Resources for Finding Native Plants
I love using native plants in my designs, because they not only look lovely, but also support the birds, bees, and other insects that live all around us. They do this by providing shelter, food, protection, and a place for many animals to lay their eggs.
Although they are becoming more popular, identifying native plants for your area and then finding a nursery or greenhouse that sells them is kind of a challenge. Here are some resources I use when I design that make the process much easier!
Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Database
The LBJ Wildflower Database has a section devoted just to native plants, and it is a life saver! You can search by scientific or common name, but far more useful is the ability to search by state. In other words, if I want a list of all plants native to, say, Rhode Island, I can search by, well, Rhode Island!
And, you can further refine your search by growth habit, bloom time, and life cycle. It's really helpful, and my most highly recommended resource!
If you already know what you want to plant, and just need to find a place that sells it, Plant Native is perfect! You can search for nurseries, community organizations, and other resources that will help you find places to buy.
Plus, Plant Native provides recommended planting and landscaping guides, as well as a great book list. Basically, once you have a list of plants, visit this site to find places that sell them!
Honestly, you might not be able to find a local nursery or greenhouse that sells native plants. If that is the case, it's time to consider seed companies! There are several that specialize in heirloom, non-gmo, or native seeds, and you can probably find several plants on your list. I recommend starting with the following:
Baker Street Heirloom Seed Company - specializes in hard to find seeds. They offer seeds from all over the world, so if you know what you want, this is the place you will probably find it!
D. Landreth Seed Company - one of the oldest seed companies in the US, they provide heirloom and open pollinated seeds.
Seed Savers Exchange - members of the exchange collect heirloom seeds from all over the United States, and offer many of them for sale here.
Using native plants in your landscape is a great option, and every year there are more options for the homeowner (and the designer!). I hope you'll find some of these resources helpful, and that they'll make it easier for you to plant a few natives in your garden this year!
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