When it is time to choose what to plant in your yard and flower beds, the options can be overwhelming. Besides just what looks pretty or which colors you prefer, there's important factors to consider as well: annual or perennial? How much shade do you have, and at what times? How much water do you need to use?
One way to help simplify the process is to choose native plants. A native plant is simply one that is indigenous to your local area, and if you're not sure what plants are indigenous to your area, you can talk to local nurseries to get some help. Here's why choosing native is a good idea:
Native plants are already adapted to and thrive in your local environment. All of the factors that affect plant growth- soil conditions, rainfall, temperature, and insects to name a handful- are variable from place to place. Native plants are well-suited to the conditions in your area. This means that:
Native plants require less upkeep. They don't need as much special attention as exotic plants would, like extra watering or fertilizing. They have better natural defenses to local insects than exotic plants as well, because they've had time for adaptation. Because they like the area that you're in, they'll grow and look great without a lot of extra work on your part. All of this adds up to:
Native plants are good for the environment. Keeping them looking nice will not require as many resources on your part. You'll use less water, less fertilizer, and fewer pesticides. Speaking of fewer pesticides- that keeps insects alive as a food source to support your local birds and wildlife, too.
Native plants are good for your local ecosystem. Because they are a natural piece to the puzzle of your local environment, native plants will play their part to keep things in balance. If an exotic plant is introduced to an ecosystem and is well-suited to the growing conditions but has nothing naturally occurring in the environment to keep it in check, its growth can be out of control. It could spread and become problematic for other plants and life in the area.
Choosing native plants in your flower beds and yard is an easy way for you to save yourself time and money, as well as being great for the environment and all the critters you share it with.