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The Umstead Coalition 
Celebrating Umstead State Park since 1934!

Fall Planting & the Importance of Native Plants (+ Our Plant Sale is Coming Up!)

09/22/2022 5:02 PM | Anonymous

Did you know that fall is the best time to plant? With cooling temperatures and increasing rain, plants have time to establish their roots before the spring growing season. The larger root systems will help the plants be stronger and more successful in the summer. Read more about why fall is the best time to plant from the NC Cooperative Extension

Native Plants Explained

"Nearly all of us get our plants from nurseries, but the plants in most nurseries fall into two very distinct categories: they are either native to your area — that is, they share an evolutionary history with the plant and animal communities in your ecoregion or biome — or they are plants that have developed the traits that make them unique species elsewhere", said Doug Tallamy in Nature's Best Hope.

Many typical garden ornamentals come from East Asia, the Mediterranean and the tropics. Tallamy says, "...plants native to the region are almost always far better at performing local ecological roles than plants introduced from somewhere else."

Native plants are crucial for biodiversity. Read more about the benefits of native plants from the North Carolina Native Plant Society

50 Native Species & 1,400+ Plants!

In just a few years, we've grown our plant sale from around 50 plants to over 1,400! We're thrilled with the community's interest in growing native plants to help build and restore healthy ecosystems. Here are some of the plants we're excited to offer:

Garden Stunners

You’ll be the envy of your neighbors with these!

  • Black-eyed Susan (Rudbeckia hirta)
  • Cardinal flower (Lobelia cardinalis)
  • Dogwood (Cornus florida)
  • Eastern redbud (Cercis canadensis)
  • Fringetree (Chionanthus virginicus)
  • Oakleaf hydrangea (Hydrangea quercifolia)
  • Purple coneflower (Echinacea purpurea)
  • Sweet pepperbush (Clethra alnifolia)
  • Serviceberry (Amelanchier canadensis)
  • Sweetshrub (Calycanthus floridus)
  • Witchhazel (Hamamelis virginiana)

Fruit Trees & Shrubs

  • Pawpaw (Asimina triloba) are the largest edible fruit native to North America and look similar to a green mango. Their taste can be described as a mix of banana, pineapple and mango and they make excellent desserts like puddings, ice cream, pastries and more. We'll have 70+ pawpaw trees for sale. Read more about the ever-popular pawpaw here
  • Blueberry: Blueberries produce more and larger berries when they can cross pollinate with another variety. We're offering Rabbiteye (Vaccinium ashei) and Highbush (Vaccinium corymbosum). 
  • Persimmon (Diospyros virginiana): "An unripe persimmon will turn your face inside out. But when they’re ripe or even post-ripe, mercy, that’s a fairy tale about a magic forest where jam grows on trees." Persimmon pulps can be described as a blend of "apricot, dried peach, guava jam, roasted pumpkin and a speck of spice or nuts." Read more entertaining facts about the persimmon at Our State.

Milkweeds for Monarch Butterflies

Did you know that monarch caterpillars will only eat the leaves of milkweeds? Or that milkweeds are quickly disappearing in the wild because of loss of habitat and pesticide use? The good news is that it's easy to grow milkweed in your garden. We'll be selling four types of milkweed: whorled (Asclepias verticillata), common (Asclepias syriaca), swamp (Asclepias incarnata) and butterfly weed (Asclepias tuberosa).

Find the Best Plants for Your Zip Code

Visit the National Wildlife Federation’s Native Plant Finder to find plants that host the highest numbers of butterflies and moths to feed birds and other wildlife where you live (hint...we'll have a lot of these available!). 

Volunteers Needed

We're looking for 10 more volunteers. If you're interested in helping out, sign up here.

RSVP for the Plant Sale

We're expecting a large crowd. Please let us know you're coming. RSVP here


We'll be set up in the grassy area on the right when you pull into parking lot at the Reedy Creek entrance to William B. Umstead State Park. 2100 N Harrison Ave, Cary, NC 27513.

Thank you to Mellow Marsh Farm and Sorrell's Nursery for supporting William B. Umstead State Park by growing and providing the plants!

The Umstead Coalition

We are a nonprofit dedicated to preserving the natural integrity of William B. Umstead State Park and the Richland Creek Corridor.


The Umstead Coalition is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization.