Using native plants in public and private landscapes and gardens can help reduce the threat of invasive non-native species to the region’s biodiversity. The LEAP Native Plants of the Year campaign highlights native species that can make exceptional additions to area landscapes and gardens.
Native plants in the garden:
Need information about the best plants to use in your yard? Check out this informative document, Landscaping for Biodiversity with Ohio Native Plants: A Species Guide for Plantings, created by staff of Cleveland Metroparks.
The Native Plant Nurseries Map provides information on nurseries that sell native plants to our region. Please contact Constance Hausman if you are a native plant nursery that would like to be added to the map. LEAP provides this information solely as a resource and not as an endorsement of any nursery.
LEAP's Native Plants of the Year campaign spans 2011-2022. Look for LEAP to spotlight the following plants species in upcoming years...
2019: New Jersey tea (Ceanothus americanus), Prairie dropseed (Sporobolus heterolepis), Turtlehead (Chelone glabra)
2020: Sassafras (Sassafras albidum), Purple-flowering raspberry (Rubus odoratus), Marginal wood fern (Dryopteris marginalis)
2021: Scarlet bee balm (Monarda didyma), Fragrant sumac (Rhus aromatica), Oak - Quercus species to be determined (Quercus rubra, Q. imbricaria, Q. bicolor, Q. macrocarpa)
2022: Canada anemone (Anemone canadensis), American hophornbeam (Ostrya virginiana), Wafer ash (Ptelea trifoliata)
Great Blue Lobelia
This clump-forming perennial provides late summer blooms in the garden.
This deciduous conifer prefers a cold climate and provides good fall color when its needles turn yellow.
A vigorous vine with sweet, aromatic white flowers that bloom from August through October.
Eastern Red Cedar
A small evergreen tree that serves as an excellent windbreak and erosion control shrub. Thrives on dry soils in full sunlight. An aromatic tree with reddish wood.
Prickly pear cactus spines are a deterrent to deer. Roots, stems, fruits, and seeds may be eaten by a variety of animals. Highly drought tolerant. Thrives in full sun in hot and dry environments and is also winter hardy.
A member of the sunflower family, this erect, long-lived perennial is often grown for its showy flowers. Goldfinch and other song birds are fond of its seeds in the fall. Pollinated by butterflies and bees.
A colorful native prairie grass with striking blue-green foliage and pink overtones.
Spicebush is a deer-resistant shrub with early-season nectar for butterflies and bright red berries for migratory birds.
This showy perennial blooms vivid yellow in mid-summer, adding color to rain gardens and wet areas.
Grows well under diverse conditions and provides winter interest.
Disease and pest resistant, rarely being browsed by deer.
Best as a ground cover in shade gardens.
Juicy fruit of the female tree is a treat to birds and mammals
Seeds are ejected with a snapping sound.
Small white flowers bloom in mid-late spring.
Tolerates a wide range of soil and growing conditions
Important food source for Monarch butterflies
Provides excellent nesting and cover for birds.
Attracts both butterflies and hummingbirds.
Seeds are eaten by many birds and squirrels.
Great plant for spring pollinators.
Sweet berries in June attract many species of birds.
Long-lasting blooms attract butterflies.
Bright red berries attract birds late into winter.