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The Best Plants for Native Gardens

Native gardens are rising in popularity, and for good reason. Plants that are native to our climate in Minnesota and Wisconsin grow better here, and are easier to care for. In fact, creating native gardens and incorporating the right kinds of plants and grasses into your yard can actually reduce the amount of yard work you need to do this summer! Planting native grasses, for example, can help reduce the need to mow, and many native plants may require less watering and overall maintenance. The best part about the shift to native plants and grasses is that you don’t have to sacrifice beauty and color. There are many colorful plants that you can choose from to keep your yard and landscaping popping!

So, where to start? Well, we have put together a list of native plants and grasses that are perfect for creating native gardens in Minnesota and Wisconsin!

Purple Coneflower

Purple coneflower

The Purple Coneflower is a stunning perennial flower that attracts pollinators like bees and butterflies. The vibrant purple flower adds a pop of color to your native garden while providing nectar for local insects. Additionally, its seeds are a favorite food source for birds during the winter months. All sorts of bees, bugs, and birds love purple coneflowers, and gardens look great with them, too.

Black-Eyed Susan

Black eyed Susan

Want some Vikings pride in your yard? (Sorry, Packers fans!) Pair the purple coneflower with the bright yellow Black-Eyed Susan and you can rock the gold and purple in your garden all summer long! We love incorporating these flowers into native gardens because they are drought-tolerant and are okay if you don’t water them occasionally. In fact, they love the full sun, so areas in your yard that have little shade can be filled in with Black-Eyed Susans! Go ahead, start the SKOL chant while you’re planting this one. We won’t judge. 



For fillers and flowing movement in your garden and lawn, add some switchgrass. This is a beautiful, tall grass variety native to Minnesota and Wisconsin, and it is a great foundation to build your native garden around.

The ecosystem loves this grass, especially birds and other local critters, as they get some shade and protection. Plus, the large bush-like plants help prevent soil erosion in harsh weather conditions. 

Butterfly Weed

Butterfly weed

Providing habitats and feeding grounds for pollinators is what it’s all about. That’s why butterfly weed is the perfect addition to any native garden looking to increase local sustainability efforts. We love the texture of butterfly weed, as it adds an interesting variety to gardens. Its vibrant orange flowers and long blooming season add visual interest for humans, while butterflies naturally flock to these plants. This native perennial serves as a host plant for monarch butterflies, supporting their population throughout the Twin Cities and Western Wisconsin. We do recommend also considering milkweed for monarchs, as that plant offers more nutrition and sustenance for the butterflies. 

Native Gardens Support Local Ecosystems

Incorporating native plants into your lawn not only enhances the beauty of your landscape but also supports local ecosystems and promotes sustainability right in your backyard. Sustainable landscaping is growing in popularity, and these plants are a great way to join in and help out any way we can. 

Whether you want to completely overhaul your lawn and add native plants and grasses everywhere, or you want to start small with a pocket of native plants, we can help get you started and create your sustainable landscaping project. Get in touch with our local team of landscapers, operating throughout St. Paul, Oakdale, Afton, and Stillwater Minnesota, as well as Hudson and River Falls, Wisconsin

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