Native plants are plants indigenous to a given location, have developed naturally and existed for many years. In general terms, most define native plants as those that existed prior to European colonization.
There are many reasons to consider using native plants as part of your landscape design. Some reasons benefit you, others benefit the ecosytem in which they exist.
Benefits to the Owner:
Because native plants have developed in the region, they have grown accustomed to the regional conditions. This includes the type of soil found in a particular area as well as the "normal" weather conditions of a region including rainfall amounts and temperatures. They also have built up more resistance to the insects and plant diseases found in a particular region. Once native plants are established in your landscape, they're easier and less costly to maintain, requiring less watering and fertilization. Also, native plants are hardy and therefore you tend to lose less of these plants.
Benefits to the Environment:
Native plants play a vital role in the ecosystem in which they exist by interacting with the overall plant and animal community. In this ecosystem, the plants and animals support one anther. When an area is cleared for new development for example, the ecological balance is thrown off-kilter by removing native plant material that other plants and wildlife depend on for survival. By making a conscious effort to replace some of these plants, we can help restore balance to the system.
At James River Nurseries, we strive to be good stewards of the earth, and utilizing native plants is an easy way for all of us to promote the health of our regional ecosystem!