Local Suppliers of Utah Native Plants and Seeds

Preliminary considerations and resources

Supplier list
UNPS state logo

Native garden including Astragalus utahensis in flower 4/22/07 Tony Frates

While the Utah Native Plant Society is pleased to present this list of Utah native plant and seed providers as a public service, it does not mean that we specifically endorse or certify the providers listed here. At the same time, we strongly encourage the public to support nurseries that sell native plants (including trees, shrubs and grasses) and to ask nurseries that do not to become a part of the "plant native" initiative. We encourage all nurseries, garden departments and mail order companies who do business in the state of Utah to offer Utah native plant species and seeds. We challenge the nursery industry to better educate the public on the important role that Utah native plant species play in our landscape environments which we have been advocating for over three decades.

We also implore the industry to immediately stop the sale of any plants that are known to be invasive (Russian olive, Elaeagnus angustifolia, donkey-tail spurge, Euphorbia myrsinites and dalmation toadflax aka "butter and eggs", Linaria dalmatica, are but three examples) which are responsible for a loss in genetic diversity and ultimately threaten our own well being. Please do NOT plant Russian olive or Saltcedar (Tamarisk). These should NEVER be used in residential or commercial landscapes nor planted in parks nor used in reclamation projects.

Weed links:
Utah's Noxious Weed List
Salt Lake County Weed Control
Why Not Russian olive and Saltcedar?
Russian olive on Invasive.org

Russian olive has been declared as a noxious weed in five Utah counties: Carbon, Duchesne, Sevier, Uintah and Wayne. It is not legal to sell seeds or plants of this species in those counties, and landowners are required to try to control it. We would encourage homeowners, businesses and government agencies throughout the state and particularly those along the Wasatch Front to work on projects to reduce or eliminate this invasive tree species.

For suggestions or updates to this list, please E-mail us at unps@unps.org.

Cryptantha humilis in garden setting grown from seed 4/20/08 Tony Frates
Preliminary considerations and resources
Here are some links and additional comments re: native plant horticulture:
Landscaping for the New Frontier: Waterwise Design for the Intermountain West
Authors: Susan E. Meyer, Roger K. Kjelgren, Darrel G. Morrison and William A. Varga. Published by USU Press in 2009. Definitive native plant landscaping resource for the Rocky Mountain West, and which can be downloaded for free via the link above.
Landscape for Life (sustainable landscapes)
Susan's Soil mix for Utah Native Plant Propagation (PDF format)
Garden planning/plant list resources:
USU extension link to Utah demonstration gardens
Collecting Wildflower and Praire Seed (Univ of MN)
Going Native: Urban Landscaping for Wildlife with Native Plants (NC State University)
Landscaping with native plants (by Stephen Love et al, published in 2009), University of Idaho Extension, Short-Season, High-Altitude Gardening, Bulletin 862
Red Butte Garden Water Conservation Garden
Utah Botanical Center (USU)
UNPS Utah Heritage Garden Program
Wild Ones - Native Plants, Natural Landscapes

It is not just about wildflowers: use Utah native trees, shrubs and grasses in Utah landscapes

Too often native trees, shrubs and grasses are completely overlooked in urban parks and in commercial/private landscapes of all kinds.

Always think native first when considering an appropriate plant of any kind including trees, shrubs and grasses. They are the plants best adapted to grow here. And typically they are also the most vibrant, aesthetically pleasing year round choices as well.

And consideration of native plants should absolutely not be limited to places with minimal water availabity. Appropriate Utah native plants should always first be considered for wet or shady Utah environments as well.

The appropriate use of native trees and shrubs means that the plant is also not just native to Utah, but that it is appropriate for the local area in question and its elevation/aspect. Just because a species (for example, an aspen or blue spruce) is a native plant does not mean that it should be planted on a valley floor somewhere in Utah. Use native plants appropriate to the area and elevation.

Using native shrubs does not translate to "sagebrush" (although the many different species/varieties of sagebrush should be included as an option and are excellent landscape plants generally speaking). The Salt Lake valley was, for example, not dominated by sagebrush prior to pioneer settlement; it was dominated by a multitude of native grasses (including some that were quite tall). Overgrazing and development destroyed the fabric of what was once abundant in the valleys along the Wasatch Front. Sagebrush became more dominant in some areas in Utah as a result of excessive grazing practices.

Native trees, shrubs, grasses and herbs are also the most appropriate plants to use in conjunction with fire concerns because native plants tend to hold moisture longer than invasives or exotics, and do a better job of stabilizing soil.

Be careful what you plant. If you simply cannot use a native tree, shrub, grass or other native plant type, research what you intend to plant to ensure that it does not have invasive tendencies and that it is not for example known to be an invasive species in some other state or area (even if not known to be invasive here). Always reject Russian olive, Siberian elm, Norway maple or Eastern Hackberry (Celtis occidentalis, also known as Common Hackberry, which is becoming invasive in Salt Lake County) as possible options for a tree planting. Avoid the use of Pyracantha. This responsibility is higher for homeowner or other landscape use that is next or near to natural areas where something you plant might easily spread (example: all homeowners living along the Bonneville Shoreline Trail have this higher responsibility; individuals living at higher elevations also have this extra responsibility, property owners with land that abuts Forest Service, National Park Service, etc. lands similarly have this even higher responsibility, etc.). And keep in mind that birds can potentially spread something you plant to a location that is miles away.

Be wary of purchasing exotic trees that claim to grow quickly such as the Royal Paulownia tree, Paulownia tomentosa. We are for now unaware of this tree being used in the Salt Lake area but have heard rumors of it being recommended by an arborist or someone in the landscape industry; also Chicago banned this tree in April of 2009. Even if not potentially invasive, any so-called "fast growing" landscape tree will likely fail to thrive here or will be susceptible to other problems.

Some links related to native as well as invasive trees:
TreeUtah restoration efforts
Invasive Plant Atlas of the United States

Examples of tree choices (for an appropriate elevation/aspect): Gambel's oak (Quercus gambelii), Chokecherry (Prunus virginiana), Utah serviceberry (Amelanchier utahensis), Curlleaf mountain mahogany (Cercocarpus ledifolius), Bigtooth maple (Acer grandidentatum), Netleaf hackberry (Celtis reticulata), Single leaf ash (Fraxinus anomala), Desert willow (Chilopsis linearis), Coyote willow (Salix exigua), Western hoptree (Ptelea angustifolia), Box Elder (Acer negundo), Western water birch (Betula occidentalis), Mockorange (Philadelphus lewisii), many others including the familiar native pines, spruces, firs and aspens.

Examples of some potential shrub choices: Manzanita, Creeping oregon grape, Mountain Lover, Squawbush, Bitterbrush, Fourwing saltbush, Cliffrose, Smooth sumac, Golden currant, Shadscale, Winterfat, Buffaloberry and many others.

Examples of native grasses: Basin wildrye, Blue Grama, Bluebunch wheatgrass, Desert Needlegrass, Indian ricegrass, Little bluestem, Shining muttongrass and many others.

Using native plants in a xeriscaping situation does not mean a barren area dominated by gravel and a few lonely iconic plants. While some spacing is always desirable for practical maintenance and aesthetic design, your area landscaped with native plants can be as lush as desired.

Native plants in fact if used correctly are attractive and will add value to your property. Used properly along highways, roadways and in conjunction with public buildings by government agencies, they beautify our environment and provide important resources for wildlife. Businesses will similarly benefit by incorporating native plants into corporate landscapes.

Don't forget the pollinators nor other "backyard conservation" considerations (which includes minimizing the use of all herbicides/pesticides/insecticides - see more below):
Butterfly links
North American Butterfly Association
Utah Lepidopterists's Society (butterflies!)
Raising Butterflies
Monarch Watch
Save the Monarch! Monarch butterflies that is (Rachel Taylor, Tedx SLC talk)
Bee links
USDA Bee Biology and Systematics Laboratory Logan
Understanding Native Bees, the Great Pollinators (Univ. of Maine Cooperative Extension)
Alternative Pollinators: Native Bees (Attra)
Report and protect bee swarms in Utah
New Mexico Native Bee Pollinator Project
Beyond Pesticides: Minnesota Honey Bee Battle
Protecting Honeybees from Pesticides
How to Manage the Blue Orchard Bee As an Orchard Pollinator (PDF) by Jordi Bosch and William Kemp (2001, Sustainable Agriculture Network, 98 pp.)
Note these comments about pesticide sprays from the publication above:
"The use of insecticides during bloom should be avoided to prevent poisoning pollinating insects in general and BOBs in particular. If spraying is absolutely necessary, it is important to select insecticides with low bee toxicity and short-residual effects. Applications should be made in the evening, after bee activity has ended for the day."
"Although tolerance to various pesticides differs between bee species, chemicals that are highly toxic to honey bees usually are toxic to other bees. It is important to note that application of insecticides at sublethal doses may adversely affect nesting behavior, brood and cell production rates, and increase immature mortality. The same is true for certain fungicide applications." (pages 45-46)
NAPPC North American Pollinator Protection Campaign
NAPPC - Reducing Risk to Pollinators From Pesticides
Pollinator Friendly Practices (PDF)
National Wildlife Federation Backyard Wildlife Habitat
Wildlife Habitat Council - Pollinator Friendly Practices
The Xerces Society for Invertebrate Conservation
Limit or completely avoid the use of insecticides, herbicides, fungicides and pesticides. Highly popularized bee "colony collapse" and similar problems are due to noxious and rampant insecticide/herbicide/pesticide use (and particularly neonicotinoids). Our native bees (which do not live in hives) are a critical resource yet are being routinely poisoned. Avoid using chemical treatments on lawns or on anything whenever possible. Organic solutions are readily available and will also provide a much safer environment for pets, birds and people since herbicides/pesticides/insecticides used around your home or business will be unwittingly transferred inside and may stay in your carpets and on your floors for long periods of time. Homeowner associations, corporations in business parks, golf courses, universities and government agencies of all kinds should seek organic solutions for the maintenance of their grounds and common areas and avoid the use of commercial chemicals to the greatest extent possible. Even the Monsanto product Roundup must be used with great care if used at all.
Refuse to Use ChemLawn: Alternatives to Pesticides
Heavy use of the world's most popular herbicide, Roundup, health dangers: study (Reuters)
Unidentified inert compounds may be toxic
Is RoundUp a safer pesticide?
(Roundup) can cause cancer?
Glyphosate can be more damaging to wild flora than many other herbicides
Monsanto document

Wild fuchsia Zauchsneria garrettii University of Utah Heritage Garden 9/27/08 Tony Frates
Supplier List

Note: UNPS assumes that the growers listed below are providing nursery-grown native plant stock. Further we assume that any/all seeds, bulbs or any other materials being offered if collected from the wild were taken only with proper federal, state and/or private landowner permits and in accordance with any and all applicable laws including the Endangered Species Act. We do not in any way condone nor encourage the digging of plants in the wild by individuals or commerical enterprises except when the habitat is in imminent danger of being destroyed (and even then, only when the appropriate permits have been obtained).

Native Plant Suppliers

Native garden including various Penstemon species in flower 5/19/09 Tony Frates

The Utah Native Plant Society is a non-profit corporation that has been holding native plant sales for over two decades. Please watch our news and chapter pages for notices concerning these sales. Some of our chapters (Cache and Salt Lake) also regularly participate in local farmers' market sales during the summer months. We also hold propagation workshops. We do not normally offer plants or seeds however outside of these specific plant sales or workshops, the proceeds of which benefit programs and objectives of our organization.

At the foundation of life: native plants