Indiana Wildlife and Nature Stuff

picture of a peony, the state flower of Indiana
Indiana’s natural environment shares ecosystem similarities with many of it’s neighbors such as the Great Lakes in the north and the grasses of the west and the corn belt that stretches to the south. Likewise, much of their native flora and fauna is common to most areas east of the Rocky Mountains.

This introduction to Indiana nature begins with a brief review of the flora. In 1957, for example, Indiana designated a late spring bloomer, the garden peony (Paeonia) as the official state flower, replacing another popular garden flower, the zinnia.

picture of a zinnia flower in bloom
There’s no shortage of information covering Indiana garden tips such as the publication Growing Annual Flowers. It provides all the information a Hoosier needs to get any gardener started such as soil preparation, seed choice, fertilization and other important hands on gardening topics.

Equally important, the brochure provides a map of the state that includes average dates for the last frost. It’s important to note that a warming climate means that the last freeze dates tend to be a bit earlier than the published dates, making the published dates on the conservative side. On the positive note, using them as a garden rule of thumb provides a bit of security in the planting decision making process.

picture of flowers from the white snakeroot plant
Gardening decisions also depend on the gardener’s choices. For example, the White Snakeroot flowers in the picture might look fairly innocuous. Nonetheless, families with pets and children might want to avoid any yard or neighborhood association with them because they are poisonous.

picture of the flower of Spring Beauty, a native edible plant
Many native and imported traditional spring bulb plants such as daffodils, lilies and irises remain popular garden choices. They can easily be matched with Spring Beauty.

While small, they are also safe to eat and one of a dozen or so native flowering plants that fit the edible category, making them safe choices in areas where pets and children play.

picture of some flowers from the Bleeding Hearts
Local nurseries and big box stores always provide flowering plants for the season. Some of the specialty shops focus on native plants for the garden. The state’s wide array of native flowering plants often are dependent on the particular ecosystem, such as wetlands, woodlands, grasslands, etc., al.

The nice pink flowers of the Bleeding Hearts can last through spring and early summer in woodland areas.

picture of Virginia Bluebells flowers from Indiana
A variety of bluebells also remain popular garden choices for the spring. Virginia bluebells are a great native alternative.

picture of a Columbine flower
As spring transitions into summer, the easy to care for Columbine begin flowering.

picture of a Monarch on goldenrod flowers
Goldenrod could easily be forgotten if not for the fact that they attract all types of pollinators to the garden, from Monarch butterflies to bees and wasps. The yellow flowers add color from late spring through summer.

picture of a a colorful daisy, the Fire Wheel
Sometimes it’s hard to image a garden without asters. The fire wheel, a dual color daisy also brings some splash to a garden from summer through fall.

picture of Fall Phlox flowers indidana
The pink petals of the Fall Phlox flowers compliment any of the larger flowering plants that are suited to a particular location during the fall season.

The following buttons provide more detailed information on other Indiana wildlife topics