Over the past few decades, urbanization has transformed natural land into fragmented hardscapes spotted with harmful lawns and ornamental plants. Our obsession with highly-manicured spaces has destroyed vital natural systems. Fortunately, there is a solution: native plants. Native plants are those that have evolved naturally in a particular region. Life is dependent on these native species: from bugs to humans. Here are 5 reasons to ditch the ornamentals and grow native plants.
Native plants aren’t just “weeds” - they offer beautiful flowers and vibrant colors that easily match the aesthetics of popular ornamentals.
Once established, native plants require much less maintenance than non-natives because they have evolved to naturally survive in the region. This makes them a cost-effective alternative to plants that require expensive labor and regular watering.
3. Human Health
Because native plants naturally grow in their own region, they don’t demand the copious amounts of harmful pesticides and synthetic fertilizers that would be necessary to maintain a lawn or ornamental garden.
Not only do native plants provide valuable habitat and food for wildlife, they also provide unmatched ecosystem support. For example, the butterflies that live in your neighborhood can only survive when caterpillars have access to native plants – plants that they have specially evolved to eat over many centuries. In turn, songbirds rely on the caterpillar population to feed their babies. Native plants are not just a great support for the ecosystem, but they will attract the beneficial insects and wildlife that we love to see.
From sweet cherries and grapes to savory roots, native plants are an easy way to grow your own food – for survival, or just for fun! Native plants have many other uses too. Grow your own tea, whicker, or even birdseed.
If you live in the Philadelphia area, check out LandHealth Institute’s innovative Native Plant Nursery - Philaflora.