Grow Indiana Natives FAQ


What is the Grow Indiana Natives program? Grow Indiana Natives promotes the use of native plants in landscaping instead of invasive plants by certifying businesses at two levels:

  • Basic Grow Indiana Natives members sell Indiana native plants.
  • Invasive-Free Grow Indiana Natives members sell Indiana native plants and also do not sell invasive plants.

Both membership levels receive free native plant promotional materials.  Invasive-Free members are featured in the Buy Native on-line directory.Basic Grow Indiana Natives members are added to a list of native plant sellers in Indiana who still sell invasive plants.


Why is INPAWS promoting the Grow Indiana Natives program? The majority of invasive plants were introduced through landscaping.  For example, about 86% of invasive woody species, like Asian bush honeysuckle, Callery pear (aka Bradford pear), privet, and burning bush, originated with landscape plantings.  An increasing number of gardeners and landscapers are becoming aware of this, and want to plant natives so they are not contributing to the problem. The intent of Grow Native is to help these customers find a source for native plants and encourage plant sellers to sell more native plants and fewer invasive plants.


What is an invasive plant? An invasive plant is a non-native plant that infests natural areas and causes environmental or economic harm, or harm to human health. About one-third of the roughly 2,900 plant species growing outside of cultivation in Indiana are non-native, but only a small fraction of those non-native species are invasive. Invasive plants degrade and destroy thousands of acres of our natural plant communities in Indiana. Each year millions of dollars are spent to control them in Indiana alone.


Why should I join the Grow Indiana Natives program? With over $2.5 million dollars in sales per year, the Indiana horticulture industry has a big impact on the Hoosier economy, and accounts for nearly 32,000 jobs in the state. By stopping the spread of invasive plants, horticulture businesses can simultaneously serve their customers, protect the environment, and save Hoosiers millions of dollars. We can be proactive rather than wait for regulations. Grow Indiana Natives makes it easy to find out which plants are invasive and which plants are better choices to sell. An increasingly aware gardening public is looking for businesses that provide environmentally friendly plants. Join Grow Indiana Natives now to be part of this practical solution. 


How do I know whether a plant is native, non-native, or invasive? There are many resources to help determine whether a species is native, non-native, or invasive.  Common natives in horticulture is a list of many of the Indiana natives that are for sale at nurseries and retailers.  The USDA PLANTS database is a useful resource to look up the native range of plant species. Finally, the list of invasive plants in Indiana may be found here.


I sell native plants – but I also sell invasive plants. Can I be part of the Grow Indiana Natives program? Yes! You can be a Basic Grow Indiana Natives member even if you still sell invasive plants.  This entitles you to a Basic Grow Indiana Natives certification and free native plant promotional materials, and to appear in a list of native plant sellers in Indiana posted on the Grow Indiana Natives website.  If you stop selling invasive plants, you will qualify for Invasive-Free Grow Indiana Natives status, which includes ad space on the Grow Indiana Natives website and a link to your business’ website.


How does Grow Indiana Natives treat cultivars of invasive plants? Cultivars are a cultivated variety of the parent species.  Grow Indiana Natives considers all cultivars to have the same level of invasiveness as the parent species unless testing has shown that they are not invasive. At this time, we do not know of any cultivars of invasive plant species that are not themselves invasive.


Are “nativars” considered native species? “Nativars” are cultivars of native species. Just as we consider cultivars of invasive species to have the same properties as the parent species, we consider nativars to be native as well.  However, we note that some nativars have been shown not to provide the same level resources as the native plant (see for discussion). We also note that when the planting goal is to restore a natural area, the use of local genotype materials is appropriate.


I sell native plants – how do I join Grow Indiana Natives? Just go to to apply to join Grow Indiana Natives.  The Grow Indiana Natives committee will review your application to determine if you meet the criteria and then contact you. Once accepted into the program, you will be able to order brochures and promotional materials online.