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Root for your favorite native plant in Rain Garden Rumble playoff

Text "Rain Garden Rumble" with illustrations of native plants

URBANA, Ill. — It’s plant versus plant in the return of the Rain Garden Rumble that pits native flowers against each other in a friendly competition to take home the 2024 title. This March, get to know 28 plants native to Illinois by building a bracket and voting for your favorites in the annual plant playoff coordinated by the Red Oak Rain Garden, University of Illinois Extension, and Illinois-Indiana Sea Grant.

“This is our fifth year for the contest, formerly known as Mulch Madness, and we’re excited that it continues to grow with returning native plant fans and new enthusiasts,” said C. Eliana Brown, Extension and Illinois-Indiana Sea Grant water quality and stormwater specialist. “It’s a really fun way to learn about the features of different native plants, their benefits, and how to include them in home gardens, including rain gardens.”

The contest runs from March 19 to April 5 and participants can vote for their favorite plants on social media. There, they can find more information about the native plant contenders, such as Virginia bluebells, the defending champion swamp milkweed, and more.

To play, download a bracket at Fill it out and submit it by March 18 to Then, vote daily starting March 19 on the Red Oak Rain Garden Facebook page and Instagram account.

The Red Oak Rain Garden is a demonstration landscape on the Champaign-Urbana campus managed by University of Illinois Extension and Illinois-Indiana Sea Grant staff. Explore more about rainfall management, including rain gardens, at

If you need a reasonable accommodation to participate, please contact C. Eliana Brown at (217) 265-0760 or

About Extension

Illinois Extension leads public outreach for University of Illinois by translating research into action plans that allow Illinois families, businesses, and community leaders to solve problems, make informed decisions, and adapt to changes and opportunities. Illinois Extension is part of the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign College of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences.