Tried and True Native Plant Selections for the Mid-Atlantic

Learn more about specific perennials:


Monarda fistulosa (Wild Bergamot) with eastern tiger swallowtail butterfly and bumble bee in July. Photo © 2018 Elaine Mills

Where to See These Perennials in Our Demonstration Gardens

Glencarlyn  |  Shade  |  Simpson  |  Sunny  |   Other Gardens

Many of these recommended plants can easily be seen in person at local public gardens. The following gardens feature native plants and are designed and maintained by Master Gardeners of Northern Virginia, serving Arlington and Alexandria.

Glencarlyn Library Community Garden
300 S. Kensington Street, Arlington, Virginia 22204

Native plants suitable for a container garden, shade garden, or scented garden

Shade Demonstration Garden at Bon Air Park
850 N. Lexington Street  Arlington, Virginia 22205 (near the shelter)

Swamp milkweed (Asclepias incarnata) flower

Swamp milkweed (Asclepias incarnata) flower
Photo © 2016 Christa Watters

Native plants that thrive in morning shade and partial sun

Simpson Park Demonstration Garden
420 E. Monroe Street, Alexandria, Virginia 22301 (next to the YMCA parking lot)

Native selections for waterwise gardening and host plants for butterfly gardens

Sunny Demonstration Garden at Bon Air Park
850 N. Lexington Street, Arlington, Virginia 22205 (at the end of the parking lot)

Coreopsis verticillata, Threadleaf Coreopsis

Coreopsis verticillata, Threadleaf Coreopsis
Photo © 2015 Elaine Mills

Sun-loving perennials and shrubs that thrive despite  excessive humidity or drought

*”The Hellstrip or curb garden is that inhospitable area where nothing seems to grow along the fence, by the driveway, or that trampled strip between the sidewalk and the street/ parking area that is difficult to water.” 

Other Local Public Gardens Where These Perennials May be Seen

The Potomac Overlook Native Plant Garden, 2845 N. Marcey Road, Arlington, VA 22207, next to the demonstration Organic Vegetable Garden maintained by Master Gardeners of Northern Virginia, has a variety of perennials. The garden is maintained by Audubon at Home, the Virginia Native Plant Society, and Arlington Regional Master Naturalists in collaboration with the Northern Virginia Regional Park Authority

The Pollinator Garden, 3608 N. Military Road, Arlington, VA 22207, which is maintained by the Arlington Department of Parks and Recreation, also contains