Native or indigenous plants might seem like a boring alternative to some of the cultivated stream and wetland plants that are available. However, plants that are indigenous to a particular area are well-suited to that area and will often thrive with low maintenance. For gardeners who are looking for subtle beauty, a natural feel, and less time spent fussing over a pond or a wetland, native plants are ideal.
Native Plants are Subtle and Beautiful
Although all cultivated plants are native somewhere, cultivars are often bred for their looks. This means that cultivated flowers are showy, sometimes at the expense of longevity or hardiness. Think of hybrid tea roses, notorious for their diseases. While native plants may or may not be ostentatious, they are interesting and valuable plants to grow in the garden. They are quirky, like the cattail or quietly beautiful, with simple but lovely flowers.
Native Plants are Low Maintenance, Save Water and Save on Landscaping
While the weather varies every day of every year, native plants are the best adapted to the particular water flow regime in the local area. For those who live in an area that experiences frequent summer droughts, the wetland plants may go dormant in the summer or have strategies to survive with very little moisture. While other plants wither in the heat and require large quantities of water, native plants hunker down and survive.This saves water in the garden, since the gardener does not need to water as often.
Wetland and streamside plants that live in areas where flooding occurs frequently are used to having their roots submerged, even if they are not water plants. Growing native plants saves time on landscaping and saves water too. If the wetland goes dry in the summer, these plants will persevere. Native plants are used to the local conditions and will often thrive where fussy imported cultivars will fail.
Attract Local Birds and Wildlife with Native Plants
Local plants attract local wildlife. Birds, bees, butterflies and all sorts of animals large and small will flock to the garden when native plants grow there. These plants provide nesting materials for local birds, abundant sources of pollen and nectar for bees and butterflies, and food and hiding places for all animals. Native plants are the food sources that these animals love, because they grew up together.
Growing native wetland and aquatic plants can be an adventure, and it is one that an increasing number of people are beginning to take. Growing native plants is an opportunity to explore the beauty and diversity of the local area and get to know familiar plants in a different way.