Native Plant Favorites by State for 2022 | Garden for Wildlife
January 31 2023 – Kelly LaVaute, Staff Member
The "best" plants to plant for any state are plants that are native to that area. Native plants have formed symbiotic relationships with native wildlife over thousands of years, and therefore offer the most sustainable habitat. A plant is considered native if it has occurred naturally in a particular region, ecosystem, or habitat without human introduction.
At Garden for Wildlife, we only sell native plants. And you can filter by zip code—and other factors specific to where you're planting like soil and light conditions—so it's a one-stop-shop for you to find plants that will thrive where you live, while also helping wildlife and the planet.
In 2022, we expanded to offer plants to 36 states, and also introduced more native plant collections, single-species options, and a line of shrubs for wildlife. We sold almost five times the amount of native plants we sold in 2021, which means almost five times more wildlife helped!
Across every state, the top-selling plant in 2022 was native milkweed. And for good reason! In July, we told you the breaking news: the IUCN redlisted the iconic migrating monarch butterfly. Milkweed is the only host plant for the monarch caterpillar, and there’s a native milkweed species available for every state. We even introduced more native milkweed species to meet your demand.
Here’s what else we learned about your favorite native plants by state based on what we sold in 2022*:
Gardeners bought a variety of native plants in Alabama to please pollinators and other wildlife. In particular, attracting hummingbirds seemed to be top of mind while shopping for native plants. Cue our Hummingbird Heroes II collection being the top-selling native plant collection in Alabama. Featuring Scarlet Sage, Cardinal Flower, and Blazing Star, it offers the brightly colored tubular flowers that hummingbirds love.
Even though we introduced shrubs for wildlife to our product line in the fall, the Carolina Rose Shrub was a top seller for native shrubs in Alabama.
When we look at the wildlife Arkansans bought native plants for last year, it was focused on attracting birds and pollinators like bees. The Summer Songbird native plant collection, which features beautiful, colorful blooms that turn into seed heads in the fall to attract and serve songbirds, was a winner in Arkansas.
Rounding out the seasonal support for wildlife, it’s easy to plant a pollinator garden in Arkansas with our Spring Bee Buffet native plant collection, which we ship (for free!) to the “Natural State.”
Although Connecticut’s state bird is the American robin, we saw strong support for hummingbirds as our Hummingbird Heroes native plant collection was a top seller in the Constitution state. This native plant collection is also perfect for dozens of other pollinator species that forage for nectar.
There are many top native plants in Connecticut, even ones that are pleasing to to the senses. A top-smelling shipper to Connecticut is our Fragrant Power Flowers native plant collection. It contains plants in the mint family, which act as natural pest repellents. These plants can even help deter mosquitoes, deer, and some spiders.
The First State’s first choice was milkweed, and we have plenty of native milkweed species available in Delaware: orange butterfly milkweed, whorled milkweed or swamp milkweed.
Garden for Wildlife™ collaborator, entomologist Dr. Doug Tallamy, and his University of Delaware research team helped us identify the keystone plants that support 90% of butterfly and moth species in our collections. Delaware can make a difference for wildlife by planting Delaware native plants that support the highest number of butterflies, moths, native bees and ultimately, the birds that depend on them.
DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA (WASHINGTON D.C)
The District also elected to get behind the iconic monarch movement by making Monarch Munchables - both the 6-plant and 12-plant collections - top sellers in 2022. If you’re looking to expand your native plant offering, consider adding native shrubs, which provide cover and more through colder months.
Shop more native plants for Washington DC.
One of Florida’s native plant top sellers for us was a collection we introduced in 2022 for the southeast, the Hummingbird Heroes native plant collection! The Hummingbird Heroes plant native collection was curated for its ability to supply essential food to hummingbirds for three seasons. Many hummingbirds consume up to twice their bodyweight in nectar, small insects, and tree sap every day.
This collection of native plants also supports 3 butterfly species, a pollen specialist bee (the sweat bee (Dufourea monardae) and 96% of backyard birds that rely on these insects to feed their young. Learn more about attracting hummingbirds - you’ll be a hotspot in no time.
Although they’re known for their peaches, Georgians were also planting a feast for winged-favorites by buying our Butterfly Buffet 3-shrub collection. This collection of shrubs contains plant species that help birds, butterflies, and other important pollinators and can thrive in moist to wet conditions. Depending on your garden goals, you can find the right species of native plants for Georgia.
The Prairie State stayed true to their name by purchasing native Schizachyrium scoparium, commonly known as little bluestem or beard grass, which is a species of North American prairie grass native to most of the US. This native collection of Little Bluestem grasses provides a focal point of blue-green color and texture spring through late summer, offering shelter for birds and other wildlife. Our other Illinois native plant collections have also been carefully curated to provide everything you need to create a beautiful and sustainable landscape.
Indiana was looking for impact when planting in 2022. Two of the top choices from Indiana were our 6-plant and 12-plant Pollinator Power packs. With keystone plants that will support the most wildlife, this collection is perfect for part-shade in a garden or container. Depending on which you choose, you’ll receive Cardinal Flower, Great Blue Lobelia, Foxglove Beard Tongue and Black Eyed Susan. Help Indiana wildlife and enjoy the beauty of nature when you add one of our curated native plant collections outside your home.
Although famous for its cornfields we humans adore, the residents of Iowa are also gardening for wildlife. Fighting for the favorite spot were Monarch Munchables and Pollinator Power native plant collections. In addition to seeking plants native to Iowa, be sure you’re selecting shade or sun loving plants based on the sun exposure at your desired planting spot. The Native Plant Finder Quiz will help you make the right choice.
Known as the Sunflower State, we’ve got you covered if you’re seeking the namesake plant. You can find the oxeye sunflower (Heliopsis helianthoides) in the Summer Songbird and Firefly Delight native plant collections. Fireflies are important pollinators, so by encouraging them to live in your yard, you're doing your part to help the environment. Attracting fireflies with native plants is easy.
Kentucky’s top seller was our 6-plant Monarch Munchables native plant collection. This collection includes Lanceleaf Coreopsis, Smooth Blue Aster and the ever popular Orange Butterfly Milkweed. If you want to help the declining population of the iconic monarch butterfly, you need milkweed! There are many beautiful types of milkweed that support the monarch, but it’s most important to plant the species that is native to Kentucky.
While there are plenty of native plant choices available, Louisiana’s top loves based on sales were 12-plant Monarch Munchables, 6-plant Pollinator Power, and Butterfly Buffet 3-shrub collection. One review about our shrub collection showcases how easy it is to get started: “The plants came in a secure package and were ready to plant. Once planted they immediately had new growth and have continued to thrive!”
If you’re looking to attract the state bird black capped-chickadee, you’ll need lots of native plants in Maine. Native plants are essential to producing the insects birds need, particularly during the breeding season. 96% of backyard birds rear their young on insects. The colorful blooms of the flowers in our Summer Songbird collection turn into seed heads in the fall that attract many birds. Blooming across 3 seasons and returning each year, each set includes Purple Coneflower, Oxeye Sunflower, and Smooth Blue Aster.
Although Maryland is the 8th smallest state, it was still in our top 5 states by sales! The garden for wildlife movement is strong in Maryland. While there are many options for native plants in Maryland, you might look to serve the state flower, the black-eyed susan. It’s a native perennial you’ll find in our Pollinator Power native plant collection.
Also in our Top 5 states, Massachusetts is on board to garden for wildlife. Goldenrod sometimes has a bad reputation, but it is a keystone plant that was a top customer choice for native plants in Massachusetts for good reason: goldenrod is a magnet for native bees, butterflies and other pollinators when many other flowering plants have finished blooming for the year. We’ll look to see if this trend spreads to other states in 2023.
Although there’s plenty of water in the Great Lakes State, planting native plants in Michigan means less watering for you. Native plants will thrive in the soils, moisture and weather of your region. That means less supplemental watering, which can be wasteful, and pest problems that require toxic chemicals. The Garden for Wildlife plant buyers in Michigan followed the trend and made the Monarch Munchables native plant collection their #1!
The Land of 10,000 Lakes also overwhelmingly chose our monarch-focused collections, with a tie for the top spot between the 6-plant and 12-plant Monarch Munchables collections. If you’re curious about the difference between the two, the 6-plant collection contains 2 of each: Foxglove Beardtongue, Orange Butterfly Milkweed and Smooth Blue Aster. The 12-plant collection has 3 of the following: Lanceleaf Coreopsis, Orange Butterfly Milkweed, Smooth Blue Aster, and Grayleaf Goldenrod. All are great choices for native plants to support wildlife in Minnesota. Depending on the space you have, check out the example garden designs included on each product page (and in each shipment!).
Mississippi rolled out the welcome mat for hummingbirds and other feathered friends by buying the Hummingbird Heroes 6-plant collection. Plants in this collection provide food for the Ruby throated hummingbird (Archilochus colubrisare), native across the eastern United States, and the Buff-bellied hummingbird (Amazilia yucatanensis) found in some Gulf Coast states. Many other hummingbirds migrating through the Southeast will benefit from this collection too! Remember, the best plant is a plant native to Mississippi.
The Show Me State showed support for many wildlife species by buying native plants in Missouri. One standout favorite buy was our 3 pack of orange butterfly milkweed (asclepias tuberosa), which is ideal for attracting and supporting the iconic Monarch butterfly. Following was the fan favorite Pollinator Power native plant collection which provides a beautiful pollinator oasis for bees, butterflies, and hummingbirds.
The state flower of Nebraska, Goldenrod, has been described as a weed, an herb, and a wildflower. The tall wispy plant grows abundantly throughout the Cornhusker State, and is a great way to attract wildlife and create habitat. If you’re looking for a collection featuring goldenrod and other Nebraska native plants with 3 season bloom that will return year after year, the Monarch Munchables 12-plant native plant collection is a perfect choice for native plant gardening in Nebraska.
There are many choices for native plants in New Hampshire, and the only “right” one is a native one! Our New Hampshire gardeners decidedly chose the Hummingbird Heroes native plant collection over and over again. We see great feedback about this collection often, like this recent review:
“We had work done to our front porch last year that left a lot of bare spots in our garden plots on either side of our steps. This collection is just what those spots needed, and they're doing well where I planted them. The Garden for Wildlife website was great about helping me choose the plants that would work best in my space, and the plants were packaged extremely well. I'm excited to see everything in bloom and feel good knowing that these easy-care plants will be helping pollinators for many years to come. It's a beautiful thing!”
The Garden State is predictably in our Top 10 states for 2022. The leading favorite New Jersey native plants from Garden for Wildlife were the Hummingbird Heroes native plant collection and the Monarch Munchables native plant collection which are both curated carefully to provide beautiful blooms for 3 seasons, and continue to support wildlife for years to come.
Coming in strong in the Top 5, there are several solutions to buying native plants in New York. These plants have adapted to the state's climate and soil over time, making them well-suited for New York gardens. They'll be better able to withstand New York's harsh winters and hot summers and will require less water and fertilizer than non-native plants. By planting native species in your garden, you can help to support New York's diverse wildlife populations. If you’re looking to follow the buying trend, we saw strong support for 6-plant Monarch Munchables native plant collection. If you’re living in a city or working with a small space, we’ve got directions for container planting, including a how-to video.
In North Carolina, they celebrate the Northern Cardinal as their state bird. Attracting birds can benefit you in many ways - you’ll revel in the beautiful wildlife visitors, and enjoy the built-in pest control that comes with catering to birds with native plants in North Carolina. Top seller Hummingbird Heroes will fit the bill, but so will the natives in the Summer Songbird collection we introduced in 2022.
Gardeners in Ohio resoundingly put the Monarch Munchables collection on their leaderboard. This Ohio native plant collection provides food for monarch caterpillars and nectar for adult monarch butterflies. Plant it as a sunny border, meadow garden, wildflower garden, or pollinator garden for blooms that will grace your garden from late spring through fall. Monarchs love milkweed, so try adding the white and pale green 3-plant whorled milkweed native plant set to increase habitat at home in Ohio.
Oklahoma is the place to be if you’re wildlife! Options abound for native plants in Oklahoma, and you can easily help Oklahoma wildlife and enjoy the beauty of nature when you add one of our curated native plant collections outside your home, like the Firefly Delight. You will provide a firefly and pollinator habitat composed of colorful, tall flowers and grasses that invite fireflies to flit about in the Oklahoma evenings. The Native Plant Finder Quiz can help you find the right plant for the right place whether you’re just getting started or adding to your existing garden.
Pennsylvania proved their love for tiny winged jewels by buying the northeast Hummingbird Heroes collection, which provides key hummingbird habitat (a hummingbird welcome mat, so to speak) and brightly colored tubular flowers that attract and provide nectar for hummingbirds. This collection includes the brilliantly red Cardinal Flower, Eastern Columbine, and Wild Bergamot (Bee Balm) in this native plant collection. It’s a great choice for native plants in Pennsylvania.
Small but mighty, it’s still easy to make a difference for wildlife with native plants in Rhode Island. Even in small yards! Vying for the top spot in sales were our Hummingbird Heroes native plant collection and 6-plant Pollinator Power native plant collection.
South Carolina native plants are those that have formed tight relationships with wildlife over thousands of years and create the most productive and sustainable place for wildlife to live. If you’re planting for the state bird Carolina wren, you’ll want to include native shrub options like the namesake Carolina Rose. It’s a low-growing deciduous shrub that produces showy, fragrant pink flowers that attract butterflies and bright red fruit (hips) that attract birds. Native shrubs can also provide cover and nesting sites for birds.
Bring nature home to the Volunteer State by gardening for wildlife with Tennessee native plants. There’s no easier way to get a daily dose of nature and the physical, mental and spiritual benefits. Familiar favorite Hummingbird Heroes took the top spot no doubt thanks to its support for key wildlife species, including butterflies, moths, and bees.
If you want to find wildlife deep in the heart of Texas, you want to plant Texas native plants - the ones that have formed symbiotic relationships with native wildlife over thousands of years, and therefore offer the most sustainable habitat. Our Butterfly Buffet 3-shrub collection took the top spot in the Lone Star State. It has one each of the following: Buttonbush, Sea Myrtle and Scarlet Hibiscus.
*Note: We are currently only serving certain counties in the Eastern part of Texas. Please use the zip code checker tool on each plant collection page to make sure that specific collection is available for your area. You can sign up for updates as we expand!
The picturesque Green Mountain State can best boost its beautiful biodiversity by planting Vermont native plants. According to the Vermont Fish & Wildlife Department, “Vermont is home to thousands of pollinators including 275 species of bees. However, many factors are combining to threaten their numbers and Vermont recently added three species of bumble bee to its threatened and endangered species list.” To get an early start on supporting bees each year, plant our Spring Bee Buffet which supplies essential food to native bee populations in spring.
While our top seller in Virginia was Monarch Munchables, the numbers also tell us that Virginia was looking for milkweed options - we shipped out lots of orange butterfly milkweed, whorled milkweed and swamp milkweed. Virginia may be for lovers, but it’s also for wildlife! If you’re just getting started with native plants in Virginia, be sure to check out our Ultimate Guide to Gardening in Virginia.
West Virginia made our 12-plant Pollinator Power native plant collection their top choice. This collection supports 96% of backyard birds, including the official West Virginia State bird, the northern cardinal. Their favorite foods are beetles and caterpillars, although they feed on pretty much all types of insects. Planting West Virginia native plants can produce four times as much insect biomass compared to non-native plants.
The top single species plant collection picked in Wisconsin is unsurprisingly our orange butterfly milkweed. Available in 3, 6 or 12-pack, this native perennial is a great way to support many pollinators, including the iconic monarch butterfly. Wisconsin native plants are best suited to support wildlife with food, cover, and places to raise young.
*Note: This list reflects only the 36 states in the Northeast, Mid-Atlantic, Southeast, and Midwest to which we currently ship native plants. We're still working to expand nationwide. If we don’t support your state yet, please sign up for updates to hear more as we expand.
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