The Benefits Of Choosing Native Plants

The Benefits Of Choosing Native Plants
Grow Native!

Grow Native!

Whether you’re new to gardening or an old hand at getting your favorite vegetables and flowers to grow, choosing plants for your yard is always an exciting part of any new landscaping project. Possibly you’re searching for plants suited to a particularly shady spot or maybe you’re just looking for a kind of tomato you know will be great on a summer salad, but there’s another important factor that many of us don’t take the time to consider when shopping for our lawns: where do those seedlings actually come from? Globalization has brought plants from all over the world into our backyards, often with disastrous results, and it’s frequently the case that the species we favor in our gardens are part of this problem. So next time you’re picking out seeds, think about these three reasons to go native.

1. They require less care

Anybody that’s tried to coax a fruit tree through a harsh northern winter or watched their cabbage wilt under a hot southwestern sun knows that certain plants are better suited to some environments than others. It makes a lot of sense when you think about it, because every plant species has evolved to fit perfectly into the environment from which it came. Desert cacti will conserve water, legumes can take advantage of nitrogen-poor soil, and those cold-weather adverse fruit trees can put strong tropical sunlight to work making energy-intense (and tasty) fruits. So if you want to make your gardening easier, why not choose plants that are a natural fit for your yard? Native species will be a good match for local temperature, soil conditions, and water availability, which means all your shrubs, flowers, vegetables, and trees will require less care from you.

2. You’ll avoid introducing invasive species

The introduction of non-native species has wreaked havoc with ecosystems around the world by driving out native species – all you have to do is look at water hyacinths choking Louisiana bayous or try to hack through a wall of Kudzu vines in the south to witness firsthand the problems caused by invasive species. Unfortunately, many of these species were first introduced as ornamentals for landscaping and from there were able to escape into the wild. You can do your part to keep invasive plants out of your area by seeking out native plants for your garden and making sure that debris from exotic species is kept out of natural areas.

3. You’ll be helping to preserve local species

The threat of invasive species combined with habitat destruction has made it tough out there for native plants, but you can help keep local diversity alive by choosing native species for your yard. After all, gardens have long served as one of our most important ways to preserve hard-to-find plant species, and even if your yard is no Kew Gardens, you’ll still be helping your small corner of the world stay green and healthy.

Where to find native plants: The best place to look for native plants is locally-owned nurseries that will be able to advise you on the best plants for your area. Many states also have native plant societies that maintain websites and gardening guides that will help you in your search for the perfect local landscaping materials.

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