Chesapeake Bay Field Office
Northeast Region
Native Plants of the Chesapeake Bay Watershed publication


Begin by selecting region-appropriate plants from our online Native Plant Center or the Native Plants Guide. If you live outside the Chesapeake Bay watershed, your local Native Plant Society or local environmental groups and agencies might be able to make some suggestions.

Buy Them

Most nurseries carry some native plants, and some specialize and carry a greater selection. Many native plant societies and arboreta also have plant sales featuring or specializing in native plants.

For very large projects, purchasing large quantities of natives may be a challenge, but if you plan in advance, many native plant nurseries can grow your plants to order.

If you have a favorite plant that you can’t obtain, be sure to ask your local nursery to consider adding it to their stock.

Help to preserve natural areas by purchasing plants that have been grown, not collected: ask nurseries about the source of the native species sold – did they come from seed or cuttings of plants found growing locally, or are they from another region? Ideally, the plants you use should come from stock from the same region—say, within about a 200-mile radius in the same physiographic province (coastal plain, piedmont, or mountain). Differences do exist from region to region even in the same plant species, due to differences in climactic conditions between distant locations. For example, a plant grown in Maine may flower at a different time than the same species grown in Maryland, or they may have slight physical differences. These characteristics make a difference in designing gardens and they matter to wildlife seeking food sources. The more consumers ask for locally grown plants or seed, the more likely it is that nurseries will carry local stock.

Developing areas
Native plants should never be removed from the wild unless an area is about to be developed. Even then, plants should never be removed without permission from the landowner. Also, it is difficult to transplant wild-collected plants and to duplicate their soil and other growth requirements in a home garden. Plants that are grown from seed or cuttings by nurseries generally have a much greater tolerance for garden conditions.

Collect Seeds
As with removing plants, seeds should only be collected with permission of the property owner. In most states it is illegal to collect seeds from public or private lands without permission. As with plant removals, areas where native plants will be destroyed or where future development is set to occur are the best sites for seed collection. In other areas, it is advisable to limit the amount of seed taken from any given plant. Taking one third (or less) of the seed ensures that the plant will sustain itself for future enjoyment and harvest.

Share with Friends
By joining a garden club or sharing plants with like-minded neighbors, many native plants can be obtained for free. You might also find kindred spirits by getting involved with a local native plant society.


Why BayScape?

Choosing Plants

How To

USFWS Plant List

Finding Natives

Other Web Resources


Online Native Plant Center now available to help you find native Plants of the same type, shape color, size and other desirable plant characteristics for creating attractive and more natural landscapes in your yard.


Last updated: June 28, 2011