Have you ever brought home a shrub from the garden center only to discover that you had accidentally purchased a shady swamp plant to put in your sunny dry area? You can avoid these sad mistakes in the future by quickly consulting the Plant NOVA Natives app.
This app can be used on a computer but is also mobile-friendly for use on smart phones. (You need an internet connection to make it work.) You can search by plant category (shrub, tree, perennial, etc), sun and moisture requirements, bloom time, height, and soil type. Perhaps you are looking for flowers to attract hummingbirds or butterflies? You can also search by wildlife value.
Each plant listing contains those details plus a deer resistance rating and tips on gardening.
All 279 plants are native to Northern Virginia, of course, which means that in addition to being beautiful, they will never need fertilizing and will require watering only until they are established (assuming you actually paid attention and bought a sun-loving plant for that sunny spot!). Best of all, they have evolved within the local ecosystem and therefore support the birds, butterflies, frogs, etc. that live in our community and who so desperately need our help to thrive.
The app can be found at http://www.plantnovanatives.org/nova-plant-app.html. If you use your smart phone to open the web page with the full-browser version, you can then save it as an icon on your home screen to give you instant access as you wander around your local nursery.