Native Plant Guide

One of the most effective ways of restoring the health of our ecosystem is for property owners to use native plant species when planting gardens and landscaping. As part of our Living Shorelines program, Buffalo Niagara Waterkeeper has prepared a native plant guide to help property owners identify and choose native plant species.

Native Plants are indigenous plants that have evolved to a particular region, adapting to the geography, hydrography and climate of that region. As a result, regions with healthy populations of native plants are more sustainable and resilient, supporting cleaner water, a diversity of wildlife and thriving ecosystems. Native plants have adapted to local climate and ecosystems, they usually require little to no additional water beyond normal rainfall levels and typically do not need fertilizers, pruning, or pesticides to flourish; saving time, money, and the environment.

Beautifully illustrated, the Guide outlines over 90 different plants native to Western New York, including old favorites like Purple Cone Flower and Redosier Dogwood, to the horticulturally significant Paw Paw or American Cranberry Bush. Everything from groundcovers and vines to grasses and trees are represented. Funded through a grant by the Niagara River Greenway Ecological Standing Committee, the guide also provides 6 different native garden planting plans, a planning design consideration checklist, and proper planting instructions. We encourage you to utilize this guide to incorporate native plants in your garden and improve the health and sustainability of our waterways.

Native Plant Guide (Full Version for online viewing)

Native Plant Guide (Full Version for download)


Section 1 – Groundcovers

Section 2 – Perennials

Section 3 – Grasses and Ferns

Section 4 – Shrubs

Section 5 – Trees

Section 6 – Vines

Section 7 – Garden Types

Section 8 – Planting and Maintenance

Native Plants Purchasing List


The Western New York Guide to Native Plants for Your Garden is available for a suggested donation of $10.00 per book. Please contact Monica Lippens for more information:, 716-852-7483 extension 10.

On October 29, 2015, Buffalo Niagara Waterkeeper hosted a public forum on native plants in our ecosystem. The presentation is available for download here. The presentation has been shortened into two sections to shorten downloading time. Please click to view Part One, and Part Two