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Native Plants

Native plants are plants that have thrived in your area for years. They also have evolved to suit your region’s animals and its terrain as well—including drought if that happens to be a problem for you. Thus, by planting native plants, you can help save water, because they require less water than many non-natives.  

COMPARISON: The California wild rose, Rosa californica, requires deep watering (3/4 gallon at most of water delivered to the roots) twice a month in summer only. On the other hand, the French rose, Rosa gallica, needs 4 to 5 gallons of water a week, delivered in biweekly waterings. In a month that would add up to 20.25 gallons, compared to just 1.5 gallons for the native R. californica.

When you plant a new garden or add new plants to it, it’s nice to use native plants. In gardens, suit your plantings to the habitats. Placing a water-loving plant in an alpine meadow garden would be a mistake. The definition of native, in this respect, is born in the very soil where it is planted. Use garden tools, common sense, and native plants to create a garden.

As native plants have lived in the region for centuries, they have also coexisted with animals! Namely, native plants’ ability to coevolve with pollinators gives them another great property. Pollinators help a plant live by pollinating it, and in turn the plant gives the pollinators food. Some pollinators include bees, butterflies, moths, and hummingbirds. If you have ever seen a hummingbird hover close to a tube-shaped flower while drinking from it, then you have seen pollinators in action. The hummingbird, while feeding itself, will inevitably get pollen from the flower on its beak, and when it goes to another flower, it will scrape the pollen onto the other flower, pollinating the plant. The tube-shaped flower is an example of coevolution. A flower mainly pollinated by butterflies, for example, would be flat, open, and many-petaled to make a good landing spot. However, hummingbird-pollinated flowers wouldn’t have to create a landing spot for their pollinators, and so they evolve to become a flower shaped for the bird’s long and thin beak. In this way, plants and their pollinators have evolved for centuries, navigating the dance of coevolution.

Looking for native plants can be difficult. However, there are plenty of tools online that help you find native plants based on your location. Here are some links to try: The National Wildlife Federation’s native plant finder, which works by zip code. The plants found also help feed your area’s wildlife If you live in the state of California, like we do, this website will help you find plants native to your area of the state. (Unfortunately, there may not be an equivalent for other areas of the US.) It works by address.

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