Native plants are more popular than ever, for lots of reasons.
They’re hardy and less susceptible to pests and diseases. Once they’re established, native plants typically need less water than non-natives.
And a host of wild critters will thank you. They love native plants — they offer a free buffet of berries, nuts and seeds. Some native blooms provide nectar for hummingbirds and insects.
Why plant native? Lots of reasons. Here are some of the best native plants for Washington D.C., along with why they are important.
Native Plants Protect Against Invasive Plants
When plants are introduced that aren't native to your area, they can become invasive, choking out beneficial plants that birds and animals need to survive.
Choose native plants for your Washington D.C. landscape, and you’re helping the environment and your area’s wild creatures.
Native Plants Need Less Maintenance
Native plants automatically love living on your property. That means they need less care from you. They naturally resist diseases and pests. They’re happier and healthier, needing less water than non-natives.
Layers Of Native Plants Shelter Birds
Plant layers of native species, from low-lying ground covers to knee-high perennials to canopies of trees. Native birds love the protective shelter this provides for breeding. Include a bit of everything, from flowers to grasses to shrubs, for the best bird appeal.
What Native Plants Are Best in The DC Area?
We have lots of great native plants in Washington D.C. You’re bound to love a few of them for your commercial landscape.
Let’s take a look at some great species of native trees, shrubs, vines and perennials.
Native Trees in DC
Here are three of our top picks for DC native trees.
- Serviceberry (Amelanchier ‘Autumn Brilliance’)
This tree offers beautiful orange-red fall color and pretty white spring flowers. Birds love its purplish-black fruit, which also makes tasty jams and jellies.
- Eastern Redbud (Cercis Canadensis ‘Rising Sun’)
Abundant rosy-lavender flowers appear in early spring, followed by heart-shaped lime green leaves in summer. Its leaves turn shades of orange, gold and yellow in autumn — an explosion of hues, all at once.
- Flowering Dogwood (Cornus florida ‘Cherokee Princess’)
This beauty is often called the most lovely of the native American flowering trees. Each pretty white flower cluster is surrounded by four showy, white, petal-like bracts which open flat, giving the appearance of a single, large, 4-inch wide white flower. Birds love its bright red fruit.
Native Shrubs in DC
Three of our favorite DC native shrubs.
- Virginia Sweetspire (Itea virginica ‘Little Henry’)
This compact shrub starts out the summer with a beautiful blanket of fragrant white flowers. In autumn, its foliage turns a stunning garnet-red, especially in full sun.
- Winterberry Holly (Ilex verticillata)
A profusion of bright red berries brightens the winter landscape and provides food for hungry birds. Note that a male pollenizer, such as Jim Dandy Holly, is needed in order to produce berries.
- Fothergilla (Fothergilla major 'Mount Airy')
This pretty shrub offers deep blue-green leaves, fragrant white spring flowers and attractive fall color. Bonus: Honey-scented, brush-like flowers appear before the leaves.
Native Vines in DC
Our top three picks for native vines in Washington DC.
- Trumpet Creeper (Campsis radicans ‘Indian Summer’)
This stunning vine features yellowish-orange flowers in late spring and early summer that attract butterflies and hummingbirds.
- Honeysuckle (Lonicera sempervirens ‘Major Wheeler’)
Masses of coral-red trumpet-shaped flowers emerge in spring and last all summer long, attracting butterflies and hummingbirds. A fast grower, it's also deer resistant.
- Virginia creeper (Parthenocissus quinquefolia)
This native vine has dark green foliage that turns to fire-engine red in autumn and produces blue fruit. Fast-growing and salt-tolerant, it’s a great way to cover an ugly wall.
Native Perennials in DC
We love these three DC native perennials.
- Threadleaf Blue Star (Amsonia hubrichtii)
A graceful and long-lived native plant, this offers very fine foliage and clusters of steel blue flowers in May and June. Then, in autumn, stunning golden fall color.
- False Indigo (Baptisia x ‘Purple Smoke’)
Elegant spikes of purple flowers top the abundant, blue-green foliage that cover this long-lived, bushy perennial. It offers attractive seed pods in early summer and is a great cut flower.
- Coneflower (Echinacea purpurea)
Part of the fun of this native flower is the great variety names, like ’PowWow Wild Berry’, and ‘Kim’s Knee High.’ All these long-blooming, colorful coneflowers attract butterflies and birds. Once established, they’re drought tolerant.
Go Native With Level Green Landscaping
Our plant experts love matching the right property with the perfect plants, including the best native plants for Washington DC.
We’d love to suggest some native beauties for your property. Then, while you enjoy the beauty, you can also feel great about creating less maintenance on your commercial property.
Our service area includes Washington DC, Maryland and parts of Virginia. We focus on commercial property maintenance for offices, retail spaces, mixed-use sites, HOAs/condominiums, distribution centers, municipalities and institutions.
Contact us at 202-544-0968 or by filling out our form online. You can also schedule a free consultation to talk with us about how we can enhance and maintain your commercial landscape.
Ready to try some of our favorite native plants? We’d love to hear from you.
Image sources: amelanchier x grandiflora, eastern redbud, flowering dogwood, virginia sweetspire, winterberry holly, fothergilla, campsis radicans, lonicera sempervirens, virginia creeper, threadleaf blue star, false indigo, coneflower