Gardening in Harmony With Our Climate
Seven Reasons to Use Native Plants
courtesy of the California Native Plant Society
1. California's True Landscape
Landscape is part of a place's regional identity and natural heritage. Curiously, most man-made landscapes in California are examples of gardens from other parts of the world. California has multiple landscape identities with a tremendous range of vegetation. Early Europeans found California vegetation fascinating and sent samples home to botanical gardens. Native Americans knew and depended on local plants for their livelihood. Display California's beautiful and natural identity in your landscape by using native plants.
2. Low Maintenance
Low maintenance landscaping methods are a natural fit with native plants that are already adapted to the local environment. Look forward to using less water, little to no fertilizer, little to no pesticides, less pruning, and less of your time.
3. Save Water
Local California native plant species survive in nature with only rainfall for irrigation. You can take advantage of low water use species in your garden. Once established, these species need minimal to no irrigation beyond normal rainfall. Saving water saves money and conserves a vital resource.
4. Pesticide Freedom
Native plants have evolved defenses against native pests, and are usually resistant to non-native pests too. When plants are your partners for managing a pest problem, you have greater freedom to decide the amount and type of pesticide to use, if any at all.
5. Support Local Ecology
As development replaces natural habitats, planting gardens, parks, and roadsides with California natives can provide a "bridge" to nearby remaining wildlands. As a further step, get involved in local land use planning processes at the grass roots level. Recommend natives to homeowner associations, neighbors, and civic departments.
6. Invite Birds and Butterflies
Many of the best plants for attracting hummingbirds, butterflies and other beautiful creatures are the native plants they have used for thousands of years. Invite the species you want to see, whether it is birds, dragonflies, honey bees, native bees, beneficial insects, or interesting animals by planting their favorite natives in your landscape.
7. Explore the Variety
Large delicate white Matilija Poppy petals, aromatic Sages, abundant pink flowers on a Western Redbud tree in spring, shredded hanging bark on a Catalina Ironwood - these are only a few examples of the intriguing and beautiful plants found naturally in California. Add a few local species to your existing garden, or go totally native. Your explorations can lead others to discover the diversity of characteristics that natives possess.