SE Coastal – 6th Annual Native Plant Festival September 18, 2021

2021 Native Plant Festival

Wilmington’s Native Plant Festival is held annually in the fall. In 2020, it changed its information sessions to virtual and moved the plant sale from the Arboretum to sites of all the individual growers of native plants. Now that pandemic restrictions are easing, this year’s event will be a combination of events at the Arboretum and throughout the community.

For the 2021 Festival, scheduled for Saturday, September 18, presentations and exhibitor tables will return to the grounds of the New Hanover County Arboretum. The plant sale will once again be spread throughout the area, with an updated online (and print) map guiding people to visit growers of native plants throughout the area. Activities at the Arboretum will take place from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.; plant sellers will be able to set their own hours and may be open longer than from 10–3.

Hourly gardening presentations will happen on the hour, starting at 10 a.m. in the Arboretum’s Education Center. This year’s speakers are:

 10 Jess Jarvis remote  “How plants communicate: The hidden fungal network beneath our feet”

11 Amy Long live  “Using Native Plants to Restore and Enhance Natural Habitats”

12 Amanda Chapman remote “Some lovely & fascinating natives of Carolina Beach State Park”

1 Jess roach Live “Carnivores, ferns, and protected species, Oh My!”

2 Andy Wood “ Enhancing Communities Through Nature”

3 Bonus Presentation Gloria Putman “Coastal Landscape Initiative”

The plant growers on this year’s self-guided nursery tour and plant sale will be Five Oaks Nursery & Tree Farm, Going Native Gardens, Grizz’s Nursery, Lloyd’s Nursery, Lumber River Native Plants, Shelton Herb Farm, Wild Bird & Garden, and Wild Meadow Farm.

New this year: iNaturalist expert Morgan Freese is organizing a Native Plant BioBlitz plant scavenger hunt event for the week leading up to the festival. To participate, folks take pictures of native plants (preferably in the wild) and post the photos on the iNaturalist app, which can be used on a phone or a computer. Photos taken from September 11–19 will qualify, and there will be prizes for most observations and most species photographed. 

No iNaturalist experience is required—the organizers will hold at least one Zoom training to walk you through the “how-to” of providing identification help. Sign up at to receive updates on the BioBlitz as the festival grows closer. You may also contact Morgan Freese directly with questions at

Details about the festival and the Native Plant Bioblitz will be available starting in August at and on the Native Plant Festival Facebook page.