By Going Native , you can discover the rich variety and beauty of plants that are well adapted to your site conditions and experience the joy of observing the wildlife they attract. This guide will help you to plan a landscape that is attractive and easy to care for.
Before choosing varieties, examine your property for soil type, drainage and sun/shade patterns. Local garden centers can be a good source of information, and many are willing to order plants that are not in stock. It is also a good idea to take the time to explore botanical gardens, parks and arboretums to observe plants in natural settings. The companion publication to this pamphlet, Gardening with Mother Nature , gives suggestions for landscaping and references.
Plants marked with an asterisk (*) are particularly beneficial for wildlife.
* American Holly (Ilex opaca) - Evergreen. To 50 feet but slow growing. Sun/shade. Fruits best in sun. Best leaf color in shade. Good specimen or background plant. Many cultivated varieties available. Berries on female plants only but need male to pollinate.
Atlantic White Cedar* Atlantic White Cedar (Chamaecyparis thyoides) - Evergreen. 60 to 85 feet. Sun. Native to southern swamps where stands provide cover for wildlife.
Bald cypress (Taxodium distichum) - Deciduous. 100 to 125 feet. Sun. Needle-like leaves, cone-shaped "knees".Typical southeast wetlands tree but thrives in standing water and drier soils alike. Pond cypress is a smaller variety.
* Black Cherry (Prunus serotina) - To 80 feet but few attain this height. Sun for fruit production. Shade tolerant. Plant near hedgerows for maximum benefit to wildlife and to minimize leaf and fruit drop in traffic areas.
* Eastern Red Cedar (Juniperus virginiana) - Evergreen. 40 to 60 feet. Sun/light shade. Tolerates wide range of soils. Grows fast; can be pruned. Good windbreak. Birds love berries.
* Green Ash (Fraxinus pennsylvanica) - Deciduous. To 80 feet. Sun/shade tolerant. Rugged, fast growing, good breeding, nesting sites for birds. Seeds provide food for wildlife.
* Oak (Quercus) - 75 to 100 feet. Sun/shade. Varieties: Laurel (Q. laurifolia) , Willow (Q. phellos) , semi-evergreen. Water (Q. nigra) , Swamp White (Q. bicolor) , deciduous. Among the best trees for attracting wildlife. Other varieties do well in drier soils.
* Pine (Pinus) - Evergreen. Varieties: Loblolly (P. taeda) , Longleaf (P. palustris) to 100 feet. Pond (P. serotina) to 70 feet, compact growth. Sun. Acid soil. Fast growing. Good windbreak.
* Red Maple (Acer rubrum) - Deciduous. 60 to 90 feet. Tolerant of shade. First to bloom in spring. Good fall color. Produces dense shade, cover for birds. Surface roots. Most widely distributed tree in the east.
River Birch (Betula nigra) - Deciduous. To 80 feet. Sun. Grows rapidly. Irregular, open crown. Does well along streams.
Southern Magnolia (Magnolia grandiflora) Evergeen. Sun. Fast growing to 50 feet in ideal conditions. Magnificent fragrant white flowers. Cones and leaves prized for floral decorations. Aggressive shallow roots. Needs space. Plant as specimen.
* Sweetgum (Liquidambar styraciflua) - Deciduous. To 100 feet. Sun. Fast growing. Produces spiny fruit loved by animals; plant in beds, away from foot traffic. Good fall color.Tulip Poplar* Tulip poplar (Liriodendron tulipifera) - Deciduous. To 100 feet. Sun. Showy blossoms often unnoticed because of height. Fast-growing shade tree. Aggressive roots. Nice fall color.
Tupelo* Tupelo (Nyssa silvatica, aquatica) - Deciduous. 60 to 90 feet. Thrives in shade or full sun. Silvatica likes moist soil; aquatica standing water. Spectacular fall color. Fruits eaten by wide variety of birds.
* Crabapple (Malus species) - To 30 feet. Sun. Many varieties available. Brilliant though short-lived show in spring. Fruit devoured by many birds. Good massed at woodland edge. Avoid planting near paths because of fruit drop.
* Hawthorn (Crataegus species) - 20 to 30 feet. Sun. Brilliant white flowers similar to cherry. Bright red berries attract birds. Spikelike thorns. Washington Hawthorn (C. phaenopyrum) is found in moist areas from Florida to Pennsylvania and is a good landscape tree.
* Pawpaw (Asimina triloba) - 20 to 30 feet. Light sun under tall hardwoods. Yellow fall color. Late summer fruit is delicious, tastes like bananas, prized by mammals and birds. Tends to form colonies. Difficult to find in nurseries.
* Persimmon (Diospyros virginiana) - 20 to 80 feet but slow growing. Sun. Also known as Possumwood. Male and female flowers on separate plants. Fruit astringent until ripe, sought after by birds and mammals. Best growth in moist rich soil.
* Possumhaw (Ilex decidua) - 10 to 20 feet. Sun/Partial shade. Multi-trunked. Male plant needed to pollinate female for fruiting. Bright red berries attract wildlife in winter. Also known as Deciduous Holly.
Red Buckeye (Aesculus pavia) - 10 to 20 feet. Dappled shade to avoid leaf scorch. Good planted as specimen or at the edge of a woodland. Showy red flowers attract hummingbirds. Numerous cultivars but hard to find.
* Red Mulberry (Morus rubra) - 20 to 60 feet. Sun/some shade. Blackberry-like fruits prized by birds. Male and female flowers on separate plants. Plant near woodland edge to avoid fruit drop in traffic areas.
Redbud (Cercis canadensis) - 20 to 30 feet. Sun/shade. Pinkish purplish blooms in spring. A legume, it can manufacture its own nitrogen. Likes moderately fertile soil, well-limed. Short-lived but flowers well for 20 years.
* Sassafras (Sassafras albidum) - 10 to 50 feet. Sun. Grows naturally along woodland's edge. Attractive yellow-green spring flowers, bright yellow fall color, bluish berries. Interesting leaves aromatic when crushed.
* Serviceberry (Amelanchier canadensis) - To 25 feet. Light sun. Plant along woodland's edge to avoid fruit drop on paths. Among the earliest to bloom in spring. Early fruit provides food for nesting birds. Also known as Shadbush, Sarvis and Juneberry. Good naturalized in hedgerows.
Silverbell (Halesia carolina) - 15 to 30 feet. Sun/shade. Needs moisture. Delicate white bell-like flowers in spring. Good near wetland, creek. H. diptera a more showy variety.Sweet BaySweet Bay (Magnolia virginiana) - 15 to 30 feet. Sun/shade. Semi-evergreen. Showy white fragrant flowers. Carefree but highly under-used. Prefers soil with neutral acidity but highly tolerant of moisture and soil conditions.
White Fringetree (Chionanthus virginicus) - Deciduous. 15 to 30 feet with narrow crown. Sun/part shade. Fragrant white flowers with narrow petals. Dark purple fruit.
* Winged Sumac (Rhus copallina) - Deciduous. To 25 feet. Sun. Open crown. Fast growing. Good for woodland edge. Forms colonies. Reddish hairy berries are late winter food for birds. Likes good drainage.
Fetterbush (Lyonia lucida) - To 5 feet. Sun/part shade. Arching branches. Usually grows at the edges of moist thickets. Small white to pink flowers, bell-like in clusters. Shiny leathery leaves. Excellent as specimen shrub or massed.
Groundsel Bush (Baccharis halimifolia) - 4 to 10 feet. Sun. Handsome shrub for naturalizing. Showy in autumn when plants are covered with white silky tufts containing seeds.
* Inkberry (Ilex glabra) - To 10 feet. Sun. Handsome, compact shrub with leathery leaves. Many cultivars available. Dark fruits enjoyed by mammals and birds.
Leucothoe (Leucothoe axillaris) - To 4 feet. Some sun to avoid leaf spot disease in humid areas. Arching branches; glossy foliage turns bronze in winter. Attractive white sprays of flowers in spring. Also called Dog-Hobble. L. racemosa is an upright deciduous variety.
Loblolly BayLoblolly Bay (Gordonia lasianthus) - To 20 feet. Sun/shade. Spectacular waxy white flowers in summer. Glossy foliage. Needs moisture but little fertilizer. Can be grown as small tree.
* Redbay (Persea borbonia) - 10 to 50 feet. Shade. Slow growing. Leathery leaves fragrant when crushed. Inconspicuous flowers. Hardy. Host plant for Palamedes Swallowtail.
* Wax Myrtle (Myrica cerifera) - 10 to 20 feet. Sun (leggy growth in shade). Tolerant of soil pH and moisture. Needs heavy pruning to keep in check. Leaves fragrant when crushed. Good as background planting. Berries on female plants.
* Yaupon Holly (Ilex vomitoria) - 7 to 15 feet. Sun but shade tolerant. Small red fruit attractive in winter. Dwarf form good for foundation planting but will not berry.
Azalea (Rhododendron species) - 3 to 8 feet depending on variety. Sun/part shade. Coastal azalea (R. atlanticum) to 4 feet. Swamp or clammy azalea (R. viscosum) , Woolly azalea (R. canescens) , Pink-shell azalea (R. vaseyi) to 8 feet. Soft pink blooms in spring. Nice addition to the moist but not soggy garden. Likes acid soil
* Beautyberry (Callicarpa americana) - 4 to 8 feet. Sun/part shade. Inconspicuous flowers, brilliant purple berries in fall. Nice with asters and goldenrod. Prune in winter to stimulate new growth for next season's berries.
* Blueberry (Vaccinium species) - To 12 feet. Best in sun. Will tolerate part shade. Needs acid soil. Excellent for hedgerows. Beautiful spring bloom. Berries attract wildlife.
* Buttonbush (Cephalanthus occidentalis) - 4 to 15 feet, usually less. Sun, uniformly wet soil for best flower production. Fragrant creamy flowers in late summer. Prune hard every 2-3 years to keep in check and encourage flowering.
* Elderberry (Sambucus canadensis) - 5 to 20 feet. Sun. Forms thickets, especially along streambanks. White flowers in flattened clusters followed by purplish-black juicy berries.
Fothergilla (Fothergilla gardenii to 3 feet; F. major to 10 feet) - Sun for best flowering and fall color. Creamy white fragrant brushlike flowers in early spring. Also called Witch-Alder.
Hardhack (Spirea tomentosa) - 6 to 8 feet. Sun. Rose to purple flowers July to October. Most suitable for naturalized landscaping.
* Heart's-A-Bustin (Euonymus americanus) - 5 to 8 feet. Sun/part shade. Bushier in sun. Unusual, bright red fruit, green stems, nice fall color. Tends to be leggy; keep in background. Hibiscus (Hibiscus moscheutos, H. palustris) - to 8 feet. Sun. Distinctive large flowers in summer. Deep root system of this shrublike perennial holds soil against erosion.
Pussy Willow (Salix discolor) - to 12 feet. Sun. Fast-growing. Spikes ("pussies") open in spring. Good cover, source of food for wildlife. Strong roots anchor soil on stream banks.
* Red Chokeberry (Aronia arbutifolia) - to 15 feet. Sun. Bright red fall foliage. Brilliant berries attract birds. Leggy; forms colonies. Low maintenance if allowed to naturalize.
Snowbell (Styrax americana) - to 15 feet. Sun/light shade. Will grow with roots in water. Covered with thousands of fragrant white flowers in spring. Early source of nectar for insects.
* Spicebush (Lindera benzoin) - 6 to 15 feet. Sun/light shade. Leaves aromatic when crushed; greenish inconspicuous flowers; shiny scarlet red berries on female plants in fall. Likes lime.Silky Dogwoodd* Silky Dogwood (Cornus amomum) - 10 to 15 feet, shrublike. Shade. Flowers small but grouped in heads. Good soil stabilizer on muddy banks.
* Swamp Rose (Rosa palustris) - to 8 feet. Sun. Pale pink flowers; red hips in fall. Likes wet feet. Creates impenetrable thicket.Sweet Pepper Bush* Sweet Pepperbush (Clethra alnifolia) - 8 to 10 feet. Partial shade. Available in dwarf forms. Spikes of highly fragrant flowers on tips of branches in late summer. Seed pods conspicuous all winter. Carefree.
* Viburnum (Viburnum species) To 20 feet. Sun. Showy flowers, fruit. Possum Haw (V. nudum) native to southeastern wetlands. Many cultivars readily available in nurseries.
Virginia Sweetspire (Itea virginica) - 3 to 10 feet. Sun/light shade. Tolerant of soil conditions. Showy white bell-shaped fragrant flowers in spring. Good for naturalizing.
* Winterberry (Ilex verticillata) - 10 to 20 feet. Sun/shade. Deciduous holly. Bright red berries on female plants in winter. Many cultivars available. Need male for pollination.ZenobiaZenobia (Zenobia pulverulanta) - To 6 feet. Sun/shade. Attractive leathery half-evergreen leaves. Showy white nodding, fragrant flowers. Likes acid soil.
The production of GOING NATIVE was made possible by a grant from the North Carolina Division of Forest Resources