What’s the Deal With Native Plants?

If you spend a lot of time working on your yard, you’ve probably encountered the push for more native plants. However, it’s not always obvious why some species are considered so much more important than others. 

While being local doesn’t guarantee a plant is perfect for landscaping, it does mean that it’s more likely to survive and thrive in your yard’s conditions. Here’s what you should know about native plant species, what makes them different from other landscaping options, and why they benefit homeowners like you. 

Native vs. Invasive Plants

Ecologists generally group plant species into three categories: native, non-native, and invasive. The differences may seem small, but they’re important. 

  • Native plants are those that evolved for a specific environment. For example, Colorado’s native oak trees have been in the mountains for thousands of years. They are well-suited for the weather and soil conditions because they have adapted to them over many years. 
  • Non-native plants are those that were introduced to an area by humans. Any plant brought to an area by people within the historical record is considered a non-native. Dandelions are a well-known example in the US; they were originally found in Europe and were likely brought to North America on the Mayflower.
  • Invasive plants are specific types of non-natives. They were introduced by humans, on purpose or by accident, and spread aggressively in a way that damages local ecosystems. Knotweed is an example of a damaging invasive in Colorado. 

Species that aren’t local to Colorado aren’t necessarily problems. In fact, many common landscaping plants are non-native. However, because they did not evolve locally, they may struggle to adapt to the high altitudes, droughts, and dramatic temperature changes Denver and surrounding areas experience. Some species can also become invasive, crowding out gardens and ruining yards. 

Benefits of Having Local Plant Species in Your Yard

If you’re planning to update your landscaping, you may want to consider making local plants the centerpiece. They offer a variety of benefits for homeowners, including:

  • Lower care needs: Because natives are built for local conditions, they require less care. No more trimming and mowing and mulching to keep delicate flowers alive!
  • Less watering required: Natives are happy with getting their water from snowmelt and occasional rain because that’s what they’re used to. Installing a localized xeriscape can cut your water bill significantly. 
  • More curb appeal: Many local species are uniquely beautiful, even during droughts. That makes it easier to keep your yard looking nice no matter the weather.
  • Supports local wildlife: Butterflies and birds thrive on local plants, so you’ll get more beautiful visitors to your yard. 

Explore Native Plants for Your Colorado Yard

Adding local plants to your yard can keep it looking beautiful with less effort. If you’re interested in updating your landscape with natives, Hall Landscape Contractors can help. Get in touch today to discuss our xeriscaping and landscaping options for Denver, Englewood, and Aurora homes.

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