Native shrubs are woody plants that occur naturally in North America. They may be found in forests, prairies, wooded areas, alongside bodies of water, in deserts, or on mountains. They can be big, small, or anywhere in between. When you choose native plants, you’re planting something that has evolved alongside native wildlife, thus offering them a reliable option for food, shelter, or reproduction. Planting native shrubs isn’t the only part of making your environment more friendly to pollinators and wildlife, but it’s an easy step you can take that benefits you and your home as much as them.
No. We select the native species in our line specifically to work better in home landscapes than their wilder cousins. This means selecting for a tidier habit, shorter stature, and stronger stems, as well as for eye-catching flowers and foliage.
Not necessarily. For the best-looking landscape or garden, all plants will need a bit of maintenance, whether that means neatening in the early spring or providing supplemental water during hot, dry periods. The bottom line is that for lowest maintenance, you need to pick plants that will thrive in the light levels and soil and moisture conditions of your yard, and that’s equally true of native and non-native plants.
In cold climates, you can plant in spring or fall, up until about mid-October. In warm climates, fall and spring are also good options, though you can plant much later into fall. Either way, you want your new plant to have at least six weeks in the ground before any kind of challenging weather sets in, whether that challenge is heat or cold.
Yes, you can absolutely mix them together and it won’t harm insects or birds. In fact, this strategy was the first step for many on their journey to become native plant gardeners. But every journey starts with a single step, so even small actions can have a big impact over time. Don’t be afraid to start with just one.
It depends. There certainly are several species of native shrubs that are deer resistant, and several that are not. We include an indicator of deer resistance here on our website, as well as on our plant tags that you’ll see when you shop for our plants at your local garden center.
This is a good question, and one that a lot of people ask. Short of taking a plant out of the wild, all native plants will have been cultivated – selected for a specific quality the plant exhibited, and grown by a professional grower. Proven Winners ColorChoice native shrubs are the same species of shrubs that grow in North America, but they have been selected or developed to exhibit certain desirable qualities. For example, Arctic Fire red-twig dogwood is a smaller, better-heaved version of our native red-twig dogwood. Invincibelle Lace hydrangea is similar to our native Hydrangea arborescens that you’ll find throughout the Blue Ridge Mountains, but its sterile florets have a petty blush pink color. None of the Proven Winners native shrubs have been selected for double flowers, a modification that can obscure the pollen and nectar-bearing portions of the plant and make it difficult or impossible for insects to feed on them.
As in the question above, with our native plants, we aim to make them more friendly to residential landscaping – not less friendly to insects. While we do offer some varieties that have different colored flowers than those in the wild, their pollen and nectar-bearing portions are still accessible to passing visitors.
Yes! There is so much diversity in North American native species that you’re sure to find something that will work for any landscaping goal. For example, arborvitae, one of the most popular plants for privacy hedges, is actually a North American native. If you want a cutting garden, smooth hydrangeas and ninebarks have long been stand-bys for home gardeners and florists alike.
As with the question about deer and rabbit resistance, the answer to this is that it depends. There certainly are several species of native shrubs that will easily tolerate drought conditions once they are established. However, we also offer a number of native species that naturally occur in wet areas so need moist soil, like winterberry holly, buttonbush, or summersweet.
Pruning native shrubs is at your discretion. You may want to prune something like, say, Gem Box inkberry holly, for a formal look, or let it go. You may want to prune the Incrediball smooth hydrangeas so that they develop sturdier stems. You will find information on pruning your Proven Winners ColorChoice native shrubs on their tags as well as on this website.
Learning about gardening and landscaping with native plants is a journey. There are so many interesting things to discover and observe! To help you along the way, we recommend these resources: