In case you’re not familiar with native plants, those are any flora that occurs naturally in a particular region without direct or indirect human intervention. When William Penn settled here way back in the 1600s, almost 90 percent of the state was covered in forest, lush plants and abundant wildlife. Today, Penn’s Woods, aka Pennsylvania, is losing many of those native plants that once defined our great state. But with a little human intervention, homeowners can bring back and benefit from the use of native plants. Here’s your guide to bringing native Pennsylvania plants to your outdoor space.
Why Go Native?
Native Pennsylvania plants not only create beautiful landscapes they can also attract and support regional wildlife. There is a strong connection between native plants and the insect, bird and animal populations. Incorporating native plants in your landscape will encourage native birds, butterflies and other beneficial insects to visit and deter unwanted non-native species.
Fun Fact! An oak tree can support over 500 species of moths and butterflies, while a Bradford Pear, a common non-native tree, supports fewer than 100.
Native plants are also important to protecting natural watersheds and most importantly because they are meant to grow here, they thrive with less maintenance. That reduces the need to water and fertilize as frequently. Native plants are also often less susceptible to challenging conditions than non-native plants.
What Plants Should You Plant?
That all depends on your outdoor space. Some examples of native plants for a sunny dry space include the Eastern White Pine, Sassafras, Mountain Laurel, Sundrops and the Black-eyed Susan. Options for a shadier space include Sugar Maple, Witch-hazel, Arrow-wood, and Black Cohosh. And if your space tends to be moist you can consider Bee-Balm, White Oak, Black Chokeberry and Indian Grass.
When landscaping with native plants, it is important to learn more about them. There are a variety of guides available online that are helpful when selecting and planting native plants. Just remember, native plants should never be removed and replanted from the wild as this can deplete native populations and may prevent the plant’s survival. The successful use of native plants requires the practice of experienced and responsible landscaping techniques.
Whether in small plots, home gardens, or your entire landscape, going native can be beneficial for the homeowner and environment alike. Just remember, the right plant must be matched with the right spot. There are a huge variety of native plants to grow in every type of setting, dry, hot hills, wet swales, or shade under your existing oak tree. With so many options (almost 2,100 plants) why wouldn’t you add them to your landscape? PA Landscape Group is ready to help support your commitment to going native. Our design services can help you plan the perfect outdoor space that includes beauty and the benefits of native Pennsylvania plants.