Native Plants

What is a native plant?

A plant that is a part of the balance of nature that has developed over hundreds or thousands of years in a particular region or ecosystem. (USDA definition)

Why garden with native plants?

Native plants were here long before lawnmowers, sprinklers and garden chemicals. They have evolved over thousands of years and, as such, have adapted to local conditions. Once established they are low maintenance and do not require care typically associated with gardens. Native perennials build a strong, deep root system before focusing on the production of leaves, stems and flowers, resulting in plants that are sturdy and drought tolerant.
Native plants also benefit us by:

– providing food and habitat for wildlife – contributing to biodiversity – connecting us to our home places and helping us celebrate the things that make our regions unique – teaching us about the world of nature

And last, but not least, they’re beautiful!

Wild Ones members share their perspectives:

Backyard Gardening for Nature by Michelle Kalantari (PDF)

Improving the Environment One Rain Garden at a Time

Tips for Native Plant Gardeners

Go to this page to learn about: Matching Your Plants to Your Site, Preparing Your Site, Planting Your Seeds and Seedlings, Maintaining Your Native Garden, Invasive Species

Native Plant Notebook

Go to this page for descriptions and photos of common native plants.  Whenever possible each plant entry lists the caterpillars it is host to, butterflies it supplies nectar to, and the pollinators it attracts.

Tips for Attracting Pollinators

Go to this page to learn which native plants are most attractive to pollinators, plant-bee specialist relationships, and how to make your yard a pollinator magnet.

Grants to Help Fund a Native Garden

Go to this page for information about the Lawns to Legumes program and funding available from local watershed districts.

Attracting Birds to Your Garden with Native Plants, 38 pages, fully illustrated with color photos, produced by Wild Ones Prairie Edge Chapter.  Available at no charge, but a donation to Wild Ones Big River Big Woods is appreciated.  To order a copy, send an email to contact@ or through the “Contact” page on this website.

Photo Contest Winners

Identification guides