Beauty Is No Longer Enough
Native plants play an important role in the ecosystem.
Save on water and fertilizer: Once established, if your native plants are properly sited they do not need fertilizer or water (except possibly during times of extreme drought.) You hear us constantly repeat ‘Right Plant Right Place’. If your soil is naturally dry, and you choose a plant that tolerates dry, it should be fine. If your soil is naturally moist, then select a plant that requires a moist site. There is a native plant that will thrive in any naturally occurring condition.
Reduce disease: A diverse planting of native species will attract beneficial insects, and will be be able to ward off insect pests and diseases far better than a mono-culture of a single plant.
Attract beneficial insects: Studies show that native beneficial insects require native plants for food, nectar and shelter. They evolved here, with the native plants, and often do not ‘recognize’ a non-native plant. It’s important to plant native plants to support our native insects.
Provide food for songbirds and butterflies: Native plants evolved to provide unique nutrition for our native songbirds. The berries that ripen throughout the season have the nutrition needed by birds for the activity at that time of year, whether they are nesting, migrating, or mating. Butterflies require two different kinds of food – nectar for adult butterflies and leaves to chew for the butterfly larvae (caterpillars). Many times they find the nectar on one kind of plant and the larval food on another. Native plants and butterflies evolved together to create a cycle that will fill all their needs.
Restore and balance the local ecology: Ecology is a complex web of inter-related components. Native plants are part of that web.
Bring beauty and color to the landscape: Choose natives with different bloom times to have bloom throughout the season. The deciduous branches of most native trees and shrubs provide wonderful architectural interest. In winter, the interplay of shadows and how they hold ice and snow are part of the visual appeal.