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March Article

Using Caution When Buying Plants at Garden Stores


With spring just around the corner large retail and garden

Seed packets at a local retail store

stores are beginning to set up the yearly stands with an assortment of flower seeds to plant in your garden. Many times "wildflower" and "native" seed mixes are among those seed packets and a popular purchase among gardeners. These gardeners are excited about planting native plants and seeing the benefits they can provide like erosion control and habitat for wildlife. However many of these seed packets contain wildflowers that are not found in Minnesota, but actually can be from all over the world! These species are acclimated to different climates and at best die off after a few years and at worst become annoying weed issues that can be hard to eradicate for years.


Gardeners should be aware that fully grown invasive plants can also be sold at large retailers. Not long ago,

A dense monoculture of escaped purple loosestrife around a pond.

Purple Loosestrife was extremely popular for consumers at garden centers for its flashy pink flowers. It quickly escaped gardens to cause huge ongoing detrimental effects to our natural ecosystems. Today, Purple Loosestrife is illegal to sell at gardens stores in Minnesota but there are more invasive species that are still available for shoppers today. These species, no matter how pretty, should be strictly avoided to prevent their spread. Visit our blog to learn more about the invasive plants and seeds sold at garden centers and what you can do to avoid them. 


Another issue of concern when buying plants from large

Bees and other pollinators can be killed by visiting plants pre-treated with pesticides.

commercial growers and retail stores is their use of pesticides on the plants that can cause harm to native bees and other pollinators. These are neurotoxic pesticides called neonicotinoids. Gardeners that are trying to provide food for bees and other pollinators are unknowingly providing them plants pre-treated with these pesticides that are known to disable and kill pollinators.


Natural Shore grows native plants from reliable and local seed sources. We sell Minnesota Native Plant Brand which means all plants come from our region. In our greenhouses no pesticides or herbicides are used on the plants, making them safe for pollinators. Visit our online catalogue to learn more about the large variety of beautiful native plants we sell. 

Native Plant of the Month
Pale Purple Coneflower
Echinacea pallidea
Moisture: Moist or Dry
Exposure: Full or Partial Sun
Bloom: June- August
Color: Light Purplish or Pink
Height: 2-4 ft.


A prairie plant growing from a deep taproot with coarse, rough hairs on stout stems and leaves.  Leaves are elongate and narrow with entire margins. The flowers have thin, drooping pale pink ray florets surrounding red brown disk florets.  Found in dry and mesic prairies, roadsides, and open woods.  Thrives in full sun from sandy to clay soil that's well-drained.  Plants used in herbal medicines. Flowers attract butterflies and hummingbirds.  Seeds eaten by gold finches and chickadees. Another common name is prairie coneflower.

Invasive Plant of the Month
Creeping Charlie
Glechoma hederacea


Exposure:Shade/ Partial Sun
Moisture: Moist
Height: 1 foot
Blooms: July-September


Description: This plant is apart of the mint family, with a square stem and opposite leaves. It spreads along the ground which deters the growth of native plant species. It is a native of Eurasia that was introduced by settlers in the 1800s and has small, tubular purple flowers. The plant only reaches up to one foot in height with heart-shaped leaves. It is also called Ground Ivy, gill-over-the-ground, run-away-robin, and many other common names. Creeping charlie mostly invades lawns but can creep into restorations from the turf grass. The best defense against creeping charlie is maintaining a healthy lawn. Hand weeding small infestations can take time but will keep the spread under control. Be sure to collect any clippings when weed whipping or mowing as it can propagate from the cut parts. Creeping Charlie can also be tolerant of many herbicides. Spray select herbicides in the spring and fall for best results. 
Pollinator of the Month

Goldenrod Soldier Beetle

Chauliognathus pennsylvanicus


Not all pollinators and beneficial insects are bees, butterflies, and moths. This beetle not only helps pollinate native plants, but is a predator to many garden pests like aphids. 


Range: Throughout the U.S.

Habitat: Fields, meadows, and gardens

Identification: An orange/yellow insect with a black spot behind their head and two large black spots on their lower back wings. They are approximately 1/3 to 1/2 an inch long with slender bodies. Under their wings they have black and yellow striped segments.


Pollination: The adults feed on pollon and nectar from a variety of native plant sources such as Bergamot, Rattlesnake Master, Milkweed species, Anise Hyssop, Goldenrod species, and other bright colored native species. 

March 2014 Issue
Our Company
Upcoming Events!
Visit our booth at Minnesota Native Plant Society's Annual Symposium: Perspectives in Botany III at the Bell Museum Saturaday
March 22nd,8:30am-3pm
Visit us at Shorewood's Spring Garden Fair at the Southshore Center 5735 Country Club Rd. Saturday March 15th from 8:30am-3pm
Retail Nursery News
Our Retail Nursery will open in May!

Click and visit our website for current
Minnnesota Native Plant Brand ensures that plant species are native to Minnesota. 
Garden Tours
Natural Shore is now hosting FREE field trips for Garden Clubs with 10 or more members. Come join our Native Plant Specialist Shirley Mah Kooyman for a 1 hour lecture and tour of our retail nursery in Maple Plain! Your club will get an up close experience learning more about Minnesota Natives! 

Choose from one of the following lectures:

  1. Minnesota's Native Plants: A Sampling for Your Garden
  2. Landscaping with Native Plants
  3. Top 30 Native Plants for your Garden

Call or email Shirley for more information at 763-464-8323 or at