Wisconsin Native Plants

Locally Grown Native Plants

At Heyden’s Gardens, we are passionate about all plants but are especially enthusiastic about our Wisconsin natives. These plants share a long history with the people, animals and beneficial insects of the region and we believe that their preservation is critical to a healthy ecosystem.

The landscape of southeastern Wisconsin was historically comprised primarily of prairie, wetland, oak savanna, and mixed hardwood forest. These native plant communities evolved in harmony with our native soils and climate and, as a result, the plants are perfectly suited to growing in our area. Many of the native plants that we grow are propagated from seeds collected from local ecotype prairie and woodland populations, making them exquisitely well adapted to our growing conditions.

We frequently write about Wisconsin natives. Browse some of our native articles!

wisconsin native plants natives prairie landscape johnson's gardens cedarburg

Wisconsin Native Prairie Plants

Long before we began gardening, our native prairie grasses and flowers thrived in a vast Midwestern grassland. There were no gardeners pampering them with water during droughts or protecting them from the bitter cold winters. Wisconsin natives are tough, durable plants. Their primary strategy to survive was to develop extensive, deep root systems. In fact, over 70% of the biomass of most prairie grasses and flowers is underground. With the ability to draw moisture and nutrients from deep within the earth these plants survived drought and required very little, if any, supplemental nutrients. Once these plants become established in your garden they are truly low maintenance plants.

Prairies are one of the most diverse ecosystems in the world, surpassed only by the tropical rainforests. When Europeans settled in the Midwest they plowed the prairie and turned the land over to agricultural production. Today our native tallgrass prairie has been reduced to about 1% of its original area, making it one of the rarest and most endangered ecosystems in the world. The home gardener can play a critical role in maintaining populations of native birds and beneficial insects by growing some of these native prairie plants in our home gardens.

Native Trees & Shrubs

Just as with our native prairie plants, our native trees and shrubs are ideally suited to growing in southeastern Wisconsin. They are supremely winter hardy! Once established, they are quite self-sufficient. Many of us are familiar with the most impressive of the native trees, including the statuesque Oaks and our official Wisconsin State Tree, the magnificent Sugar Maple. We grow these as well as a selection of lesser-known, but equally worthy, native trees and shrubs.

bark and leaves on wisconsin native sugar maple