Benefits of Native Species

Caterpillar

Benefits of Native Species


Aren’t native plants just weeds? No! We get this question a lot. A “weed” is a term defined by humans, and typically means an unwanted plant or a plant out of place. Just because a plant looks tall and scraggly does not mean it is a weed. Most of the weeds in northern Wisconsin were brought from Europe and Asia, and once here, they spread and become invasive. They take over space where native plants grow, and they have little value for use by wildlife.

Be an emissary for native plants by planting them in your yard in an attractive way and maintaining them so they don’t look unkempt.

Root diagram

Benefits of Native Plants


Native plants provide many benefits to your garden.
  • Provide habitat for native birds, butterflies and other wildlife. We recommend using ONLY native plants. Varieties or cultivars of native plants will not only be less hardy than true natives, they also do not provide the same value for food and shelter for wildlife
  • Adapted to the harsh conditions within a rain garden: cold winters, wet springs, dry summers, and early frost
  • Cost less to maintain over time (if the garden is planted properly)
  • Tend to need fewer pesticides, herbicides and fertilizers
  • Require less watering/mulching than garden cultivars
  • Prevent erosion with their extensive roots (see picture at left)
  • Standing dead stalks provide seeds and winter cover for birds
  • As native plants become rare on the landscape, a rain garden is a great way to help these plants survive
  • Monarch caterpillars require milkweeds leaves for food, so planting milkweeds will encourage monarch butterfly production in your neighborhood