University of Illinois Extension
Wildflower Habitats - WildFlowers - University of Illinois Extension

Wildflower Habitats


When selecting native plants, consideration should be given to the plant’s natural habitat. Each species developed in a specific habitat and will grow best when given conditions that resemble that habitat. Some species developed in wooded sites and so shade will be needed. Woods, however, may be dense or open, so different plants tolerate varying degrees of shade. Plants from open woods may be able to tolerate a fair amount of sun. Other species developed in open areas like prairies and fields. These plants are usually going to need full sun.

There is some overlap with habitats. Plants that are considered wetland plants developed in wet sites, such as swamps and stream banks and need a consistent amount of water (but not necessarily wet soils). Wetland plants may also be found in wooded areas that are wet and these plants would have a need for shade. Other wetland plants may have developed in wet meadows or prairies and thus would need full sun.