Because our greenhouse and growing technologies have become so advanced, it’s not unreasonable to plant growies biologically out of season or in an entirely different climate and have them do well. But even though you can plant just about anything you like, plants that are native to your area still have an advantage over plants that aren’t, and they’re likelier to stay healthy and happy. There are plenty of good reasons to plant native!
For one thing, native plants can help you conserve water because they don’t need much more than what is already in the land. If you live in an area like California or the American southwest, conserving water is of especial importance. This means that most native plants are more low-maintenance than imported species. Native plants will be happy with the land you give them because it’s what they expect.
Additionally, native plants already know how to defend themselves against pests and problems common to the area, so you don’t need to spend extra money to keep the plants healthy or buy replacements.
Native plants can even contribute to the quality of public health. Because gardens of non-native plants are often sprayed with copious amounts of pesticides, those gardens do represent some health hazards. But by planting native plants, you can greatly reduce the risk of getting chemicals into the ground and water supply.
And if you plant native, you’re more likely to get local birds coming to check out your garden. Your garden will promote a healthy relationship between native flora and fauna, and that’s a good thing for the sustainability of the environment.
If you don’t know what kinds of plants are native to your area, that’s okay. It’s very easy to find out with a quick Google search! PlantNative has a state-by-state database of which plants are native to which part of the country. Here in New York, pretty plants like red maples, black cherries, wild columbine, wild ginger, and yellow trout lilies are found, but check your state to see what kinds of plants you should be getting. The site also has a directory of nurseries that will help you find native plants in your area.