9 Things You Didn’t Know About Native Plants


Every time I talk with someone about landscaping, I find that there’s a lot of confusion about native plants. What makes a plant “native?” How can you tell if a plant is native? What are the benefits—and surprising downsides—of planting natives in your yard? Today, we’re going to put all those questions to rest by looking at nine things you might not know about native plants. After reading this article, I hope you’ll be inspired to incorporate more natives in your own yard or garden!

What makes a plant “native?”

A native plant is one that has grown in a particular area for many years. Native plants are not invasive, meaning they do not spread out of their natural habitat and take over the ecosystem. Native plants are adapted to local climate, soil conditions and wildlife.

These plants have also been growing in your area for as long as you can remember. You may be getting ready to pull up your lawn and install some beautiful new landscaping at your home or business! Before you start shopping though…

How can I tell if a plant is native?

It can be difficult to know if a plant is native, but here are some ways to find out:

  • Look for the Native Plant Society of California (NPSC) symbol. Many native plants in California have an NPSC symbol on their label or accompanying literature. This symbol indicates that the plant is native to California and has been identified by experts as such. The list of approved plants is available on their website.
  • Look for Latin names and common names of plants you’re interested in buying. Most nurseries will have information about each species they sell that includes its Latin name, common name, distribution range, blooming time and growth habit. If you don’t see this information on a tag or sticker attached to a pot—and even if it seems like something should be there—ask someone at your local nursery before buying! If they don’t know what you mean by “native plant” then chances are good that neither do they carry any truly indigenous species (although there are many other reasons why a nursery might not carry the exact item you want).

Why should I grow native plants?

Native plants are well adapted to the local conditions, climate, soil and pests. They also attract native wildlife and pollinators. If you want to attract birds and butterflies, then native plants are your best bet.

Native plants are easy to care for.

Native plants are well adapted to their environment, so they don’t require much care. Even if you’re the kind of person who doesn’t have time to water your garden or fertilize it on a regular basis, native plants won’t put up a fuss about not getting enough attention. They’re fine with being neglected for weeks at a time—so long as you remember them now and again!

Additionally, in many cases native plants don’t need much pruning (if any). This can be helpful for people with allergies; since there’s no pollen coming from these plants, you won’t have to deal with sneezing fits when working around them.

Native plants are always great choices for wildlife gardening.

Native plants are a great choice for wildlife gardens because they support the local ecosystem, providing food, shelter and nesting sites for native wildlife. The bees, birds and butterflies that visit your native plant garden will stay in your yard instead of going elsewhere, which helps keep them out of trouble with pesticides. Also, many non-native plants can’t compete with their neighbors as well as natives do. So you’ll have more insects around to attract birds or butterflies to your yard (and less pests).

Native plants will “work” in my yard.

Native plants are adapted to your region.

You might be surprised to learn that the same plant can grow in a variety of climates and soil types. This is because native plants have evolved over thousands of years to adapt and thrive in their environment. By contrast, non-native (or exotic) species have not had time to adapt, so they may require more care or resources than natives do. Native plants are also better suited to local pests and pollinators, which means they’ll provide a healthier habitat for wildlife as well!

Native plants fit into any design style.

Native plants fit into any design style.

If you’re a fan of the natural look and feel, native plants can be a great way to add some variety to your garden. Since they are adapted to their local environment, they thrive in harsh conditions and require minimal care. And because there are so many species of native plants available today, there is something for every budget and taste.

Native plants come in every color you can imagine.

Native plants come in every color you can imagine!

If you’re looking for a good red, yellow, purple or blue native plant for your garden, look no further. While some of the most common native plants are green, there are many that have other colors too. And if you don’t see any that match your idea of what a particular shade should look like? You can always make a custom selection by crossing two different species! The possibilities are endless when it comes to choosing which types of flowers will live happily together on your property.

Native plants are inexpensive.

Native plants are inexpensive. “Free” is a word that has many meanings in the world of gardening, but when it comes to native plants, you can fill your entire yard with them for very little money. You can collect seeds from the wild or go on a walk and gather some yourself. They’ll sprout easily and grow even better if you care for them properly (more on that later). You may even be able to find seeds online or through local nurseries if you’re not too far from an area where native species grow naturally.

Native plants have special characteristics that make them good choices for your home garden

Native plants have special characteristics that make them good choices for your home garden. They are adapted to your local climate, which means they can withstand the conditions you face in your area. Native plants have evolved to grow in your local soil, so they don’t require additional fertilizer or pesticides. Their root systems are also more efficient at extracting nutrients from the ground than other species’, which makes native plants less likely to be weakened by pests and diseases (which may also help prevent pest outbreaks). And because natives are indigenous to your region, many have developed natural resistance to pests and diseases that can harm non-native species.

Native plants can be used in any design style—from traditional gardens with formal geometric patterns and symmetrical shapes, to contemporary landscapes featuring natural materials and flowing curves—and their low maintenance requirements make them ideal for city dwellers who don’t have time for extensive gardening care!


So there you have it—nine things you might not know about native plants. Not only are they beautiful, but they’re also good for the environment and easy to care for. Native plants can also help you save money, and they fit into most design styles. It’s no wonder that gardeners love them so much!

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