When deciding which plants to grow in your yard, you should consider zone 5b’s weather conditions. The average temperature for the area is 63 degrees Fahrenheit (14deg C) so most of the plants listed here should be fine in this zone. To get started, try planting Lavender or a Hyacinth in the center of the garden. For the rest of the garden, you can use a variety of other types of flowering plants.
Hostas are native to China, Korea, and Japan, and were only introduced to the United States in the 1980s. They are typically variegated, with a band of contrasting color around the edge of the leaf. Some varieties feature two core colors, while others feature three hues. The best plants for zone 5b have a slightly acidic pH. The soil you use should be well-drained, with organic matter. Soil that is too sandy or too clay-like must be amended with compost and sand.
When planting hostas, make sure that you dig a hole twice the width of the root ball. If you have multiple plants, space them accordingly. The crown of the plant should be even with the soil surface, and the growing tips of the new plants should be visible at the surface. You should also make sure that you plant potted hostas at the same level as they were in their pot.
If you prefer full sun, consider growing hostas in your yard. These perennials grow in zones five to nine. You can also plant some shade-loving annuals alongside your hostas for a pop of color. The hosta ‘Autumn Frost’ will bloom in late spring and early summer. Hosta ‘Empress Wu’ will grow to a mature size in five or six years.
When growing hyacinths in containers, you can use ordinary commercial potting soil. You can even mix sand into the soil to create a more sterile mix. Keep the jars in a cool area. They prefer indirect sunlight, so place them where they will receive cool afternoon temperatures. In this way, they will last longer. Hyacinth bulbs will bloom at the end of the season.
The ‘Pink Pearl’ hyacinth is a stunning flower with soft, pink petals. The blooms of this plant are made up of tiny florets that merge together to form an amazing mass of color. They come in a variety of colors and can fit in with almost any spring color palette. Plant them one month before the first frost date in your zone. This gives them time to establish roots before soil freezes. If you plant them earlier, they may not flower well.
Because hyacinth bulbs store their energy within themselves, you don’t need to fertilize them regularly. However, you should make sure to water your hyacinths lightly during blooming. After blooming, simply remove them from the ground. The leaves will gather sun for the next season’s blooms. They don’t need to be fertilized, and they can last for several years.
Sedums are hardy perennials that grow well in zones 5b to 9, even in partial shade. They have interesting foliage, which makes them a great choice for taming tough sites. The best part is that sedums come in a wide range of color and texture. Depending on the type, they can even display different colors, like the pink-flowering S. spurium ‘John Creech’.
To propagate sedums, you can divide tall specimens in spring, when they are young. Spring pruning is much easier than winter pruning. Dig around the plant, lift the dense rootball, and cut off the old stems. Then plant the divisions at the same depth as before. In late fall, you can prune back the sedum to the ground. Sedums have attractive blooms and seeds that attract songbirds and other wildlife.
Autumn Fire is a new variety of sedum that starts out with rosy red flower heads that age to deep copper in the fall. It’s hardy to zones 3-11, and grows 18 inches tall. Despite its name, sedums don’t tolerate much shade. This is one of the best plants for zone 5b because they are drought resistant and have attractive foliage throughout the season.
Besides being low-maintenance, sedums are easy to grow and care for. Their shallow root system means they are easily transplanted. You can transplant sedums anytime during the growing season. You can also lay them down on soil for a new root system to form. These succulents are a popular addition to any garden and are great containers. They also attract butterflies and bees to your yard.
There are several different varieties of lavender, and some of them are better suited for growing in your particular climate than others. Lady lavender has the prettiest flowers, topped by showy white bracts. It can be grown as an annual and blooms reliably in the first summer. Another option for zone 5b is Mitcham Grey lavender, which grows to about 20 inches and features dark blue flowers and a heady fragrance. Munstead lavender, an old time favorite with early blooms, grows to two feet tall. You may also want to consider Royal Velvet lavender, which has extra long flower stems and a beautiful blue flower. It has a delicate fragrance and can be pruned to produce shorter flower stems.
Once established, lavender plants are drought-tolerant. They do not require much fertilizer, but may benefit from an occasional side-dressing of compost. In the winter, lavender prefers a well-drained soil that is free of standing water. If the soil is too dry, the plant will suffer from wilt and will not flower. Adding a layer of gravel mulch around the crown of the plant will keep excess moisture away from the crown of the plant.
Seedlings of lavender can be sown anytime during the growing season. But the plant thrives when it gets a full growing season before winter sets in. Willowfield Lavender Farm recommends spacing the plants about 3 feet apart and using soil that drains well. You should also leave ample space between plants for better air circulation and increased production. This will encourage the lavender to bloom more and produce more flowers.
Planting Wigela is easy and relatively low-maintenance. The foliage is oblong and sometimes glossy, while the flowers are five-lobed and 1-2 inches long. The foliage is green, occasionally variegated, and can be deep purple. Wigela prefers a sunny location with moist soil. Planting during the cooler months will avoid transplant shock. After transplanting, Weigela needs to be watered sparingly.
A neglected Weigela bush may need pruning to keep it looking its best. Old, thick growth is likely to prevent it from blooming properly in late spring. To address poor blooming, prune the Weigela bush back to the ground. Cut the branch stubs to about four inches above the soil level. Once the plant is pruned, wait one year before it blooms in full. You will notice it will be more lush and full of flowers the following spring.
The soil for Weigela is moist and moderately acidic. The plant requires a consistent moisture level, but can also survive in slightly alkaline soils. Weigela plants should be planted at least three to six feet apart to allow plenty of space between them. Weigelas need consistent moist soil with moderate moisture. A light application of fertilizer may help the shrub produce more blooms.
Tamarack trees can be grown in any zone, but it does require direct sunlight. Plant them about 15 feet apart from each other. They prefer moist organic soil, as they are native to muskeg bogs, where they grow in peat-based, acidic soil. This adaptability helps them thrive in a range of conditions, including cold and dry conditions. But keep in mind that they do not grow well in areas with extensive pavement.
Once established, tamarack does not require much fertilizer. However, in dry weather, it may need more water than usual. Once established, tamarack trees don’t require much water, but you should add organic mulch to the dripline to help retain moisture. For the first three years of growth, water the tamarack trees weekly. During dry weather, you can also fertilize them with organic compost, but do not overdo it.
This beautiful deciduous conifer is native to Wisconsin. The needles fall off each winter, leaving behind soft green foliage. The leaves are narrow, conical, and have horizontal branching. The leaves are golden yellow in autumn. Tamarack has several names including American larch, Eastern Larch, and Hackmatack. The tree grows rapidly on upland sites and can perform well in less-than-ideal soils. It is a great choice for those looking for a striking tree with a colorful winter appearance.