
Family Brassicaceae
Also Known As Garden Rocket
Damask Violet
Sweet Rocket
Mother-of-the-evening
Bloom Season April - May
Native Range Europe, central Asia
Max Height 3'
Max Spread 2'
Tollerances Deer
Uses Naturalize
Flower Border

Colors

Planted at Mount Vernon

Hardiness Zones

Dipper Gourd

History

John Custis sent Peter Collinson some gourd seeds in 1741.

Details

Dipper gourds are sprawling plants that produce enormous quantities of fruit over the course of the season. The gourds they produce can be used to make drinking vessels, birdhouses, and other decorative items.

Latin Name Lagenaria siceraria
Family Cucurbitaceae
Bloom Season July - September
Native Range Pantropical
Max Height 1.5'
Max Spread 16'
Uses Annual
Crop

Colors

Planted at Mount Vernon

Hardiness Zones

Drumstick Allium

History

Purple-headed garlick has been in popular use since 1766 and was listed in the first bulb catalog in the United States.

Details

This unique late-blooming bulb sports maroon flower-heads, for which it earns its common of drumstick allium.

Latin Name Allium sphaerocephalon
Family Amaryllidaceae
Also Known As Round-headed Leek
Purple-headed Garlick
Bloom Season June - July
Native Range Europe, northern Africa, western Asia
Max Height 3'
Max Spread 1.5'
Tollerances Black Walnut
Deer
Drought
Uses Flower Border

Colors

Planted at Mount Vernon

Hardiness Zones

Duc van Tol Red and Yellow Tulip

History

Date of introduction: 1595

Details

Duc van Tol Red and Yellow is a petite tulip that does best when planted near the front of the border.

Latin Name Tulipa 'Duc van Tol Red and Yellow'
Family Liliaceae
Bloom Season April - April
Native Range Africa and Eurasia
Max Height 0.5'
Max Spread 0.5'
Tollerances Black Walnut
Uses Flower Border

Colors

Planted at Mount Vernon

Hardiness Zones

Duc van Tol Rose Tulip

History

Date of introduction: 1700

Details

Duc van Tol Rose is a petite tulip with pointed pink and white petals.

Latin Name Tulipa 'Duc van Tol Rose
Family Liliaceae
Bloom Season April - April
Native Range Africa and Eurasia
Max Height 0.75'
Max Spread 0.5'
Tollerances Black Walnut
Uses Flower Border

Colors

Planted at Mount Vernon

Hardiness Zones

Early Louisiana Daffodil

History

Date of introduction: 1612

Details

Early Louisiana is a petite yellow daffodil that is well suited to naturalizing. It does well towards the front of the flower border.

Latin Name Narcissus jonquilla 'Early Louisiana'
Family Asparagaceae
Bloom Season April - April
Native Range Southern Europe and northern Africa
Max Height 0.75'
Max Spread 0.5'
Tollerances Deer
Rabbit
Drought
Uses Flower Border

Colors

Planted at Mount Vernon

Hardiness Zones

Eastern Redbud

History

Washington transplanted many redbuds into his groves and wildernesses.

Details

This small, spreading flowering tree offers a profusion of bright pink flowers in April, followed by large heart-shaped leaves. It is prettiest planted among dogwoods and other small flowering shrubs.

Latin Name Cercis canadensis
Family Fabaceae
Also Known As Spicewood Tree
Bloom Season April - April
Native Range Eastern North America
Max Height 30'
Max Spread 35'
Tollerances Black Walnut
Deer
Clay Soil
Uses Street Tree
Flowering Tree
Naturalize

Colors

Planted at Mount Vernon

Hardiness Zones

Eglantine Rose

History

The Eglantine rose was known in the American colonies by the 1740s.

Details

Eglantine roses are large and sprawling, with single pale pink flowers in late spring and early summer. They are strongly apple-scented and their hips are popular for use in tea. This rose may be restrained by growing on posts or trellises to control its long, thorny canes.

Latin Name Rosa rubiginosa
Family Rosaceae
Also Known As Sweetbriar Rose
Bloom Season May - June
Native Range Europe and Western Asia
Max Height 15'
Max Spread 8'
Uses Flower Border

Colors

Planted at Mount Vernon

Hardiness Zones

Egyptian Walking Onions

History

Bernard McMahon of Philadelphia listed walking onions in his 1802 seed catalog.

Details

Egyptian walking onions are a unique plant which produces the next generation in a crown of bulblets atop their stalks in lieu of flowers. As the bulblets grow, their weight pulls them to the ground, where they take root to grow new plants. While the young bulbs are mild and can be used as scallions, old bulbs are quite pungent.

Latin Name Allium x proliferum
Family Amaryllidaceae
Also Known As Tree onion
Topsetting onion
Max Height 1.5'
Max Spread 1'
Uses Edible
Vegetable

Colors

Planted at Mount Vernon

Hardiness Zones

Elecampane

History

John Bartram had this plant in his catalog in the mid-18th century.

Details

This plant's large leaves add a unique texture to the back of the border, while its yellow flowers provide late season interest. Elecampane is used in France and Switzerland to make absinthe.

Latin Name Inula helenium
Family Asteraceae
Also Known As Horse Heal
Elfdock
Bloom Season July - September
Native Range Eurasia
Max Height 6'
Max Spread 3'
Uses Flower Border
Herb

Colors

Planted at Mount Vernon

Hardiness Zones

Endive

History

Thomas Jefferson was growing endive in his garden in 1777.

Details

Endive has broad, bright green leaves and looks somewhat like a rougher-textured lettuce. It has a sharp, bitter flavor.

Latin Name Cichorium endivia
Family Asteraceae
Also Known As Escarole
Native Range Europe
Max Height 0.75'
Max Spread 0.75'
Uses Annual
Edible
Vegetable

Colors

Planted at Mount Vernon

Hardiness Zones

English Bluebells

History

These delicate flowers were first cultivated for the garden in 1200.

Details

Cascading blue flowers on arching stems slowly naturalize in the garden.

Latin Name Hyacinthoides non-scripta
Family Asparagaceae
Bloom Season April - May
Native Range Western Europe
Max Height 1.5'
Max Spread 0.5'
Tollerances Black Walnut
Heavy Shade
Uses Flower Border

Colors

Planted at Mount Vernon

Hardiness Zones

English Daisy

History

Due to its homeopathic qualities, English Daisy was included in the Hortus Medicus at Bethabara, North Carolina, which is known as the oldest medical garden in the country.

Details

With its cute white flower, this petite daisy makes a charming addition to the garden. It is usually grown as a short-lived perennial, but it will reseed if permitted.

Latin Name Bellis perennis
Family Asteraceae
Also Known As Woundwort
Bloom Season May - July
Native Range Southwestern Eurasia
Max Height 0.5'
Max Spread 0.75'
Uses Flower Border
Annual
Herb
Naturalize

Colors

Planted at Mount Vernon

Hardiness Zones

English Lavender

History

Thomas Jefferson grew English lavender as one of his kitchen herbs in 1794.

Details

Fragrant spires of dark purple flowers above silvery foliage light up the garden border in summer. If trimmed after blooming, they will flower again. Their flowers may be used in sachets or as flavoring in baking and drinks.

Latin Name Lavandula angustifolia
Family Lamiaceae
Also Known As Common Lavender
Garden Lavender
True Lavender
Bloom Season June - August
Native Range Mediterranean
Max Height 3'
Max Spread 4'
Tollerances Air Pollution
Deer
Drought
Dry Soil
Shallow-Rocky Soil
Rabbit
Uses Flower Border
Herb

Colors

Planted at Mount Vernon

Hardiness Zones

Fall Daffodil

History

Date of introduction: 1596

Details

This crocus-like lemon yellow bulb is a surprising and unusual find in the fall garden. They perform best in sunny, protected locations.

Latin Name Sternbergia lutea
Family Amaryllidaceae
Also Known As Winter Daffodil
Yellow Autumnal Amaryllis
Bloom Season September - October
Native Range Mediterranean to central Asia
Max Height 0.5'
Max Spread 0.5'
Tollerances Drought
Dry Soil
Uses Flower Border

Colors

Planted at Mount Vernon

Hardiness Zones

Fava Beans

History

George Washington grew many different types of beans at his farms.

Details

Fava beans are a cool season plant which do best when grown in either the spring or the fall. They are quite robust and can grow to three feet high. The plants produce many large pods. They are used as a shelling bean.

Latin Name Vicia faba
Family Fabaceae
Also Known As Broad Bean
Native Range Northern Africa and southern Asia
Max Height 3'
Max Spread 2'
Uses Annual
Edible
Vegetable

Colors

Planted at Mount Vernon

Hardiness Zones

Fig

History

Washington wrote to the Marquis de Lafayette in 1784, "At length my Dear Marquis I am become a private citizen on the banks of the Potomac, & under the shadow of my own Vine & my own Fig-tree."

Details

This unusual fruiting tree bears a heavy bounty of sweet fruits late in the season. They have large deeply lobed green leaves with a somewhat coarse texture and are immediately eye-catching in the garden.

Latin Name Ficus carica
Family Moraceae
Native Range Asia
Max Height 30'
Max Spread 30'
Uses Edible

Colors

Planted at Mount Vernon

Hardiness Zones

Fish Pepper

History

Fish peppers were commonly seen in the gardens of the enslaved people and were often used for making fish sauces.

Details

Fish peppers are hot peppers with variegated white leaves. The peppers themselves are often streaked with white and start green before maturing to red.

Latin Name Capsicum annuum
Family Solanaceae
Native Range Caribbean
Max Height 3'
Max Spread 2'
Tollerances Drought
Uses Annual
Edible
Vegetable

Colors

Planted at Mount Vernon

Hardiness Zones

Flaming Parrot Tulip

History

Date of introduction: circa 1650

Details

Flaming Parrot is a favorite here at Mount Vernon, with its bold red stripes on fringed yellow petals. It is a tall, late-blooming tulip that does well in the middle of the border.

Latin Name Tulipa 'Flaming Parrot'
Family Liliaceae
Bloom Season April - May
Native Range Africa and Eurasia
Max Height 1.5'
Max Spread 0.5'
Tollerances Black Walnut
Uses Flower Border

Colors

Planted at Mount Vernon

Hardiness Zones

Flax

History

Washington grew flax at most of his farms.

Details

This crop has bright blue flowers. It is primarily used to make linen from its fibers and its seeds used as supplements and for linseed oil.

Latin Name Linum usitatissimum
Family Linaceae
Also Known As Linseed
Bloom Season May - May
Native Range Middle East
Max Height 4'
Max Spread 1'
Uses Annual
Crop

Colors

Planted at Mount Vernon

Hardiness Zones

Florentine Tulip

History

Date of introduction: 1597

Details

The Florentine tulip is a charming yellow species tulip, with its bright flowers held on long, elegant stems.

Latin Name Tulipa sylvestris
Family Liliaceae
Bloom Season May - May
Native Range Africa and Eurasia
Max Height 1.25'
Max Spread 0.75'
Tollerances Black Walnut
Uses Flower Border

Colors

Planted at Mount Vernon

Hardiness Zones

Fothergilla

History

Its name honors Alexander Garden, a Scottish physician and plant enthusiast, who took up residence in Charleston, South Carolina in 1752 and first discovered and introduced Fothergilla gardenii to England.

Details

The aromatic flowers on this dwarf shrub are redolent of honey. It is a plant of multi-season interest with its brilliant fall foliage and unique branching.

Latin Name Fothergilla gardenii
Family Hamamelidaceae
Also Known As Dwarf Fothergilla
Witch Alder
Bloom Season April - May
Native Range Southeastern United States
Max Height 3'
Max Spread 4'
Uses Flower Border
Naturalize

Colors

Planted at Mount Vernon

Hardiness Zones

Four O'clock

History

At Monticello, Thomas Jefferson observed in 1767, "Mirabilis just opened, very clever."

Details

Named for the time of day the bloom opens, four o'clocks will attract hummingbirds and nocturnal pollinators to your garden. This bushy plant reseeds readily, producing hundreds of large black seeds that resemble hand grenades.

Latin Name Mirabilis jalapa
Family Nyctaginaceae
Also Known As Marvel of Peru
Bloom Season June - October
Native Range Tropical America
Max Height 3'
Max Spread 3'
Tollerances Deer
Rabbit
Wet Soil
Uses Annual
Flower Border
Rain Garden

Colors

Planted at Mount Vernon

Hardiness Zones

Foxglove

History

Washington received seeds of foxglove from his friend William Gordon in 1787.

Details

Wands of bell-shaped flowers ascend from a broad, woolly basal rosette. This common cottage garden flower has an important role in the manufacture of heart medicine.

Latin Name Digitalis purpurea
Family Plantaginaceae
Also Known As Lady's Glove
Bloom Season May - June
Native Range Europe
Max Height 5'
Max Spread 2.5'
Tollerances Deer
Rabbit
Uses Flower Border
Naturalize

Colors

Planted at Mount Vernon

Hardiness Zones

French Marigold

History

George French listed French marigold seeds in his 1799 advertisement in the Fredericksburg Virginia Herald

Details

French marigolds are iconic garden plants with distinctly fragrant leaves. The flowers are single, semi-double, double, or crested in shades of yellow, orange, or red, and can also be bi-colored. When planted in the vegetable garden, marigolds can repel certain pests, such as white flies on tomatoes.

Latin Name Tagetes patula
Family Asteraceae
Bloom Season July - November
Native Range Mexico, Guatemala
Max Height 1.5'
Max Spread 1'
Tollerances Clay Soil
Deer
Uses Annual
Flower Border

Colors

Planted at Mount Vernon

Hardiness Zones

French Striped Marigold

History

French marigolds were first featured in Curtis' Botanical Magazine in 1791.

Details

This dazzling plant blooms in masses of yellow flowers with deep burgundy stripes and is the star of the fall garden.

Latin Name Tagetes patula
Family Asteraceae
Bloom Season September - October
Native Range Mexico and Guatemala
Max Height 2'
Max Spread 2'
Tollerances Deer
Clay Soil
Uses Annual
Edible
Flower Border

Colors

Planted at Mount Vernon

Hardiness Zones

Garden Phlox

History

In her garden at Prestwould, Lady Jean Skipwith grew garden phlox in 1793.

Details

Garden phlox has long been a staple of the perennial border, providing height and bright blooms at the back of the bed. The pink flowers are fragrant and attractive to butterflies and hummingbirds.

Latin Name Phlox paniculata
Family Polemoniaceae
Also Known As Summer phlox
Tall phlox
Bloom Season July - September
Native Range Eastern North America
Max Height 4'
Max Spread 3'
Tollerances Black Walnut
Clay Soil
Uses Flower Border
Naturalize

Colors

Planted at Mount Vernon

Hardiness Zones

Garlic

History

William Faris of Annapolis, Maryland was growing garlic in his garden in 1790.

Details

Garlic is a popular ingredient in many types of cooking. This bulbous plant is an onion relative with fleshy green leaves and umbels of pinkish white flowers.

Latin Name Allium sativum
Family Amaryllidaceae
Bloom Season April - May
Native Range Asia
Max Height 1.5'
Max Spread 1'
Tollerances Deer
Black Walnut
Uses Vegetable
Edible

Colors

Planted at Mount Vernon

Hardiness Zones

German Bearded Iris

History

William Faris had German irises in his garden in Annapolis, Maryland, in 1790.

Details

Irises add interesting texture to the spring garden with strappy leaves and unique flowers, nicely accenting the later blooming flower bulbs. They grow to form large clumps which are easily divided and spread around the garden.

Latin Name Iris germanica
Family Iridaceae
Bloom Season May - May
Native Range Eastern Mediterranean
Max Height 3'
Max Spread 2'
Tollerances Drought
Deer
Uses Flower Border

Colors

Planted at Mount Vernon

Hardiness Zones

Germander

History

Germander was used as edging in many colonial revival gardens, as well as for knot gardens during the Elizabethan and Jacobean periods.

Details

Germander is a small, shrubby herb with bright flowers and a distinctive fragrance. It works well as a short, clipped hedge.

Latin Name Teucrium chamaedrys
Family Lamiaceae
Also Known As Wall Germander
Bloom Season July - July
Native Range Europe to Caucasus
Max Height 1'
Max Spread 2'
Tollerances Rabbit
Deer
Drought
Dry Soil
Uses Herb
Hedge

Colors

Planted at Mount Vernon

Hardiness Zones

Globe Amaranth

History

John Custis said in 1742, "I esteem it one of the prettiest things I ever saw."

Details

This magenta gem is well suited to the front of the border. Its lush blooms are attractive to butterflies, and they hold their color well when cut for use in dried arrangements.

Latin Name Gomphrena globosa
Family Amaranthaceae
Bloom Season June - October
Native Range Tropical America
Max Height 2'
Max Spread 1'
Tollerances Clay Soil
Dry Soil
Drought
Uses Annual
Flower Border

Colors

Planted at Mount Vernon

Hardiness Zones

Globe Artichoke

History

In September of 1794, Washington wrote to William Pearce to request artichoke seeds for Martha, and was growing them in the lower garden.

Details

Artichokes have large silvery green leaves that make them a striking addition to the garden. Their flower buds are traditionally used for culinary purposes, but if allowed to open offer large, brilliant purple flowers.

Latin Name Cynara cardunculus var. scolymus
Family Asteraceae
Bloom Season June - November
Native Range Chile, Ecuador, United States
Max Height 5'
Max Spread 3'
Uses Flower Border
Vegetable
Ornamental
Edible