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Native Plants

trees with fall colors illustrationWould you rather spend every weekend mowing, or enjoy a leisurely landscape? Take back your weekends by planting with a blue thumb, for cleaner water. When you landscape with native plants, your yard will need less mowing, fertilizers and pesticides. And native plants use less water, so they’re good for your wallet and the environment.

Go native and plant with a Blue Thumb. Native plants can:

  • Reduce the need for mowing, fertilizers and pesticides.
  • Improve air quality and promote pollination.
  • Require less water — saving you money on water bills — and reduce erosion.
  • Reduce pollution in local streams and rivers.

You can help keep our water clean by choosing native plants. Learn more about how native plants improve water quality»


Plant Selection

The Native Plant Database hosted by GrowNative!, an initiative by the Missouri Prairie Foundation, is a wonderful resource to explore your options.

GrowNative! logoSee more attractive and ideal options for residents who want to start landscaping their yards with native plants. Download a PDF of this information»    En Español»

See a list of retailers where you can shop for native plants.

Upcoming sales and workshops

5/20/2017 — Powell Gardens Native Plant School: Native Plant Maintenance
1609 N.W. U.S. Highway 50, Kingsville, MO 64061, Hours: 9 a.m.–noon. Instructors: Alan Branhagen and Powell Gardens Staff.
5/20/2017 — Prairie Restoration in Johnson County
Prairie Village Community Center, 7700 Mission Rd 66208. 5:30 p.m. Potluck, 6:45 p.m. Presentation. Free to the public. Questions? Contact
7/3/2017 — KCPNI Native Plant Sale
Shawnee Mission Park Pavillion, 7710 Renner Road, Shawnee, Kansas (use Theatre in the Park entrance), Hours: 9 a.m.–2 p.m. Pre-orders available at Proceeds benefit the Kansas City Native Plant Initiative (KCPNI).
7/17/2017 — Powell Gardens Spring Plant Sale
1609 N.W. U.S. Highway 50, Kingsville, MO 64061, Hours: 9 a.m.–5 p.m. Entry to the sale is included with Garden admission of $10/adults, $9/seniors 60+, $4/children 5–12 and free/members.
7/22/2017 — Powell Gardens Native Plant School: The Edible Native Landscape II
1609 N.W. U.S. Highway 50, Kingsville, MO 64061, Hours: 9 a.m.–3 p.m. Instructors: Matt Bunch, Nadia Navarrette-Tindall, Barb Fetchenhier, Mark Gawron.
9/30/2017 — Powell Gardens Native Plant School: Sedges Have Edges and Rushes are Round
1609 N.W. U.S. Highway 50, Kingsville, MO 64061, Hours: 9 a.m.–3 p.m. Instructors: Alan Branhagen, Elliott Duemler.

About Blue Thumb

The Blue Thumb program encourages homeowners to choose native plants for their gardens and landscaping, including raingardens and other best management practices to reduce stormwater runoff from their property in an effort improve water quality. The program helps partners present a unified public education message along with providing access to tools and information for communities to effectively plant for clean water.
Blue Thumb - Planting for Clean Water
Blue Thumb - Planting for Clean Water™ is an award-winning collaborative program originally developed by Rice Creek Watershed District in Minnesota. Blue Thumb partners are a group of professionals from local governmental units (watershed and conservation districts, cities, counties); non-profit and community organizations; and nursery and landscape professionals. The MARC Water Quality Public Education Program is proud to be a member of Blue Thumb.

Become a Tree Keeper

Join The Heartland Tree Alliance’s Tree Keeper program to promote environmental stewardship in the Kansas City region. Joined by other volunteers, tree keepers lead planting, pruning, and maintenance projects for local municipalities, school districts, and neighborhood associations in the community. Participants will receive training in environmental awareness, while learning basic arboricultural principles. Through 12 hours of classroom time and six hours of hands-on outdoor training, participants learn tree identification, site suitability, proper planting techniques, after-planting care and pruning. This comprehensive course provides municipalities with educated community members trained to preserve and protect newly established trees. Register for courses.