Gardeners take note: You know those fussy plants that struggle in the hottest months of summer and require special care to survive winter? These are, without a doubt, nonnative species, those interlopers not acclimated to the conditions of this region. If you want to save yourself the hassle of bending over backward to keep these plants alive, choose native plants for Charlotte.  

    Native plants have the upper hand because they evolved to thrive in North Carolina. They provide excellent habitat and forage for pollinators and wildlife. Best of all, they need little care compared to their invasive counterparts. Here are a few of the best native plants for Charlotte, N.C. 

    Cardinal Flower 

    A local, well-adapted to forests and riverbanks, cardinal flower is a showy native that can grow in the sun and shade. This beautiful perennial can grow from one to six feet tall. While it doesn’t need much water, it prefers slightly moist soil. Blooming from May until October, you’ll see lots of hummingbirds stop by to feast on the nectar.  

    Butterfly Weed

    This native flower is a primary food source for monarch butterflies. This variety of milkweed has bright orange blooms that last from May to August. It thrives best in full sun and dry soil, requiring almost no maintenance to flourish. 

    Carolina Lupine

    Source: Wikimedia

    This mountain native loves nothing more than sunshine and well-drained soil. From May to June, large spires of yellow flowers adorn the top of this plant’s branches. It’s great for adding color and height to the edges of a garden. Standing three to six feet tall, this is a tall perennial that will steal the show with early spring blooms.  

    Dwarf Crested Iris

    The blue blooms of the dwarf crested iris are great if you’re looking for flowers to plant in shaded areas. Standing less than a foot tall, this miniature blooms from March to May, offering bursts of color and food for hummingbirds in early spring. 


    This small shrub features long, arching branches and bright foliage. It blooms with striking clusters of purple berries in fall and winter, providing food for wildlife. Usually reaching heights of three to five feet, beautyberry performs best in part shade. This makes it an ideal understory shrub or edge planting. The beautyberry requires little maintenance and will provide color when most of your other plants are dormant. 


    Beloved by gardeners and butterflies alike, buttonbush is a multistemmed shrub that can grow up to 10 feet tall. The round white or pink flowers that dangle from the tips of the branches are irresistible to butterflies. Well suited for shade and part shade, this is another excellent understory plant that performs well on the edge of a property. 

    This is only a taste of the many species native to our area. Hopefully, it can stimulate your imagination about the landscape possibilities when you choose native plants to Charlotte. Remember, the more native your landscape, the more time you can spend enjoying it, rather than maintaining it.

    Looking to learn more about lawn care and gardening in Charlotte? Visit our Charlotte, NC lawn care page.