top of page

The Right Plants in the Right Spot

Good job deciding to replace your invasives with native plants!  But where to start?  Native plants are highly adaptable to soil and light.  Still it's best to seek out plants that thrive naturally in your situation, whether it's a wet area, dry slope or shade garden. 

Below are suggestions for replacing invasives, for sunny or shady slopes, and for potted perennials that might work well on a deck or patio.  For additional suggestions, check out  "Browse" and then "What to Plant" and contact us with questions -- 703-401-1949.  Thank you and Happy Planting!

coral honeysuckle.jpeg

If you have these invasives:

Replace with these natives:

  1. Autumn Olive ~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Mapleleaf Viburnum

  2. Bradford Pear ~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Downy Serviceberry

  3. Burning Bush ~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Red Chokeberry, Arrowwood Viburnum

  4. Chinese Silvergrass ~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Little Bluestem

  5. English Ivy ~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Choral Bells, Wild Ginger, Woodland Stonecrop

  6. Golden Bamboo ~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Eastern Redcedar

  7. Japanese Barberry ~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Shrubby St. John's Wort, Winterberry

  8. Japanese Honeysuckle ~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Coral Honeysuckle

  9. Japanese Pachysandra ~~~~~~~~~~~~White Wood Aster, Foamflower

  10. Japanese Wisteria ~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Wild Blue Phlox

  11. Norway Maple ~~~~~~~~~~~~Red Maple, Basswood/Linden

  12. Porcelainberry ~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Gray Dogwood

  13. Purple Loosestrife ~~~~~~~~~~~~New York Ironweed, Summersweet

  14. Spreading Liriope ~~~ Pennsylvania Sedge

  15. Tree of Heaven ~~~ Smooth Sumac, Black Walnut

If Your Yard Slopes

Try for a mix of trees, shrubs, flowers and grasses to create interest and help absorb and divert the flow of rain.


Want less height? Try ground covers, maybe an assortment flowering at different times of the year.  Native grasses and sedges are always a good choice since their roots dig deep and grab the soil.


Fill in with mulch while waiting for your plants to fill out. :)

Sunny Slope

Sunny slopes can be extremely dry since most of the water is draining downhill rather than being absorbed in the soil.  Plants here should be particularly adaptable to dry conditions.  


  • Asters

  • Common Milkweed

  • Blue Mistflower

  • Mountain Mint (pictured)

  • Black-Eyed Susan

  • Wild Bergamot

  • Hyssop-leaf boneset

  • Joe Pye Weed

Small trees and shrubs:

  • Bottlebrush Buckeye

  • Sumac (Fragrant or Smooth)

  • Indigobush

  • Arrowwood Viburnum

  • Eastern Redcedar (large evergreen)

Plant near bottom of slope where moisture may accumulate:​

  • Sweet Fern

  • Redbud

  • Ninebark

mountain mint.jpg
red chokeberry.jpg


  • Little Bluestem

  • Purple Lovegrass


  • Common Blue Violet

  • Wild Geranium

Shady Slope


These plants hold the soil while doing well with limited sunlight:

Grasses & Sedges

  • Switchgrass

  • Pennsylvania sedge

  • Plantainleaf sedge


Ground Covers

  • Wintergreen

  • Ferns (Christmas, Cinnamon, Royal)

  • Ginger (pictured, top)

  • Wild Blue Phlox



  • Bladdernut (dry soil)

  • Snowberry (pictured, bottom)

  • Roundleaf Dogwood (dry soil)

  • Silky Dogwood (moist)

  • Gray Dogwood (moist)

  • Hornbeam

  • Hazelnut 

  • New Jersey Tea

  • Dwarf bush honeysuckle

Not enough room for a garden?

Try these in pots -- in sunny or partly sunny spots

Asclepias tuberosa (Butterfly Weed)

Fragaria virginiana (Wild strawberry) 

Helenium autumnale (Sneezeweed-pictured)

Iris versacolor (Northern Blue Flag)

Lonicera sempervirens (Coral Honeysuckle – vine)

Monarda punctata (Spotted Beebalm)

Panicum virgatum (Switchgrass)

Penstemon digitalis (Beardtongue)

Pycnanthemum muticum (Mountain Mint)

Rudbeckia hirta (Black-eyed Susan)

Switchgrass (Panicum virgatum)

Schizachyrium scoparium (Little Bluestem)


Got Shade?  Try these in a pot. Don't forget drainage!

Heuchera americana (Coral Bells)

Polystichum acrostichoides (Christmas Fern)

Tiarella cordifolia  (Foamflower)

bottom of page