After what has seemed like a never-ending winter, it’s finally time to start thinking about spring. As you go through your spring cleaning checklist and take on those long-overdue DIY projects, why not show a little local love to the outside of your home? Here are four reasons to plant local for the easiest and most beneficial way to bring some springtime curb appeal to your home.
1. They’re Low Maintenance
Exotic plants require exotic conditions, but native plants have grown naturally in your community for years for a reason: They have adapted to the environment over time. By choosing native plants, you can know that the conditions in your community are suitable for the plants in your garden. In turn, that means less work for you in the garden and more time to enjoy the spring weather elsewhere.
2. They Need Fewer Chemicals
Because they are already adapted to the local environment, native plants don’t need fertilizers, pesticides and herbicides. These chemicals are used to help exotic plants grow in foreign soil, but they can harm the local wildlife and your pets. Native plants can survive without these chemicals, making them much safer alternatives for your community and your family.
3. They’re Good for the Environment
Native plants are a natural part of any local ecosystem. The other plants and wildlife in each ecosystem have come to count on native plants to maintain balance and biodiversity. Exotic plants can actually have the opposite effect – invading ecosystems and harming other plants and wildlife. To make your garden naturally beautiful and sustainable, choose native plants that will work well with their surroundings.
4. They’re Locally Grown
You’ll find the best, longest-lasting native plants at locally owned garden centers in your community. These independent retailers grow the plants in the community, where the conditions are most suitable. Big box retailers grow their plants in non-native environments, then transport them across the country before selling them in your community. This weakens the plants and makes them hard to grow once they arrive in their native environments. For the best quality landscaping, buying native plants from local garden centers is a much more viable alternative. As an added perk, these centers, like all local businesses, return money to the local economy, making your purchase count even more for your community.
For a better garden this spring, think local. Exotic plants may offer a unique look, but you’ll end up paying for that look with time, effort, and chemicals throughout the season. Native plants will grow the most naturally, and the local garden centers that grow them can bring both economic and environmental benefits to the community.
Alex is a senior at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, where she is double-majoring in Public Relations and Spanish. Since becoming a writer for Independent We Stand, she has fully adopted the ‘buy local’ lifestyle. Her favorite indie business is Sugarland, a bakery in Chapel Hill, N.C, where she has been known to go a little cupcake crazy. She hopes to attend law school and pursue a career in nonprofit or political communication.