Top 10 native plants for your garden
by Peter Speckner, Communications Coordinator
Everyone wants beautiful green spaces around their home. It adds character. It also provides a natural area for people and animals to enjoy.
It can also be a challenge when the plants you want to grow just won’t cooperate. One way to increase your odds of success is to use local or native plant species.
The advantages of native plant species
Native or local plants belong here. They have adapted to our climate, our weather patterns, and the local flora and fauna. They are also drought tolerant and an excellent choice for rain gardens.
Top 10 native plants
At a recent event, we had Jeff Thompson of Native Plant Source share his top 10 native plants for gardeners in Waterloo Region.
|Common Name||Scientific Name||Colour||Bloom||Height (m)|
|Butterfly Milkweed||Asclepias tuberosa||Orange||July||0.5|
|Sky Blue Aster||Aster azureus||Blue||September/October||0.5|
|Pale Purple Coneflower||Echinacea pallid||Purple||July||0.5|
|Smooth Beard Tongue||Penstemon digitalis||White||May||0.25|
|Little Bluestem||Schizachyrium scoparium||Blue||September/October||0.25|
|Common Blue-Eyed Grass||Sisyrinchium montanum||Blue||June||0.10|
|Prairie Dock||Silphium terebinthinaceum||Yellow||August||3.0|
|Indian Grass||Sorgastrum nutans||Chestnut||September/October||2.0|
|Culvers Root||Veronicastrum virginiucum||White||August/September||2.0|
|Golden Alexanders||Zizia aurea||Yellow||May||0.5|
Here are four more reasons to garden with native plants: (by Peter Scholtens, Verbinnen’s Nursery):
- Native plants support the needs of local wildlife.
- Native plants require less care than non-native.
- Some wildlife are completely dependant on specific native plants for survival.
- Native plants in gardens act as a source for seeds and keep local natural areas populated with native plants.
There are numerous benefits to using native plants, not the least of which is the environment in general. So enjoy the plants mother nature gave us for our area. They were literally built to thrive here.
What are your sources for native plants?
While it may be tempting to bring back some native wildflowers from a hike, a campground or along a country road, that breaks the cardinal rule of “take nothing but pictures, leave nothing but footprints.” Fortunately, it is pretty easy to buy native plants and seeds.
Here’s a good list of native plant sources in Ontario from Credit Valley Conservation (PDF). You may also want to try the Evergreen Garden Market in east Toronto.
Do you have any of your own recommendations? Please leave them in the comments section below.