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Native Plant Resources

Benefits of native plants

Native plants are essential for ecological health and provide a range of ecosystem services for people. Here's just a few ways native plants enhance our lives:

  • Protect water quality by increasing stormwater infiltration and reducing soil erosion
  • Provide food and shelter for wildlife such as songbirds and butterflies
  • Enhance the beauty of natural and developed spaces
  • Combat climate change by removing carbon from the atmosphere to store in roots, stems, and leaves
  • Support or complement recreational activities such as hiking, birdwatching, and fishing

Native plants come in many shapes, colors, and sizes, and there's a plant to fit just about any place. No matter your aesthetic preference, there's a wildflower, grass, sedge, shrub or tree that would be a perfect fit for your space!


Grants for Native Plants

Did you know that RPBCWD offers a Stewardship Grant? This cost share program offers funds for projects that help protect water resources, and a native plant planting project is eligible if it meets minimum requirements.

Watch out for invasive plants! Buckthorn and Garlic Mustard are two invasive plants that are widespread in our area. Visit our buckthorn page to learn how to identify and control these invasive species.

Resources from RPBCWD

Ready to grow wild? Find out why you should choose the straight or wild form of native plants and avoid cultivars or "nativars." If you're ready to pick plants, browse our list of favorite native plants for suburban yards. This list is organized by bloom time so you can maximize beauty and support pollinators. Last, but certainly not least, check out principles you should keep in mind as you take care of your native plants.

Click an image to open the file (pdf).

Resources from others

Native plants and related topics

Information about native plants


Selecting native plants


Keystone native plants

Keystone plants are essential for ecosystem health.


Native plant suppliers

TIP: If you plan to order from a native plant vendor, you may be able to save on shipping fees by picking up your plants at a local native plant market.


Community native plant markets

Search online for information about native plant markets in your area. Here's some near RPBCWD:

  • Wild Ones Prairie Edge Native Plant Sale - Edina (order in advance, pick up in May)
  • WIld Ones Twin Cities Native Plant Sale - Richfield (order in advance, pick up in May)
  • Burnsville Native Plant Market (May)
  • Oakdale Landscape Revival Native Plant Sale (June)

Natural shorelines


Rain gardens


Alternative lawns


Planting for pollinators + insect conservation


Soil health

Online Guides

Minnesota Wildflowers Field Guide

An online field guide to the flora of Minnesota. Check out "What's Blooming?" to see lists of native plants blooming by month.

Minnesota Wildflowers

DNR Native Plant Encyclopedia

Select native plants based upon sun exposure, soil moisture, and other conditions of your site.


Native Plant Nursery & Contractor Listing

Search for a native plant nursery or contractor near you!


Blue Thumb Plant Finder

Great tool to search plants by light exposure, soil moisture, plant type, bloom color, and bloom month!

Plant Finder

Native Vegetation Establishment

This resource from the Minnesota Board of Water & Soil Resources (BWSR) provides includes a lot of great information from plant select to site preparation.

Native Vegetation Establishment & Management

Icon_alert_red.png   INVASIVE SPECIES ALERT: Jumping Worms

Photo of jumping worm; Flickr by Alfredo Eloisa.jpgJumping worms (Amynthas spp.) are an invasive species native to eastern Asia. In Minnesota, they harm forest ecosystems, yards, and gardens by disrupting soil structure and reducing plant growth.

Stop the spread by following this advice from the University of Minnesota Extension:

  • Don’t buy worms advertised as jumping worms, snake worms, Alabama jumpers, or crazy worms for any purpose.

  • Anglers: Dispose of unwanted bait worms in the trash. Never release any worm into the environment — all earthworms are non-native in Minnesota.

  • Gardeners: Be on the lookout for jumping worms in soil, potted landscape plants, mulch or compost. If you see soil that looks like coffee grounds or notice unusually jumpy worms in your mulch:

    • Don’t move any material that might be harboring jumping worms.

    • Report suspected jumping worms using EDDMaps or report to the MnDNR (look in "Reporting" section).

  • Composters: If you purchase worms for composting, know how to identify the species you are buying. Make sure your order doesn't contain jumping worms.

  • When enjoying nature, follow the recommendations of PlayCleanGo: Stop Invasive Species in Your Tracks

    • REMOVE plants, animals, and mud from boots, gear, pets and vehicles.

    • CLEAN your gear before entering and leaving a recreation site.

    • STAY on designated roads and trails.

Learn more about management of the invasive species in the University of Minnesota Extension Jumping Worm Management Report.

Photo credit: The ring (clitellum) on a jumping worm encircles the whole body evenly and is barely raised above the skin. Photo by Alfredo Eloisa, licensed under CC BY-NC-SA 2.0