Growing native plants

I wanted to provide some resources for growing native plants to go along with my recent blog Bird and butterfly garden planning. One very useful website I just found is This website has a wealth of information including regional plant lists, representative native plants with lots of information about them, a native plant nursery finder by state, recommended books and more.

I have mentioned the Wildflower Center before but it is such a great resource I need to describe what you can find on their website.  They have a Native Plant Database with a variety of ways you can search their more the more than 7,000 plants including by both common and scientific names, by recommended species lists for your state or province and even by various combinations of plant characteristics. They have an extensive Image Gallery with more than 30,000 photos of plants with a number of options for searching the list. There are ‘How to’ articles, ‘Step by Step’ guides, drought resources, recommended species by state or province, conservation resources and a ‘Mr. Smarty Plants’ section where you can search for answers to plant questions (and if your question isn’t answered there, you can submit your question).

A great resource for gardeners in New England, the Mid-Atlantic region and the Midwest are the American Beauties Native Plants that are offered by the National Wildlife Federation in partnership with North Creek Nurseries and Prides Corner Farms. According to their website American Beauties Native Plants “offer a line of approximately 130 varieties of native plants and their cultivars–including trees, shrubs, perennials, grasses and vines.” They have a Plant Search webpage that lets you search their offerings by type of plant with either the botanical or common name. Also available on their website are Landscape Plans for Bird Gardens, Dry Shade Gardens, Butterfly Gardens, and Moist Sun Gardens. Plus you can search for a garden center in your area that carries American Beauties Native Plants (I was surprised to find 8 locations in my home state of Colorado).

And fellow Birds and Blooms Magazine blogger Jill included some information on resources for growing native plants in her Finding and Using Native Plants blog.

The well known entomologist and author Doug Talamy provides in the short video clip below a compelling explanation in the short of why it is important to use native plants:

Spring planting season is not far off for most of us, and already here for some. Time to find the information you need to decide which native plants to add to your yard this year to better attract and provide for birds, butterflies and other pollinators.


  1. Beverly says

    Hi! Wanted to let you know Prarie Moon is another native plant online nursery/informative site. They sell seeds and plants and have a center you can tour-I have had lots of luck with everything I have purchased from them.

  2. Constance Reagor says

    I live in Mesa, AZ., about 20mi east of Phoenix. I have to plant in half barrels as I live in a trailer park & can not dig up the yard.
    What can I plant for Hummingbirds and butterflies. And when can I plant tomatoes, I have tried every year to raise them and have no luck at at. Planters are filled with good potting soil, so the soil is loose. I have tried to find bags of “compost” but don’t find any,thought that would help things.
    Thanks for your help. I understand I live in Zone 9.

  3. says

    I was happy to to see the plant you are calling the ‘prairie spiderwart’, they grow wild in our pastures here in east-central Colorado. We call them ‘prairie lillies’ They also do well in the SW part of the Nebraska Panhandle. My daughter and I both have them in our flower beds and they reproduce quite well if they get planty of moisture.

  4. says

    The prarie Lilly ? looks like the one I brought from Fla. was not sure it would grow in zone 6b but it comes back every.
    I never knew what the name was Just loved the color. flowers close in the day time but open up evenings and mornings.
    Drought tollerant too.

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