Native Plants Selection Aide

Native Bushes and Small Trees Selection Aide

The goal was to create a list of native bushes, small trees and flowers along with key criteria to aide in plant selection. This includes who they feed or host, size, light requirements, resistant qualities and siting needs. The plant lists were generated from the National Wildlife Federation’s and Audubon’s Zip Code results to select this subset from the thousands of native plants in our area. A condensed version of all the information was edited down to try to be as brief as possible.The National Wildlife Federation provides a Native Plant Finder at The “About” section gives background information at  This site is great reference for what native plants are in our Zip Code area and which Butterflies use them. This is the Hosting numbers found in our Butterfly column. Their website does lists the top Butterflies & Moths per plant. The second site is Audubon’s Birds and Native Plants at Some of the extra information is also from them. Audubon lists 15 local bird types for us, basically the songbirds, Woodpeckers and Hummingbirds. The 13 songbird types are:  

Cardinals & Grosbeaks, Chickadees & Titmice,  Crows & Jays, Finches, Mockingbirds & Thrashers,  Nuthatches, Orioles, Sparrows,  Thrushes,  Vireos,  Waxwings,  Wrens,  Wood Warblers

The North Carolina Extension Gardener Plant Toolbox fills in the rest of the information in the spreadsheet. This database provides extensive data about each plant at  The Find a Plant and Identify a Plant  abilities are great enhanced by applying the filters in the left hand menu. A prime example is Landscape Themes of “Native Garden” and “Garden for the Blind” results in 12 choices for a sensory themed garden. One choice is the Carolina Allspice, which Robin mentioned on our first meeting.  

There are many wonderful and educational initiatives about pollinators and many cover the plants. The National Park Service’s Pollinator site is great, especially the Additional Resources page with a set of links to key organizations involved. They link to the Pollinator Partnership, Xerces, U.S. Forest Service, the various Monarch groups, and more. The booklet on our bees and plants is at: the info on our bees and plants is at:

The ideas all these sites encourage are also in the new HOMEGROWN NATIONAL PARK™ initative, which is a “grassroots call-to-action to regenerate biodiversity and ecosystem function by planting native plants and creating new ecological networks.” Entomologist Doug Tallamy’s presentations and books have given us great insight into the insect, caterpillar, butterfly and bird food webs that need help. Here is an excerpt from a recent webinar Dr. Tallamy spoke at that encapsulates the issues.

“Our parks, preserves, and remaining wildlands – no matter how grand in scale – are too small and separated from one another to sustain the native trees, plants, insects and animals on which our ecosystems depend. We can fix this problem by practicing conservation outside of wildlands, where we live, work, shop, and farm. Thus, the concept for Homegrown National Park: a national challenge to create diverse ecosystems in our yards, communities, and surrounding lands by reducing lawn, planting native, and removing invasives. The goal of HNP is to create a national movement to restore 20 million acres with natives, an area representing ½ of what is now in lawn. We are at a critical point where we are losing so many native plant and animal species that our natural life support is in jeopardy. However, if many people make small changes, we can restore healthy ecological networks and weather the changes ahead.”