Celebrating Native Plants

Guest Contribution by Megan Dwyer of  The Plant Gallery

Native plants are plants that have existed for many years and that occur naturally in our local landscape. They can be trees, flowers, grasses, shrubs, and small bedding plants. Due to the many positive advantages of native plants, SOUL only utilizes native trees as part of their reforestation programming.

The advantages of planting natives are that they are already acclimated to our climate, require minimal maintenance, and usually don’t require fertilizer and pesticides. Additionally, they provide food and nectar for the local wildlife. New Orleans’ climate is subtropical and we receive at least sixty days of rain per year. Luckily, native plants are both water efficient, drought tolerant and forgiving of our heavy rains. 

Here are some of my favorite native plants:


  • Baldcypress – Taxodium distichum
  • Blue Beech, Ironwood – Carpinus caroliniana
  • East Palatka Holly – Ilex x attenuate “East Palatka”
  • Savannah Holly – Ilex x attenuate “Savannah”
  • Dahoon Holly – Ilex cassine
  • Live Oak – Quercus virginiana
  • Red Buckeye – Aesculus pavia
  • Red Maple – Acer rubrum
  • Nuttall Oak – Quercus nuttallii
  • Shining Sumac – Rhus copallina
  • Sweet Bay Magnolia – Magnolia virginiana
  • Little Gem Magnolia – Magnolia grandiflora
  • Sweetbay Magnolia – Magnolia virginiana
  • Sycamore – Plantanus occidentalis
  • Winged Elm –  Ulmus alata


  • Black-Eyed Susan
  • Bridalwreath Spirea
  • Passion Flower Vine
  • Plumbago
  • Rose of Sharon
  • Oakleaf hydrangea 
  • Crinum lily
  • Coneflower
  • Canna lily
  • Rosemallow hibiscus
  • Fatsia
  • Banana shrub

Hopefully you are inspired to explore planting with natives. Not only will you love the of maintaining these plants, but you will be helping to invest and create a long-lasting natural environment that supports the ecology of our area. 

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