Updated: Feb 3, 2019
Purchasing and planting in a native plant for your garden might feel like a modest act, but the positive effects are numerous. A native plant provides many ecosystem services just by their mere presence in your garden.
Ecosystem services are benefits that we gain - for free! - from the natural environment and properly-functioning ecosystems.
For example, the roots of native plants penetrate deep into the soil profile, holding your garden’s soil in place and preventing erosion. Deep roots means these plants can help reduce the speed in which water flows over the soil’s surface, in turn reducing negative effects of heavy rainfall and flooding.
A second ecosystem service is natural pollination of flowering plants by insects, birds, and wind. Flowering plants make up most of the foods we eat. Without pollination we wouldn’t have berries, apples, squash, or tomatoes just to name a few you can grow in your backyard. It’s easy to promote pollination in your garden - plant flowers that attract beneficial insects.
A few of our favorite native plants to attract beneficial insects are:
Clethra alnifolia - Summer Sweet (above)