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Landscaping With Native Plants To Help The Earth

Landscaping with native plants is important for the health of our environment, and it means you choose to support your local ecosystem by using native plants instead of non-native or invasive species that cause harm.

butterfly on lavender flowers

A native plant is a plant that has developed over hundreds or thousands of years in a particular region or ecosystem. Plants found in a region before European settlement are considered to be native to that area. Basically, it means they grew there on their own before any humans came along and moved, planted, seeded, or cultivated new plantlife.

Why is it so important and beneficial to use native plants in your gardening? First, native plants play an important role in local ecosystems. They provide food, shelter, and nectar sources for local insects and wildlife. They can also help purify the air and prevent soil erosion. They provide both habitat and food sources to native wildlife, and they play an important role in pollination.

Why Is Landscaping With Native Plants Important?

There are many reasons to landscape with native plants:

  • native plants are adapted to the local climate and soil conditions
  • they will require less maintenance and will generally grow and perform well because this is where they occur naturally
  • they also don’t require fertilizers and require fewer pesticides and watering than traditional lawns
  • you’ll save time and money, and it’s better for the environment
  • native plants can also help prevent soil erosion and they help cleanse the air

Let’s look at some of the best native plants for gardens and landscaping in each of the 50 states.

Native Plants By State

Each state in the United States has many things that make it unique and help it stand out from other states. As garden lovers, what we appreciate most about each state is the plethora of beautiful native plants found there.

With so many benefits to using native plants in your garden or landscape, you'll want to check our list of natives for your state, and don't forget to share with your friends!

How Do You Choose Native Plants For Landscaping?

When choosing native plants for your landscaping, it’s important to learn as much as you can about your area, your Hardiness Zone, and what does well in your soil conditions.

Also, learn about where and how sunlight reaches certain spots of your landscape so you can choose the best plants for those areas accordingly.

It’s equally important to think about which plants you will group together. It’s really a whole process that involves mapping out the entire project first before digging and planting anything.

How Do I Replace My Lawn With Native Plants?

When removing your turf and prepping the soil for native plants, it’s important to remember you’re not just pulling out the grass. You’re also restoring the soil and its layers at your site.

This means understanding the difference between mineral soil and organic soil. Mineral soil has a low organic component. It’s often just called dirt, and it usually is very hard when dry. However, organic soil is comprised largely of decomposing organic material (like tree leaves and pine needles). It is usually soft and moisture-absorbent.

You’ll need to dig up your grass as a first step, but before planting natives, you want to restore the organic soil as much as possible so the new native plants can take root and survive.

How Do You Prepare The Soil For Natives?

Preparing your site and your soil for native plants could be a long process. It all depends on the current conditions of the soil and what plants pre-existed there. You can use a weed suppressor and organic soil layer builder to help speed your process.

Many people find leaf mulch to be very helpful. In some cases, smothering your grass may be a better option than digging it up. Digging up grass leaves the bare soil which can make it easier for weeds to take root. Whereas, smothering the grass kills it off and also gives you an organic base for your soil.

Landscaping with native plant.
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Lisa Clark is a freelance writer who grew up on farmland, then moved to the city, and has now retired back to her rural roots. She's having fun teaching her kids about gardening, planting flowers, and collecting houseplants.

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