How to Start Gardening with Native Plants

How to Start Gardening with Native Plants

Some people find that they are attracted to the idea of gardening with native plants, but they just do not know where to begin. It seems like a big issue, with lots of unfamiliar plant names and difficult questions about what is truly native to a particular area. It is important to remember that native plant gardening does not have to be an all-or-nothing issue. You don’t have to dig up your rose collection if you don’t want to. No-one is expecting you to pull up your whole lawn and cover the area with a prairie — at least not the first day.

Redbud (Cercis canadensis) in Spring
Photo: John Oyston

The best way to start is very small – maybe even with a single plant! If you are looking for something to put in a shady spot, consider a native fern or sedge rather than a hosta. If you want something cheap and cheerful for the cottage garden sprinkle in locally-obtained Black-eyed Susan seeds. If you want something tall and unusual at the back of a sunny border, plant a native tall grass like Indian Grass or Big Bluestem. If you need a beautiful small tree for a city garden in the northeast, you cannot do better than plant a Redbud or Pagoda Dogwood.

It is possible that eventually you will realise that native plants grow enthusiastically with little maintenance and less watering, and that as the years go by you will want to replace exotic species with more native plants. As you learn more, you will find that there are native plants for almost every spot in your garden. Use our plant catalogue to see what native plants you could fit into your plans for your garden. Look through our Photo Gallery or our Native Plants to Know archive for inspiration

Happy Gardening