Native Plants

Using native plants in public and private landscapes and gardens can help reduce the threat of invasive non-native species to the region’s biodiversity. The LEAP Native Plants of the Year campaign highlights native species that can make exceptional additions to area landscapes and gardens.

Native plants in the garden:

  • Attract native wildlife
  • Reduce soil erosion
  • Require less fertilizer and watering
  • Promote native regional biodiversity
  • Thrive under natural conditions
  • Connect people to nature

Landscaping with Native Plants

Need information about the best plants to use in your yard? Check out this informative document, Landscaping for Biodiversity with Ohio Native Plants: A Species Guide for Plantings, created by staff of Cleveland Metroparks.

Native Plant Nurseries

The Native Plant Nurseries Map provides information on nurseries that sell native plants to our region. Please contact Constance Hausman if you are a native plant nursery that would like to be added to the map. LEAP provides this information solely as a resource and not as an endorsement of any nursery.

Future Native Plants of the Year

LEAP's Native Plants of the Year campaign spans 2011-2022. Look for LEAP to spotlight the following plants species in upcoming years...

2019: New Jersey tea (Ceanothus americanus), Prairie dropseed (Sporobolus heterolepis), Turtlehead (Chelone glabra)
2020: Sassafras (Sassafras albidum), Purple-flowering raspberry (Rubus odoratus), Marginal wood fern (Dryopteris marginalis)
2021: Scarlet bee balm (Monarda didyma), Fragrant sumac (Rhus aromatica), Oak - Quercus species to be determined (Quercus rubra, Q. imbricaria, Q. bicolor, Q. macrocarpa)
2022: Canada anemone (Anemone canadensis), American hophornbeam (Ostrya virginiana), Wafer ash (Ptelea trifoliata)

Native Plants of the Year


Great Blue Lobelia
(Lobelia siphilitica)

This clump-forming perennial provides late summer blooms in the garden.

(Larix laricina)

This deciduous conifer prefers a cold climate and provides good fall color when its needles turn yellow.

Virgin's Bower
(Clematis virginiana)

A vigorous vine with sweet, aromatic white flowers that bloom from August through October.


Eastern Red Cedar
(Juniperus virginiana)

A small evergreen tree that serves as an excellent windbreak and erosion control shrub. Thrives on dry soils in full sunlight. An aromatic tree with reddish wood.

Prickly Pear
(Opuntia humifusa)

Prickly pear cactus spines are a deterrent to deer. Roots, stems, fruits, and seeds may be eaten by a variety of animals. Highly drought tolerant. Thrives in full sun in hot and dry environments and is also winter hardy.

Purple Coneflower
(Echinacea purpurea)

A member of the sunflower family, this erect, long-lived perennial is often grown for its showy flowers. Goldfinch and other song birds are fond of its seeds in the fall. Pollinated by butterflies and bees.


Little Bluestem
(Schizachyrium scoparium)

A colorful native prairie grass with striking blue-green foliage and pink overtones.

(Lindera benzoin)

Spicebush is a deer-resistant shrub with early-season nectar for butterflies and bright red berries for migratory birds.

Swamp Candles
(Lysimachia terrestris)

This showy perennial blooms vivid yellow in mid-summer, adding color to rain gardens and wet areas.


(Cephalanthus occidentalis)

Grows well under diverse conditions and provides winter interest.

(Asimina triloba)

Disease and pest resistant, rarely being browsed by deer.

Woodland Stonecrop
(Sedum ternatum)

Best as a ground cover in shade gardens.


Black Gum
(Nyssa sylvatica)

Juicy fruit of the female tree is a treat to birds and mammals

Common Witchhazel
(Hamamelis virginiana)

Seeds are ejected with a snapping sound.

(Tiarella cordifolia)

Small white flowers bloom in mid-late spring.


Northern Bayberry
(Morella pensylvanica)

Tolerates a wide range of soil and growing conditions

Swamp Milkweed
(Asclepias incarnata)

Important food source for Monarch butterflies

(Panicum virgatum)

Provides excellent nesting and cover for birds.


Cardinal Flower
(Lobelia cardinalis)

Attracts both butterflies and hummingbirds.

Eastern Redbud
(Cercis canadensis)

Seeds are eaten by many birds and squirrels.

Redosier Dogwood
(Cornus sericea)

Great plant for spring pollinators.


Allegheny Serviceberry
(Amelanchier laevis)

Sweet berries in June attract many species of birds.

Blazing Star
(Liatris spicata)

Long-lasting blooms attract butterflies.

Common Winterberry
(Ilex verticillata)

Bright red berries attract birds late into winter.