Where can I buy native plants?


Sourcing native plants can be harder than it looks—most North American nurseries stock mostly non-natives. Wondering where to find native plants and seeds? We’ve put together a quick and easy list of online native plant sources and nearby community ideas so you can find plants and seeds and get gardening. Scroll on for native plant-sourcing ideas.

Butterflies love Purple Coneflowers, which are easy to grow from seed

Dig Deeper

Explore the sources and ideas for where to find native plants online

Table of Contents

Before we dive into a list of resources, let’s have a moment of shared frustration.

If you’re getting into native plants, you may have already experienced a frustrating moment visiting a plant nursery and only found coneflower seeds or a few heuchera cultivars. Sadly, native plants are not as well stocked as they should be. 

You’re not alone. Struggling to find native plants is a frustration that all North American gardeners face. This is because…

Native plants can be hard to find

Sadly, native plants represent the minority of plant sales in America. Only approximately 25% of plants sold in the United States are native plants. We’ve written about why this happened in another article (we partly blame Versailles). The reality is you will often show up to your local nursery—and especially a big box store—and come away empty-handed or disappointed if you’re looking to plant native. 

Good news: there are places to find native plants, if you know where to look. 

Here are some ideas of where to buy native plants so you can move beyond frustration and get into the garden:

  1. Native-Focused Nurseries

  2. Local Plant Sales

  3. Online Native Plant Sellers

  4. Facebook Marketplace

Native-focused Nurseries

You can drastically cut down on native plant disappointments by visiting a native-focused nursery. Thankfully, there are hundreds scattered around North America!

Visit our Native Plant Nursery resource to find native-focused plant sources near you.

Local Plant Sales

Something magical probably happens in your driveable area every spring (and sometimes again in the fall): PLANT SALES. 

These in-person plant sales are often organized by gardener groups in your state, county, city, or town. Most are run and organized by volunteers. Plants at these local sales most often come from gardeners themselves or specialty nurseries—you can find things that are almost impossible to find elsewhere.

The benefits of these local, IRL plant sales include:

  • Expert advice: You can hear directly from master gardeners and experts on how best to care for the plants you’re buying.
  • Affordability: these plant sales are often the cheapest place to buy native plants. The prices can be a fraction of what you’ll find at nurseries—we’ve seen $5 for native perennials and as low as $15 for shrubs and trees.
  • Hard-to-find natives. These local plant sales often include rare plants that you might never see again at a plant nursery. 

How do you find local plant sales?

Now that we’ve gone over the benefits of local plant sales, here’s how to find them. The first step is finding the local groups, and then following them on Facebook and/or joining their mailing lists to ensure you can attend their next plant sale event.

Local plant sale groups include:

Native Plant Societies

There is a native plant society attached to every state and every Canadian province—here’s a list of native plant societies. Find your state or region, sign up for their mailing list, and mark your calendars for their plant sales.

Region and/or County-specific Master Gardener Sales

America and Canada also have Master Gardener groups which often hold plant sales. Master Gardeners are certified at the national level to help educate and provide community leadership. The American Horticulture Association describes Master Gardener programs as providing “intensive horticultural training to individuals who then volunteer as Master Gardeners in their communities by giving lectures, creating gardens, conducting research, and many other projects.” 

How to find your Master Gardener group

Master Gardener groups are regionally organized. Google

[your county name]  “master gardener”

to find the website for your area. Remember to Google nearby counties too!

Spring = plant sales

Most Master Gardener groups hold plant sales in the spring and (sometimes again in the fall.) The plants often come from the Master Gardeners themselves!

Master Gardener plant sales offer more than just native plants: you’ll find the entire planting spectrum, from orchids to bonsai, and geraniums to cacti. However, Master Gardeners plant sales always include many natives. 

Now that we’ve introduced the benefits of IRL plant sales, let’s pivot to another way to find native plants: ordering online.

Online Native Plant Sellers

No surprise: there are hundreds of online sellers offering native plants and native plant seeds. Some are small nurseries, some are individual people selling seeds on Etsy or eBay. We’ve put together a huge resource of online native plant sellers to make this easy!

Check out our Online Native Nursery Resource to explore options.

As you peruse sites online, we have a piece of advice.

We call it the 800-mile rule:

Local blooms, fewer glooms

Try to find plants and seeds from within 800 miles of where you live.

Plants and seeds from within 800 miles are best suited for your weather, water, and sunshine. This also fosters cross-pollination among locally grown plants, enhancing the resilience of seeds and plants for generations to come. Stay local for a happy garden!

The benefits of sticking within 800-miles

You get huge benefits from planting from within a 800-mile range. This ensures that the seeds and plants you’re adding to your garden have DNA that aligns with the climate, weather, and soil in your region. (Read more about why plant provenance matters.) This local benefit is why we’ve organized online native plant sellers into regions.