For Pacific NW gardeners of all stripes, native plants are a way to have a beautiful, bountiful garden without breaking the bank. From lacy ferns to deeply vibrant violets, the Pacific Northwest is home to some of the most desirable belles of the botanical ball. In addition,  thriving native plants, trees and flowers minimize the environmental impact of your garden.

Choosing plants that aren’t naturally adapted to the PNW environment require more maintenance—the soil has to be altered, the insects have to be controlled, and the plants need different nutrients than the environment provides. A native plant garden requires minimal management–like water, fertilizer, soil amendments, and pesticides, while releasing little output–like pollutants and waste. By choosing plants that are already adapted to the Pacific Northwest, you are creating a garden that requires only the raw soil and the natural rain patterns of your environment.

Native plants are not only pleasant for you, they’re bound to instantly attract more butterflies and birds. And while this has the potential to create a Thomas Kinkade-esque scene in your very own yard, it’s also a healthy boost for your garden and the environment. Native plants are the foundation of our natural ecosystems and protect and promote biodiversity. To successfully lure more butterflies into your garden, however, you’ll need the plants that lure them while they’re still young caterpillars. In other words, you’ll be putting up with some nibbled leaves for the subsequent benefit of monarchs making their happy home in your garden.

Flowers and plants from around the world may have an exotic appeal, but the vibrant green and the woodsy resin of your native foliage and the accompanying chirping of the local lark instantly tell you you’re in Northwest Washington, and let’s be real, it’s a pretty spectacular place to live.


For the fragrance:

Peruvian Lily (Alstroemeria)

Botanical Crocus (Crocus chrysanthus)

Dutch Hyacinth (Hyacinthus orientalis)

Peonies (Paeonia)

Garden Phlox (Phlox paniculata)

Red Valerian (Centranthus ruber)

Lily of the Valley (Convallaria majalis)

Chocolate cosmos (Cosmos atrosanguineus)

Cheddar pink (Dianthus gratianopolitanus)

Pinks (Dianthus plumarius “Laced Monarch”)

Lemon lily (Hemerocallis lilioasphodelus)

Plantain Lily (Hosta plantaginea)

Trumpet Lily (Lilium “regale”)

Woodland Phlox (Phlox divaricate)

Matilija poppy (Romneya coulteri)

Sweet violet (Viola odorata)


For the birds, bees, and butterflies:


Pacific or coast rhododendron (Rhododendron macrophyllum)

Blueblossom (Ceanothus thyrsiflorus)

Ocean spray (Holodiscus discolor)

Serviceberry (Amelanchier alnifolia)

Russian sage (Perovskia atriplicifolia)

Red-flowering currant (Ribes sanguineum)



Salal (Gaultheria shallon)

Catmint (Nepeta)

Showy milkweed (Asclepias speciosa)


Get started on your native plant garden this summer with a little help from the Washington Native Plant Society.