Are you looking for plants that will beautify your yard while requiring a minimum of maintenance? The plants that evolved here are the ones for you! The more local the origin of a plant, the more likely it is to be adapted to our particular soils and climate. There could be a big difference between an Eastern Red Columbine that evolved in Virginia and one that evolved in Saskatchewan, even if they do look alike!
We are fortunate in Northern Virginia to have many sources of native plants. In addition to the native-only nurseries – some of which propagate plants themselves from local seed sources – there are numerous vendors who set up shop at special plant sales in the spring and fall. Find a list on the Plant NOVA Natives website. The homepage of the site has the free, downloadable Guide to Native Plants of Northern Virginia. If you are looking for particular plants, you can contact vendors in advance and ask them to bring them for you. Traditional commercial nurseries are selling more and more native plants as well (but don’t expect to find natives at big box stores).
In addition, the Virginia Native Plant Society sells plants from its propagation beds at Green Spring Gardens, 4603 Green Spring Rd., Alexandria VA the first Wednesday of the month from 10.00 am to 12.00 pm from April to October. The Loudoun Wildlife Conservancy is also having its sale on May 19th.
Our local wildlife agree that native plants are the best. In fact, the ecosystem is entirely dependent on the plants that evolved with our bees, butterflies, birds, etc. Why not give them a home on your property?