The Benefits of Native Plant Species

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What is a native plant?

Native plants are species that naturally grow in a particular region, ecosystem, or habitat without the aid of human action. Native plants were present in their particular region following the most recent glacial period and prior to European contact.

Native plants can be differentiated by ecological regions. The entirety of the Perkiomen Creek Watershed falls under the Eastern Mountains and Piedmont region. 

Why use Pennsylvania Native Plants?

    Ecological Value of native plants:

  1. Contain long, robust root systems allowing them to purify and filter water and to mitigate soil erosion.
  2. Absorb and store carbon dioxide while producing oxygen.
  3. Build healthy soils.
  4. Provide food and vital habitat resources for local wildlife. Native plants and wildlife often depend on each other.
             Song Sparrow nest in a rain garden planted with native species.

            Song Sparrow nest in a rain garden planted with native species.

 Image Credit: Alliance for the Cheaseapeake Bay

Image Credit: Alliance for the Cheaseapeake Bay

Homeowner Value of native plants:              

  1. Adapted to PA climate and drought tolerant allowing homeowners to save water.                                 
  2. Require no mowing and tend not to be invasive allowing for reduced yard maintenance costs.                                    
  3. Developed resistances to local pests and require little to no pesticide use. Natives also tend to prefer less fertilizer.                  
  4. Increase groundwater infiltration which recharges drinking water supplies and mitigates flooding.   
  5. Native plant species thrive in different habitats, allowing homeowners to find plants for the shady & wet and the dry & sunny sections of their yard.                                                             

    Aesthetic Value of Native Plants:

  1. Seasonal blooms; different native species bloom throughout the year.
  2. Hundreds of PA native plants to choose from, each possessing its own unique characteristics. 
  3. Create a sense of place within the landscape, making one feel connected to or "at home" in a specific ecological region.         
    Example: Planting native species in our yards that we see in our favorite natural spaces.
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    Economic Benefits of Native Plants:

  1. Potential source of medicine and food.
  2. Greater survival rates and longevity compared to non-native plant species.
  3. Native plants tend to not be invasive, unlike some non-native plants. PennDOT and other organizations are forced to spend time and money removing invasives from hazardous areas.

Purchasing Native Plants

Perkiomen Watershed Conservancy's Native Plant Sale - retail only - Worcester, PA
Aquascapes Unlimited - wholesale native wetland plants - Pipersville, PA
Behmerwald Nursery - wholesale & retail - Schwenksville, PA
Bowman's Hill Wildflower Preserve - retail only - New Hope, PA
David Brothers Bean Road Nursery - wholesale & retail - Worcester, PA
Edge of the Woods Nursery - wholesale & retail - Orefield, PA
Ernst Conservation Seeds - Meadville, PA
New Moon Nursery - wholesale only - Bridgeton, NJ
Northeast Natives & Perennials - Quakertown, PA
Octoraro Native Plant Nursery - wholesale only - Kirkwood, PA
Red Bud Native Plant Nursery - wholesale & retail - Glen Mills, PA
Russell Gardens - Churchville, PA