Why Plant Native Plants?

Flowering Red Current – Ribes sanguineum

Native plants are plants that evolved in a certain area, evolved with the animals of the area, the seasons, and the climate of the area. Here in the northern hemisphere, (as well, the southern hemisphere) we have seasons, with shorter colder days of winters, longer warmer days of summer, and spring and fall with more equal length days. The plants here have evolved to survive in these conditions and climate. Around the equator, the days are of more equal length, and remain relatively the same temperature through out the year. For the most part, the plants that grow closer to the equator could not survive the seasons and climate of the northern or southern hemispheres and vice versa , the plants that grow here would not do well there.

Painted Lady Butterfly

The native animals here need the native plants for their food and shelter. The Painted Lady Butterfly uses the Pearly-Everlasting (Anaphalis margaritacea) plant as one of its host plants to lay its eggs on, and the larvae use it as food, and then creates their cocoons on it before they transform into their butterfly stage.

Painted Lady Butterfly – caterpillar

So native plants help support the local fauna (animals) and are generally lower maintenance because they are adapted to the climate here. Many ornamental plants you find at nurseries have been bred for fancier flowers or pretty foliage which makes our gardens look nice and inviting to us, but not so inviting for our native fauna looking for their host plants, favourite food and shelter plants. This is something to consider when trying to combat pest insects in your garden because a lot of them are generalist pests like aphids. They are amazing survivors, as they can can lay eggs, give birth to live offspring, and when food resources get scarce, they can produce offspring with wings to move on to new plants and areas. If we don’t create habitat for the predator insects that feed on the pest insects, we can have quite a problem on our hands. Pesticides may solve the problem for the moment, but you are putting poisons into the environment, and you have not solve the problem and will have to use pesticides again and again. They are not the solution. By creating habitat in your garden, you are creating balance within your garden. You will never eliminate pests, but by creating habitat for the predators of the pests, the pests can be controlled.

Comments are closed.