A native plant is a plant that is indigenous to a given geographic area in geologic time. Plants that existed on the North American continent before European settlement are North American native plants. This includes plants that occur naturally, or have existed for many years in the prairies, savannas, and woodlands across this country.
Whether you're gardening in a small space or restoring habitat, native plants support life and the practice of soil and water conservation. Even a few natives added to a garden can attract more birds and butterflies.
Native plants are the heart of the true American landscape. Their unique and enduring beauty resonates with our sense of time and place. The variety of colors, textures and shapes is stunning, and their hardiness and adaptability are unsurpassed. And beyond all of this, native plants can help with a host of environmental problems. For eco-friendly gardening, nothing helps soil, water, and ecosystems like native plants.
In a balanced ecosystem, native plants are the foundation of a living community. Native plants, birds and insects have all evolved together to meet each others needs, perfectly. Not simply prefered, many native plants are key requirements in the lifecycle of the myriad species that depend upon them for surivial. Whether used in a garden border, or a landscape restoration effort, native plants:
Rain gardens, erosion control, detention basins, shoreline buffers - these are ways that native plants help solve our environmental problems. Native plants have deep root systems that help protect and build the soil. Their roots systems can mitigate flooding and absorb pollutants in water run off - protecting rivers, streams and lakes from harmful contaminants.
Native plants are drought tolerant to the extent that they are planted where they can thrive without additional resources. To gain the benefits of drought tolerant natives and lower water use, choose plants that will thrive in the soil conditions at your location. The Plant Finder tool can help you select plants by soil type, soil conditions and features. Or, go to Native Plants where you'll find plants arranged by soil types.
Natural landscaping with native plants creates beautiful biodiverse spaces that reduce the need for mowing and eliminate the need for fertilization. Looking for ideas for that acre that you're mowing but not using? One of our seed mixes could be the perfect solution.