Why is it important to plant local plant species?

A well-landscaped yard has a big impact on the overall look and feel of your yard. Not only does it enhance the curb appeal of your home, but it can also help to prevent soil erosion. Because landscaping helps to enhance the aesthetic appeal of your home’s exterior, it can boost your property value, and it can even improve the energy efficiency of your house. That’s a whole lot of benefits!

When you’re planning your landscape, there are endless plants to choose from. It goes without saying that you want the best results possible, and in order to achieve that goal, selecting plants that are native to your local area is highly recommended. Native plants refer to the species of trees, shrubs, flowers, grasses, and any other type of flora that has naturally evolved in your local habitat. In other words, they naturally grew in the region before people started to transport plants from other areas to grow and farm. With the exception of the most extreme climates, such as the Arctic and Antarctic, there are at least a handful of naturally occurring plants, and in the vast majority of the United States, there are numerous species of flora that are native to each particular region.

So, now that you know what native plants are, you might be wondering why you should use them in your landscape. Here’s a look at some of the most notable benefits of planting species of flora that grow on their own in your local area.   

More Resistant to the Local Climate

The most notable benefit of using native plants in your landscaping is that they are more resistant to the local climate than non-native plants. They will be able to withstand the temperatures, humidity, rainfall, and even the wind that your area receives; for example, if you live in an arid climate, using plants that grow naturally in your region will be more drought- and heat-tolerant than plants that are native to tropical regions, and likewise, if you live in a tropical region, tropical species of plants will be better suited to endure high rainfall and humidity levels. When you incorporate native varieties of plants in your landscape, your trees, shrubs, grasses, and flowers will be much more likely to thrive for years to come.

Reduced Risk of Pest Infestations

In addition to being more tolerant to your local weather, native plants are more resistant to the pests that inhabit your region. Aphids, caterpillars, earwigs, ants, snails, slugs, weevils; there are so many different types of insects, arachnids, and other creepy-crawlies that can infest plants. Plants that are native to your region are more resistant to the pests that are native to your region. They have evolved natural defenses that ward off those pests to reduce their risk of attack and increase their chance of survival. Therefore, by selecting native plants for your gardens, it’s less likely that you’ll have to deal with pest infestations.

Less Maintenance

While you’ll need to maintain your landscape to some degree, yards that are filled with native plants require much less maintenance. Since flowers, trees, shrubs, and grasses that grow naturally in your region will be better-suited to the climate and will be more resistant to pest infestations than non-native plants, your landscape will require a lot less maintenance.

Supports the Local Ecosystem

Another major benefit of choosing native plants for your landscaping is that you will be supporting your local ecosystem. They can provide food and shelter for local wildlife, such as birds, bees, butterflies, small mammals, reptiles, and whatever other animals are native to your region, yet those animals won’t infest or damage your plants, but rather, the flora and fauna will have a symbiotic relationship; in other words, native plants and local animals will work together and rely on one another to thrive. For instance, by planting fruit trees that are native to your region, bees, bats, and other vital species of animals and insects will benefit from the shelter and nectar the trees provide, and the trees will benefit, as the fauna will pollinate your trees. Furthermore, native plants will improve the nutrient content of the soil and will reduce the risk of soil erosion. In short, by filling your landscape with native plants, you’ll be supporting your local ecosystem.

Reduced Costs

Landscapes that are filled with native plants are much more cost-effective than those that are filled with non-native plants. Since naturally occurring flora will be more resistant to the climate and pests of your local area, they won’t require as much maintenance and they will be much more likely to thrive and last for years to come. Non-native plants, however, need significantly more maintenance, and even if they are diligently maintained, they may not thrive or even survive. Because native plants are a lot easier to maintain and are much more likely to survive and return year after year, you’ll spend a lot less on your landscaping.

How to Determine Which Plants Are Native to Your Area

So, now that you know all of the benefits that native plants provide, you’re probably wondering how to go about finding out what type of plants grow naturally in your area so that you can start planning your landscape. There are several free plant finder tools online that you can use. Simply type in or select your location and you’ll receive a comprehensive list of trees, shrubs, flowers, grasses, and other native species of plants. You can also simply search “what plants are native to (insert the name of your town)” and you’ll undoubtedly find a long list of websites that detail the flora that is native to your region. Of course, you can also speak with a professional, such as an arborist, a farmer, or a landscaper, and they’ll be more than happy to let you know what types of plants are native to your location.

Summing It Up If you want to create a beautiful, low-maintenance, cost-effective landscape that will not only enhance your curb appeal, but that will improve the ecosystem, choosing native species of plants is highly recommended.