Plants that occur naturally in a region are called native plants. They have survived on their own because they are well adapted to their surroundings. Exotic plants or nonnative plants are plants that have been introduced to the area from other locations. These plants often need help surviving in their new setting.
Naturescaping is using native plants in the garden and landscape instead of bringing in exotic plants. There are many benefits of this form of gardening.
Native Plants Require Less Maintenance
Native plants have evolved to survive the local environment and need little help from humans to survive, unless faced with unusual, extreme conditions. Once established, they need no watering besides that provided by nature.
The debris of native plants provides nutrients from the soil and do not need to be removed.
Exotic plants often need special adjustments to the soil and supplemented nutrition. Because root systems of plants have evolved for native moisture amounts, additional water is usually required for them to thrive.
Native Plants Survive without Chemicals Pesticides
Native plants are accustomed to live alongside local insects. Some plants rely on the insects for pollination, and some native insects rely on the native plants for food. This natural cohabitation eliminates the need to use harsh chemical pesticides that can contaminate surrounding areas.
Exotic plants often cannot tolerate the local insects and must be aided with the use of pesticides.
Shelter for Beneficial Wildlife
Wildlife depends on native plants for shelter and food. Planting native plants, trees and shrubs in the yard or garden will attract the wildlife, including songbirds, butterflies and beneficial insects. As the natural diet of many of the birds and small animals are harmful insects and other pests, the benefits of natural pest control is a free added bonus to naturescaping.
Native Plants can be Time and Money Savers
Once native plants have been established in the lawn or garden, they take care of themselves. Time spent mowing, watering, trimming and weeding can be used elsewhere. Money spent on weed killers, water, pesticides and many other types of pest control are not needed as the cycle of life plays out in the native garden.
Native Plants are Easy to Find
It's not hard to find native plants to introduce to the lawn and garden. Because they are local, they are readily available in the area. They can often be obtained free from an acquaintance who wants a spontaneous native plant removed from an area that they are planning another use for.