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Native Plant Guide

Information and Services for King County, Washington

Right Plant, Right Place

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Each native plant performs a role in its habitat, so use each plant to its best advantage. To control erosion on the edge of a stream, plant red osier dogwood, willows, Oregon ash and vine maple. To attract hummingbirds, plant red flowering currant and orange honeysuckle. And kids as well as animals enjoy huckleberries and native blackberries.

To attract more wildlife, layer plants that grow to different heights. Check out the sample planting plans for examples of layering.

Is bigger better? Most important, choose plants that fit your spot when full-grown. Pruning large plants to fit a small area is loads of work and could harm your plants health. Larger plants may suffer more transplant shock and higher mortality than small plants, but can survive deer browsing better and are less likely to be trampled or weedwhacked.

Start shopping. While native plants are increasingly available in nurseries, some may be a little harder to find. Ask the King Conservation District (External link) (425-277-5581) and the Washington Native Plant Society (External link) (206-527-3210) about their annual native plant sales. When buying, use the Latin name to get the plant you want. For example, asking for mock orange could land you the European Philadelphus coronarius rather than our Northwest native mock orange, Philadelphus lewisii. Use my Plant list to help select plants and landscape plans to see examples. Also visit our native plant nursery site to find a nursery near you.