Not-So-Secret Sources for Native Plants
We can’t just stand around SINGING the JOYS of native plants without telling you
Large garden centers rarely carry native plants, and if they do, it’s even less likely that these plants have been grown neonicotinoid -free (more on that in an upcoming blog post - see how I held myself accountable there?)
Here is the good news!
There are several high-quality mail order nurseries specializing in native plants AND many local native plant sales - which are growing in popularity (hooray!)
Mail Order and Online Nurseries
Based out of Wisconsin, this vendor cannot be beat for their variety and quality of plants. They run a spring sale and a fall sale, but to get the most variety try to order near the beginning of the window for each sale. They provide a free catalogue, upon request – these catalogues are packed with useful information so order one and keep it for reference!
Spring sale - plants can be ordered from January to the first of June. They will ship the plants at the appropriate time for planting after your frost-free date; you don’t need to worry about keeping them alive inside your house for months before planting, which would quite an undertaking!
Fall sale – plants can be ordered from June to September 30 – plants will be shipped to be planted before the end of fall. Don’t be afraid to take advantage of this option too – native plants do quite well when planted at this time of year, and will sprout up beautifully the following spring.
Based out of Minnesota, this nursery provides a huge variety of native plants and shrubs with many unique and hard-to-find varieties. They provide bare-root plants, which can be planted at any time of year that the ground isn’t frozen. Very handy if you run out of time before frost hits!
If you do nothing else, just request a free catalog and “cultural guide”, and keep it around for reference.
This nursery runs a spring sale – with plants shipped out May through June. At this time, they don’t specify whether they ship potted plants in a fall sale and we have not tried ordering for fall shipment from them.
Bare root plants are shipped in April through May, then again in October.
Favor Native is based in central Indiana and can speak to several of the local sales. If you are located outside central Indiana, doing a quick online search for “native plant sale in (city, state)” should turn up some options. Local universities, county parks, and fundraisers by local schools are often the leaders in coordinating sales.
Central Indiana people – read on!
Celebrating their 15th anniversary in 2019, this Fishers-based grower offers online ordering starting in February. Plants are picked up at Geist Nursery in Fishers the first weekend of May. Plants can also be purchased in-person starting that weekend.
Also, this company gives back!
“We are proud to give back to Central Indiana. Since 2009 we have donated over 9,000 native plants to the Central Indiana Land Trust to assist with their efforts in restoring land to natural habitat. “
The Ecolab at Marian University is an absolute gem. Their annual native plant sale opens online for presale on April 1 each year, with order pickup the first of May during the actual live sale.
Plants are approximately $3-$5 each, a price which cannot be matched by the online and mail order companies.
All proceeds benefit the Ecolab.
This center is a part of the Avon Community School Corporation, and it is a delight. They organize community events and we highly recommend following their Facebook page for all their great science knowledge sharing.
The sale happens every spring, usually the last weekend of April or first weekend of May and the plant prices cannot be beat. In 2018, 3” potted seedlings of many plants were sold for $3 per pot, A STEAL. All proceeds benefit the Learning Center as well.
There is no presale; all plants are for sale Friday and Saturday only, so go early if possible, and stay for the fun events they host on Saturday.
There are more vendors out there, and we are constantly updating our sources. We will be updating this post as more native plant sales are vetted and hit our radar.
If you know of a source or want yours promoted here, please contact us!