These Chesapeake Bay watershed nurseries reliably have native plants that are easy to find. Each nursery carries only natives (Herring Run Nursery in Maryland and Nature By Design in Virginia); has a native plant section; or has a good selection of natives that are marked and/or knowledgeable staff who can assist. The mail order nurseries all specialize in native plants. The service providers also specialize in native plants.
Please note, Nuts for Natives has no connection to these businesses. We visit or order from the nurseries every 6 months and update this page as needed. If you have updates or additions we should be aware of, please contact us!
Maryland Retail Nurseries
American Plant (Bethesda MD)
American Plant has a selection of native perennials, the more popular shrubs and often small trees. There are two River Road locations: Bethesda and the Beltway. (visited 9/19)
Chesapeake Natives Inc. (Upper Marlboro, MD)
This volunteer run nursery uses the grounds at the historic Mt. Airy Mansion to grow Chesapeake ecotype plants. They grow over 100 different plants and offer quart size perennials, small shrubs and saplings. They maintain a website with inventory but it is essential to call ahead if you are looking for a specific plant or specific numbers of plants. The nursery is open one Sunday a month from May through September and by appointment during specified weekday hours. (visited 4/19)
Herring Run Nursery (Baltimore MD)
This nursery sells only native plants and offers a comprehensive selection of perennials, shrubs, and trees. It is the best local source we know of. If you are not from Baltimore, it may seem a bit off the beaten track but it is totally worth it. The nursery is located on the edge of a golf course. Sales of plants benefit the non-profit organization, Blue Water Baltimore. Please check their hours before you go – as a non-profit this nursery is not open every day, all day. In addition to the hours, the website shows you where to park – at the head of a gravel road. You walk about a 1/4 mile to the nursery and shed. The very friendly staff will give you and your purchases a ride back to your car in their motorized cart. (visited 8/19) Please note Herring Run is closed for the season now.
Homestead Gardens (Davidsonville MD)
This full service garden center always has a selection of native perennials and shrubs and often trees. Very helpfully, Homestead maintains an on-line list of native perennials on hand so you may check inventory ahead of time. (visited 10/19)
Lauren’s Native Plant Nursery (Glenwood MD)
This boutique nursery is an accessory business to the landscape design service. The plants are good quality. The nursery carries a small selection of perennials, shrubs, trees and containers. An up to date inventory list is posted to the website. If you are in Howard County, this is a nearby resource. Please also check the website for hours before you go. (visited 5/19)
Kollar Nursery (Pylesville MD)
Kollar Nursery is a family owned nursery nestled in a dell in Harford County, just below the Pennsylvania – Maryland line. Owners Stan and Sharon Kollar, who have been growing native plants since the 1980s, grow most of their own stock and maintain a website with inventory. Kollar Nursery has a very good selection of native plants including some that are harder to find. Many shrubs and trees are available in a range of sizes. The nursery seems to be one with their garden so you can view many mature natives in a beautiful setting. The Kollar’s website modestly says if you are in the area, stop by. I’d say it is worth the drive, and a beautiful drive it is, once off the highway. As always, if you are looking for something in particular check the website or call ahead. (visited 4/19)
Patuxent Nursery (Bowie MD)
This full service garden center has a good selection of native perennials and some native shrubs and trees. All native plants are helpfully marked with a distinctive “Native to Maryland” sign depicting the state flag. Patuxent also offers some trees for sale on-line. (visited 5/19)
Sun Nurseries (Woodbine MD)
This is a large, working nursery. Sun has 20 acres of plants from grasses and perennials to very large trees. Many trees are in ground and many shrubs are in pot in ground. Their selection is phenomenal and the prices are very competitive. Most perennials are in gallon size. Their selection of evergreens and shrubs is top notch. In some cases, native plants are grouped together – for example, there is a row of American Hollies including ilex opaca and winterberries. In many cases, though, the native plants are mixed in with the huge array of plants. This is a location where it would make sense to bring a shopping list. Browsing might be overwhelming! (visited 8/18)
Valley View Nurseries (Cockeysville MD)
This full service garden center and Baltimore institution has a good selection of native perennials and usually shrubs and trees. Natives are marked with individual signs and mixed in with the large selection on non-natives (ornamentals). Valley View also offers an extensive selection of bird, water garden and general garden supplies. (visited 9/19)
Virginia Retail Nurseries
Merrifield Garden Center (Falls Church VA)
This full service garden center carries a wide selection of non-native plants as well as some native plants. Native perennials, shrubs and trees are mixed in with non-natives. In a few cases, perennials native to Virginia are labeled. To me, one of the strongest attributes of this nursery is in the incredible selection of trees, including very large trees (20′). If you are looking for a native tree, particularly a more mature tree, this is the place to check out. (visited 9/19)
Nature By Design (Alexandria VA)
This is, literally, a hidden gem. This small nursery, one block off of US1 in Alexandria, just below Potomac Yards, is tucked away off of a street populated by light commercial uses. Nature by Design stocks only native plants and has an incredible range of hard to find native plants. Most trees and shrubs are quite young which can be a real bonus for the patient gardener. The staff are extremely knowledgeable and informative. Please check their website for hours before you go. (visited 8/19) Please note, for the winter, Nature By Design is open by appointment only.
Mail Order Nurseries
This mail order business sources native plants from several mid-Atlantic nurseries and has an excellent website that will indicate size (ranges from trays of plugs to quarts to loose bulbs and bare root plants) and shipment date to your zip code.
This Wisconsin nursery sells only native plants, has a number of natives that aren’t easy to find and has one of the most helpful websites around – loads of information about each plant, conditions, and more. A map of the native range for each plant is also helpfully included. Prairie also sells small plants – 3″ pots are common and they also allow you to customize mix and match trays – very helpful if you don’t need 32 of the same plant. Check out their pre-planned gardens for different situations ranging from 32 to 192 plants. A great source for plants and seeds!
This Minnesota nursery has an extensive on-line store of native perennials, ferns, grasses, ground covers and some shrubs available by mail. Other than the shrubs, most are available in the coveted 2″ size trays of 38 plants. You can search by conditions, type of plant or soil type, particularly helpful for us in the Mid-Atlantic, searching for plants adapted to clay soils. Also, please note, this Nursery has greatest availability well in advance of the Spring and Fall planting seasons. Plan your orders the season ahead.
Are you interested in removing and replacing your ivy, vinca or Japanese pachysandra beds with native plants but don’t have time to do it yourself? For residents of Washington DC and the surrounding area, there is an incredible team of people at Love and Carrots who will do this work for you. Their prices are reasonable and they will even help teach your kids why making these changes are so important. They specialize in vegetable gardens as well as native and edible landscapes.
Do you know of others sources of native plants we should all be aware of? Please contact us!