Sept. 2014: Great Native Plants

   American Beautyberry

Check out this top 10 list of native trees and shrubs, ranked by the numbers of species they are known to attract.  Leading the list are oak trees, which attract 543 species of caterpillars alone!  The greater the number of caterpillars and other insects, the more food there is for nesting birds to feed their young.

From the list in The Living Landscape, Designing for Beauty and Biodiversity in the Home Garden (2014) by Rick Darke and Doug Tallamy, here are some great native shrubs for wildlife in the Southeast: American Beautyberry (Callicarpa americana), Buttonbush (Cephalanthus occidentalis), Oakleaf Hydrangea (Hydrangea quericfolia), Possumhaw Holly (Ilex decidua), Red Chokecherry (Aronia arbutifolia), Virginia Sweetspire (Ilex virginica), Spicebush (Lindera benzoin), Wild Azalea (Rhodendron canescens), Elderberry (Sambucus canadensis), Mapleleaf Viburnum (Viburnum acerifolium).

Here are more useful lists: Landscaping with Native Plants of West Tennessee. 

                                          Recommended Native Plants for Tennessee

                                           Native Plants of the Tennessee Valley

Where to buy native plants?  First, start by asking local nurseries.  Some do carry several native plant species, though the selection will probably be limited. Nurseries will consider stocking more native plants if they know there is a demandfor them.

Native plants are sold at annual sales at Strawberry Plains Audubon Center, Lichterman Nature Center and The Dixon Gallery and Gardens, and may be available at other plant sales, too. Plants can easily be ordered from online suppliers such as Missouri Wildflowers Nursery, Roundstone Seed and others.  It's best to select a supplier located in the same part of the country as the Midsouth.

Good sources of information on local native plants are the Tennessee Native Plant Society and Strawberry Plains Audubon Center. 

More links:

Doug Tallamy's Bringing Nature Home website

Gardening with the Native Plants of Tennessee

Gardening with Native Plants of the South

Bringing Nature Home: How You Can Sustain Wildlife with Native Plants

Ecosystem Gardening




Posted by Cathy Justis at 11:46 AM