Van Buren Township

Native Plants

Some familiar native plants


  • Redbud
  • Cercis canadensis
  • Thuja occidentalis
  • Red/Green Ash
  • Fraxinus pennsylvanica
  • Black Oak
  • Quercus velutina
  • Northern white cedar


  • Silky Dogwood
  • Cornus amomum
  • Hazelnut
  • Corylus Americana
  • Witch-hazel
  • Hamamelis virginiana
  • Maple leaf viburnum
  • Viburnum acerifolia


  • Butterfly milkweed
  • Asclepias tuberose
  • Columbine
  • Aquilegia canadensis
  • Jack-in-the Pulpit
  • Arisaema triphyllum
  • Geranium (wild )
  • Geranium manculatum
  • Coneflower (yellow)    
  • Ratiaba pinnata
  • Black-eyed Susan
  • Rudbeckia hirta


  • Maidenhair fern
  • Adiantum pedatum
  • Ostrich fern
  • Matteuccia struthiopteris var. pensylvanica
  • Christmas fern
  • Polystichum acrostichoides
  • Bracken fern
  • Pteridium aquilinum
  • Interrupted fern
  • Osmunda claytoniana
  • Sensitive fern
  • Onoclea sensibilis

Grasses and Sedges

  • Big bluestem grass
  • Andropogon gerardii
  • Turkey-foot grassCarex pensylvanica
  • Pennsylvania sedge
  • Carex pensylvanica
  • Tussock sedge
  • Carex stricta
  • Bottlebrush grass
  • Elymus hystrix

This list is generated by Give Water a Hand brochure.
!!!! MORE plants !!!! Listed according to shade tolerance!
Native plants to Consider Planting near Water

When purchasing native plants:

  • Buy from local nurseries that sell plants that come from a seed source of no further than 200 miles from your site.
  • Be sure that nursery plants are not necessarily from their natural areas; ask about their source
  • Generic ‘wildflower-in-a-can’ packages usually contain species native to distant states (like CA or TX). These species either die out or become weeds. Planting these packaged wildflowers is not recommended. Buy seed from a local native from a local native-plant nursery instead.

Nurseries Carrying Native Plants

How to plant your native plants

Plan your garden

Many people like the clean, neat look of lawns and tended gardens and fear that native plantings will looks like a bed of weeds. By incorporating signs of care, such as mown strips of turf, decorative fences and an abundance of showy flowers (indeed, some native plants do have gorgeous flowers), your yard can be both ecologically beneficial and beautiful.

Eliminate invasive weeds and turf

Weeds and turf grass compete with young native plants and reduce their chance for survival. Keep in mind, that removal of problem species, like reed canary grass, purple loosestrife, crown vetch, and common buckthorn, takes time and requires persistence.

Before installing native plants, these competitors should be removed either by smothering or herbiciding them. To smother them, stake black plastic over the weeds and leave for one growing season. You can also use a sod cutter to remove large areas of turf.

Alternatively, a quicker way, you can spray undesirable vegetation with a glyphosphate-based herbicide (such as Roundup or Rodeo). Use caution when applying herbicide, especially near the lake. Any herbicide application to aquatic or shoreline plants must be accompanied by a permit from the DNR.

Plant your garden

One good thing about native plants is that you do not need to prepare your soil before planting. Plants selected appropriately will thrive in the soil conditions that exist on the site.

Next, select from containerized, bare-root, balled and burlaped plants, or seeds. Each has advantages and disadvantages. Talk with a nursery professional about what approach and techniques would be best for your garden for maximizing the success of a beautiful garden, aesthetically and ecologically.

Please consult a nursery professional for plants ideal for your specific site.

Design Firms Specializing in Native Plantings