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5/9/2019 Native Plants - Green Building Alliance

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HOME › RESOURCES › GREEN BUILDING METHODS › NATIVE PLANTS

Native Plants
Native plants are those that occur in a particular region or habitat without human intervention.
Generally, plants that were present in the United States before Europeans arrived are considered
native.

Non-native and exotic species of plants, which have been introduced directly or indirectly by
humans, often require extensive care in the form of water, fertilizer, pesticides, and other
maintenance. Invasive plants are typically non-native species that grow and spread aggressively
to the point of displacing other plants. They are hard to control and may even dominate whole
areas, disrupting ecosystems and diminishing biodiversity. Native plants, on the other hand, are
an integral part of local ecosystems and flourish in their specific conditions without soil
modifications, chemicals, or excessive water. Finally, adapted plants are non-native, but are able
to thrive under a certain region’s temperature, soil, and rainfall conditions without becoming
invasive.

Native and non-native plants alike (and, yes, even invasives) offer benefits such as shading, air
filtration, and aesthetics, but native and adapted plants are most likely to do well while also
Coral Bells (flickr: ljguitar) simultaneously enhancing ecosystem stability, providing habitat, and requiring minimal attention.

Over 2,100 plant species are native to Pennsylvania! Many native grasses, ferns, shrubs, trees,
and wildflowers are listed in this Native Plant Database (filter results for Pennsylvania). For some excellent examples of how native
plants can be beautifully incorporated into a variety of landscapes, check out Andropogon or Viridian Landscape Studio.

Cost and Care

Native plants are no more expensive than any other plants. Surprisingly, some native plants and invasive plants look very similar,
so it may be possible to replace a particularly attractive invasive species with a native alternative. Use this guide for help identifying
which is which.

Besides requiring less maintenance than other species, many native plants attract
birds, hummingbirds, and beneficial insects. They can play a part in xeriscaping,
a method of landscaping designed to eliminate the need for irrigation, as well as
rainwater management.

In addition to installing native plants, keep watch for invasive species. Since they
are so hard to remove once established, the best strategy is prevention.

Advantages
Avoid problems related to invasive species
Protect natural biodiversity
Reduced chemical and water use

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5/9/2019 Native Plants - Green Building Alliance

Links Bee on Mountain Mint (flickr: jbaker5)

PA Department of Conservation & Natural Resources Invasive Plants List


Native Plant Gardening Resources
Native Plant Nurseries

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