Landscaping for Wildlife
Native Alaskan and Exotic Plants Used by Wildlife

photo of a hummingbird Use these tables to select plants for landscaping. In addition to their values to wildlife, these plants will add natural beauty to an area. Trees also provide shade in summer, and protection from winter winds, which can mean energy savings in heating and cooling your home. Real estate records show that landscaping with trees and shrubs often increases property values 10–20%.

Local Alaskan greenhouses carry seeds and seedlings of many species; other species can be obtained from mail-order greenhouses. The University of Alaska Cooperative Extension Service publishes a list of plant sources for Alaska.

Plant species with low shade tolerance in sunny areas.
Do not apply lime to soil near plants with low or moderate acid tolerance.

Coniferous Trees

Name Height Alaska Distribution Other
White Spruce
Picea glauca
40-115' Western – in portions of the region
Southwestern – in portions of the region
Central – in most of the region
Acid Tolerance: high
Shade Tolerance: moderate
Soil Moisture: dry
Black Spruce
Picea mariana
15-60' Western – in portions of the region
Southwestern – in portions of the region
Central – in most of the region
Acid Tolerance: high
Shade Tolerance: moderate
Soil Moisture: wet
Sitka Spruce
Picea sitchensis
160-225' Southcoastal – in most of the region
Southeastern – in most of the region
Acid Tolerance: high
Shade Tolerance: moderate
Soil Moisture: moist
Mountain Hemlock
Tsuga mertensia
50-100' Southcoastal – in most of the region
Central – in portions of the region
Southeastern – in most of the region
Acid Tolerance: moderate
Shade Tolerance: high
Soil Moisture: moist
Western Hemlock
Tsuga heterophyla
100-150' Southcoastal – in most of the region
Central – in portions of the region
Southeastern – in most of the region
Acid Tolerance: moderate
Shade Tolerance: high
Soil Moisture: moist
Alaska Redcedar
Chamaecyparis nootkatensis
40-80' Southcoastal – in portions of the region
Southeastern – in most of the region
Acid Tolerance: high
Shade Tolerance: moderate
Soil Moisture: wet
Tamarack (Larch)
Larix laricina
30-60' Central – in most of the region Acid Tolerance: high
Shade Tolerance: moderate
Soil Moisture: dry or wet
Siberian Larch
Larix laricina
30-60' Central – exotic species Acid Tolerance: high
Shade Tolerance: moderate
Soil Moisture: dry or wet

Deciduous Trees

Name Height Alaska Distribution Other
Balsam Poplar
Populus balsamifera
30-50' Northern – in portions of the region
Western – in portions of the region
Southwestern – in most of the region
Southcoastal – in portions of the region
Central – in most of the region
Southeastern – in portions of the region
Acid Tolerance: moderate
Shade Tolerance: low
Soil Moisture: moist
Black Cottonwood
Populus trichocarpa
80-100' Southcoastal – in most of the region
Central – in portions of the region
Southeastern – in most of the region
Acid Tolerance: moderate
Shade Tolerance: low
Soil Moisture: moist
Quaking Aspen
Populus tremuloides
20-80' Southcoastal – in portions of the region
Central – in most of the region
Southeastern – in portions of the region
Acid Tolerance: moderate
Shade Tolerance: low
Soil Moisture: dry
Birch
Betula papyrifera
20-80' Western – in portions of the region
Southwestern – in most of the region
Southcoastal – in most of the region
Central – in most of the region
Southeastern – in most of the region
Acid Tolerance: high
Shade Tolerance: low
Soil Moisture: moist

Tall Shrubs

Name Height Alaska Distribution Other
Feltleaf Willow
Salix alaxensis
20-30' Northern – in most of the region
Western – in most of the region
Southwestern – in most of the region
Southcoastal – in most of the region
Central – in most of the region
Southeastern – in most of the region
Acid Tolerance: moderate
Shade Tolerance: low
Soil Moisture: moist to wet
Douglas Maple
Acer glabrum
20-30' Central – exotic species
Southeastern – in most of the region
Acid Tolerance: moderate
Shade Tolerance: moderate
Soil Moisture: moist
Sitka Alder
Alnus sinuata
5-30' Western – in portions of the region
Southwestern – in most of the region
Southcoastal – in most of the region
Central – in portions of the region
Southeastern – in most of the region
Acid Tolerance: moderate
Shade Tolerance: low
Soil Moisture: dry to moist
Red Alder
Alnus rubra
20-40' Southeastern – in most of the region Acid Tolerance: moderate
Shade Tolerance: moderate
Soil Moisture: moist
Thinleaf Alder
Alnus tenuifolia
15-30' Southwestern – in portions of the region
Southcoastal – in most of the region
Central – in most of the region
Southeastern – in portions of the region
Acid Tolerance: high
Shade Tolerance: low
Soil Moisture: moist
American Green Alder
Alnus crispus
3-13' Northern – in portions of the region
Western – in most of the region
Southwestern – in portions of the region
Central – in most of the region
Acid Tolerance: high
Shade Tolerance: low
Soil Moisture: dry to wet
Oregon Crabapple
Malus diversifolia
25' Southcoastal – in most of the region
Southeastern – in most of the region
Acid Tolerance: moderate
Shade Tolerance: moderate
Soil Moisture: wet
Saskatoon Serviceberry
Amelanchieralnifolia
16' Southcoastal – in portions of the region
Central – in portions of the region
Southeastern – in portions of the region
Acid Tolerance: moderate
Shade Tolerance: low
Soil Moisture: dry
Pacific Serviceberry
Amelanchierflorida
16' Southwestern – in portions of the region
Southcoastal – in portions of the region
Southeastern – in portions of the region
Acid Tolerance: moderate
Shade Tolerance: low
Soil Moisture: dry to moist
Red-osier Dogwood
Cornus stolonifera
3-12' Central – in portions of the region
Southeastern – in most of the region
Acid Tolerance: moderate
Shade Tolerance: moderate
Soil Moisture: well- drained to wet
Pacific Red Elder
Sambucus callicarpa
6-12' Southwestern – in most of the region
Southcoastal – in most of the region
Southeastern – in most of the region
Acid Tolerance: moderate
Shade Tolerance: moderate
Soil Moisture: well- drained to wet
High Bush Cranberry
Viburnum edule
2-12' Northern – in portions of the region
Western – in portions of the region
Southwestern – in portions of the region
Southcoastal – in most of the region
Central – in most of the region
Southeastern – in most of the region
Acid Tolerance: moderate
Shade Tolerance: moderate
Soil Moisture: dry
Early Blueberry
Vaccinium ovalifolium
5' Southwestern – in most of the region
Southcoastal – in most of the region
Central – in portions of the region
Southeastern – in most of the region
Acid Tolerance: high
Shade Tolerance: high
Soil Moisture: wet or dry
Siberian crabapple
Malus spp.
20' Southcoastal – exotic species
Central – exotic species
Southeastern – exotic species
Acid Tolerance: moderate
Shade Tolerance: moderate
Soil Moisture: wet
Chokecherry
Prunus virginiana
20' Southwestern – exotic species
Southcoastal – exotic species
Central – exotic species
Southeastern – exotic species
Acid Tolerance: moderate
Shade Tolerance: moderate
Soil Moisture: moist
Lilac
Syringa spp.
6' Southcoastal – exotic species
Central – exotic species
Southeastern – exotic species
Acid Tolerance: moderate
Shade Tolerance: moderate
Soil Moisture: moist

Low Shrubs

Name Height Alaska Distribution Other
Willow
Salix spp.
prostrate to 10' varies by species Acid Tolerance: moderate
Shade Tolerance: low
Soil Moisture: moist to wet
Dwarf Birch
Betula spp.
1-5' varies by species Acid Tolerance: high
Shade Tolerance: low
Soil Moisture: well- drained to wet
Northern Black Currant
Ribes hudsonianum
3-6' Southwestern – in portions of the region
Southcoastal – in portions of the region
Central – in most of the region
Acid Tolerance: moderate
Shade Tolerance: moderate
Soil Moisture: well- drained
Wild Currant
Ribes triste
2-3' Northern – in portions of the region
Western – in portions of the region
Southwestern – in portions of the region
Southcoastal – in most of the region
Central – in most of the region
Southeastern – in portions of the region
Acid Tolerance: moderate
Shade Tolerance: moderate
Soil Moisture: moist or well- drained
Raspberry
Rubus idaeus
2-4' Southwestern – in portions of the region
Southcoastal – in portions of the region
Central – in most of the region
Southeastern – in portions of the region
Acid Tolerance: moderate
Shade Tolerance: low
Soil Moisture: dry
Salmonberry
Rubus spectabilis
2-7' Southwestern – in most of the region
Southcoastal – in most of the region
Central – in most of the region
Acid Tolerance: moderate
Shade Tolerance: low
Soil Moisture: dry
Thimbleberry
Rubus parviflorus
2-5' Southeastern – in most of the region Acid Tolerance: moderate
Shade Tolerance: low
Soil Moisture: moist
Wild Rose
Rosa acicularis
1-4' Northern – in portions of the region
Western – in portions of the region
Southwestern – in portions of the region
Southcoastal – in most of the region
Central – in most of the region
Acid Tolerance: high
Shade Tolerance: moderate
Soil Moisture: moist
Buffaloberry
Shepherdia canadensis
2-6' Northern – in portions of the region
Western – in portions of the region
Central – in most of the region
Southeastern – in portions of the region
Acid Tolerance: moderate
Shade Tolerance: low
Soil Moisture: dry
Silverberry
Eleagnus commutata
3-12' Central – in portions of the region Acid Tolerance: moderate
Shade Tolerance: low
Soil Moisture: dry
Common Juniper
Juniperus communis
1-2' Northern – in portions of the region
Western – in portions of the region
Southwestern – in portions of the region
Southcoastal – in portions of the region
Central – in most of the region
Southeastern – in most of the region
Acid Tolerance: high
Shade Tolerance: low
Soil Moisture: dry
Salal
Gaultheria shallon
2-3' Southeastern – in portions of the region Acid Tolerance: low
Shade Tolerance: low
Soil Moisture: moist
Labrador Tea
Ledum spp.
1-3' Northern – in most of the region
Western – in most of the region
Southwestern – in most of the region
Southcoastal – in most of the region
Central – in most of the region
Southeastern – in most of the region
Acid Tolerance: high
Shade Tolerance: high
Soil Moisture: moist
Bush Cinquefoil
Potentilla fruticosa
1-5' Northern – in portions of the region
Western – in most of the region
Southwestern – in portions of the region
Central – in most of the region
Southeastern – in portions of the region
Acid Tolerance: moderate
Shade Tolerance: high
Soil Moisture: dry or moist
Lapland Rosebay
Rhododendron lapponicum
1-2' Northern – in portions of the region
Western – in portions of the region
Central – in most of the region
Acid Tolerance: moderate
Shade Tolerance: low
Soil Moisture: dry or wet
Sweetgale
Myrica gale
1-4' Western – in portions of the region
Southwestern – in portions of the region
Southcoastal – in most of the region
Central – in portions of the region
Southeastern – in most of the region
Acid Tolerance: high
Shade Tolerance: low
Soil Moisture: wet

Ground Covers and Herbaceous Plants

Name Alaska Distribution Other
Dwarf Dogwood
Cornus canadensis
Western – in portions of the region
Southwestern – in most of the region
Southcoastal – in most of the region
Central – in most of the region
Southeastern – in most of the region
Acid Tolerance: moderate
Shade Tolerance: high
Soil Moisture: dry to moist
Cloudberry
Rubus chamaemorus
Northern – in most of the region
Western – in most of the region
Southwestern – in most of the region
Southcoastal – in most of the region
Central – in most of the region
Southeastern – in most of the region
Acid Tolerance: moderate
Shade Tolerance: moderate
Soil Moisture: moist to wet
Nagoonberry
Rubus arcticus
Western – in most of the region
Central – in most of the region
Acid Tolerance: moderate
Shade Tolerance: moderate
Soil Moisture: moist to wet
Bearberry (Kinnikinnik)
Arctostaphylos uva-ursi
Northern – in portions of the region
Southwestern – in most of the region
Central – in most of the region
Southeastern – in portions of the region
Acid Tolerance: moderate
Shade Tolerance: low
Soil Moisture: dry
Alpine Bearberry
Arctostaphylos alpina
Northern – in most of the region
Western – in most of the region
Southwestern – in most of the region
Southcoastal – in most of the region
Central – in most of the region
Acid Tolerance: moderate
Shade Tolerance: low
Soil Moisture: dry
Mountain Cranberry
Vaccinium vitis-idaea
Northern – in most of the region
Western – in most of the region
Southwestern – in most of the region
Southcoastal – in most of the region
Central – in most of the region
Southeastern – in most of the region
Acid Tolerance: moderate
Shade Tolerance: high
Soil Moisture: dry to moist
Blueberry
Vaccinium spp.
varies by species Acid Tolerance: moderate
Shade Tolerance: high
Soil Moisture: moist to wet
Crowberry
Empetrum nigrum
Northern – in portions of the region
Western – in most of the region
Southwestern – in most of the region
Southcoastal – in most of the region
Central – in most of the region
Southeastern – in most of the region
Acid Tolerance: high
Shade Tolerance: high
Soil Moisture: moist to wet
Jacob's Ladder
Polemonium acutiflorum
Northern – in most of the region
Western – in most of the region
Southwestern – in most of the region
Southcoastal – in most of the region
Central – in most of the region
Southeastern – in most of the region
Acid Tolerance: moderate
Shade Tolerance: low
Soil Moisture: moist to wet
Buttercup
Ranunculus spp.
varies by species Acid Tolerance:
Shade Tolerance: low
Soil Moisture: moist to wet
Goldenrod
Solidago multiradiata
Northern – in most of the region
Western – in most of the region
Southwestern – in most of the region
Southcoastal – in most of the region
Central – in most of the region
Southeastern – in most of the region
Acid Tolerance:
Shade Tolerance: low
Soil Moisture: dry
Aster
Aster sibiricus
Northern – in most of the region
Western – in most of the region
Southwestern – in most of the region
Southcoastal – in most of the region
Central – in most of the region
Southeastern – in most of the region
Acid Tolerance:
Shade Tolerance: low
Soil Moisture: dry
Mountain Avens
Dryas octopetala
Northern – in portions of the region
Western – in most of the region
Southwestern – in most of the region
Central – in most of the region
Southeastern – in portions of the region
Acid Tolerance: high
Shade Tolerance: moderate
Soil Moisture: well-drained or wet
Arnica
Arnica frigida
Northern – in portions of the region
Western – in most of the region
Southwestern – in portions of the region
Southcoastal – in most of the region
Central – in most of the region
Acid Tolerance:
Shade Tolerance: low
Soil Moisture: dry
Cinquefoil
Potentilla spp.
Southwestern – in most of the region
Southcoastal – in most of the region
Central – in most of the region
Southeastern – in most of the region
Acid Tolerance:
Shade Tolerance: varies
Soil Moisture: dry to moist
Geranium
Geranium erianthum
Southwestern – in portions of the region
Southcoastal – in most of the region
Central – in portions of the region
Southeastern – in most of the region
Acid Tolerance: moderate
Shade Tolerance: high
Soil Moisture: moist
Lupine, Arctic
Lupinus arcticus
Northern – in most of the region
Western – in most of the region
Central – in most of the region
Acid Tolerance:
Shade Tolerance: low
Soil Moisture: dry to moist
Lupine, Nootka
Lupinus nootkatensis
Southwestern – in most of the region
Southcoastal – in most of the region
Southeastern – in most of the region
Acid Tolerance:
Shade Tolerance: low
Soil Moisture: dry to moist
Larkspur
Delphinium spp.
Northern – in portions of the region
Western – in most of the region
Southwestern – in most of the region
Central – in most of the region
Acid Tolerance: moderate
Shade Tolerance: low
Soil Moisture: wet
Columbine
Aquilegia spp.
Southcoastal – in most of the region
Central – in portions of the region
Southeastern – in most of the region
Acid Tolerance:
Shade Tolerance: moderate
Soil Moisture: dry to moist
Dock (Sorrel)
Rumex spp.
Northern – in most of the region
Western – in most of the region
Southwestern – in most of the region
Southcoastal – in most of the region
Central – in most of the region
Southeastern – in most of the region
Acid Tolerance: moderate
Shade Tolerance: low
Soil Moisture: moist to wet
American Bistort
Polygonum bistorta
Northern – in most of the region
Western – in most of the region
Southwestern – in portions of the region
Central – in most of the region
Acid Tolerance:
Shade Tolerance: moderate
Soil Moisture: moist to wet
Buckwheat
Polygonum viviparum
Northern – in most of the region
Western – in most of the region
Southwestern – in most of the region
Southcoastal – in most of the region
Central – in most of the region
Southeastern – in most of the region
Acid Tolerance:
Shade Tolerance: low
Soil Moisture: dry
Artemisia
Artemisia tilesii
Northern – in most of the region
Western – in most of the region
Southwestern – in most of the region
Southcoastal – in portions of the region
Central – in most of the region
Acid Tolerance:
Shade Tolerance: low
Soil Moisture: dry to moist

Grasses and Sedges

Name Height Alaska Distribution Other
Bluejoint Reedgrass
Calamagrostis canadensis
3-6' Northern – in portions of the region
Western – in most of the region
Southwestern – in most of the region
Southcoastal – in most of the region
Central – in most of the region
Southeastern – in most of the region
Acid Tolerance: moderate
Shade Tolerance: moderate
Soil Moisture: moist
Alyeska Polargrass
Arctagrostis latifolia
3-5' Northern – in most of the region
Western – in most of the region
Southwestern – in most of the region
Southcoastal – in portions of the region
Central – in most of the region
Acid Tolerance: moderate
Shade Tolerance: moderate
Soil Moisture: moist
Arctared Red Fescue
Festuca rubra
  Northern – in most of the region
Western – in most of the region
Southwestern – in most of the region
Southcoastal – in most of the region
Central – in most of the region
Southeastern – in most of the region
Acid Tolerance: moderate
Shade Tolerance: low
Soil Moisture: moist
Bluegrass
Poa spp.
  varies by species Acid Tolerance: moderate
Shade Tolerance: low
Soil Moisture: moist
Sedges
Carex spp.
2-10" varies by species Acid Tolerance: high
Shade Tolerance: low
Soil Moisture: dry to wet

Aquatic Plants

Name Height Alaska Distribution
Duckweed
Lemna spp.
floating Western – in portions of the region
Southeastern – in most of the region
Spikerush
Eleocharis spp.
2-7" Southwestern – in portions of the region
Southcoastal – in most of the region
Central – in most of the region
Southeastern – in most of the region
Pondweed
Potamogeton spp.
submerged or floating Northern – in portions of the region
Western – in most of the region
Southwestern – in most of the region
Southcoastal – in most of the region
Central – in most of the region
Southeastern – in most of the region
Wigeongrass
Ruppia spiralis
submerged Southwestern – in most of the region
Southcoastal – in most of the region
Southeastern – in most of the region
Water Milfoil
Myriophyllum sibericum
submerged Western – in portions of the region
Central – in most of the region
Southeastern – in portions of the region
Smartweed
Polygonum amphibium
submerged or floating Southcoastal – in most of the region
Central – in portions of the region
Buckbean
Menyanthes trifoliata
floating Northern – in portions of the region
Western – in portions of the region
Southwestern – in most of the region
Southcoastal – in most of the region
Central – in most of the region
Southeastern – in most of the region
Cattail
Typha latifolia
2-6' Central – in portions of the region
Bulrush
Scirpus spp.
12-40" Central – in portions of the region
Southeastern – in most of the region
Burreed
Sparganium spp.
1-3' Northern – in portions of the region
Western – in most of the region
Southwestern – in most of the region
Southcoastal – in most of the region
Central – in most of the region
Southeastern – in most of the region
Arrowgrass
Triglochin spp.
30" Western – in portions of the region
Southwestern – in most of the region
Southcoastal – in most of the region
Central – in portions of the region
Southeastern – in most of the region
Pendant Grass
Arctophia fulva
1-3' Northern – in most of the region
Western – in most of the region
Southwestern – in portions of the region
Southcoastal – in most of the region
Central – in most of the region
Southeastern – in portions of the region
Pond lily
Nuphar polysepalum
floating Western – in portions of the region
Southwestern – in most of the region
Southcoastal – in most of the region
Central – in most of the region
Southeastern – in most of the region
range map