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A Guide to Gardening with Native Plants: Educate Yourself

By Dean Nernberg

Photo courtesy of Chet Neufeld

There are not many drawbacks to using native plants. The main disadvantages may be availability, if you are looking for pure native stock, or the additional cost for very rare and hard-to-find native species. However, in many cases, native species that are being sold as small first-year plants may be less expensive than larger plants sold at commercial nurseries and greenhouses.

That said, if you consider the use of native plants, it is important to do your homework and seek out information on the varieties that grow naturally in your region and where you can acquire them. Sources include native plant societies, gardening or horticulture clubs, wildlife gardens and local native plant gardening enthusiasts in your area. A quick Internet search should help point you in the right direction; you can also consult with your local nursery or greenhouse for more advice.

Above all, no matter how eager you are to get going, be sure to start small. The key to successful landscaping and gardening is never bite off more than you can chew. Many a novice gardener has invested a lot of time and money tackling a huge area, only to mismanage it, lose control of weeds and quit out of frustration. It is much better to set moderate goals and try to do a really good job in a small area. You can then learn from your successes—and, more importantly, your mistakes—and spread native plants to other areas in subsequent years. It also distributes your time, money and effort (not to mention your joy) over many years.


This is 5 of 5 in A Guide to Gardening with Native Plants

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