Native plants were here before we were.
They’re well suited to our sandy soil and harsh winter conditions. Once they’re established, natives grow well on their own.
Native plants provide food and habitat for native northern birds, butterflies and insects such as dragonflies and lightning bugs. Having longer roots means they hold soil in place and trap toxins. Native species prevent insect outbreaks, which in turn reduces the need for pesticides. They also help prevent invasion of non-native plants.
$AVE | Native plants save you less than half of your annual yard maintenance costs compared to traditional landscaping. They require little care and save you time, as well as water.
Native plants can be daunting!
How can I tell what’s a native and what’s not?
The simplest way to tell the difference between a native and non-native is to get to know the common plants around you. You can buy a field guide to wildflowers or take a wildflower walk at the Grass River Natural Area.
Or become a member of the Torch Conservation Center. We’ll be happy to come and “walk about” your land to identify the plants, shrubs and trees you have on your land.
Where should I grow natives?
You can grow natives anywhere on your land. Just remember, some prefer sunny places, while others prefer the shade. Some like “dry feet,” some like “damp feet,” and some like “wet feet.”
So…choose the right plant for the right spot.
How should I take care of natives?
Native plants have been growing in northern Michigan for centuries. New plants require a little water every few days to help them take root. After that, they should be good to grow on their own.
They have very deep roots, so they can tolerate hot, dry spells during the summer.
What should I plant?
A number of years ago, the Watershed Center- Grand Traverse Bay funded a project to develop a list of native plants for sunny and shady locations along our streams and lakes.
Michigan Native Plant List (.pdf)