A native plant is one that naturally occurs on a site and has not been introduced from another far-off place. Natives provide the best diversity of habitat elements for wildlife. Wildlife in your area have evolved to use native plants as food, cover, places to raise young, and sometimes even for water. Native plants will thrive in their natural site because they are best suited to the conditions of that site.
Why grow natives?
- Plants native to the soils and climate of your specific area provide the best overall food sources for wildlife, while generally requiring less fertilizer, less water, and less effort in controlling pests.
- Native plants may support 10 to 50 times as many species of native wildlife as non-native plants. Too often, exotic plants brought to our continent for their horticultural or wildlife value spread rapidly and take over farm and woodland, and decimate native plants and animals.
- Since native plantings can reduce the need for water and chemical inputs and can maintain or enhance biological diversity, wildlife gardeners concerned about conservation should strive toward incorporating native plantings as much as possible in their plans.
- Buy or grow your own native plants. Be absolutely sure that your nursery can guarantee that its stock is not dug from the wild.
- Join and become active in a native plant group.
- Promote the use of native plants in roadside, school, and commercial landscaping.
- Save native plant communities in your area. It's much harder to restore wild areas than it is to preserve them.
What you can do: