Why do we have to use Native Plants?

Aren’t non-native plants that attract pollinators and feed wildlife just as good? Unfortunately, some non-native plants can be more destructive to natural habitats then they are beneficial. The indigenous wildlife co-evolved with the native plants that occur naturally in your ecoregion. For this reason, indigenous species that are selective to native plants cannot live without them, which is why many species are extinct or endangered.

On a more positive note, not all non-native plants are bad! Companion planting with non-native plants can greatly enhance the gardens. Many non-native plants that are drought tolerant adapt well to your ecoregion and can be used for xeriscaping water-wise gardens. Native plants and edibles work together to attract pollinators and beneficial insects so that your vegetable gardens and fruit trees can thrive. What you don’t want is a garden full of ornamentals from areas outside of your ecoregion to introduce new pests and diseases.

You also have to be selective about the plants you buy from plant nurseries. Ornamental plants being sold in nurseries ten or twenty years ago seemed harmless at the time, but now they are taking over forested areas and wetlands. For this reason, I always prefer to design with native plants and then consider adding non-native plants that will enhance the design without being ecologically destructive in the future.