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Why Is It Important to Choose Native Plants?

For pollinators and wildlife:

Our native pollinators and wildlife have evolved with our native plants. Native plants are their natural food sources and homes. Even though some of our native pollinators and wildlife may use exotic plants for food or shelter, not all of our native pollinators and wildlife can do so.

When it comes to food, even those pollinators and wildlife that can eat exotic plants don’t always get the same nutritional benefits from the exotic foods as they do from the native foods. Multiple research projects have found that areas with higher percentages of native plants have more diversity and greater numbers of pollinators and wildlife.

For you:

Plants are naturally adapted to the soils, weather, and other conditions in the areas where they are native. Choosing a plant that is native to your location, therefore, means that you won’t have to “baby” it as much to keep it alive. That frees you to do other things. It also means that it has evolved with being eaten by the local pollinators and wildlife, and thus tends to respond very quickly by putting out fresh new leaves. So, you’ll get the benefit of the pollinators and wildlife that the native plants attract, without having to worry about damage to your plants.

How We Can Help

You can’t have good wildlife and pollinator habitat without providing the plants those animals need for food and shelter. The nursery grew out of our desire to grow those plants for our own property. Soon, friends began asking for advice on how to make their property more pollinator and wildlife friendly and to buy plants so they could support the pollinators and wildlife on their properties. Thus, Busy Bee Nursery and Consulting was born.

We take pride in offering quality plants that benefit pollinators and wildlife. We grow all of our plants ourselves. Most of the plants we sell are native to Kentucky, and most years we only have native plants for sale. On the rare occasions that we have one or two non-native species for sale, they are clearly labeled as not native.

For the native plants, we use seeds sourced from Kentucky whenever possible. When we can’t get seeds with Kentucky genetics, we try to get the seeds from as close as possible. By using Kentucky seeds, we are promoting the state’s local genotypes and ecotypes. These are seeds that are adapted to the specific soils and other conditions of the region.

We don’t use insecticides on any of the plants. Even organic and homemade products can be harmful to pollinators which defeats the purpose of growing plants for them. The result is that some of our plants have holes in their leaves. The plants are still healthy and the holes just prove that we’re not spraying them with anything. We love the fact that even in the nursery, our plants can serve their roles in the ecosystem.

Purchasing Plants from Us

We sell our plants at:

  • pre-ordered deliveries in Bowling Green and Glasgow
  • special community or related events.

Please see our upcoming event listings to learn more about our upcoming deliveries and special events. You can also subscribe to our e-mail list to have information about upcoming opportunities to purchase our plants emailed to you. We currently do not ship plants and do not sell seeds.

2024 Growing Season

Below are thumbnail images of some of the plants we anticipate having available for 2024. We’ll be adding more species over the winter. Detailed descriptions for each species can be found by clicking on the appropriate thumbnail image. This is a work in progress and the list will be changing as we add new species. If you have questions about any of our plants or need suggestions about what might work best on your property, please don’t hesitate to contact us.

The species are divided into three categories:

Native Wildflowers / Herbaceous Forbs

Foxglove Beardtongue (Penstemon digitalis)
Bee Balm / Wild Bergamot (Monarda fistulosa)
Blazing Star (Liatris squarrosa)
Cardinal Flower (Lobelia cardinalis)
Royal Catchfly (Silene regia)
Eastern Columbine (Aquilegia canadensis)
Grey-headed Coneflower (Ratibida pinnata)
Pale-purple Coneflower (Echinacea pallida)
Purple Coneflower (Echinacea purpurea)
Lance-leaf Coreopsis (Coreopsis lanceolata)
Culver's Root (Veronicastrum virginicum)
Cup Plant (Silphium perfoliatum)
Sweet / Anise-scented Goldenrod (Solidago odora)
Yellow Giant Hyssop (Agastache nepetoides)
Wild Blue Indigo (Baptisia australis)
Wild White Indigo (Baptisia alba)
Southern Blue Flag Iris (Iris virginica)
Tall Ironweed (Veronia gigantea)
Orange jewelweed / Orange touch-me-not (Impatiens capensis)
Hollow Joe-pye weed (Eutrochium fistulosum)
Great Blue Lobelia (Lobelia siphilitica)
Butterfly Milkweed (Asclepias tuberosa)
Common Milkweed (Asclepias syriaca)
Rose / Swamp Milkweed (Asclepias incarnata)
Hairy Mountain Mint (Pycanthemum pilosum)
Hoary Mountain Mint (Pycanthemum incanum)
Slender Mountain Mint (Pycanthemum tenuifolium)
Obedient plant (Physostegia virginiana)
Evening Primrose (Oenothera biennis)
Rattlesnake Master (Eryngium yuccifolium)
Rosemallow (Hibiscus moscheutos)
Ohio spiderwort (Tradescantia ohiensis)
Purple-headed Sneezeweed (Helenium fexuosum)
Rough Sunflower (Helianthus hirsutus)
Black-eyed Susan (Rudbeckia hirta)
Brown-eyed Susan (Rudbeckia triloba)
Yellow Wingstem (Verbesina alternifolia)

Native Grasses

Little Bluestem (Schizachyrium scoparium)
River Oats (Chasmanthium latifolium)

Native Shrubs and Trees

Buttonbush (Cephalanthus occidentalis)
Allegheny Chinquapin / Dwarf Chestnut (Castanea pumila)
American Elderberry (Sambucus nigra canadensis)
False Indigo Bush (Amorpha fruticosa)
American Hazelnut (Corylus americana)
New Jersey Tea (Ceanothus americanus)
Ninebark (Physocarpus opulifolius)
Chinquapin Oak (Quercus muehlenbergii)
White Oak (Quercus alba)
Shrubby St. John's Wort (Hypericum prolificum)
Spicebush (Lindera benzoin)