Don’t Miss the Long Island Native Plant Initiative’s Annual Plant Sale

Eat local. Drink local. Grow native plants.

This event is getting major buzz among Long Island’s sustainable gardening community.

On June 2, 3, 9, and 10 from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m at Suffolk County Community College’s Eastern Campus Greenhouse, the Long Island Native Plant Initiative (LIPNI) plant sale will offer plants that support bees and other pollinators and require very little maintenance to keep up.

The sustainability component is crucial: Colony collapse disorder continues to be an environmental threat to honey bees, and the cause is primarily pesticides.

So, as if that weren’t a sweet enough reason to at least stop by, this specific strain of plants—ones that are native to the Long Island and local in their genotype—don’t require any pesticides or fertilizers to stay fresh, which means less water pollution for the community.

This is LINPI’s ninth annual Plant Sale in support of its mission to preserve the genetic heritage of Long Island’s native plant populations, and the event also serves as a fundraiser for the nonprofit’s volunteer cooperative efforts by over thirty non-profit agencies, nursery professionals, and Master Gardener Volunteers.

Those volunteers collect, store, stratify, germinate, and grow out locally harvested seeds from wild plants that have flourished for millennia on Long Island, ensuring the conservation of biodiversity on the Island.

So what can you expect to find?

Everything from grasses to trees and plants sprouting beautiful blossoms, including butterfly weed, a milkweed essential to monarch butterflies, New England aster, and the Eastern prickly pear, Long Island’s only native cactus.

“Each year, our selection of plants increases, and I’m always amazed by the support and enthusiasm of the gardeners and landscapers who attend the Plant Sale,” says Chris McHugh, LINPI Greenhouse Manager. “This year several species will be available in quart pots in addition to the usual six packs of smaller plants. We’ll also have more woody species, such as summersweet and steeplebush.”

While you’re at the greenhouse, be sure to ask the experts on deck for gardening tips and expert advice—the pros will be able to tell how best to grow native plants to how to “eradicate exotic invasive plants” so they don’t take over your landscape.

If you’re in the commercial plant business, it’s a great time to buy in bulk.

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Also, be sure to congratulate the organization on its recent honor helping coordinate the Long Island Invasive Species Management Area (LIISMA) through July 2021 with funding from the New York Environmental Protection Fund.

The work they do is crucial to protecting local Long Island habitats from the recent decline caused by developers and invasive species. Founded in 2011, the nonprofit has been hard at work to ensure that the local plants and continue to adapt to Long Island’s changing conditions, and works with 30 nonprofits., local government agencies and volunteer citizens on a number of landscaping and restoration projects every year.

By bringing these local, native plants into your backyard or business, you’ll be helping both the environment and its many winged species thrive throughout the summer and beyond.

For more information and a tentative list of native plants available at the Plant Sale, visit www.LINPI.org or email [email protected].

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Helaina Hovitz is an editor, journalist, and author of After 9/11. She has written for The New York Times, The Daily Meal, Tasting Table, Salon, Glamour, Newsweek, Thrillist, Teen Vogue, VICE, Reader’s Digest, Forbes, Women’s Health, and many others. Visit her on Twitter, Facebook, or HelainaHovitz.com.