The Growers Exchange, which sells herb plants (at a discount to HSA members), has added new, flowering North American Natives to its retail selection because they make healthy and colorful companions to herbs.
A native is defined as a plant that occurs naturally in a particular region, ecosystem, or habitat without direct or indirect human intervention. In the United States that would be prior to European settlement.
Brisco White, co-owner of The Grower’s Exchange in Virginia, offers these reasons to grow native plants:
- Native plantsare adapted to the local climate and soil conditions where they naturally occur. These important plant species provide nectar, pollen, and seeds that serve as food for native butterflies, insects, birds and other animals. Nonnative plants are less likely to provide hearty food sources for pollinators and native wildlife.
- Native plants are easier. In a garden environment, native plants do best with some attention and care, but require less water, fertilizer, pruning, little or no pesticide, and less of your time to maintain than do many common garden plants.
- Native plants require less waterand they can also help with erosion control – their deep root systems increase the soil’s ability to store water. So, these plants can reduce water runoff. Once established, many native plants need minimal irrigation beyond normal rainfall. Saving water conserves a vital, limited resource and saves money, too.
- Native plants have developed their own defenses against many pests and diseases. Since most pesticides kill indiscriminately, beneficial insects become secondary targets in the fight against pests. Reducing or eliminating pesticide use lets natural pest control take over and keeps garden toxins out of our creeks and watersheds.
- Native plants, hummingbirds, butterflies, and other beneficial insects are “made for each other.” Research shows that native wildlife clearly prefers native plants. Native plants provide shelter and food for wildlife. Native plants promote biodiversity and stewardship of our natural heritage.
To add native plants to your garden check out The Grower’s Exchange Fall 2016 crop of Native & Nativar Plants. Members of The Herb Society of America receive a 15 percent discount on their purchases. (Nativars are a cultivar of a native species.) Learn more about becoming an HSA member.