Handouts & Guides

This page provides links to a variety of handouts, guides, and articles to help you learn about native plants and how to incorporate them into your landscaping project.

Growing Natives

How to Start Native Seeds IndoorsPrairie Moon Nursery’s guide and Prairie Nursery’s guide .

Propagating Woodland Plants (pdf)– Selected resources recommended by John Marlin from his presentation on March 10, 2014.

Landscaping With Natives

Designing Wild With Wildflowers and Natives (pdf) – Key points covered in Bob Streitmatter’s presentation to our chapter.

Illinois Native Plants for the Home Landscape (pdf)  – Guide developed by the University of Illinois Extension that nicely summarizes various characteristics of Illinois native plants that can be used in the home landscape.  Additional types of planting guides developed by the University of Illinois Extension and Illinois-Indiana Sea Grant are also available.

Native Plant Gardens for the Small Yard Download a PDF copy of this book developed by the Lehigh Gap Nature Center in Pennsylvania.  Many of the native plants listed in this book are also found in Illinois.

Native Plants to Attract Birds – On this Audubon Society website enter your zip code to get a list of plants native to your area and the birds which they attract.

Native Plants for Wildlife – On this National Wildlife Federation website enter your zip code to get a list of flowers, grasses, shrubs, and trees native to your area.  The results are listed in the order of which plants host the most moth and butterfly caterpillars.  Each plant lists the moth and butterfly caterpillars which it hosts.

Practical Advice for Gardening with Natives (pdf) – Resources referenced in Iza Redlinski’s presentation to our chapter in April, 2021.

Rain Garden: A Native Planting Guide for Rain Garden Beds (pdf) – Guide developed by the University of Illinois Extension that nicely summarizes native plants and design ideas for a rain garden.

Rain Garden Plants for Illinois (pdf) – Prairie River Network handout listing native Illinois plants suitable for rain gardens.

Recommended Natives for the Garden and Landscape (pdf) – This handout was part of Trish Beckjord’s March, 2020 program on landscaping with native plants.

Soft Landings – Information on how diverse native plantings under keystone trees (or any other regionally appropriate native tree) can provide critical shelter and habitat for one or more life cycle stages of moths, butterflies, and beneficial insects such as bumble bees, fireflies, lacewings, and beetles. Suggestions for species to plant are also provided.

Tips for Planting Your Native Plants (pdf) – When you get your native plant home from the plant sale, use these tips to enhance your plant’s chances of survival.

Tips for Native Gardens (pdf)– Head off some potential problems by reading this list of tips for creating a native garden.

What Not to Buy at the Nursery (pdf) – List of invasive and aggressive plants commonly found in nurseries, how and where they invade, and suggestions of native alternatives.

Wildlife in your Native Garden (pdf) – Quick facts, suggestions, and resources for supporting wildlife in your garden with native plants.


Climate Change in the Midwest (pdf) – Summary of 2020 Powerpoint presentation given by climatologist Jim Angel.

Getting the Shot: How to Photograph Native Flowers by Ken Robertson – The following guides were provided at the native plant photography workshop.

  1. Introduction (pdf)
  2. Composition (pdf)
  3. Exposure Triangle (pdf)
  4. Plant Portraits (pdf)
  5. Close -ups (pdf)
  6. Telephoto and Wide angle (pdf)

Natural Areas to Visit

Natural Areas in Illinois  – This is a list of the natural areas of significance in Illinois as presented by Chris Benda, Illinois Natural History Survey Botanist.

Native Plant Information

Drought-tolerant Native Plants (pdf) – Drought-tolerant trees, shrubs, forbs, ferns, and grasses which are native to Central Illinois.

Easy to Grow Native Plants for your Shade Garden (pdf) – A select list of native shade plants which are easy to grow and care for.

Getting Started With Natives in Your Yard Summary (pdf) by Sherrie Snyder

Illinois Milkweeds (pdf) – Summary of  milkweed characteristics including common name, scientific name, height, flower color, as well as sun and soil preferences of milkweeds native to the state of Illinois. Prepared by Janet Rasmussen.

Introduction to Orchids of Illinois (pdf) – Information about native orchids of Illinois including a breakdown by habitat. Handout from John Taft’s presentation on January 11, 2016.

Native Plant Database – Pick the right plant for the right place.  Use this database created by Grow Native to create your own plant list.  You can select by plant type, sun exposure, soil moisture, and much more.  The plants suggested are native to Missouri, so check with the USDA plant database to see if a specific plant is native to your county.

Resources for the Native Plant Enthusiast (pdf) – A list of recommended books, smart phone apps, websites, Facebook pages and Facebook groups related to learning more about the native plants of central Illinois and the wildlife associated with these plants.  This list was compiled by chapter members Sherrie Snyder and Janet Rasmussen for their January 8, 2018 presentation.

Wild Ones Position on Nativars (2021). This document provides a definition of a nativar and contains links to Wild Ones’ current stance on the use of nativars.  Also included in the document are links to more information on current research into nativars’ role in the environment.

Pollinator Gardens

Central Illinois Native Plants for Hummingbirds, Butterflies, and Monarch caterpillars (pdf) – This brochure includes each plant’s common name, scientific name, sun level requirements, soil needs, and the plant’s height, bloom color, & blooming months.

Perilous Plight of the Pollinator Worldwide (pdf)  – Pollinator populations are plummeting. Use this brochure, a list of IL native flowers and shrubs, to create a positive native plant environment to provide a sustainable habitat for local pollinators. Produced by the Natural Resources Conservation Service of the USDA.

Pollinator Friendly Plants – This handout developed by the Xerces Society for Invertebrate Conservation has suggested pollinator-friendly native plants listed by bloom time.

Pollinator Garden: Native Plants for Attracting Pollinators (pdf) – Guide developed by the University of Illinois Extension that nicely summarizes some native plants and design ideas for use in a pollinator garden.

Pollinator Gardens Design Guide (pdf) – Guide developed by the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service that contains useful information on designing native plant gardens for pollinators and also has sample garden designs for various site conditions.

Recreating/Restoring Native Habitat

Controlling Exotic and Invasive Species in Restorations (pdf) – Compiled by Bob Szafoni for his presentation to our chapter on Woodland Restoration.

Don Gardner Prairie Project articles:

Observations on Recreating Prairie (pdf) by Don Gardner in Illinois Stewards Magazine
Continuing Floristic and Quantitative Evaluations of a Prairie Project Started In 1974 In Northern Ford County, Illinois by Don Gardner (pdf)
Prairie Restoration on an East-Central Illinois Field by Don Gardner (pdf)

How to Plant a Prairie – This link to Prairie Moon Nursery’s website provides a step-by-step guide to plating a prairie plot from seed.


Central Illinois Native Trees and Shrubs (pdf) – Includes each plant’s common name, scientific name, sun level requirements, soil needs, height, and bloom time and color.  Also included are notes about the plant’s structure or growth habits to help you make an educated selection.

Forest Ecology – Powerpoint presentation given by Guy Sternberg at our Saturday, September 11, 2021 program

Native Trees and Naturalized Areas in Normal, IL (pdf) – These presentation slides, by Bobby Jones, provide an overview of what natives are used within the Town of Normal and highlights the naturalized areas of Fransen Nature Area, Maxwell Park, Hidden Creek Nature Sanctuary, and Blackstone Trails.

Selection and Care of Native Trees and Shrubs (pdf) – These presentation slides by Ryan Pankau, Horticulture Educator with the University of Illinois Extension, highlight a variety of characteristics of trees and shrubs native to central Illinois.