Adding native plants to your landscape obviously increases the plant diversity of your landscape, but, more importantly, it leads to greater overall biodiversity; the variety and abundance of wildlife will increase in your landscape. The key factor in improving biodiversity is the increase in insect quantities and diversity that results from using native plants. Insects are the primary transporter of the energy harnessed and stored within plants to the species higher in the food chain. Besides the common generalists insects such as aphids, thrips, scale, or the non-native earwig, most insect species are constrained to eating a certain genera or family of plants. Non-native ornamentals may be attractive to humans, but essentially they are just taking up space and providing little ecological function. We must recognize the importance of using native plants in our landscapes to support thriving populations of insects. For example, a little known fact is that over 95% of our upland bird species feed their young exclusively on insects and spiders. If your landscape cannot provide the required quantities of insects and spiders, birds will not be able to successfully raise their young to the fledging stage. Every caterpillar living on a host plant in your native planting increases the odds of your local birds being able produce a new generation. Do you want more butterflies and birds? Do you want an increase in the wildlife in your landscape? Plant natives!
Native plantings usually do not require fertilizer, herbicides, insecticides, or fungicides. Stop spending time and money on these chemicals and reduce pollution of our soil, air, and water.
Lower your water bill and conserve our aquifers by using native plants suited to your soil. Natives will require little to no watering after establishment. Additionally, the deep roots of many natives filter water as it flows through the soil.
Many native species are quite beautiful and some are simply stunning. Native plants are available in a wide range of colors, textures, and sizes to suit your landscaping needs.
Use natives to create a low maintenance landscape that not only saves you time, money, and energy, but also provides beauty and wildlife habitat throughout the seasons.
You may also want to search www.plants.usda.gov for more detailed information on a particular native plant.