NPN March 2021

Why Choose Native Plants?

There are so many beautiful plants available in the nursery trade, why would a person choose native plants? There are many reasons to plant natives, but today we’ll focus on our lovely backyard friends, the birds and butterflies.

As we develop land for necessary urban, suburban, and agricultural use, we lose habitat for native creatures and the plants upon which they depend. Most North American song birds require insects to feed their young, and those insects need to eat the native plants with which they evolved. 


Chickadees, for example, need between 5,000 and 9,000 insects to raise just one brood of babies! Caterpillars in particular are good food for baby chickadees. (We talk about caring for backyard birds in our Winter Birds article)  Caterpillars are very often specialist feeders and need very specific plants to eat – native plants!

With native plants, your backyard or patio can be a wonderful garden oasis for humans while providing some of that disappearing habitat that North American wildlife requires. If you enjoy watching the birds and butterflies in your backyard, consider planting the native plants they need!

You can find here that lists butterflies and their native host plants if you want to create a colorful, native garden this summer!