Some Sources of Native Plants in 2016


Tiger Swallowtail nectaring on Sweet Pepperbush

Once hooked on wildlife gardening with native plants, it can be a real challenge to find native plants.  Yes a few have been mainstreamed, and the nursery down the street may carry them.  But beware of cultivars of native plant.  Cultivars are plants created or selected for specific characteristics such as early blooming or color, often at the expense of nectar, berries (the plants may be sterile), and sometimes even the leaf chemistry is changed so the plant can no longer be used as a caterpillar plant.  We (wildlife gardeners) want the nectar, the berries, and we want the leaf chemistry intact so our butterflies can create the next generation!

Be careful too of where you buy milkweeds and other native plants.  Many plants sold at big box stores have been treated with insecticides called neonicitinoids.  Monarch caterpillars will die eating these plants!  Read more HERE and in Wild Ones excellent article, “Where have all the insects gone?

Clemenson Sale-5-3-14-byPSutton

Clemenson Farms Native Nursery, their May 3, 2014 Retail Sale Day

To help folks get to good and safe sources of native plants I’ve put together a list for those of us living in New Jersey, eastern Pennsylvania, and eastern Maryland.  The list is weighted heavily for southern New Jersey.  I use it as a handout when I teach workshops or give programs.  I continue to update it as I learn of new sources, so keep checking back.  Here is my latest edition:

Some Sources of NATIVE PLANTS: 2016

by Patricia Sutton (pdf)

updated 8-29-16

Be sure to also check Find Native Plants by my good friend Carole Brown, covering all over the US and Canada.



  1. Kevin Stepanuk says:

    Our minds are now completely blown. I put all of the freebie plants the homeowners gave us on Friday’s tour in one area of our lawn while awaiting to plant them. A beautiful orange butterfly swept into our barren lawn, bypassed every mature bush and plant and went directly to the baby milkweeds. We were astounded. I spent the afternoon removing a mature burning bush, that had not a sign of insect life on it, nor any leave eaten and made a home for our new plants.

    We will write each homeowner and thank them, but thanks to you Pat for making a difference and making the time to help educate us and expose us to an entirely different world of gardening.

    Kevin & Kathe Stepanuk

    • Kevin & Kathe, so glad you could join us for Friday’s Tour of Private Wildlife Gardens. And HOW VERY NEAT that a butterfly found your new baby milkweed gift plants from one of the garden owners. WOW – what a stamp of approval! Thank you so much for sharing. Too, too sweet! I look forward to seeing you again. Pat

  2. I am in Missouri. When I look at plants not from my usual source, I write down the brand name, then come home and research that brand. What an education! A lot of what is sold around here is Proven Winners. My search gave me a direct hit for PW and neonicotinoids, “Protecting Pollinators in the Garden.” This was from April 2014 and the policy may have changed. There was an impressive header from Michigan State University. I was thinking, Great! But then I continued reading. “At this time insecticide use is NOT considered to be a direct cause of Colony Collapse Disorder.” I might have put “DIRECT” in caps, too, but that’s just me. Anyway, I’ve learned that plants are often started by one grower and “finished” by another so you have to do thorough research.
    I understand that now some of the big box stores are labeling whether neonics were used or not.

  3. Marian Jordan says:

    Someone called me from a Linwood Arboretum listing to ask about landscapers who know how to replace lawn with natives. Do you know of any in the area?


  1. […] native plants in 2015 than EVER!   Access my “Some Sources of Native Plants: 2015″ HERE (updated 4-25-15) to learn of other […]

Speak Your Mind