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Why Plant Natives?

Updated: Apr 25

More and more, we're hearing that people are adding native plants to their gardens. But what's the benefit to planting natives? So glad you asked!


Native plants support wildlife.

Native plants are the foundation of a wildlife garden. That's because native insects have co-evolved with our native plants and need them to survive. Take the monarch butterfly: while adult monarchs can nectar on a variety of flowers, monarch caterpillars eat nothing but milkweed. Gardens lacking the native plants that invertebrates need to reproduce have far less wildlife, because the insects are crucial: they're the base of the food web that supports all the other wildlife. And the good news is, even adding a few keystone plant species can have a dramatic impact on the biodiversity you're supporting in your yard.


Natives capture storm water runoff.

Lawns are, unfortunately, only slightly better at absorbing water than hard surfaces. With all the lawn and hardscape in our built environment, water flows into our sewer systems and waterways during a storm, rather than soaking into the ground. Native plants transfer water and nutrients much deeper into the soil than a traditional lawn-centric landscape, helping to recapture storm water. Rain gardens are great way to harness these benefits. They capture the water, and actually filter it as it is slowly released back into the ground. So not only are rain garden plants mitigating the volume of water, they're also helping to keep chemicals and fertilizers out of our lakes and streams.


Prairie plants are a carbon sink.

There's a lot of buzz about planting trees, and that's really important for climate change! But did you know that the plants that make up our native midwest prairie ecosystem are also a carbon sink? These plants hold most of their biomass in their roots, so even when they die, 90% of their carbon remains below ground.


Native plants belong here.

When you choose native plants, you're choosing plants that are inherently better-suited to our climate, and that brings many benefits. It means less watering and maintenance. It means greater adaptability to climate change. And beyond that, native plants convey a sense of place that brings our home landscapes beauty, purpose and pride. There is so much pleasure in knowing that these beautiful plants are our home-grown heritage.



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