Why Plant Native Plants?
There are many reasons to plant native plants in your yard or garden. Native birds and other wildlife depend on native plants for food and shelter. They especially need them to provide insects. Native plants often play key roles in insect development, allowing them to lay their eggs, develop, and find mates. Non-native plants generally support fewer insect species.
Native plants are specially adapted to handle local herbivores, and diseases. That means that once they're established, they require far less care than exotic plants do. They rarely need fertilizers, pesticides, or fungicides. Native plants are also adapted to your local climate. They can handle the cold or heat, and the rainy or dry climate of your area. Many are drought tolerant.
Native plants are also beautiful! Planting native plants is a great way to celebrate the natural beauty of your local area.
What Native Plants Should I Plant?
Depending on where you live, there are different plants that are native to your area. There are many online resources out there that can help you find the right plants for you! If you want to provide food for the birds, you can prioritize plants that host insects or produce fruit and seeds. If you're trying to provide shelter for the birds, consider planting plants at various heights- grass, perennials, shrubs, trees.
Audubon's Native Plant Database allows you to search for plants native to your zip code. You can then specify the resources that you want the plants to provide (nectar, fruit, seeds, etc.), what birds you want to attract, or what type of plant you want.
To find plants that host insects, you can use NWF's Native Plant Finder. Type in your zip code and you will get a list of native plants ranked by the number of butterfly and moth species that use them as host plants for their caterpillars.
To find native plants based on the soil, sunlight, and moisture conditions in your yard, you can use Native American Seed's Plant Finder.
To see what habitat you live in, take a look at Seed Source's Plant Regions Map. If you live in a coastal prairie area, you can use Katy Prairie's Build a Pocket Prairie to guide you.
Once you've found the right native species for your area, you can buy seeds from Native American Seed. If you would like to buy seedlings or grown plants, you can research native plant nurseries in your area. If you live near Lake Jackson TX, you can purchase some species from us at GCBO!