The Best Native Montana Plants For Your Home
I've been an apartment dweller for the better part of my life, and there's dos and don'ts when it comes to making the space inviting and comfortable (like WASH THE DISHES ALREADY...ugghhh.) Once your place is clean, you can inject some life into your home with some color, and the one of the best ways to do that is with some plants; be they shrubs, fruit-bearers, or decorative plants.
Fortunately for us in Montana, there's several species of flora that are native to the Treasure State that make any space pop. Here are some of our favorites, and we saved the best for last.
Wouldn't it be great if these berries were edible? Sadly they aren't; white snowberries are toxic to humans if eaten in large quantities. But this native Montana plant also produces pinkish flowers in the spring and is a favorite of small birds (who can eat the berries, we're hella jelly.) It's best to plant these little guys outside, maybe near the front porch so bird watchers can enjoy them without binoculars.
Peter Brand Peony
It may look red in the fall, but come springtime this homegrown Montana shrub will produce huge red flowers that smell amazing. Don't try to keep this inside, your window sill will be overrun!
Most peony shrubs are large; they can grow four feet tall and are a favorite of front and backyards alike.
A sprinkle of purple never hurt much...this native Montana plant has two main benefits: it repels insects (it is the bane of fleas) and the parts of the plant that grow above the soil are used in home remedies for urinary tract infections.
We just liked the way it looks, but we'll take the assist from Mother Nature in a pinch!
Don't be fooled by its autumn appearance, this little perennial will sprout edible berries like the ones seen below. Native tribes have used these berries for generations, although they may taste sour if you've never eaten them before. Their foliage in bloom is a pale green, giving them the "silver" appearance.
"Aster" comes from Latin, meaning "starry" and these purple flowers will grow en masse and attract butterflies in your Montana garden. The flowers are edible, and the foliage can be brewed in a tea. We love our dual-purpose plants in Montana. It's a late bloomer, most vibrant in the summertime.
These are native to not just Montana but all over the Pacific region of the United States. The National Park Service says birds like pheasants and quail love them, and they're more on the tart side when compared to the more commonly-eaten blueberries and raspberries we're used to. Great for putting in your garden or putting in a medium-sized planter in your home, as long as it gets plenty of sunlight.
Although it looks very different from the asters above, this member of the aster family can make your yard pop. Bring the wild into your space! The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is used to seeing these babies north and east of the Rockies. Being a wildflower, they can grow in even moderately harsh terrain.
We saved the best for last, as it's the namesake of our beloved Bitterroot Valley in Western Montana. Unfortunately, bitterroot is hard to grow in gardens, as the taproot (the flower that grows above ground) needs moisture but not too much, and it would work best if you have a rock garden in the front yard. You can eat the roots as well, just like our Native Montanans have for generations.
Merriweather Lewis, on his journey through Montana in 1806, gave the plant its namesake:
...it had a very bitter taste, which was nauseous to my palate, and I transferred them to the Indians who had eat them heartily.”
Are you a plant mom or plant dad? Let us know which are your favorites below 👇