Cardinal flower

Lobelia cardinalis

Butterfly weed

Asclepias tuberosa

Orange coneflower

Rudbeckia fulgida

Sensitive fern

Onoclea sensibilis

New England Aster

Symphyotrichum novae-angliae

New York Ironweed

Vernonia noveboracensis


Physocarpus opulifolius

Sweetbay Magnolia

Magnolia virginiana

Native Plants for your Maryland Yard

Trees, shrubs and grasses that are “native”—indigenous to a particular region before European colonization—are better adapted to that region’s growing conditions. Native plants are considered heartier than nonnative plants because they need less fertilizing, watering and tending, and they help support native wildlife, especially birds and pollinators like bees and butterflies. GVC only uses native plants in Clear Creeks Project gardens. 

A Sample Native Plant Garden

There are a wide variety of native plants that you can incorporate into your landscape. Bloom time is an important factor to consider both for aesthetics and creating wildlife habitat. When you select plants that flower during different seasons, you'll create constant visual appeal in your yard. You'll also provide beneficial pollinators with food sources throughout the year. 

See some examples below of the variety of colors, foliage, bloom times, heights, and types of plants you can use in your own native plant garden.


Blue Flag (Iris virginica)

Herbaceous perennial; 1 - 2 feet

Light: Full Sun, Partial Sun, Shade

Bloom Period: May - June (violet blue)



Tussock sedge (Carex stricta)

Grasslike; 1 - 3.5 feet

Light: Full Sun

Bloom period: May - August (reddish/brown)



Cardinal flower (Lobelia cardinalis)

Herbaceous perennial; 2 - 4 feet

Light: Full Sun, Partial Sun

Bloom period: July - October (red)


White turtlehead (Chelone glabra)

Herbaceous perennial; 1.5 - 6.5 feet

Light: Full Sun, Partial Sun

Bloom period: July - October (white)


Orange coneflower (Rudbeckia fulgida)

Herbaceous perennial; 1.5 - 3.5 feet

Light: Full Sun, Partial Sun

Bloom period: June - October (yellow)


Late Summer - Fall

New England aster (Symphyotrichum novae-angliae)

Herbaceous perennial; 3.5 - 6 feet

Light: Full Sun, Partial Sun

Bloom Period: August -  October (purple)


New York Ironweed (Vernonia noveboracencis)

Herbaceous perennial; 3.5 - 6 feet

Light: Full Sun, Partial Sun

Bloom Period: August -  October (purple)


Benefits of Native Plants

  • Require less watering and weeding than other gardens—and no fertilizing! An established native plant garden needs little maintenance. Native plants are adapted to Maryland’s climate, so they can handle our seasonal droughts with little watering and don’t need fertilizer to grow in Maryland soils. Less fertilizer also means less nutrient pollution in the Chesapeake Bay.
  • Support native wildlife and attract butterflies. Native plants provide the preferred habitat for our native wildlife, particularly the birds and beneficial insects that pollinate our flowers and trees.
  • Decrease water pollution. One of our major environmental problems is stormwater runoff—the water that flows over impervious surfaces (buildings, roads, etc.) directly into a creek. This water carries pollutants like car oil, sediment, and fertilizers that destroy our creeks and threaten our health. By collecting some of this water in your native plant garden, you can help filter out some of the pollutants and prevent them from reaching our creeks and the Bay. Cleaner water is safer and healthier for you and your family!
  • Beautify your yard. With their diversity of colorful trees, shrubs, flowers, and grasses, native plant gardens enhance the beauty of our waterfront and showcase our pride in our Chesapeake Bay heritage.

Tools to Help You Grow Your Garden

Get more clean water for your dollar!

The Gunpowder Valley Conservancy's Clear Creeks Project  has grant funding through 2021 to provide property owners with an 60 - 80% discount on the installation of a professionally-designed conservation garden featuring native plants! This offer is available for homeowners, businesses, religious institutions, HOA communities, and other organizations.

View our map to determine if your property is in the Clear Creeks Project area.

Complete this form to schedule a FREE Bayscape and/or Rain Garden site assessment by Gunpowder Valley Conservancy staff

For more information, contact Darcy Herman, Gunpowder Valley Conservancy, Assistant Clear Creeks Project Manager.