Definition

Native species are plants, 🍄︎ fungi or 🐟︎ 🐢︎🐇︎ animals that:

To learn more about using native plants in landscaping


  1. See the video above or to left, on creating the Forest Garden:  integrating local ecology, food production, and our desired lifestyle.  For full effect, select the video image, then icons  fullscreen,  captions , ▶︎ Play, and ⏯︎ ☒ Skip Ads.
     
  2. In 🇨🇦 Canada and the 🇺🇸 USA, please see this list of native plant societies.
     
  3. In 🇺🇸 USA's center and east, attend ⟰ educational programs and field trips of your local chapter of Wild Ones (native plant enthusiasts Healing the earth, one yard at a time) (Facebook).   In Ohio, please see the Midwest Native Plant Society.
     
  4. In 🇺🇸 USA's New England, attend ⟰ educational programs and field trips of the Native Plant Trust (formerly New England Wild Flower Society).

  5. Watch videos above or to left, of Doug Tallamy talk 🔥︎💦︎🌱︎☀︎🌾︎🐛︎🐦︎ Plant Natives in , or talk It's For the Birds in .  For full effect, select a video image, then icons  fullscreen,  captions , ▶︎ Play, and ⏯︎ ☒ Skip Ads.

    Or read anything by Doug Tallamy, such as article "Gardening for Life."  Wild Ones Journal.  Adobe Acrobat Reader file (2 pages) or book Bringing Nature Home:  How You Can Sustain Wildlife with Native Plants. —explains why and how🔥︎💦︎🌱︎☀︎🌾︎🐛︎🐦︎!
  6. Awesome Wild Ones handbook Landscaping with Native PlantsAdobe Acrobat Reader file (page 2)
  7. Look into film Hometown Habitat by Catherine Zimmerman—the best explanation I have seen!
    Trailer and 37-min interview with trailer at end.   For full effect, select a link button, then icons  fullscreen, and ▶︎ Play.
    Film review.   The film itself (check groups above for group showings).
  8. Listen to the native plant podcast (can right-click Download > Save As), and Joe Lamp'l's The joe gardener Show podcasts (Download or ▶︎ Play).
  9. Listen to podcasts, view videos, or read articles at EcoBeneficial! with Kim Eierman.   Thanks for the tip, Amy!
  10. In 🇨🇦 Canada and the 🇺🇸 USA, for recommendations on which species to plant, please see the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center's special collections.
  11. Read Rain Garden 101, Iowa Rain Garden Design and Installation Manual, including size and cost,  Adobe Acrobat Reader file (page 8) and rain garden (rainscaping)[?] and prairie site selection, design, 🚧 construction and management.  Adobe Acrobat Reader file
  12. Read about Plant Hardiness Zones vs. Ecoregions and lots of other articles from Habitat Network/Yardmap/Cornell Lab of Ornithology.
  13. Questions to ask—a Natural Areas Site Analysis Guide.  Adobe Acrobat Reader file
  14. Learn more buttons at bottom of this page.

To learn about sustainable landscaping

image from Growing A Greener World video Sustainable Landscape Design, select to view video

  1. See the video above or to left, on sustainable landscape design, from Growing A Greener World.

    For full effect, select the video image, then icons ▶︎ Play,  fullscreen,  captions , and ⏯︎ ☒ Skip Ads.

To plan native landscaping in North America

First, your jurisdiction may have rules about what kind of tree you may plant:

Second, you may want to see your site's pre-settlement vegetation cover:

Third, you may want to see your site's current land use:

Write down your results for use later, in step 5.

Fourth, if you haven't found anything actionable above:

Write down your results for use later, in step 5.

Fifth, investigate which plants are associated with the natural communities above:

Now we know!

When:

  • shopping for 🌱︎☙🌳︎ seeds/​plants/​shrubs/​trees, and
  • deciding when to plant them,
it is good to know your:


For example, doing this, we found that our favorite site's Plant Hardiness Zone is 6a:  -23 to -21 °C (-10 to -5 °F).  That seems about right — we probably get down to that temperate maybe one winter in four, and close to it for a week or two most winters.

If you buy a seed/​plant/​shrub/​tree labelled with a zone higher than your own, it may die in your next normal winter.  ☑ Check your seed/​plant/​shrub/​tree's tag or package!

If you live in 🇺🇸 USA-48, you can get this information, together with typical growing times, in these nice Vegetable Planting Schedules.

If you live in high-elevation Hawai'i, southern Alaska, or  🇨🇦 southern or maritime Canada, you can see the same Vegetable Planting Schedules > Plant Hardiness Zones 3-9.

On the other hand, limitations of Plant Hardiness Zones.

To help 🐝︎ pollinators, 🌳︎🐝︎ Trees for Bees recommends planting native bigleaf maple  Acer macrophyllum, northern or hardy catalpa  Catalpa speciosa, eastern redbud  Cercis canadensis, flowering dogwood  Cornus florida, 🌷︎ American tulip tree  Liriodendron tulipifera, southern crabapple  Malus angustifolia, staghorn sumac  Rhus typhina and ◼︎ black willow  Salix nigra.

The Pollinator Partnership offers recommendations for Selecting Plants for 🐝︎ Pollinators.

In the 🇺🇸 USA, Audubon's recommendations of 🐦︎ bird-friendly butterfly-friendly native plants > yourZipCode (no email needed) > button Search.
Michigan Native Plants for 🐦︎ Bird-Friendly Landscapes.  Adobe Acrobat Reader file

Bloom dates for native herbaceous perennial beneficial-insect-attracting plants (Michigan)  Adobe Acrobat Reader file (page 58) bloom dates by month (Missouri)  Adobe Acrobat Reader file bloom dates by plant name (Missouri).  Adobe Acrobat Reader file

In North America's Midwest, native examples of small trees forming the "middle story" of the woodland plant community include American hornbeam or 💪︎ musclewood  Carpinus caroliniana, dogwood  genus Cornus, American witch-hazel  Hamamelis virginiana and American hophornbeam or ⚒ ironwood  Ostrya virginiana.

In Michigan, MSU Native Plants > links Teaching Tools, Regional Plant Lists, Plant Selection, etc.

Kelly D. Norris recommends American smoketree  Cotinus obovatus.

For the small yard, or in regions near Pennsylvania, please see Native Plants for the Small Yard:  Easy, Beautiful Home Gardens that Support Local Ecology  Adobe Acrobat Reader file (about).

"The Right Native Plants in the Right Landscape Means Fewer Allergies."  Wild Ones Journal.  Adobe Acrobat Reader file (pages 1, 20, 21 and 23)  (🔒︎ Wild Ones members only)

References

[5]  MacCleery, Doug.  "A Brief History of Virginia's Forests."  Lecture, George Mason University GMU Osher Lifelong Learning Institute OLLI, Fairfax, VA.  .  Presentation accessed .

To buy or trade native plants or seeds

Sources of information, plants and seeds:


While selecting your plants and seeds, this author recommends you:

For example, if ◼︎ 🍁︎ red maple  Acer rubrum is native to your region:

"Guidelines for Selecting Native Plants:  The Importance of Local Ecotype."  Wild Ones Journal.  Adobe Acrobat Reader file (page 3)  (🔒︎ Wild Ones members only)   "Nativars: Where do they fit in?"  Wild Ones Journal.  Adobe Acrobat Reader file (pages 1, 4 and 5)  (🔒︎ Wild Ones members only)
"Nativars (Native Cultivars):  What We Know & Recommend" by Becca Rodomsky-Bish.  Habitat Network.  .   Accessed .

When:

  • shopping for 🌱︎☙🌳︎ seeds/​plants/​shrubs/​trees, and
  • deciding when to plant them,
it is good to know your:


For example, doing this, we found that our favorite site's Plant Hardiness Zone is 6a:  -23 to -21 °C (-10 to -5 °F).  That seems about right — we probably get down to that temperate maybe one winter in four, and close to it for a week or two most winters.

If you buy a seed/​plant/​shrub/​tree labelled with a zone higher than your own, it may die in your next normal winter.  ☑ Check your seed/​plant/​shrub/​tree's tag or package!

If you live in 🇺🇸 USA-48, you can get this information, together with typical growing times, in these nice Vegetable Planting Schedules.

If you live in high-elevation Hawai'i, southern Alaska, or  🇨🇦 southern or maritime Canada, you can see the same Vegetable Planting Schedules > Plant Hardiness Zones 3-9.

On the other hand, limitations of Plant Hardiness Zones.

"Why Hardiness Zones, Native Ranges, Ecoregions?"  Wild Ones Journal.  Adobe Acrobat Reader file  (🔒︎ Wild Ones members only)

Radio/podcast interview with Doug Tallamy "How effective are nativars?"  A Way to Garden.com.  . or its 🔊︎ audio

This author also recommends you get plants and seeds that are not treated with neonicotinoid neonic insecticides:  imidacloprid, acetamiprid, clothianidin, nitenpyram, nithiazine, thiacloprid and thiamethoxam.  I read that it could be months before your plants are visited by pollinators, or can provide food for your 🐦︎ local birds.  Seeds harvested from these next-generation plants are probably OK.  Unless your seeds are of a variety that requires these insecticides to do well.  (Remedy:  Use an organic seed company like High Mowing Organic Seeds.   Although going with this vendor may negate choosing a local genotype.)

When you buy,check the tag:

  • No ' ' single-quotes, nor or ® trademark.  And depending on details, containing subsp. or var. .
  • Not treated with neonicotinoid neonic insecticides.
  • Not seed-sterile.
  • Has a Plant Hardiness Zone equal to or lower than for your site.

References

[6]  Ryan Pankau, Horticulture Educator, Illinois Extension, at group presentation "Natives vs. Nativars — Do Cultivars of Native Flora Support Native Fauna?" attended by EP.   Accessed .

[7]  "Picking Plants for Pollinators:  The Cultivar Conundrum."  Xerces Society.  .   Accessed .

[8]  Based on the above blog, this is now being studied by Nativars Research Project, by budburst, a project of botanic gardens in Chicago, Denver and San Diego.   To observe pollinators, they are seeking help from interested citizens scientists across the 🇺🇸 USA.

[9]  "What makes those Proven Winners plants so special?"  VillageSoup.  .   Accessed .

To buy or trade native plants or seeds in Michigan near Kent County and Grand Rapids

Year-round:  Growers in the Native Plant Guild NPG.

Native plant sales of which we are aware (these dates change frequently—please 📅︎ verify dates with applicable organization!):

Learn more about sustainable landscaping and gardening with native plants

native gardening terminology

🔍︎ 🔍︎ images Discover Life Flora of North America USFS Wikipedia