The heat and humidity we experience every summer can be intense – for us, our clients and the landscapes we nurture. But do you want an insiders tip on how to create a healthy landscape that can easily withstand Georgia’s summers? The answer: landscape with plants native to this region.
The benefits of using native plants within your landscape range from pretty to practical. “Native plants” are defined as any plant which has evolved naturally in the local area over generations – in some cases, even thousands of years. Because these plants are so well adapted for their environment, native plants require lower maintenance, which is a very practical benefit of integrating indigenous plants into your landscape. And because healthy plants are pretty plants, homeowners can enjoy the beauty of native plants all year.
The Beauty of Landscaping with Native Plants
A well-planned landscape includes native plants that bloom during different times of the year, never having a dull moment as focal points shift from place to place. As any homeowner knows, healthy plants provide showier blooms, more vibrant foliage and help make landscape designs flourish. Because native plants naturally thrive in our specific environment, the plants are healthier than those non-indigenous to the area.
Native plants can also add a beautiful element to your landscape in the form of colorful winged creatures. Indigenous plants create a welcoming habitat for colorful local wildlife by providing welcoming shelter and food sources for local birds and butterflies. By supporting your local ecosystem with native plants, you are also helping local pollinators, promoting biodiversity and becoming a steward of our regional heritage.
The Practical Benefits of Native Plants
Want plants that will save time and money? Native plants are the answer. Less water, fewer pesticides and soil amendments mean native plants are not only pretty, but extremely practical. Native plants that thrive in this region have adapted to our local environment over generations, including the clay soil and hot summers other plants can’t tolerate. Therefore, not only do native plants need less watering, but are also less vulnerable to the local insect population.
If you’re interested in adding native plants to your landscape, here’s a handy list to get started:
Shrubs: a variety of hydrangeas, including smooth and oak leaf, a variety of azaleas, including the popular piedmont azalea, and the wax myrtle
Trees: A variety of magnolia trees, including Sweetbay, Umbrella and Southern magnolias; Redbud trees; American Holly and White Oak
Perennials: Birdfoot Violet, Trilliums, Smooth Phlox, Jack in the Pulpit, Cardinal Flowers, Dwarf Iris and the Georgia Aster (surprise!)
Ferns: Royal Fern, Cynnamon Fern, Christmas Fern
Ground Cover: Bloodroot, Mouse-ear coreopsis
Additional information on native plants can be found on the Georgia Native Plant Society’s web site.