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You hear more and more about them and also come across them more often at plant markets with specialized growers; wild and heme plants. How come? What are the differences? And are they better or worse than the normal plants you see at garden centers?



  • Wild plants and (in) heme (se) plants are actually the same thing.
  • The perennials you buy today are adaptations of wild and (in) heme (se) plants.
  • You could call wild and (in) heme (se) plants the basic plants of today’s species.
  • Wild and (in) heme (se) plants often attract other, better (much more useful) insects than the processed species.
  • With the disappearance of Wild plants, the beneficial insects also disappeared.
  • Because many useful insects have disappeared, diseases and pests such as oak processionary caterpillars arise
  • By planting wild and (in) heme (se) plants again, beneficial insects return.
  • You can also ensure sufficient beneficial insects with the right combination of processed plant species.


You have to remember that in the past, when there were no cultivators, all plants arose spontaneously or were applied centuries before by Mother Nature. The climate, the soil and the fact that people let them go about their business undisturbed meant that nature itself regulated which plants did best in a certain place and which did not. This involved much more than just plants; insects, birds, butterflies, bees and underground ‘life’ also played a role.

The system, as it were, kept itself in shape and maintained. Pests and diseases were repelled because natural enemies were always around to attack them. The natural enemies were there because there were the right plants to live on. And the residues of all animal life in turn ensured the growth of existing and new plants. It could always have remained that way if ‘humans’ had not intervened. Then the plants that were naturally best in place there would have grown everywhere. We call these plants native or heme plants. If you grow the native or heme plants in places where they did not occur naturally but do thrive, we call them wild plants. All plants that arise or grow naturally in a place are therefore called wild plants.


Wild plants are often thought of as plants that become wild, plants that are difficult to control, plants that proliferate. That’s a misconception! Wild plants are not by definition naturalizing plants, on the contrary. We have to go back again. In origin all plants are the same. They originated somewhere in nature or have been there for centuries.

by human intervention; think of agriculture, livestock, grazing, construction and deforestation, many of the originally present wild plant species have disappeared. Only the toughest species survived and are still there, for example the nettle, the thistle, ground elder, etc. etc.

Well, and these species proliferate to such an extent that they were and are soon called ‘wild plants’. In fact it is also true, but there are also so many wild species that have remained intact by nature that do not proliferate but provide added value in terms of color and scent and are very important for the interaction with insects, birds and soil life. We don’t actually have an extra name for the non-wild plants. In practice, however, these are the plants that are created by the cultivation of the growers and breeders. They crossed the original strain with other strains. They went looking for an even more beautiful color for the Tulip, a darker leaf for the Hosta and more flower and fragrance for the Rose. Then we all started to put those new species in places where the wild species used to be. And all that wouldn’t be so bad if the processed species, also called cultivated species, had the same qualities for our environment, the interaction with the bees, birds, butterflies… the ecosystem. Unfortunately that is not the case.


Many of the cultivated species we cultivate have ‘different qualities’ than the original wild native species. They have a nicer colour, they are less susceptible to aphids or spider mites and they spread a different odour. Sometimes they are so different in shape that bees can’t even reach their nectar and stamens. You already feel it; the qualities so valued by man are sometimes simply less appreciated by insects and even smaller animals.

It goes even further; much of that all-important animal, flutter and buzzing life disappears if there is too little for them to heal from the cultivated plants. And as always, the bad guys remain. Plagues such as the oak processionary caterpillar could have arisen because their natural (useful) enemies had disappeared. The useful critters and certain bee species have disappeared or become extinct because there were no longer the right plants for them.


It’s not that you ca n’t create a good ecosystem in your garden with normal (the cultivated) plants. That’s possible. You just have to make sure you choose good varieties that create a good cycle. Plants that have the right attraction for birds, bees, butterflies and all kinds of other beneficial insects. In practice, these types of plants are often referred to as ‘host plants’. Sometimes you also read it on the herbivore. In addition to choosing the right plant, you also have to keep an eye on the soil life. Good permeability and airiness always ensure more life.

It is good to know that wild and heme plants are often simply better than cultivated varieties that require a lot of care. After all, wild plants are not literally wild, but have their own qualities that can really come into their own in your garden. Building a cycle (ecosystem) is therefore possible with wild, native and ‘normal’ plants, but it can also be a combination. If everyone would only think about it, our world would become a lot more beautiful and healthier.

Fortunately, there are also parties that can help with your search. Appeltern Garden experts can advise you about the soil and the right plant choices. A border plan tailored to your garden is also part of this. Our product partners Lageijzer and Cruydt-Hoeck cultivate ‘normal’ and wild plants. Cruydt-Hoeck even puts together wild flower mixtures tailored to your garden!


Yarrow Achillea millefolium
Wild Bertram Achillea ptarmica
Creeping sage green Ajuga reptans
lady’s mantle Alchemilla vulgaris
Chives Allium schoenoprasum
Marshmallows, High Mallow, Pintail Root, Tooth Root, White Malva Althaea officinalis
big angelica Angelica archangelica
marram grass Ammophila arenaria
Ordinary Ox tongue Anchusa officinalis
Big Angelica Angelica archangelica
Ordinary Fragrance Grass Anthoxanthum odoratum
wound clover Anthyllis vulneraria
Columbine Aquilegia vulgaris
mugwort Artemisia vulgaris
Tongue fern Asplenium scolopendrium
saxifrage fern Asplenium trichomanes
female fern Athyrium filix-femina
Real Ballote ballota nigra
Just Barbara herb barbarea vulgaris
double haul Blechnum spicy
Beavers, vibrating grass briza media
clew clock Campanula glomerata
meadow bell Campanula patula
Field bell, Bellflower Campanula rapunculoides
Rapunzel clock Campanula rapunculus
harebell Campanula rotundifolia
rough bell Campanula trachelium
Pentecost flower Cardamine talking sis
finger sedge Carex digitata
Hanging Sedge carex pendula
Just Knapweed Centaurea jacea
great centaury Centaurea scabiosa
Brush wreath Clinopodium vulgare
Lily of the Valley Convallaria majalis
wall snapdragon Cymbalaria muralis
Raw Smele Deschampsia cespitosa
Winding Smel Deschampsia flexuosa
Carthusian carnation Dianthus carthusianorum
stone carnation Dianthus deltoides
Carnation Dianthus superbus
Just foxglove, pipe head, doll shoe Digitalis purpurea
Large Sand cabbage Diplotaxis tenuifolia
teasel Dipsacus fullonum
heart leaf sunflower Doronicum pardalianches
male fern Dryopteris filix-mas
heart leaf sunflower Doronicum pardalianches
Nodding Fireweed Epilobium angustifolium
spurge Euphorbia cyparissias
giant grass Festuca gigantea
Fescue Grass, Sheep Grass Festuca ovina
Large Wild Strawberry Fragaria moschata
wild strawberry Fragaria vesca
sweet woodruff
Yellow Walstraw galium verum
dark cranesbill Geranium phaeum
Cranesbill Geranium pratense
Cranesbill Geranium sanguineum
Nodding Avens
Yellow Avens Geum urbanum
damask flower Hesperis matronalis
hawkweed Hieracium aurantiacum
Crooked Hawkweed Hieracium malculatum “Leopard”
mouse ear Hieracium pilosella
St. John’s wort Hypericum perforate
Yellow Lis Iris pseudacorus
We the Isatis tinctoria
Beemdkrone Knautia arvensis
Yellow Dead Nettle Lamiastrum galeobdolon
heart strain Leonurus cardiaca
Ordinary Daisy Leucanthemum vulgare
flax beak Linaria vulgaris
scroll clover Lotus corniculatus
Judas coin Lunaria annua
Wild Judas Medal Lunaria rediviva
white field rush Luzula luzuloides
hairy field rush Luzula pilosa
large field rush Luzula sylvatica
big reunion Lysimachia vulgaris
Real cuckoo flower Lychnis flos-cuculi
pennywort Lysimachia Nummularia
Great Redhead Lysimachia vulgaris
big cat’s tail Lythrum salicaria
Five-part mallow Malva alcea
large mallow Malva sylvestris
penny Mentha pulegium
Pipestraw Molinia caerulea
cat thorn Ononis spinosa
road thistle Onopordum nervosum
Wild Marjoram Origanum vulgare
Wild Marjoram Origanum vulgare wilform
royal fern Osmunda regalis
Knotweed Persicaria bistorta
Big Butterbur Petasites hybridus
Little Bevernel Pimpinella saxifrage
Rough Plantain Plantago media
Ordinary Solomon’s Seal Polygonatum multiflorum
Common Oak Fern Polypodium vulgare
Felt Ganzerik Potentilla argentea
Slim Primrose Primula elatior
Golden Primrose Primula veris
Ordinary Brunel, Bijenkorfje Prunella vulgaris
wild man’s herb Pulsatilla vulgaris
Immaculate Lungwort Pulmonaria obscura
hedgehog buttercup Ranunculus flammula
Wild Reseda Reseda lutea
Sorrel Rumex acetosa
rue Ruta graveolens
field sage salvia pratensis
Clary Sage, Clary Sage salvia sclarea
sage Salvia verticillata
pimpernel Sanguisorba minor
soapwort Saponaria officinalis
pigeon herb
Blue Skullcap Scutellaria galericulata
Variegated Crownwort Securigera miscellaneous
white stonecrop
Tripmadam, spiced Sedum refelxum
Saw blade Serratula tinctoria
Besanjelier Silene Baccifera
Fork Silene Silene dichotoma
day cuckoo flower Silene dioica
Real cuckoo flower Silene flos-cuculi
Night Silene Silene Nutans
bladder silene Silene vulgaris
Real Goldenrod Solidago virgaurea
concrete Stachys officinalis
Blue Button Succisa pratensis
tansy Tanacetum vulgare
Real Gamer Teucrium chamaedrys
False Sage Teucrium scorodonia
Small Diamond Thalictrum minus
Coltsfoot Tussilago farfara
Valerian Valeriana officinalis
Torch, stalk candle Verbascum densiflorum
Black Torch Verbascum nigrum
royal candle Verbascum thapsus
Iron-hard verbena officinalis
Speedwell, Broad Speedwell Veronica austriaca teucrium
Speedwell Veronica longifolia
Male prize Veronica officinalis
Lesser Periwinkle Vinca minor
dog violet Viola canina
March Violet Viola odorata


Because more and more gardeners, designers and gardeners are discovering the added value of the original perennial varieties, growers are growing more and more of those varieties and offering them for sale. This concerns the smell, the colour, the vigor, but also their effect on the beneficial insects. With more wild and (in) heme (se) plants, a better ecosystem is created where diseases and pests have less chance. There are hundreds of varieties, here’s a suggestion from the Lageijzer assortment.

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