Landscape with Native Plants
Native plants add beauty to the landscape as well as food and shelter for wildlife. Native plants include the tree, shrub, grass, and flower species that evolved over thousands of years to be best adapted to the Illinois climate and soils. Without these native plants the insects, birds, and other animals that co-evolved with them cannot survive. Landscaping with native plants brings beauty and biodiversity to your yard or property.
Since native plants are adapted to the Illinois climate, they require little care once they are established. Many of these plant species require minimal watering and are amazingly resilient to Illinois weather extremes, insects, weeds, and most diseases. This means you will need to use fewer chemicals in your yard, such as pesticides, herbicides, and fertilizers, which in turn improves local water quality. And unlike annuals, these perennial plants will regrow each year.
The Illinois Department of Natural Resources’ For Your Garden page has information on over 150 native plant species, and the page highlights a new species each month. From that page there are several ways to search for individual native plant species as well as to search for plant species based on garden type.
IDNR: Biodiversity of Illinois Species Search (Over 1,000 species found in Illinois aquatic, prairie/edge, or woodland habitats)
IDNR: How to Plant and Maintain Native Plants
IDNR: Native Habitat Descriptions, Requirements, and Plant Lists
IDNR: Pollinator Wildflower Seed Mix Planting Instructions
Audubon: Native Plants: Bird-Friendly Plants FAQ
Illinois Landscape Contractors Association: Sustainable Landscaping
Chicago Botanic Garden: Landscaping with Native Plants
The Conservation Foundation: Earth-friendly Landscaping
University of Illinois Extension: Illinois Master Gardeners
University of Illinois Extension: Illinois Master Naturalists
Where to Find Plants
IDNR Mason State Tree Nursery: The IDNR Mason State Tree Nursery is Illinois’ only state nursery.
Everything they produce is native Illinois eco-type and free of neonicotinoid pesticides.
Illinois Native Plant Society: Native Plant Sales: The Illinois Native Plant Society keeps a comprehensive list of native plant sales in Illinois that is searchable by region, sale date, organization name, and city.
Possibility Place Nursery’s Plant Finder
Natural Communities Native Plants
Disclaimer: The IDNR maintains a list of nurseries that sell native Illinois plants as a courtesy to the public. This is not a complete list of nurseries that sell native plants in Illinois. Inclusion on this list does not constitute any recommendation or endorsement by the IDNR. Requests for inclusion to this list should be made at: firstname.lastname@example.org