• Common Sense Conservation Since 1938
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To promote the conservation, sound management, and sustainable use of Indiana's wildlife and wildlife habitat through education, advocacy, and action.

Native Plants of Indiana

Native Indiana plants are best suited for the soil and weather conditions in our area. As a result, native plants require less fertilizer, fewer pesticides, and less water. Native plants are necessary for healthy wildlife populations and help prevent the spread of invasive, exotic species.

On this page, you will find lists of selected native trees, shrubs, vines, grasses and nectar plants appropriate for your garden or Certified Wildlife Habitat. We also list invasive exotic species you should avoid planting and remove from your property whenever possible.

The list of native plant life in Indiana is long. Some plants are very common, while others are endangered. All can be threatened by invasive species if we do not diligently keep their populations under control.

Interested in Native Plants for your backyard or habitat?  Check out the IWF Native Plant Sale here.

Learn about food sources for butterflies and other pollinators here.



Indiana Native Plants

Click on the name of any plant listed for more details! You can also search for species native to your area with the Native Plant Finder from the National Wildlife Federation. 


The Red Maple is a beautiful and
popular tree native to Indiana.
Its colorful Fall foliage display
makes it a favorite and a perfect
addition to your Wildlife Habitat!

Native Trees


Eastern Red Cedar, Juniperus virginiana
Hemlock, Tsuga canadensis
White Pine, Pinus strobus


Common Hackberry, Celtis occidentalis
Tulip Poplar, Liriodendron tulipifera
Shagbark Hickory, Carya ovata
Red Maple, Acer rubrum
Oaks, Quercus (all spp.)
White Walnut or Butternut, Juglans cinerea
Redbud, Cercis canadensis
Black Gum, Nyssa sylvatica

Native Shrubs

Common Serviceberry, Amelanchier arborea
New Jersey Tea, Ceanothus americanus
Spicebush, Lindera benzoin
Common Ninebark, Physocarpus opulifolius
Fragrant Sumac, Rhus aromatica
Elderberry, Sambucus canadensis
Gray Dogwood, Cornus racemosa
Silky Dogwood, Cornus amomum
Virginia Sweetspire, Itea virginica
Common Winterberry, Ilex verticillata
Buttonbush, Cephalanthus occidentalis
American Highbush Cranberry, Viburnum opulus var. americanum




Trumpet Creeper

Native Vines

Virginia Creeper, Parthenocissus quinquefolia
Trumpet Creeper, Campsis radicans
Woolly Dutchman's Pipe, Aristolochia tomentosa



Indian Grass

Native Grasses

Switch Grass, Panicum virgatum
Indian Grass, Sorghastrum nutans
Little Bluestem, Schizachyrium scoparium
Big Bluestem, Andropogon gerardii
Side-Oats GramaBouteloua curtipendula
Northern Seaoats, Chasmanthium latifolium
Virginia Wild RyeElymus virginicus



 Wooded Spring Ephemerals


Otherwise known as woodland wildflowers, spring ephemerals are characterized by their: early blooming, quick seed dispersal, and rapid retraction back into the root and bulb systems.

Virginia Bluebells, Mertensia virginica  --  April-May                                  
Celandine Poppy, Stylphorum diphyllum  --  April- May                         Virginia Bluebells
Wild Geranium, Geranium maculatum  --  April-June
White Troutlily, Erythonium albidum  --  February-April
Spring Beauty, Claytonia virginica  --  April-May
Jacob's Ladder, Polemonium reptans  --  April-May
Bloodroot, Sanguinaria canadensis  --  March-April
Dutchman's Breeches, Dicentra cucullaria  --  April-May
Wild Ginger, Asarum canadense  --  April-June
Skunk Cabbage, Symplocarpus foetidus  --  February-April




Native Nectar Plants

Nearly every blooming tree, shrub,
perennial, or annual will provide some
nectar for butterflies and other insects.
This list includes favorites in many

Redbud, Cercis canadensis
Flowering Dogwood, Cornus florida
Blue Wild Indigo, Baptisia australis
Butterfly WeedAsclepias tuberosa
Wild Bergamot, Monarda fistulosa
Wild Columbine, Aquilegia canadensis
Foxglove Beardtongue, Penstemon digitalis
Rough Blazing Star, Liatris aspera
Purple Coneflower, Echinacea purpurea
Showy Goldenrod, Solidago speciosa
New England Aster, Symphyotrichum novae-angliae
Common Spiderwort, Tradescantia ohiensis


White Aster


Nectar only meets part of butterflies' food requirements. Many species lay their eggs only on specific plants, and to keep these butterflies in your habitat, one needs to provide larval, or caterpillar, food as well.

Monarchs are common and particularly interesting butterflies. Their migration to Mexico can be followed on Monarch Watch. Attract them to your yard with their specific larval food, any of five kinds of Milkweed: common, showy, swamp, butterfly weed, or annual Blood Flower.

Pesticides ravage butterflies, their eggs, and caterpillars when sprayed on flowers, trees, shrubs, and lawns. Try to accept some damage on your leaves rather than using harmful chemicals.

Looking to help monarchs by planting milkweed in your yard? Click here to find sources of milkweed seed in your area!