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The Benefits of Gardening with Native Plants

Aug 28, 2018

By Ryan Mahoney, ACUA Communications Assistant

Growing a garden benefits the environment in a variety of ways. Composting, using non-toxic fertilizers and growing your own produce rather than relying on commercial produce are some of the many practices that have a positive effect on the planet. Another great way to garden responsibly is by including native plants in your garden.


Milkweed and Blazing Star

What Are Native Plants?

Native plants are plants that occur naturally in particular regions. They thrive in the soils, moisture and weather from the area they originate. In New Jersey, there are many beautiful native plants that have adapted to the state’s wildlife and climate.

Why Go Native?

Choosing to grow native plants instead of exotic plants can benefit the environment in a variety of ways. Including native plants in your garden will naturally attract local birds, butterflies and pollinators, which are essential to the sustainability of our local ecosystem.

Certain insects depend on native plants as their natural habitat. They also have natural defenses to plant diseases and pests. On the other hand, growing exotic plants can lead to more pest problems that would require the use of toxic chemicals that negatively affect the soil.

Native plants can assist in managing rainwater runoff, which helps replenish groundwater and reduce flooding. Gardeners that grow native plants will also conserve water since the plants are accustomed to living off the local moisture levels.


Cut leaf coneflower and Joe Pie Weed

There is another great reason why gardeners should love growing native plants – they require less manual labor! Working on a garden can be exhausting.  Native plants need less supplemental watering and require little to no fertilization. You will also save money in the long term by spending less on chemicals and water. 

Lastly, native plants are both colorful and attractive. They come in a variety of shades and sizes that can go with your garden design.

Growing native plants in your garden is a great way to improve your gardening experience. Both you and the environment will benefit!


Additional Resources:

Native Plant Society of NJ (Southeastern Chapter)

Group holds monthly meetings at Stockton University

Jersey Friendly Yards


Local Nurseries:

Earth First Native Plant Nursery

Atlantic County


Triple Oaks Nursery

Franklinville. NJ


Clemenson Farms

Estell Manor, NJ


Flora for Fauna

Woodbine, NJ