Landscaping with Native Plants
plant is one which occurred within this region before colonization by
Europeans. Native plants include:
There are approximately 2,100
native plants in Pennsylvania.
or non-native plant is one that has been brought into the state to become
established in the wild. At the turn of the 21st century, about 1,300 species
of non-native plants existed in Pennsylvania outside of gardens, parks, and
agricultural lands. That is 37 percent of Pennsylvania’s total wild plant
flora. More introduced plants are identified every year.
Native Plants for Landscaping, Restoration Buffers, and Meadow Establishment
The use of native plant species (PDF) offer many
advantages to using non-native species.
Adapted for Local Climate and Conditions: Native plants are adapted to local soils, climate, and conditions and will persist through frost and drought.
Bird Food: Native plants provide seeds, insects and caterpillars.
Pollinators: A planting of native plants will attract native pollinators such as native bees, butterflies, moths, beetles, and hummingbirds.
Low Maintenance: Native plant species require less maintenance such as water and soil amendments. Once the plants are established they will require little else.
Maintaining Native Biodiversity: Native plants experience multiple threats such as habitat conversion, invasion of exotic species, deer herbivory, pollution, and over collecting. By using native plant species you can help to maintain the native biodiversity of Pennsylvania.
Tips for Landscaping
with Native Plants
Minimize habitat destruction. First, conserve
existing native vegetation and plant communities. Minimize habitat disturbance.
Ecological restoration may be necessary, including native plantings, invasive removal,
erosion control, or loosening soil compaction.
Use native plants. Well-chosen
native plants can flourish in public and private landscapes. Avoid rare plants
and choose common native plants. If you must use non-natives, choose plants
that will not escape and become weeds.
about native plants. Learn what
plants are native in your area. There are many field guides to wildflowers
that can get you started.
nursery-propagated native plants. Most retail
nurseries and mail-order catalogs now offer native plants. For a list of
nurseries that sell native plants, visit iConservePA
remove native plants from the wild. Taking native
plants from the wild depletes native populations. Also, many wild-collected
plants do not survive transplanting. Prevent wild-collecting of plants by
making sure that plants you buy are propagated at a nursery.
responsible landscaping techniques. Choose the
right plants for the site: wet or dry, shade or sun, acid or neutral soil. Learn
to identify the local plants to guide plant selection. Plant nurseries,
catalogs, books, or online information can help too. Also limit fertilizer and pest
chemical usage. Never plant invasives.
Check out the
iConservePA website for more information on native plants. These brochures
provide information on native species for site conditions: