As the days grow longer and the temperatures grow warmer, you may be thinking about your how you would like to landscape your garden this growing season. This is the perfect time to consider incorporating native plants into your landscape.
Planting native means selecting plants for your yard that have grown in our region prior to human modification or settlement. Native plants have evolved over the years to survive local weather conditions and do not need extra care once they are established, unlike typical garden-variety annuals. Below you will find a few of the many benefits that planting native can have on your time, wallet, environment and local wildlife.
Most nonnative plants have shallow root systems. Your lawn, for instance has a root system that runs about three inches into the ground, making it too shallow to reach groundwater so it needs consistent watering when there is little or no rainfall. Once established, native plants develop extensive root systems that reach deep into the ground to absorb water so they can survive dry spells without watering and aerate your soils in the process. Gardening with native plants saves you from having to water frequently and can also save you money on water bills.
Compass plant (Silphium laciniatum)
Between work, family and social activities, most of us don’t have that much time to devote to our yards. Because native plants thrive in local conditions, they require less watering and watering in the form of fertilizers, pesticides and pruning. Most native plants are also perennials, meaning they’ll come back each year, saving you time on annual planting. In their first season, native plants require more attention and care, mostly in watering to get established. After that, you get to enjoy years of low-maintenance gardening — a worthwhile investment.
Native plants support a variety of local wildlife as a source of food and habitat. Many flowers provide a nectar source for pollinators such as local bees, butterflies, moths and hummingbirds. The seeds and fruits of certain native plants are an essential food source for songbirds. Some species serve as a host plant for butterflies and moths, acting as a food source for larva.
Go Native in Your Garden!
Once you've mapped out your native landscaping, you can shop in person for native flowers, shrubs and trees at our annual Native Plant Sale May 13 and 14 at Mayslake Peabody Estate in Oak Brook!
Support the Friends of the Forest Preserve District of DuPage County and purchase a ticket for an exclusive in-person Native Plant Pre-Sale May 12.
This year's sale will be in-person only. Details, including a list of plants and info on tickets for the May 12 pre-sale, are available at dupageforest.org/native-plant-sale. Tickets go on sale April 11 at 8 a.m. for the exclusive early-bird shopping event.
Butterfly weed (Asclepias tuberosa)