Why use native plants in landscaping?

The advantages of wildscaping are many:

The effects of replacing exotic landscaping with natives are dramatic.  For a few years, we have seen an increase in the number of butterflies and 🐦︎ birds in our yard.  I expected that — my wife (with some muscle from me) had been slowly replacing some of our plants with natives.  Nothing radical, but if a non-native died or was doing poorly, we replaced it with a native.  Part of our lawn morphed into a small prairie.  Some plants got moved.  One day, I realized it had been three years since we had put out traps for those big green hard flying Japanese beetle Popillia japonica.   Weird.  I looked around, and saw that we had crossed some threshold, maybe from 30% natives to 50% natives, and we no longer had any issues with the annoying green bug.  Apparently, you don't need perfection to restore some balance to your local ecosystem.  And my wife recalls that during the Drought of 2013, our Wild Area was the only part of our yard that didn't suffer.  Extraordinary!

A society grows great
 when old
[wo/]men plant trees
 whose shade they know
 they shall never sit in.


    ― Greek Proverb.

To plan native landscaping

Some people plan their landscaping to attract local 🐦︎ songbirds and charismatic megafauna, by using native plants that will feed them:

Some people plan their landscaping to enhance ecosystem diversity and complexity.

website of Van Kal Permaculture dot org Both groups may plan out their landscaping using several layers:

website of Washington State living with wildlife
NWF's Trees for Wildlife guide:  Planning, Planting and Caring for Trees (.pdf)
Ten Steps to a Succesful Wildflower Planting
Rain garden (and prairie) site selection, design, 🚧 construction and maintenance (.pdf).

In North America

Mapping tools

Begin with as much biodiversity as you can fit or afford.

    ― Steve Keto.

To plan native landscaping in North America

In North America, to help 🐝︎ pollinators, 🌳︎🐝︎ Trees for Bees recommends planting native big-leaf maple Acer macrophyllum, hardy catalpa Catalpa speciosa, eastern redbud Cercis canadensis, flowering dogwood Cornus florida, tulip tree Liriodendron tulipifera, southern crabapple Malus angustifolia, staghorn sumac Rhus typhina and black willow Salix nigra.

Also in North America, the Pollinator Partnership offers recommendations for Selecting Plants for 🐝︎ Pollinators.

In North America's Midwest, native examples of small trees forming the "middle story" of the woodland plant community include American hornbeam / ironwood Carpinus caroliniana, dogwood genus Cornus, American witch-hazel Hamamelis virginiana and American hophornbeam / ironwood Ostrya virginiana.

In 🇺🇸 USA, Audubon's recommendations of 🐦︎ bird-friendly butterfly-friendly native plants > your zipcode > button Search.

Bloom dates for native perennial beneficial-insect-attracting plants (.pdf page 58).

Wisconsin's Best Native Plants for Attracting 🐦︎ Birds (.pdf).

The Right Native Plants in the Right Landscape Means Fewer Allergies (.pdf).

To buy or trade native plants or seeds

This author recommends you get plants and seeds that are truly native to your region / ecosystem / habitat, and avoid nativar cultivated varietiesNativars generally do not share the same genetics, reproduction nor ecological functions as their parent stock.

For example, if red maple Acer rubrum is native to your region:

When you buy, check the tag!  No single-quotes ' ' nor trademark .   Guidelines and position paper from Wild Ones, with discussion of hardiness zones and ecoregions.   Wild Ones Guidelines for Selecting Native Plants:  The Importance of Local Ecotype (.pdf).   Wild Ones Nativars Position Statement (.pdf).   Nativars: Where do they fit in? (.pdf) with references (.pdf).

Sources of information, plants and seeds:

To buy or trade native plants or seeds in Michigan near Kent County and Grand Rapids

Year-round:  A grower in the Native Plant Guild.

In-person native plant sales of which we are aware (please verify 📅︎ dates with applicable organization!):

Learn more about landscaping with native plants

native gardening terminology
Discover Life Encyclopedia of Life Google Google images USFS Wikipedia