The Plant Native

Best native plants for Northeast gardens

Living in the Northeast and want to plant a native garden? Here is the garden inspiration you were looking for. These native plants are easy to find, easy to plant, and will look stunning in Northeastern gardens.

Northeast native trees like Eastern Flowering Dogwood and Redbud offer stunning spring blooms

Why plant native in the Northeast?

Planting native plants ensures the plants can thrive in the cold, seasons, and water of the Northeast while saving time (and money!), especially when compared to lawns. Here are four reasons why planting native is worth it:

Native Witch-hazel blooms when you least expect it: the fall or the winter

1. Native plants are built to thrive in Northeastern cold and weather

Native plants from the Northeast are the plants that have existed in their home area for thousands of years. They have seen every blizzard, hurricane, or rainstorm in their area and thrived.

Northeastern native plants are the best plants to grow in all Northeast gardens, since they know and love the area!

This gorgeous native garden thrives with just rain

2. Native plants take the least amount of care (and water)

Because Northeastern native plants have seen all the weather and soil in the north, they are ready for the natural weather. This means that rainwater should keep them happy in hot summers once they are established.

Being happy with just rain is a BIG difference from non-native plants, which may need lots of extra watering to get through droughts or summer heat. Plant native and save on your water bill!

Cardinal Flower is a hummingbird favorite

3. Native plants help butterflies and hummingbirds

Some of our most iconic butterflies—such as Monarchs—only lay their eggs on one plant. These monogamous plant-butterfly pairings are called host plants. Without these native host plants, these butterflies will not survive.

4. Native plants are gorgeous

Finally, as you’ll see below—native plants from the Northeast are jaw-droppingly gorgeous. They will quickly become your garden favorites and last for years and years. Find your favorites below, and visit each plant’s link to discover detailed planting information.

Native Flowers for Northeast Gardens

All these flowers are native to the Northeast and are favorites of butterflies and hummingbirds.

Heuchera 'Green-Spice' by Patrick Standish

Alum Root (Heuchera)

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Aster

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Bee Balm

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Black-Eyed Susan

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Blue Mistflower

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Blue-Eyed Grass

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Bluebell Bellflower

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Cardinal Flower

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Coneflower

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Coreopsis (Tickseed)

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Creeping Phlox

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Culver’s Root

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False Sunflower

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Foamflower

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Goatsbeard

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Golden Alexander

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Goldenrod

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Hummingbird Mint (Agastache)

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Ironweed

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Joe Pye Weed

Native Shrubs for Northeastern Gardens

These shrubs and trees are all native to the Northeast and look amazing in high-profile places like front yards and visible gardens.

Native Trees for Northeastern Gardens

These trees are all native to the Northeast. Flowering trees like dogwoods and some native magnolias are also excellent statement trees.

Native Vines for Northeast Gardens

Do you have a fence, wall, or trellis? These are the native vines you’ve been looking for!

These native plants are perfect for Northeast gardens

All these plants thrive in Northeast gardens! Every one of these plants is also a perennial, meaning they will come back year after year looking better than ever.

Every one of these plants is easy to grow. After their first year being established, each of these flowers will come back year after year and require nothing fancy to keep going besides rain. Planting native plants ensures our gardens look amazing and our water bills stay low. You don’t have to have a botany degree to have a garden! Plant these easy natives and enjoy a gorgeous yard all year long—and spend 2400% LESS TIME than if you were doing lawn care.

As you go looking for these beauties, you may wonder…

Native asters should be our fall go-to...NOT non-native mums!

Why are native plants hard to find?

Native plants can be hard to find for a reason: on average, only 22% of plants sold in US nurseries are native to North America. (It’s even worse on the West Coast: the average is 13%.)

We can change this by asking our nurseries for native plants, and buying them when we see them. Supply will follow demand! 🌱

Best Native Plant Books for the Northeast

Looking for a book? Here are The Plant Native‘s recommendations:

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A Northerner’s Guide to Native Plants and Pollinators

Lorraine Johnson and Sheila Colla, 2023

Easy to read with lots of pictures. Recently published with lots of gardening ideas for Northeast gardeners.

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Deer-Resistant Native Plants for the Northeast

Ruth Rogers and Gregory D. Tepper, 2023

Tons of pictures and clearly organized, if you’re worried about deer—this one is for you.

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The Northeast Native Plant Primer: 235 Plants for an Earth-Friendly Garden

Uli Lorimer, 2022

Tons of pictures, and easily organized to focus on singular plants. A quick and inspiring resource.

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