Green Gardening Secrets: Native Planting

“Going Native” has become a popular topic of discussion in green gardening communities, and landscaping companies are taking note. Building off of research that attests to the benefits of native planting, landscapers have begun offering their customers more native foliage options. It shows their dedication to sustainability and their local expertise. But why the renewed interest in native planting? What do native plants offer that non-native plants do not?

Native Planting Builds Healthier Ecosystems

Expanding urbanization and development has destroyed a significant amount of animal habitats throughout America. Native wildlife is continually being relocated and pushed away by the construction of highways, strip malls, and housing developments. Native planters are fighting back against this destruction by creating habitats for native wildlife in their own backyards. These habitats provide food and shelter for displaced animal species and contribute to a healthy local ecosystem, so that valuable bird, moth, butterfly, insect, and mammal species can continue to thrive.

Native Planting Fights Invasive Growth

Native planting also provides benefits to homeowners. Many gardeners worry about invasive species of plants and animals destroying crops and smothering foliage. Ironically, it was landscaping companies that introduced many of these invasive species as exotic options in their landscaping plans. Now, these exotic plants have grown uncontrollably and are hurting local ecosystems. By planting more native plants, homeowners are protecting their yards—and the yards of many others—from the destructive effects of invasive growth.

Native Plants are Low Maintenance and High Reward

Because native plants have evolved specifically to exist within your local ecosystem, they are much sturdier and more reliable than non-native plants. They require less specialized care and are more accustomed to the rainfall and temperature levels of your climate. A garden filled with native plants will probably cheapen your water bill, lighten your pesticide and fertilizer usage, and free up your time!

As an added bonus, native plants are gorgeous additions to any landscape! They are guaranteed to blend seamlessly into your landscaping design while providing you with some awesome natural benefits. Here are a few plants native to Virginia that you might consider planting next season:

  • Autumn bentgrass
  • Broomsedge
  • Butterfly weed
  • Blue wild indigo
  • Woodland sunflower
  • Dwarf crested iris
  • Canada lily
  • Lupine
  • Virginia bluebells
  • Black eyed Susan
  • Red maple
  • American beech
  • Black walnut
  • White pine
  • Witch hazel
  • Catawba rhododendron

These are just a few options. Go to http://www.dcr.virginia.gov/natural-heritage/np for more ideas and information on native planting! Happy gardening!

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