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Shop Johnson's Nursery For Wisconsin Native Plants

We're a third-generation family-owned business who passionately pursues the goal of providing quality and hardy nursery stock to Southeastern Wisconsin and beyond.

We grow trees, shrubs, conifers, broadleaf evergreens, fruit trees, and herbaceous perennials. Our complete inventory includes sizes from container perennials to massive specimen trees.

Expect plants with genetic adaption to local climates and soils. We hand-pick seed from local provenances and parent plants. Understanding plant history affects the quality and long-term success of plants in your landscape.

We advocate healthy growing practices and sound restoration ecology with native plants, and we hope you share similar values. Together we build and restore landscapes - small and large, urban and rural, residential and commercial.

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wisconsin native plant guide by johnson's nursery cover

Meet Ben

Ben started his roots over 10 years ago as a Propagation Intern. Today, he’s our Head Propagator, and his team is responsible for all in-house container-grown native plants. He maintains native production, monitors quality control, and leads research and development.

Ben stems from a long line of green industry propagators. He spent his earliest years at Johnson’s Nursery working with Michael Yanny, who worked with Herbert Trautman for many years.

Ben is a contributor to this catalog. He offers his plant expertise on our website and teaches propagation classes to local Tech Schools.

Learn more about Ben French in his staff profile.

Why Natives?

Native plants are beautiful, functional, and essential. Your choice to use natives will impact our local ecosystems, which includes a diverse mix of plants, water, fungi, soil organisms, insects, birds, insects, mammals, and you (to name a few). Plants are the foundation of nature’s food web.

Housing, retail, and commercial development will continue to disturb natural habitats. By choosing natives as we build outdoor spaces you can establish a landscape that is uniquely Wisconsin. Create a sense of “place” for yourself while supporting and restoring countless interdependent species in the natural food web.

This mission applies to everyone, including those with residential lots, commercial properties, municipalities, or expansive land preserves. All for whom we grow.

Check out our entire collection of articles on Wisconsin natives.

Fighting Invasives With Natives

Invasives are non-native plants that will cause economic or environmental harm. They thrive in disturbed sites with exposed soil and minimal competition. They compete with, displace, and kill our native plant communities.

  • Use high-value plants. Unlike invasives, native plants satisfy many ecological niches, like erosion control and pollinator habitats (to name a few). Filling the needs of an ecosystem with high-value plants reduces the ability for invasives to move in.
  • Compete back. Invasives grow in spaces with minimal competition. Therefore, they can’t root in, establish, or colonize if native plants already occupy the space.
  • Natives have personalities. Aggressive natives like Milkweed and Sumac fill spaces quickly and require minimal maintenance. For areas that you’ll manage closely, use more sensitive species like Sensitive Fern or American Beech.