Native Plants Culture & Care

Native Plants
MN Native Plant Brand

MN Native Plant Brand

• Assures plant species are native to Minnesota, based on MNDNR plant community lists.

• Plants are propagated from local seed sources.

• Plants are free of Neonicotinoids.

• All plant material is healthy, robust and grown in local greenhouses.

Why Native Plants?

1. Native plants look good, providing a wide variety of colors and textures throughout the year.

2. Plants compose the foundation of our natural systems. Animals in our Minnesota ecosystem have evolved to rely on native plants for food and shelter.

3. We use a host of native plants to stabilize shores and combat erosion.

4. Because these plants have adapted to Minnesota’s environmental conditions, they are disease resistant and drought tolerant.

5. Periodic watering and fertilizers are not necessary once native plants have become established.

Culture and Care

Here are some basic guidelines to help you match native plants species with your particular site characteristics. (Please note that wetland and aquatic plantings can become quite technical. Feel free to consult with our professionals when dealing with large aquatic plantings.)

Site Selection

Light – If a plant species is listed for full sun, it needs to have at least 8 hours of sunlight. If a plant is listed as full sun to partial sun, it can tolerate shade in the morning but needs sunlight in the afternoon. If a species is listed as full shade, it can handle shady sites but does better with dappled or filtered light. If a plant is listed as full shade to partial sun, it means that it can tolerate morning sun but requires shade in the afternoon. Afternoon sun is more intense than morning sun.

Moisture – A plant requiring moist soils means that moisture is retained for several days, with water slowing draining from the soil. If a species is listed as wet, it means that the root system is adapted to saturated soils and standing water. If a plant is listed as dry it means the soil is well-drained and it can tolerate extended periods with little to no moisture.

Site Preparation

Prior to planting, it’s worthwhile to take a few minutes and assess your planting area. It is important that you prepare your area by clearing all weeds and loosen up compacted soils. A mulch layer holds moisture in and keeps weeds down. If you are planting into turf grass, one method that works well is to kill the grass by smothering. Lay out several layers of newspaper on the grass area, and then cover with shredded hardwood mulch – about 3 inches. After waiting a couple of week, then go ahead and plant though the dead turf and mulch. If you have sandy, poor soils, consider planting short grass prairie species and do not improve soil with compost and organic matter. Simply match your soil type with appropriate native plant species.

Planting and Caring

After completing site preparation, lay out plants by following your restoration or garden design. For perennial gardens, we typically space plants 1.5’ apart. Take out plants from containers and loosen roots. Dig holes and plant plugs so that the top of the plugs are level with the soil surface. Typically, there is no need to fertilize your newly installed prairie plants. As a general rule, the planting area should receive 1” of water per week throughout the first growing season. Plants should not need supplemental watering after the first year. It is important to periodically monitor your planting area and control invasive weed species. Over time, your planting area will fill in and weeding frequency will diminish. If you don’t have time to weed, we offer a variety of maintenance programs to suite your needs.