The term, native plant, can be defined in many different ways. Native can be used generally to describe a plant that is indigenous to a certain region like the mid-atlantic region or used to specifically describe a plant that is only indigenous to a particular wetland habitat in the northwest region of Connecticut. In general, native, describes a plant that is indigenous to a certain place or region.
A few definitions include:
- A native plant is one that occurs naturally in a particular habitat, ecosystem or region without human introduction. – Natural Resources Conservation Service of Connecticut
- A plant that is a part of the balance of nature that has developed over hundreds or thousands of years in a particular region or ecosystem. –Audubon Connecticut
What are the benefits of native plants?
The use of native plants yields many positive benefits that improve the aesthetic and ecological value of an outdoor space. Deciding to go with native plants instead of non-native plants can even bring about economic benefits and a sense of personal enjoyment out of plant selections that ultimately bring nature to your own yard.
- Beauty of native plants in terms of flowers, foliage, plant form, fall color, fruit, bark, and winter interest
- Appealing look of a wilder, less manicured garden aesthetic that is friendly to pollinator populations and other wildlife
- Native plants can replace similar looking non-native plants for formal gardens
- Restore food and habitat sources for biodiversity of wildlife and environmental health
- Native plants can replace space occupied by invasive plants
- Reduced reliance on synthetic herbicides
- Specific habitat ecotypes can be reestablished for wildlife benefits
- Butterfly friendly habitat
- Bird friendly habitat
- Pollinator and meadow habitat
- Woodland habitat
- Wetland habitat
- Shoreline habitat
- Lower maintenance costs
- Lower water bills through reduced water use, once plants get established
- Reduced mulch purchases through use of groundcovers
- Reduction of herbicides
- Spend less time watering, mulching, and weeding.
- Enjoy time spent indoors due to increase of birds, butterflies and other desired wildlife within your yard and neighborhood.
- Create children’s gardens to teach about nature and growing edible plants.
- Create edible gardens to enjoy such fruit as blueberries, blackberries, cranberries, elderberries, and persimmons.
- Create urban oasis areas for healthier lifestyles.