Native plant species can be obtained from a variety of sources, although finding these sources and recognizing which plants are the native ones can be a challenge. A few native plant nurseries are available that specialize only in native species. These nurseries are scattered throughout the states. An incomplete list including some of these nurseries is available on our website for Midwestern states. If a native plant nursery has been missed from our list, please let us know! These nurseries typically have extensive knowledge about the propagation and use of native plants….so take advantage of their knowledge. Some of them specialize in home landscaping, while others deal with large scale restorations of natural areas. Some sell plants retail with a mail order delivery while others only deal with wholesale orders. Several provide plants obtained from seeds of local ecotypes (i.e. collected locally). Some specialize in woody plants, while others specialize in aquatic species, and yet others provide a variety of plants. Check their websites or give them a call to find one that fits your specific needs.
Another source of native plant species are from seasonal native plant sales that are held at scattered locations. Often these sales are hosted by nature centers, native plant societies, or other organizations affiliated with natural areas and/or native species. Many of these plant sales are posted on our website. Spring is the most common season when these sales are offered. If you have an upcoming sale, let us know so we can add it to our list!
Some native plant species also can be obtained from local retail nurseries. These nurseries will have many species that are not native, so the buyer must be knowledgeable regarding which species are native. But if you have a list of native species that you would like to purchase, take your list and head for a nursery in your area to see if they have it! The plants that they offer may be cultivars of the native species that were developed for specific traits or characteristics. Usually native species are not identified as native at local nurseries which contain a variety of both native and not native species.
So, consider your various options for sources of native plant species, and start looking for them whenever an opportunity arise.
Thanks to Angela King and Rebecca Wagner for compilation of databases on native plant nurseries.