Tip of the Mitt Watershed Council
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Northern Michigan's Native Plants

When selecting plants for your yard and garden, why not go native? Consider using plants that naturally grow in your region and are best suited for the soil and light conditions of your property. There are advantages to using native plants over ornamental and potentially invasive species. Native plants can require less maintenance and have the best chance of survival. Native plants often have an aesthetic fit to the site which is difficult to achieve with a collection of exotic plants. Using native species avoids spreading nuisance exotic plants such as purple loosestrife. There are many beautiful native plants from dogwoods to spiderwort. The following listing includes some of the more common native plants and their basic soil preferences. We encourage you to take this list with you to your local nursery as a guide. We have also included a few sources for these plants.

Northern Michigan Native Plants (Brochure)

A perfect pocket guide to take to the nursery or share with your landscaper when planning a greenbelt for your shoreline property.

Michigan Native Plant List

Native Plants of Michigan

A list of native plants to use for the following types of gardens:
  • Native Plants for Shade Gardens
  • Native Plants to Attract Butterflies
  • Native Plants for Rock Gardens
  • Native Plants for Water Gardens
  • Native Plants for Front Yard Landscaping

Native Trees

Native Trees - Wet Conditions

Green ash - Fraxinus pennsylvanica
Basswood - Tilia americana
Black willow - Salix nigra
Yellow birch - Betula alleghaniensis
Northern white cedar - Thuja occidentalis
Eastern hemlock - Tsuga canadensis
Red maple - Acer rubrum
Musclewood - Carpinus caroliniana
Tamarack - Larix laricina
Eastern cottonwood - Populus deltoides
Common elder - Sambucus canadensis

Native Trees - Upland Conditions

Trembling Aspen - Populus temuloides
White ash - Fraxinus americana
Beech - Fagus grandifolia
Black cherry - Prunus serotina
Ironwood Sugar maple - Acer saccharum
Bur oak - Quercus macrocarpa
Red oak - Quercus rubra
White oak - Quercus alba
Red pine - Pinus resinosa
Eastern Hemlock - Tsuga canadensis
Sugar maple - Acer saccharum
White birch - Betula papyrifera
White spruce - Picea glauca
American beech - Fagus grandifolia
Eastern white pine - Pinus strobus


Short (Three Feet and Under) Wet Conditions

Canada anemone - Anemone canadensis
Great blue lobelia - Lobelia siphilitica
Marsh marigold - Caltha palustris
Blue flag iris - Iris versicolor
Jack-in-the-pulpit - Arisaema triphyllum
Turtlehead - Chelone glabra
Blue-eyed grass - Sisyrinchium angustifolium

Wildflowers Short (Three Feet and Under) Upland Conditions

Smooth aster - Aster laevis
Butterflyweed - Asclepias tuberosa
Black-eyed Susan - Rudbeckia hirta
Columbine - Aquilegia canadensis
Spiderwort - Tradescantia ohioensis
Lupine - Lupinus perennis
Bee balm - Monarda fistulosa
Foxglove beard-tongue - Penstemon digitalis

Wildflowers Tall (Over Three Feet) Wet Conditions

Swamp milkweed - Asclepias incarnata
Boneset - Eupatorium perfoliatum
Joe-Pye weed - Eupatorium maculatum
Cardinal flower - Lobelia cardinalis
Blue vervain - Verbena hastata
New England aster - Aster novae-angliae

Wildflowers Tall (Over Three Feet) Upland Conditions

Sunflowers (Perennial) - Helianthus spp.
False sunflower - Heliopsis helianthoides
Goldenrod - Solidago spp.

Grasses and Sedges

Grasses and Sedges Short (Four Feet and Under) Wet Conditions

Fox sedge - Carex vulpinoidea
Cotton grass - Eriophorum angustifolium
Sweet Grass - Hierochloe odorata
Tussock sedge - Carex stricta

Grasses and Sedges Short (Four Feet and Under) Upland Conditions

Little bluestem - Schizachyrium scoparius
Pennsylvania sedge - Carex pensylvanica
June grass - Koeleria macrantha
Bottlebrush grass - Elymus hystrix
Canada wild rye - Elymus Canadensis

Grasses and Sedges Tall (Over Four Feet) Wet Conditions

Hardstem bulrush - Schoenoplectus acutus
Prairie cordgrass - Spartina pectinata
Wool grass - Scirpus cyperinus
Threesquare bulrush - Schoenoplectus americanus

Grasses Sedges Tall (Over Four Feet) Upland Conditions

Big bluestem - Andropogon gerardii
Switchgrass - Panicum virgatum
Indian grass - Sorghastrum nutans

Native Shrubs

Native Shrubs - Wet Conditions

Speckled alder - Alnus rugosa
Buttonbush - Cephalanthus occidentalis
Red-osier dogwood - Cornus stolonifera
Silky dogwood - Cornus amomum
Meadowsweet - Spiraea alba
Ninebark - Physocarpus opulifolius
Swamp rose - Rosa palustris
Highbush-cranberry - Viburnum trilobum
Michigan holly - Ilex verticillata
Nannyberry - Viburnum lentago

Native Shrubs - Upland Conditions

Maple leaf viburnum - Viburnum acerifolium
Chokecherry - Prunus virginiana
Gray dogwood - Cornus foemina
New Jersey tea - Ceanothus americanus
Serviceberry - Amelanchier arborea
Fragrant sumac - Rhus aromatica
Yew - Taxus canadensis
Ground juniper - Juniperus communis
Round-leaved dogwood - Cornus rugosa
Arrow-wood viburnum - Virburnum dentatum
Carolina rose - Rosa Carolina

Ground Covers

Bearberry - Arctostaphylos uva-ursi
Canada mayflower - Maianthemum canadense
Bracken fern - Pteridium aquilinium
Bunchberry - Cornus canadensis
Large-leafed aster - Aster macrophyllus
Creeping wintergreen - Gaultheria procumbens
Wild ginger - Asarum canadense
Trout lily - Erythronium americanum
Canada anemone - Anemone canadensis
Foamflower - Tiarella cordifolia
Common Blue Violet - Viola sororia

Invasive Non-Native Species to Avoid

Autumn olive - Eleagnus umbellata
Barberry - Berberis spp.
Buckthorn - Rhamnus cathartica, Rhamnus frangula
Crown vetch - Coronilla varia
Honeysuckle - Lonicera tatarica, L. morrowi, L. x-bella, other cultivars
Maiden grass - Miscanthus sinensis
Multiflora rose - Rosa multiflora
Periwinkle (myrtle) - Vinca minor
Privet - Ligustrum vulgare
Purple loosestrife - ythrum salicaria
Reed canary grass - Phalaris arundinacea
Russian olive - Eleagnus angustifolia
Siberian Elm - Ulmus pumila
Spotted knapweed - Centaurea maculosa
Yellow water iris - Iris pseudacorus

Suggested Websites for Additional Information

Michigan State University - Native Plants and Ecosystem Services website

Sources for Native Plants

Michigan Native Plant Producers Association

The Michigan Native Plant Producers Association comprises 12 independently owned nurseries located throughout the state of Michigan.  Together we grow and sell over 400 species of Michigan native plants and seeds, including, trees, shrubs, wildflowers, grasses, and ferns.


Antrim Conservation District
(231) 533-8363

 Charlevoix Conservation District
(231) 582-6193

Cheboygan Conservation District
(231) 627-8815

Emmet Conservation District
(231) 439-8997

The Native Plant Nursery
(734) 677-3260

Northern Michigan Native Plant Nursery
Gaylord, MI
Otsego Conservation District
(989) 732-4021

The Michigan Wildflower Farm
(517) 647-6010

Wetland Nursery
(989) 752-3492

Wildtype Nursery
(517) 244-1140

Tip of the Mitt Watershed Council • 426 Bay Street, Petoskey, MI 49770
PH: (231) 347-1181 • Fax: (231) 347-5928 • www.watershedcouncil.org
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