March 26, 2022

What’s so great about native plants?

Native plants are those that occur naturally in a region in which they evolved. They are the ecological basis upon which life depends! Without native plants and the insects that co-evolved with them, local birds, reptiles and mammals cannot survive.

 

Image via Living Links 

 

Here are 4 great reasons to plant the native species of plants in your revegetation projects, your garden and your nature strip.

Native plants don’t need fertilisers nor pesticides.

Vast amounts of fertilisers and pesticides are often applied to support exotic plants, especially lawns. However, the excess phosphorus and nitrogen, (the main ingredients in fertilisers), will run off into waterways and can cause excess algae growth. These algae reduce the oxygen content in our waters and are harmful to aquatic life.

Fertilisers and pesticides are generally not needed for native plants. By opting for a native garden, you’re contributing to creating a healthier environment for you and your community.

Native plants help you use less water and protect soil structure. 

The modern lawn requires significant amounts of water to thrive. In urban areas, lawn irrigation can as much as 25% of your water consumption. The deep root systems of many Australian native plants increase the soil’s capacity to store water. Native plants can significantly reduce water runoff and, consequently, flooding.

 

Image via Gaia College. Please note, native plants shown are North American.

 

Native plants help you keep the air around you cleaner.

Natural landscapes do not require mowing or indeed very much maintenance. Lawns, however, must be mowed regularly. Large areas need ride-on mowers or tractors to cut the grass. All these machines create air pollution.

Native plants provide shelter and food for wildlife and support pollinators.

Native plants attract a variety of birds, butterflies, and other wildlife by providing diverse habitats and food sources. Mowed lawns, on the other hand, are of little use to most wildlife!

Protecting areas of remnant native vegetation is essential in preserving biodiversity. Good biodiversity creates healthy ecosystems that clean the water, purify the air, maintain healthy soil, regulate the climate and provide us with food and resources.

 

Image via Australian Geographic. Blue-banded bee.

 

Feeling inspired to create or extend your own native garden? Contact your local nursery to see what they suggest you should plant in your area. Plus, your local Landcare group is a great resource too. You can find them here. https://www.landcarevic.org.au/

 

Writer- Colleen Filippa. Founder & Director of Fifteen Trees.

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