Stage Nature Center hosts a space dedicated to Michigan native plant species next to its parking lot. The Michigan Native Garden is managed by volunteer Master Gardeners and consists of over 75 native plant species which attract a wide variety of pollinators such as native bees, wasps and butterflies. In addition, many important pest-eating insects such as ladybugs and green lacewings thrive in the garden. The garden is free and open to the public from dawn to dusk and plant species are labeled so you can enjoy a self-guided tour.
Why Plant Native Species
Michigan native plants and wildlife have evolved to depend on one another for their continued survival. Most insects and birds, for example, rely on native plants for food, shelter, and a place to rear their young while these plants rely on them for pollination.
- Attract a variety of birds, butterflies, and pollinators to any new or established garden
- Support beneficial insects
- Greatly reduce water usage
- Reduce or eliminate the need for pesticides, providing a safer environment for children and pets
- Help to protect the region’s lakes, streams, and fisheries
Get Started With Your Own Native Garden
Even a small garden can act as a “bridge” to link larger nature preserves and parks, creating habitat that can help all pollinators and wildlife. Attracting birds and bees will benefit your garden with pollination and pest control helping to balance the ecosystem.
Here’s how to start with your own Native Garden:
- Choose a space small or large dedicated to native plants
- Choose the right plants for your garden based on sunlight and moisture availability
- Choose a variety of color and bloom times to support the entire life cycle of a pollinator or bird
- Commit to NOT using any pesticides or herbicides on or near your native plants
- Include some bare soil, logs, rocks and dead wood to provide safe nesting sites for pollinators and wildlife
- Include a birdbath or water feature (be sure to change out water frequently)
See the Resources Section below for more information and tips
Where To Purchase Native Plants
Native plants can be purchased from some local garden centers, online catalogs, and other native plant sales held throughout the year in the metro Detroit area.
Be sure to look for the “Scientific Name” on the plant ID tag to be certain it is a true native plant. *Most cultivars and hybrids provide lower quality nectar and pollen for pollinators, are not recognizable due to color changes or not accessible due to petal alterations
Plants For Ecology (Located in Troy, MI)
WildType Plants (Located in Mason, MI)
Native Plant Nursery (Located in Ann Arbor, MI)
Prairie Nursery (Online order catalogue)
Prairie Moon Nursery (Online order catalogue)
Designs By Nature East, LLC (DesignsByNatureEast@gmail.com)
Stage Nature Center periodically hosts native plant sales and programs. Watch our calendar for sales that are coming up.
USDA Plants : This database provides standardized information about the vascular plants, mosses, liverworts, hornworts, and lichens of the U.S. and its territories. It includes names, plant symbols, checklists, distributional data, species abstracts, characteristics, images, crop information, automated tools, onward Web links, and references.
Illinois Wildflowers : Here you will find the description, cultivation, habitat, and faunal associations of most Michigan plants.
Plants for Birds : Audubon’s Native Plant Database will help you to find the best plants for the birds in your area.
Midwest Invasive Species Information Network : A regional data resource to help in the identification of invasive species.
Ladybird Johnson Wildflower Center : A Native Plant Database to help you search for plants in the United States providing photographs, plant characteristics, distribution, and interesting facts about each plant.
Plants & Beneficial Insects : A Michigan State University Extension PDF Information Sheet providing examples of which native plants attract good insects.
Michigan State University Extension Master Gardener Program : An adult horticulture education and volunteer leader training program.