What's a "native plant?" Native plants have been around for hundreds (even thousands) of years, so they have adapted to the local growing seasons, climate, and soils. This makes them easier to grow than imported, exotic plants.
Native plant gardens look great! Plants come in a wide variety of shapes, colors, and sizes, so you can customize your garden to fit your personal style.
Native plants are good for the environment because they require less water, fertilizer, and pesticides than the exotics found in many gardens today. Native plants also attract more birds, butterflies, and other watchable wildlife than non-natives.
How Do You Know Which Plants Are “Native”?
The National Park Service
provides lists of native plants for different geographic regions. The site includes soil and moisture preferences for native plants, shrubs, and trees as well as blooming months and colors.
The Ladybird Johnson Wildflower Center
provides a national list of native plants by state along with images showing the plant in bloom. You can also access information about plants preferred by butterflies or bees and plants that are deer-resistant and narrow your search by color, sun or shade requirements, plant size, and other categories. This site also has a native plant database
that provides photos and additional information about these plants.
Where Can You Buy Native Plants?
Unfortunately, you probably won’t find too many native plants at “big box” home improvement stores. Check with a local nursery to see if they offer native plants or seeds for planting. You can also check with your local botanical garden or park about native plant sales.
Your state native plant society
may list local native plant nurseries and plant sales on its Web site. The Ladybird Johnson Center Web site also includes a national directory of native plant suppliers by state