Native Plants Garden

Native Perennial Garden.JPG

A true native plant occurs naturally in your region.  They have often evolved and adapted as conditions in the specific region changes.  Their adaptations make them strong and hardy plants that survive without human assistance.  But a very important question when purchasing native plants is "Where is it native to?".  A plant native to North America will absolutely not survive in all regions.  Ideally you will want to select plants that are native to the smallest region possible, for example "the south central region" of your state.  Even when a specific plant variety is "native" to a vast region of North America, you will find that the plants have developed different adaptations to specific microclimates.  So it is very helpful to purchase from local growers.  With that said, plants become "natives" because of their ability to adapt.  And so not to contradict myself, but a native plant grown well outside your region should still have a natural ability to adapt to your specific area.

A garden of true native plants should require almost no care.  Added moisture may be helpful during a drought.  Natural pest remedies may be helpful in particularly aggressive attacks.  Even controlling dominant and aggressive spreaders should not be necessary if you are growing true natives to your specific area.  They typically keep a balance with their community with natural predators.  If a plant spreads aggressively it is likely not native.

Prairie Garden.JPG

There are so many benefits from using native plants in your gardens and landscapes.

  • Low maintenance
  • Conserves Water
  • Eliminates the need for chemical fertilizers
  • Provides habitat for native wildlife
  • Promotes biodiversity by reducing lawns
  • Stand strong in wind and storms
  • Reduces the need for pest control
  • Contributes to environmental stability
  • Contributes to healthy soil
  • Beautiful ever changing colors and textures

And of course gardens of native plants are also butterfly gardens, pollinator and bee gardens, bird attracting gardens, wildlife gardens, and sustainable gardens.

There are many native plants that can be found thriving across much of North America.  Look for your local species of some of these perennials, self seeding annuals, grasses and shrubs:

Echinacea purpurea Coneflower by Midwest Gardening.JPG
Butterfly Weed by Midwest Gardening.JPG
Cardinal Flower by Midwest Gardening.JPG
  • Cardinal Flower
  • Coneflower
  • Columbine
  • Blue Lobelia
  • Black-eyed Susan
  • Yarrow
  • Agastache Hyssop
  • Joe Pye Weed
  • Poppy Mallow
  • Swamp Milkweed
  • Butterfly Weed
  • Spiderwort
  • Perennial grass such as Switchgrass
  • New England Aster - the wild cousin of fall aster
  • Viburnum

Your best resource in identifying true native plants is your local University of Cooperative Extension service.  They often produce a list or can let you know where to find one.  Native Plant Nurseries have also been popping up across the country.  Find one in your area with this native plant directory.  

 

Sharon Dwyer