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Plant native plants to help nature

Goldfinch on a native sunflower
American goldfinch on native sunflower.

Native plants support the entire food web by providing food for insects, birds, bats, small mammals and other wildlife. This is particularly important now that scientists are documenting global declines in insect populations. Used in a rain garden, native plants help minimize flooding and filter out pollutants. The variety of colors, shapes and sizes adds beauty to any property. Get started with the resources below.

Planting basics

Person planting native plant.
Get started today. Photo Credit: Urban Ecology Center

Buy native plants

Native Plant Sales

  • Friends of Wisdom Prairie (Holy Wisdom Monastery) and Southern Wisconsin Bird Alliance native plant sale (Middleton). Online pre-order March 21-May 5. Pick up on May 5.
  • UW Arboretum Online Native Plant Sale (Madison) - Jan. 1 - March 31. Pick up during the week of May 6.
  • Wild Ones Fox Valley Area Native Plant, Tree, Shrub Sale (Neenah). Online orders are now through March 31. Pick up on May 18.
  • Wild Ones Root River Chapter Native Plant Sale (Mt. Pleasant). Online orders are now through April 1. Pick up on May 18.
  • Milwaukee Metropolitan Sewerage District Native Plant Sale. Online orders are now until April 4. Pick up on June 15.
  • Ozaukee County Pollinator Native Plant & Grass sale (Port Washington). Online orders are now through April 12. Pick up in mid-June.
  • Friends of Wehr Nature Center native plant sale (Milwaukee). Online orders are now through April 25. In-person sale June 1-2, 10 a.m. - 3:30 p.m.
  • Wild Ones Green Bay Chapter Pollinator Kits Native Plant Sale (De Pere). Online pre-order now through April 30. Pick up on June 1. Extra plants available for purchase on pick-up day.
  • Beaver Creek Reserve native plant sale (Fall Creek). Order online May 1-8. Pick up on May 10-11. 
  • Elm Grove Native Tree, Shrub and Plant Sale (Elm Grove). Online pre-order now through May 11. Pick up on May 18.
  • Friends of Horicon Marsh "Wildflowers for Wildlife" native plant sale (Horicon). May 18, 9.30 a.m. - 1:30 p.m.
  • UW Arboretum Native Plant Sale in the Tent (Madison) - May 18, 10 a.m. – 2 p.m. or until plants sell out
  • Plant Dane Native Plant Sale (Madison) - Order online now through March 19. Pick up May 18.
  • Wisconsin Hardy Plant Society Spring Plant Sale (Madison) – May 19, 10 a.m.–2 p.m. 
  • Schlitz Audubon Nature Center native plant sale (Milwaukee), June 9, 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Online pre-order details to come.
  • Elm Grove Native Perennial Sale (Elm Grove). June 1, 9 a.m. - 2 p.m.

Native Landscaping Webinars

Garden Tour Videos

Philadelphia vireo feeding on American elderberry.
Clusters of fruits on American elderberry (Sambucus canadensis) attract many bird species in late summers, such as this Philadelphia vireo.

Take a garden tour with DNR conservation biologist Amy Staffen as she showcases her native plants and provides a few tips and tricks for maximizing your yard for Wisconsin wildlife.

Ecosystem restoration

For broader-scale projects, please see the resources below to help with your project.

Dig Deeper

Interested in more help with creating habitats for animals? Try these other resources.

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