What is a native plant, again?
Why use native plants in gardens or landscapes?
On this page
Native Plants Benefit Wildlife
Insects - Natives support the 90% of plant-eating insects that rely on a specific family of host plants. A host plant is a plant on which organisms such as butterflies and other insects lodge and subsist. Specialist insects have co-evolved with their plant hosts.
Birds - By providing hosts for specialist plant-eating insects, native plants support 96% of North American terrestrial birds that feed their young insects, an important protein source. Example: A single pair of breeding chickadees must find 6,000 to 9,000 caterpillars to rear one clutch of young (more than 400 caterpillars each day)
Pollinators - Native plants are the heart of a pollinator friendly garden. Research shows that native plants are 4 times more attractive to pollinators than non-natives (Penn State Center for Pollinator Research). Locally native plants attract native pollinators. Native plants offer nectar, pollen and other nutrients in quantities that native pollinators need. Consider adding more locally native trees, shrubs and herbaceous plants to the garden (Ohioline).
Native trees and shrubs are important hosts for lepidoptera (butterflies and moths)!
Link to spreadsheet at Smithsonian National Zoo and Conservation Biology Institute reporting number of lepidotera supported by various genus of trees and shrubs.
Native Plants Are in Decline in Many Areas
Beyond the Backyard
Native Plant Identification
Central Region Seedling ID Guide for Native Prairie Plants
Very helpful resource for early season identification of natives. From Natural Resources Conservation Service, USDA.
Choosing Native Plants
Ohio Department of Natural Resources Selected Ohio Native Plants
Native Plant Finder (beta)
From US Forest Service, National Wildlife Federation, and University of Delaware
Native Plants of Ohio
Selection for Ohio Gardens compiled by Hope Taft and Debra Knapke - 1/2020
Propagating Native Plants
Milk Jug Method
Winter Seed Sowing (PDF)
Recorded webinar about milk jug seed starting by horticulturalist Dolly Foster via Purdue University Extension
Native Plants Reading List
Resources for OWU Lifelong Learning Institute Class
The Importance of Native Plants in Your Garden
A story of a local home landscape conversion to native plantings...