/ Habitat at Home,

Habitat at Home: Where to Find Native Plants

Ok, residents of Western North Carolina and Upstate South Carolina, as spring does a full on sprint toward our gardens, yards, and planted decks, where should we go to stock up on the native goods? Sure, you can find some native plants at most garden centers and big orange home improvement stores, but where should you turn to find a great selection of native plants while supporting local, small businesses?

Why Native Plants?

Many of our common garden plants come from other parts of the world. You can definitely have a great looking garden with or without native plants. So why grow natives? Because insects like to eat them! That might seem counterintuitive at first, but think about it.

Many insects, including most butterflies and moths, are extremely picky in their larval stage. They will only eat their native host plants. And those caterpillars and other larvae are what birds like to eat. Insects are the base of our whole food web—and we’ve actually seen a scary drop in insect numbers so we need to bring them back. The more native plants you grow, the more wildlife of every kind you’re supporting. You’re helping restore much needed habitat and you’ll be rewarded with more pollinators, butterflies, birds, and more.

Monarch on common milkweed

Where to Get Native Plants

We asked a number of native plant gardeners what their favorite spots are to get native plants, and this is what we heard back. Most of these are local, some are not. We are not necessarily endorsing these businesses, but if you’re looking for natives, check out these options. You can definitely find a great source to meet your needs!

Local and Regional Businesses

Plant Sales and Events

  • Asheville Botanical Garden plant sales: Spring sale online ordering will begin on Thursday, April 15 at 9 a.m.
  • Asheville Herb Festival, May 1-2, is a fantastic festival to get locally grown herbs, flowers, plants, trees and gardening supplies, just in time for spring planting.
  • Asheville Greenworks tree giveaway, April 18, is for Buncombe County residents only, and aims to restore the local tree canopy.
  • Pollinator Day at the Hendersonville Farmers Market will be held on Saturday, June 5. Look for updates on this and other Hendersonville events here.

Favorites Outside Our Region

In addition to many local businesses, we heard good things about these sources:

  • Prairie Moon Nursery, based in the Midwest, is great for meadow seed mixes, bare root plants, and plant starts that you can order online. Their website and customer service staff provide good advice on how to get your meadow or native garden started.
  • Woodthrush Native Nursery in Floyd, Virginia, is worth a stop if you’re up that way.

Further Resources

North Carolina Native Plant Society’s native plant nursery list

South Carolina Native Plant Society’s native plant nursery list