“Biological diversity is the key to the maintenance of the world as we know it.”
~ E.O. Wilson, Biodiversity
Chances are, if you have a question, other people are wondering about the same thing. So, we developed a list of commonly asked questions and answers. If you don’t find the answers you need, please refer to the Resources section of our web site or contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org
A plant that originated in Missouri and was not introduced. A plant that existed within Missouri state borders prior to the arrival of settlers.
Native plants conserve soil and water and provide the backbone for non-polluting landscapes because they don’t need fertilizers or pesticides. They support a diversity of pollinators and wildlife through improved habitat and reduce long-term maintenance. They are winter-hardy, drought-tolerant and are less prone to destructive insects and diseases.
Matching the right plants to a given set of conditions is the key to successful landscaping with native plants. In some cases, such as a 10-acre reconstructed prairie, you may want to use plants that tend to spread energetically by seed or underground rhizomes. This will help the planting become denser at a quicker rate and lower cost than non-spreading plants. However, in smaller landscape situations, it is important to select plants that don’t spread but grow as distinct individual clumps so they don’t invade space belonging to other plants.
Some sun loving prairie plants become “weedy” when they are grown in soil that is too fertile and rich in organic matter. Rich soil causes prairie grasses and flowers to grow too tall and fall over. For this reason, you generally don’t want to amend the soil before planting sun-loving grasses and forbs. Most native plants that grow in shade, such as ferns and Celandine poppy, do benefit from additions of organic matter to the soil because they are accustomed to rich forest soils.
Native plants have incredible root systems that support the plants in times of drought. Compared with the roots of most non-native plants, warm-season grasses and flowers have a deep, extensive root system that helps absorb moisture and prevent erosion. Many species of prairie plants have roots that extend four to eight feet into the soil, while cool-season non-native grasses, such as Kentucky blue grass and smooth brome extend only a few inches into the soil. Deep roots allow native plants to withstand long periods of dry weather and so they require little or no watering after they are established.
The answer depends on what you call vermin! Native plants attract colorful butterflies and other flying insects, such as bees, that take nectar and pollen from the flowers and are essential for pollination and thus fruit and nut production. The insects attracted to native plants also are essential food for 90 percent of birds for at least a portion of their lives. Many fruit-bearing trees and shrubs attract songbirds and game birds that eat berries and fruit in the summer, fall and winter. Native plants also provide protective cover and nesting sites for a wide variety of wildlife. So yes, native plants do attract a wonderful array of wildlife that adds interest to our lives.
Go to the Resource Guide section of our website for a list of business selling native plants to the public.
Grow Native! doesn’t produce any native plant product or service. Its role is to promote those who DO sell Missouri-grown native seeds, plants and related products and services. However, Grow Native! may, from time to time, sponsor plant sales with plants supplied by Grow Native! Professional members. Go to the Resource Guide for Missouri-grown native seeds and related services for your farm conservation contract or home landscape needs.