WHAT IS A NATIVE PLANT?
A native plant is one that occurs naturally in a particular region, ecosystem, or habitat without direct or indirect human intervention. Native plants include all kinds of plants from mosses and ferns to wildflowers, shrubs, and trees.
ARE NATIVES BETTER FOR YOUR GARDEN?
Many native plants are attractive as ornamentals and adapt easily to garden conditions in the Pacific Northwest including our coastal environments.
Native woodland wildflowers may never give your shady garden the range of color available from ornamentals, but if you like to garden with elegant and underused plants, you will find many wonderful options in the native category. If you want to create a garden that emulates nature, natives are essential.
Naturalized plants are plants that have become established as a part of the flora of an area other than their place of origin. A naturalized plant is not a native plant and will not become one because it was introduced directly or indirectly by human means. A naturalized plant grows well in its adopted locale and is able to reproduce on its own.
INVASIVE AND NOXIOUS PLANTS
When naturalized plants out compete the native plants they are usually called invasive. When an invasive plant creates a serious negative impact on public health, agriculture, recreation, wildlife or property, Oregon declares it a noxious plant (Oregon Administrative Law 603-052-1200). Most noxious weeds are non-native plants that are serious pests causing economic loss and harm the environment. Noxious weeds choke out crops, destroy range and pasture lands, clog waterways, affect human and animal health, and threaten native plant communities.
BENEFITS OF GROWING NATIVE PLANTS
Growing native plants allows us to add the natural beauty of an Oregon landscape to our backyard gardens. Natives also provide a number of benefit:
Take advantage of water conserving plants in your landscape. Once established, many Oregon ad PNW native plants need little irrigation beyond normal rainfall.
INative plants grow in their natural environment with no human attention or intervention. So when we plant them in our garden environments, the natives take less time, effort and attention than commercial ornamentals. They do not want fertilizer, pesticides, and only need to be pruned to fit into a particular garden space.
Native plants have developed their own defenses against many pests and diseases. Since most pesticides kill indiscriminately, beneficial insects get caught up in the fight against pests. Reducing or eliminating pesticide use lets natural pest control take over and keeps garden toxins out of our waterways and watersheds.
Native plants, hummingbirds, butterflies, and other beneficial insects are “made for each other.” Research shows that native wildlife clearly prefers native plants. Natives attractive insect pollinators which will improve fruit set in our gardens. They also feed a variety of birds and wildlife which will help deal with plant eating pests.
Support Local Ecology
Planting gardens and other landscaped areas with Oregon and PNW native plants creates a wonderful bridge to surrounding wild areas. We can all help by getting familiar with Oregon native plants and recommending them to our family, friends, neighbors, and county planners. Contact the Lincoln County Master Gardeners to learn more about native plants and check out some of the native plant resources provided on this site.
7 Tips to Attract Pollinators Using Natives
The Nature Conservancy promotes native plants as a way to help maintain environmental health.
Backyard Gardener Learns First Hand The Wonderful Benefits of Native Planting (video)
Adding Native Plants to Your Sustainable Gardening Practices by Ann Geyer
Part of the Art & Agriculture Exhibit at the Pacific Maritime Museum, Sep 10, 2022.
Native Plant Resources
Native Plant Society of Oregon
King County, WA Native Plant website
Hansen's NW Native Plant Database
Native Plant Sale
Lincoln County Master Gardener Sale
--Third Saturday in May
Native Plant Nurseries
NSPO List of Oregon Native Plant Nurseries
Presentations and Handouts
You Gotta Love Natives Roundtable, Ann Geyer, LCMGA Master Gardener (pdf)
Native Plants for Lincoln County Gardens (pdf)
Natives Recommended for Backyard Gardens (pdf)
Natives for Sandy Soil
Books and Publications
Real Gardens Grow Natives
Stark, Eileen M., 2014, Mountaineers Books, Paperback. 320 pp.
Native Plants in the Coastal Garden
Pettinger, A. and B. Costanzo. 2002. rev. ed. Whitecap Books. 232 pp.
Encyclopedia of Northwest Native Plants for Gardens and Landscapes
Filbert, Marianne, Kathleen Robson, Alice Richter. 2008. Timber Press. 532 pp.
Gardening with Native Plants of the Pacific Northwest, 2nd edition, Arthur R. Kruckeberg, 1996.
Plants of the Pacific Northwest Coast: Washington, Oregon, British Columbia and Alaska. Vancouver, Pojar, Jim and Mackinnon, Andy. Lone Pine Publishing, 1994.
Naturescaping: A Landscape Partnership with Nature, Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife Portland, OR. 2001. 204 pp.
Native Plant Garden Designs
Basic Design Principles
Designs from CA Native Plant Society