Weather in Wisconsin is extremely unpredictable. One day it can be a sunny 82°and the next it’s a chilly 49° with freezing temperatures in the morning. (and let’s be honest, those two temperatures can be on the same day!) At Koch Kuts, we specialize in making sure you get the best outcome from your landscaping! Our professional landscapers have many years of experience in designing beautiful atmospheres with plants, flowers, and trees! Before choosing any plants, it’s important to know what will thrive in your environment. 

SE Wisconsin is known as “zone 5” in the horticulture world. Each zone has a different minimum extreme temperature to help determine how hardy a plant needs to be when planting. The best types of plants for SE Wisconsin are perennials which are planted, bloom in spring, “die,” then regrow the following spring. Because of our extreme temperatures, “year round” plants aren’t recommended. Annuals are okay for WIsconsin as long as they are planted after the final frost which typically happens mid April. Always wait until temperatures are consistently above freezing before planting!

Now that we understand a little more about why we can and can’t plant certain types of plants in Wisconsin, here are some of our favorite hardy options perfect for our inconsistent weather! 

  1. Purple Coneflowers. We love these because they are great pollinators and can bloom multiple times before the first frost occurs! They are very easy to care for and require limited maintenance. When they begin to look dreary and wilted simply cut off the top of the plant and wait for it to bloom again!
  2. Lavender. Lavender is beautiful, smells amazing, and is perfect for smaller gardens or grown in pots on your deck! Lavender will continue to grow with proper and simple grooming. 
  3. Ferns. Ferns are perfect for any shady environment and can even withstand below freezing temperatures. They are excellent fillers for other greenery and come in a few different variations. Ferns require minimal attention and love organic material like compost. 
  4. Jacob’s Ladder. Much like ferns, jacob’s ladder plans require very little attention and will continue to rebloom. The best part? They are deer resistant! They thrive in shade and moist ground. 
  5. Poppy. Poppies are the perfect plant to add some color into  your garden without taking up a ton of space. Poppies are relatively simple to care for and only require easy grooming to help make way for new buds. 
  6. Delphinium. Delphiniums are similar in looks to jacob’s ladder. They are tall, purple in color, and stacked buds that seem to get a bad reputation for being difficult. All they need is compost or other organic material, constant moisture, and sun! If you have any gardening experience at all they are the perfect option for height and color in your yard. 
  7. Fruit Trees: Apples, pears, peaches, plums, persimmons, cherries, pawpaws, and apricots are all fruits that do really well in colder climates. If you’re starting from a seed, the first year is crucial that you follow instructions and take close care of fruit trees, but after the tree is more mature they require little work. 
  8. Herbs: Some herbs that do well in zone 5 are sorrel, chives, thyme, parsley, mint, and sage. Do some research on the specific herbs you’d like to plant as each can be very different in what they require to thrive. 
  9. Other Produce: Asparagus, rhubarb, ramps(related to an onion), as well as most berries will do well with proper care in Wisconsin. Pay close attention to the specific needs of each crop and it should do well for many years!
  10. Hostas. Possibly  the most common perennial in the Midwest is the hosta! They are extremely hardy and will continue to thrive year after year with just simple care. They love shade and damp soil. In the hotter months they should be watered 3 times a week, but less often in the cooler months! 

Every plant is very unique in its needs, so it’s important for you to pay attention to each to ensure that they’re thriving! We wish we could talk about every different option you have in this article, unfortunately that would take forever! If you’re looking for a garden overhaul and need some help from the professionals, give us a call to discuss your wants and needs! We’ll get you started with a free consultation and estimate!