Benefits of Growing Native Plants
At the last meeting of the Patterson Park Civic Association, we announced a plan to install a pollinator garden at Jane Newcom Park. A neighbor asked for more information on growing native plants and plants to attract pollinators. We’re happy to finally be sharing that information here.
Why grow natives?
Native plants support native wildlife, including pollinators. Pollinators include birds, bees, butterflies, and other insects, and their existence is key to our survival – it’s estimated that one-third of our food supply requires pollination. Many pollinators, including hummingbirds and butterflies, are also delightful to see in our yards. Native plants are also adapted to our local environment, meaning they will need less care and maintenance over time than their nonnative counterparts.
Locally, the Marianist Environmental Education Center (MEEC) at Mount Saint John hosts an annual Native Plant Sale. The 2018 sale will be June 23rd, 8am-1pm. MEEC also hosts a “Gardening with Native Plants” workshop (on June 16, 2018) and the Midwest Native Plant Conference in July (which is sold out for 2018). More information on all events, and their catalog of native plants, is available on their website: meec.center
Sometimes native plants, or cultivars of native plants, are also available at local nurseries. Ask a salesperson for more information. Note that cultivars of native plants (some
times called “nativars”), although more visually pleasing to humans or otherwise more appealing to grow in your garden, may be less beneficial to pollinators. We recommend doing some research before buying native cultivars.
Here are some websites for more information on the benefits of native plants and the importance of pollinators:
- plant list: https://www.monarchwatch.org/garden/plant-list-monarchwatch.pdf
Also keep an eye on metroparks.org for local classes and workshops.
And, of course, the Dayton Metro Library has a wealth of books on the subject of native plants and pollinator gardens. Some good ones to start with include Bringing Nature Home by Douglas Tallamy and Grow Native by Lynn Steiner.