Supporting the Birds, Bees, and Butterflies with Native Plants

Natural habitat for our birds, bees, and butterflies has been shrinking as human habitat grows. By integrating native plants back into our environment, we can restore habitat for these essential species. This is something that everyone can do, and where every action, big or small, moves us in the right direction.

From balcony planter boxes to large backyard rain gardens, here are some essential things to know about native plants.

What to plant?

Check out the Minnesota DNR’s Plant Encyclopedia for information on what to plant in your area.

Where to get seeds and other supplies?

  • Seed Library @ Marthaler Park, West St. Paul

  • Seed Library @ Farmington Library

  • Southview Garden Center

When to plant?

  • Native seeds are best planted either in the fall, between mid-October and freeze-up, or in the spring, sometime between the last frost and July 1.

  • Wild, native seeds tend to germinate better when exposed to some cold, damp conditions, so don’t worry about starting them inside.

  • You can learn more about when, where, and how to plant native species from this Useful brochure from the Minnesota DNR.

Why choose native?

The importance of native plants for pollinators

  • Native plants go into flower exactly when local pollinator species need them as a source of nectar. They’ve co-evolved over millennia in a way that non-native plants can’t match.

  • Native plants are much more resilient to heat, cold, drought, and other extremes than non-native species, meaning that they’ll be there for pollinators even in bad growing seasons.

  • Native plants can thrive without the use of pesticides and other chemicals, meaning that they provide a clean, healthy food source to pollinators.

How native plants benefit our soil & water

  • Deeper roots / erosion control / soil quality

  • Remove toxins from stormwater