Why do we have to use Native Plants?

Aren’t non-native plants that attract pollinators and feed wildlife just as good? Unfortunately, non-native plants are 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! You have fruit trees, edibles, herbs, and companion plants that work well with native plants. What you don’t want is a garden full of ornamentals from areas outside of your ecoregion to introduce new pests and diseases. It’s always better to keep at least 50% of your garden plants native to your ecoregion.

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.