Incorporate Native Plants into Your Landscape

Incorporating native plants into your landscape can be a simple and effective way to attract pollinators and wildlife to your yard. While you can choose to plant only natives, you can also choose to have a mix of native and non-native plants. It doesn’t have to be all or nothing. Below are a few reasons to incorporate native plants into your landscape.

Adding native wildflowers, grasses, trees, and shrubs to you landscape can help attract pollinators and wildlife. Photo credit: Peter Blanchard, cc-by-sa 2.0

5 Reasons to Incorporate Native Plants into Your Landscape

  1. Native plants are natural food sources for our native pollinators and wildlife. Whether it is nectar for the pollinators, forage for caterpillars, or seeds / fruit for songbirds, native plants are the ones that our pollinators and wildlife have evolved to eat.
  2. Some common exotic plants, like butterfly bush, may provide nectar for pollinators, but may not provide anything for the caterpillars. Including native plants in your garden can help provide natural food sources for both the adults and the babies.
  3. Native plants are adapted to our crazy weather. Non-native plants often need more water during the summer or more protection from late or early winter weather than native plants.
  4. Research shows that access to a wide diversity of plants can be important for pollinator health. Incorporating native plants into your yard can be an easy way to increase the local plant diversity.
  5. Native plants grow naturally in local soils and thus may grow in places where other non-native plants may not.

Bonus reason: While some native plants may become aggressive or weedy, they aren’t going to become invasive and cause larger ecological damage because all their natural predators and diseases are here. A very small percentage of exotic plants (less than half a percent of those found in the horticulture trade) are known to be invasive. This very small percentage of plants causes millions of dollars of economic and ecological damage each year. You don’t have to worry about unintentionally contributing to these problems if you plant things native to your state.

This article was part of Shannon’s original Kentucky Pollinators and Backyard Wildlife blog which evolved into the blog for Backyard Ecology.

Backyard Ecology: Exploring Nature in Your Backyard
Nature isn’t just “out there.” It’s all around us, including right outside our doors. Hi, my name is Shannon Trimboli, and I am the host of Backyard Ecology. I live in southcentral Kentucky and am a wildlife biologist, educator, author, beekeeper, and owner of a nursery specializing in plants for pollinators and wildlife conservation. I invite you to join me as we ignite our curiosity and natural wonder, explore our yards and communities, and improve our local pollinator and wildlife habitat. Learn more or subscribe to my email list at

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