What is a Native and Why Buy Native Plants for your Landscape?
Landscaping with Native Plants A native plant is one which occurred within this region before settlement by Europeans. Native plants include ferns and club mosses; grasses, sedges and rushes; perennial and annual wildflowers; and the woody trees, shrubs, and vines which covered “Penn’s Woods” when the first settlers arrived. There are 2,100 native plant species known in Pennsylvania. An introduced or non-native plant is one that has been brought into the state and escaped cultivation to become established in the wild. At the turn of the 21st century, about 1,300 species of nonnative plants existed in Pennsylvania outside of gardens, parks and agricultural lands. That is 37 percent of Pennsylvania’s total wild plant flora. More introduced plants are identified every year.
iConserve Pennsylvania, Plant Smart Not everyone has a green thumb or the ability to know how to plant that will save them time, energy, resources, plus do good things for the environment. What we plant, how we plant and where we plant can affect our wildlife, energy usage, carbon footprint and more. In order to make wise planting decisions, it’s important to have the right tools, and we don’t just mean shovels and rakes! Become familiar with the benefits of native plants and trees and how they can help you and the environment. Natives not only look great, they require less care and provide more benefits to wildlife. They also can help keep invasive species at bay. Use our native plant database to identify some of the best natives to use to fit your needs. Our garden templates will inspire you to create an inviting and Earth-friendly landscape.
Native Plant Finder When it comes to attracting beautiful butterflies and birds to your yard or community, the best thing you can do is use native plants. By planting natives, you restore the health and function of your local ecosystem. This website will help you find the best native plants specifically for your area that attract butterflies and moths and the birds that feed on their caterpillars, based on the scientific research of Dr. Douglas Tallamy. Did you know that a native oak tree can support the caterpillars over 500 species of butterflies and moths? Those caterpillars are a critical food source for over 96 percent of the songbirds. For example, a pair of Carolina chickadees requires between 6,000 and 9,000 caterpillars to successfully raise just one brood of young. That’s the power and importance of planting native plants when it comes to supporting wildlife. This tool focuses on butterflies and birds, but many other wildlife species also benefit when you plant natives. No other online resource offers zip code specific lists of native plants ranked by the number of butterflies and moths that use them as caterpillar host plants.
Ann Vayansky has spent many years teaching about and planting native gardens in northern Pennsylvania. She strongly advocates planting landscapes with natives to create habitats that strengthen our native wildlife populations, especially native pollinators.