The Pacific Northwest might just have the most accommodating gardening climate in North America. From coastal British Columbia to Northern California, it is possible to grow a wide variety of plants, from tropical-looking, cold-hardy palms and bananas to plants that require a significant chill to perform, including peonies, tulips, lilacs and apples. We are lucky indeed. Why, then, should we grow natives when we have so many exotic options?
Native plants have inestimable value in the landscape. They provide essential habitat and food for birds, pollinators, and all varieties of other creatures. Properly placed, native plants are naturally beautiful and grow lustily, with minimal effort on our part. Given the many microclimates and varied conditions in a typical garden, there’s a good spot in virtually any garden for Northwest native plants.
That said, some Pacific Northwest natives really stand out from the crowd. These are gorgeous plants: adaptable and uniquely able to evoke a distinct sense of the Pacific Northwest in a garden. With beauty, wildlife habitat and versatility in mind, here are 10 of the Pacific Northwest’s best native plants for regional gardens.