Landscaping with Native Plants

If you’re looking for a landscape filled with good looking, easy-to-maintain plants that are well adapted to our climate, then native plant material may be your best bet.

Trees, shrubs and flowers that occur naturally in our surroundings are, generally speaking, better adapted to local climate and soil conditions and more resistant to local disease and pests than are the more highly bred, exotic species.

On the whole, native stock requires less of your time and money to maintain – they don’t receive any extra moisture or fine manicuring in the depths of the forest! Because of their adaptations, native plants stand a greater chance of healthy, strong growth than most hybrid species.

To begin planning your natural planting, take a look around our garden centre. Our staff will be happy to show you some of the native plants listed. In addition, we have many perennial flowering plants that are local; a carefully selected group of native perennials will give you easy-care colour all season long.

Once you have chosen the native plant material or your garden, try laying them out before planting. Remember that clumps of plantings will look more natural than single plants scattered all over. For a truly natural look, try to incorporate layers of vegetation. By combining large and small trees, shrubs, evergreens and ground covers, you should be able to create an attractive, yet low maintenance planting. Often the gardens that look thoughtlessly natural required a great deal of careful consideration in the planning stage.

If you’re looking to attract birds, butterflies or other wildlife to your garden be sure to include lots of native plants in your landscape. Our wildlife evolved in these habitats so they are better suited to our native plant communities.

There are a number of natural gardens in Southern Ontario that you can visit for ideas and inspiration:

Ecology Park, 12 Madison Ave., Toronto, ON M5R 2S1

(A project of the Pollution Probe Foundation)

Gosling Wildlife Garden, J.C. Taylor Nature Centre, The Arboretum, University of Guelph, N1G 2W1

The Robert Starbird Dorney Ecology Garden, University of Waterloo, N2L 3G1

Naturalized Parks in North York (Contact the City of Toronto)

George W. North Memorial Wildlife Garden

Royal Botanical Gardens,

Nature Interpretive Centre, Box 399, Hamilton Ontario, L8N 3H8


White Pine – Pinus strobus

White Cedar – Thuja occidentalis

Balsam Fir – Abies balsamea

White Spruce – Picea glauca

Eastern Hemlock – Tsuga canadensis

Shade Trees

Red Oak – Quercus rubra

Pin Oak – Quercus palustris

Paper Birch – Betula papyrifera

Red Maple – Acer rubrum

Sugar Maple – Acer saccharum

Silver Maple – Acer saccharinum

Butternut – Juglans cinerea

Shagbark Hickory – Carya ovata

Small Trees

Serviceberry – Amelanchier alnifolia

Red Mulberry – Morus rubra

American Mountain Ash – Sorbus americana

Staghorn Sumac – Rhus typhina

Nannyberry – Viburnum lentago

Redbud – Cercis canadensis


Red Osier Dogwood – Cornus sericea

Gray Dogwood – Cornus stolonifera

Honeysuckle – Lonicera

Winterberry Holly – Ilex verticillata

American Hazel – Corylus americana

Vines and Ground covers

Bittersweet – Celastrus scandens

Trumpet Vine – Campsis radicans

Bearberry – Arctostaphylos uva-ursi

Bunchberry – Cornus canadensis

Reference: Landscaping for Wildlife, a publication by The Ministry of Natural Resource and Landscape Ontario.

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