Before You Start
Planting a Native Garden
Sun vs. Shade
Are you planting in a wetland or a dry area? Some plants can tolerate it being
damp, but not soaked, while others specifically require very dry, sandy soil.
There are 5 basic levels of moisture: Wet, Medium Wet, Mesic (middle), Medium
Dry, and Dry. Determine your site characteristics before choosing a plant.
Wet vs. Dry
How much sun will your garden get? Although some native wildflowers, such as
the woodland sunflower, are shade tolerant, many need at least a couple hours
of sun each day. Others, such as swamp milkweed, cannot tolderate the shade at
There are many things you should consider when planting a native garden. What
follows are some of the more important considerations.
Are you planting a buffer strip on a lakeshore or stream bank?
There are many advantages to abandoning a mown lawn on water's edge. Native
plants provide wildlife habitat and help filter contaminants from water leaving
your property and entering a stream or lake. In addition, their deep root
systems minimize erosion.
Plus, you'll never have to mow again!
Do you want to attract butterflies, pollinators, or natural enemies of garden
pests? Some plants are better than others at providing this function and the OCD
has information to help you decide!
When will your flowers bloom and what colors will they be?
Still need to know more? Click on "Types of Native Gardens" to learn
about a wide assortment of garden types, or download the Native Plant
Catalog to learn about the individual flowers including all the
considerations on this page!