Tuesday, April 4, 2017

Where are the native plants in our nurseries and garden centers?

I had a less than inspiring outing this afternoon to simply refresh the wooden box on our front porch.

It currently has an overgrown Carex, a Heuchera "Purple Palace," and a robust Japanese Polygonum, with a remnant patch of a sedum.

It needs total reworking, but as I told my gardening companion, it needs to have some seasonal change!

We go in and out that door every day, and although I do enjoy dwarf conifers, they don't exactly change much over time (that was his suggestion).

Aromatic aster
My visit to two of our good nurseries, and one to a local big box store, didn't provide much inspiration or any good plants. The Heuchera cultivars that the nurseries offered were quite awful (from my point of view), totally unnatural in color and form.

I bought French Tarragon at Reems Creek Nursery and a Heuchera cultivar at Lowe's (one that had the same characteristics that I'd had before -- "Purple Palace" again.  It's actually a decent-looking cultivar.

But my overall thought was were are the native plants? Where are the pollinator-supporting plants? They were slim to non-existent.

At least the local nurseries had "bee-friendly" labels, documenting the lack of neonicotinoids, but outside of the Coreopsis, Rudbeckia, Salvia, and some of the Echinacea, and a few of the shrubby blueberry relatives, what was really ecologically-sustaining?  Not much, I thought.

We need to keep asking our garden centers and nurseries to add natives.

Yes, I can tell people you need to search them out, find native plant sales, etc., but surely we can support our wholesale (and retail) native plant growers such as North Creek Nurseries, American Meadows, Prairie Nursery, Prairie Moon Nursery, etc. so we have access to them as "mass market" plants, in our local garden centers, too.


  1. I so agree. It's shocking to me to go into every independent garden center and big box store and see the same old same old plants being offered. Let's not even talk about shrubs! I request more natives every time I go there.

    1. I am so tired of seeing those same plants everywhere!

  2. I really enjoyed your post! For the past several years I've sold, among other plants, a lot of natives at the Transylvania Farmers Market, and my experience is that though people say they want natives, they are a hard sell. It is so easy to sell big blooming baskets of begonias rather than the natives I grow, despite the detailed signage I created for these plants. Thanks so much for encouraging the planting of native plants and encouraging gardeners to shop the small independent growers!

    1. Thanks for weighing in! It's small growers that are the backbone of native plant gardening -- thanks for growing them. I'm so glad to support them in my purchases.


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