Native Plants and Calculators

Use Regional Native Plants

Native plants are species that are indigenous to a specific region, for example, the Chesapeake Bay watershed. They are adapted to the local soil and climate. As people moved from the Old World to the Americas, they brought exotic plants, and frequently changed the landscapes to resemble those that they knew in Europe and elsewhere. The result of the tendency to try to reproduce plants and plant arrangements from other countries is that thousands of acres of turf grass and many alien invasive species have been introduced.

Native plant benefits include:

• Best adapted to local conditions, for example, no need to use chemical fertilizers.
• Water conservation, that is, once plants are established in the right place, no need for supplemental watering.
• Reduced maintenance over the long run. While native plants are not maintenance-free, if they are placed in the landscape based on their preferred conditions, they require less care than non-native species.
• Won't harm natural areas, e.g., won't become invasive.
• High habitat value provides food, shelter, and nesting areas for wildlife.
• Great variety of species for all conditions and create a "sense of place."

Click here to browse the web version and to download Native Plants for Wildlife Habitat and Conservation Landscaping: Chesapeake Bay Watershed,produced by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.  Click here for an online searchable version of the guide.

Select Plant Type:
Botanical Name     Common Name
Acer rubrum

Common Name: Red Maple


Acer saccharum

Common Name: Sugar Maple

Sugar maple has a dense, rounded crown and is one of the trees responsible for giving New England its reputation for spectacular fall color, as the medium green leaves turn brilliant yellow or red-orange in autumn. The familiar two-winged "helico...

Adiantum pedatum

Common Name: Maidenhair Fern

Dainty bright green fronds are held aloft on shiny black stems creating a light, airy texture in the woodland garden. In rich soil and bright shade it will spread by shallow rhizomes to form a dense groundcover. Found in the humus-rich woodla...

Allium cernuum

Common Name: Nodding Onion / Nodding Wild Onion

Easy to identify by its distinctive, nodding, pastel lilac-pink flowers in late spring, Nodding Onion thrives in challenging sites such as hot sun and gravely soil. It is strikingly beautiful and is well-suited a formal or wild garden, as well as...

Amelanchier canadensis

Common Name: Serviceberry / Shadbush

One of the first native trees with showy flowers to bloom, serviceberry has slightly fragrant, white flowers in drooping clusters that are quite conspicuous because they appear before the leaves emerge. The nectar attracts butterflies and other p...

Amorpha fruticosa

Common Name: Indigo Bush

Indigo Bush, Amorpha fruticosa, is a loose shrub with fine textured, fragrant foliage. Brilliant purple spikes of flowers cover the foliage from April to June. Amorpha fruticosa makes a great native substitute for Butterfly Bush and is great in spots...

Andropogon gerardii

Common Name: Big Bluestem

The king of native grasses, Big Bluestem has handsome gray to blue-green stems in spring turning to green alternating with deep red in summer then to coppery red in fall. Three fingered seed heads top tall stems in August. Clump forming with excellen...

Aquilegia canadensis

Common Name: Wild Columbine / Eastern Red Columbine

Wild columbine is easy-to-grow. Deep red and yellow nodding flowers top blue-green foliage for many weeks in spring. This is a good choice for shade gardens, woodland gardens, rock gardens and naturalized areas....

Aronia arbutifolia

Common Name: (Photinia pyriflolia) Red Chokeberry

This deciduous shrub has it all! Fruit for the birds, nectar for insects, cover for wildlife and multi-season beauty. Clusters of spring blooming white to pinkish flowers provide loads of nectar for pollinators. Dense clusters of glossy red fruit...

Asarum canadense

Common Name: Wild Ginger / Canadian Wildginger

Wild ginger is a native spring wildflower that makes a lovely groundcover with its satiny, heart-shaped leaves. Pollinated by ants, its unique purplish brown flowers appear beneath the leaves in spring. Flowers are quite attractive on close inspe...

Asclepias incarnata

Common Name: Swamp Milkweed

Swamp milkweed has big heads of rose pink, sweetly scented flowers. It's not unusual to see two or three butterflies on a single flower at the same time. Swamp milkweed grows naturally in wet soil but also grows well in regular garden soil. <...

Asclepias tuberosa

Common Name: Butterfly Weed

Butterfly weed produces many bright orange, flat-topped flower clusters in early June. Flowering goes on for many weeks. Green pods full of seeds with silky white hairs follow the flowers. This is an essential plant if you want to attract a varie...

Aster novae-angliae

Common Name: (Symphyotrichum n.a.) New England Aster

New England Aster produces warm, deep pink blooms without interruption for 4-6 weeks, beginning in early September. A bright color for the fall garden, it provides nectar for butterflies and cover for birds and other small animals.


Athyrium filix-femina

Common Name: Lady Fern

Handsome crowns of feathery fronds are typical of Lady Ferns. Delicate and lacy with arching fronds and feathery texture, Athyrium filix-femina is a strong-growing and dependable garden plant. Tough and easy to grow, this beauty is the right choice f...