Native Plants for Sustainable Wildlife Habitats

Learning about the trees, shrubs, vines, flowers, ferns and grasses native to our Northern Virginia region is a journey worth all the time you can give to it.  They are wonderful for their beautiful colors and forms but when you see how much more life they bring to your property you will be hooked. 

Download or order a printed copy at

Download or order a printed copy at

We recommend Native Plants for Northern Virginia provided by the Plant NoVA Natives Campaign as a wonderful guide to plants that are native to our 4-county region, benefit wildlife, are attractive, easy to maintain and relatively easy to acquire.  Their helpful companion Plant Finder app lets you search plants featured in the guide by characteristics such as wildlife attraction, bloom time, moisture, sunshine and deer resistance.

For the best results you will want to plant the right plant in the right place given the plants growth habit, and the amount of sunlight and moisture available.  Starting on page 30 of this guide there is a section on plants best suited for dry shade, small spaces, roadside conditions, wet places and even containers. 

Other resources to search for and learn more about plants native to Northern Virginia are:

Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center Native Plant Database offers details on each plant with a search by state and habit, by common and botanical name.

Digital Atlas of the Virginia Flora

USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service Plants Database 

US Fish and Wildlife Service Native Plants for Wildlife Habitat and Conservation Landscaping Chesapeake Bay Watershed

National Audubon Society's Plants for Birds



Planting for Pollinators

Planting a Native Meadow

Planting to Attract Song Birds To Your Yard

How to Create a Hummingbird-Friendly Yard (from the National Audubon Society)

Native Plants for Specialist Bees (from the Virginia Native Plant Society)



The following are lists compiled to introduce you to some of our favorite plants for their wildlife value and other benefits. 

Top 10 Lists for Wildlife Plants - Compiled by Alonso Abugattas, Natural Resource Manager for Arlington County Parks and Recreation.  This includes

Top 10 Groundcovers

Top 10 Shrubs

Top 10 Canopy and Understory Trees

Top 10 Native Wildflowers

Top 10 Deer Resistant Wildflowers



2019 List of Native Plant Sales updated March 27, 2019. Download a pdf or Link to Plant NoVA Natives website.

The Plant NoVA Natives website maintains a list of native-only plant sellers and updates its list of seasonal native plant sales in our 4-county region.  A growing number of local garden centers are adding natives to their inventory and we encourage you to ask about them to help get the message to plant suppliers that native plants are in increasing demand.  If you are having trouble finding native plants please contact your Audubon At Home Ambassador or Regional Coordinator for more information. Be sure the plants you buy haven’t been treated with neonicitinoids that are harmful to our native bees and caterpillars.