Category Archives: Ohio Native Plants

The Importance of Using Native Plants in Your Landscape

by Victor Wang

It may be tempting to surround your home with exotic or show-stopping plants, but those plants come with risk and responsibility. Your landscape should complement all aspects of your home’s exterior. Using native plants has many benefits, not only for the environment but also for the time you spend working outdoors.

Low Maintenance

Long “to-do” lists mark our days as we balance work, family, chores, and time for ourselves. While gardening is therapeutic, you still want time to sit back and enjoy your garden. Choosing native plants for your landscaping means you’ll spend less time tending to them. Low-maintenance native options are already well adapted to the Ohio environment and soil conditions, and often need little to no extra watering. They are hardy to last through the season and usually thrive when they aren’t fussed over.

Support Local Pollinators

Butterflies, bees, and other Ohio pollinators are sure to visit the native areas of your yard. These vital parts of our environment help to create healthy plants and support the fragile balance of the ecosystem. Planting native options, such as goldenrod or purple coneflower, invites these pollinators to stop and stay awhile as they gather nectar.

The natives also preserve Ohio’s biodiversity. Local birds and wildlife depend on native plants for their food source. Invasive plants often crowd out the native species, robbing the local wildlife of food and habit.

Cut Down on Water Usage

The Buckeye State experienced abnormally dry conditions in 2019, with 12% of the state in a moderate drought. Water conservation efforts are gaining momentum in all 50 states as more people realize the value of this natural resource. Doing your part by planting native flowers, shrubs, and trees in your yard will help cut down on the need to water.

Less Expensive

Gardening and yard work are great ways to beautify your home, but they also come at a cost. Choosing native plants to surround the house is a great way to save money. Native options often are cheaper than other varieties at the local garden center, thanks to their abundance in the area.

You can also ask for starts or cuttings from neighbors or friends who have an abundance of native species. You’ll save money and add a sentimental aspect to your gardening as you remember who gave you the plant.

Native Vs. Invasive

An invasive plant is one that can cause economic or environmental damage in Ohio. Their natural predators often weren’t imported with them, so it’s easy for them to spread out of control. Ohio is fighting back against nature’s enemies, by banning 38 species of exotic plants. The Japanese honeysuckle, autumn olive shrubs, fig buttercup, and others that steal water from local species are now illegal to sell in Ohio.

You can still find plenty of intruders at your local nursery. Before buying any plant that isn’t native, ask yourself if it’s worth inviting the invasive bugs sure to come with it? Support Ohio’s first Native Plant Month in April 2020 by planting some wild geranium or black-eyed Susan.

Victor Wang grew up in Central California, plucking tomato worms from his mother’s heirloom tomato garden, and is now a master gardener and freelance writer. His areas of expertise include landscaping, pest control and, of course, gardening.

Support Ohio’s first Native Plant Month in April

by Jean Jankowski, Ohio Association of Garden Clubs, First Vice President

(Update: Events listed at bottom of this post.) For years OAGC has been touting the importance of including native plants in our landscapes, as well as creating public spaces designated for natives.

Many of the regional meetings I have attended since becoming an officer have had speakers and educational displays addressing how the establishment and growth of native food sources creates a foundation for a healthy ecosystem. Many of our members signed the petition that led to establishing April as Ohio Native Plant Month, the first of which will be celebrated in 2020.

We now have the opportunity to share our knowledge and bring public awareness to this vital topic. There are hundreds of native species in Ohio and many of them are not being promoted in the industry. We all love our non-native cultivars, but if we just plant three natives for each season and encourage others to follow our lead, it would make a tremendous difference. We also need to address the invasive plant crisis.

According to the Ohio Invasive Plant Council, “Invasive plants cost natural resources and recreation agencies,farmers, industry and homeowners millions of dollars each year.” The Ohio Association of Garden Clubs needs to take this opportunity to hold lectures or open meetings. On behalf of all birds, insects, and all wild creatures, I challenge our regions and garden clubs to jump on the bandwagon.

Think of unique ways to get the message across. Collaborate with your local Master Gardeners, schools,scouts, garden centers, metro parks, state parks, or preserves. Make sure your local schools and city council are aware of Ohio Native Plant Month and encourage them to participate. As an organization of gardeners, we are aware of the vital importance of pollinators, and although we complain about some insects and wildlife, we know that each one has a unique purpose, and we are all sharing the planet.

Email your event announcement to the webmaster (webmaster@oagc.org) so that it can be listed on the OAGC website (www.oagc.org) and help publicize the event on social media. Please send a copy to me, as well, so I know about all the OAGC native plant events that will be taking place next April. I hope to attend as many as I can.

UPCOMING NATIVE OHIO PLANT MONTH EVENTS:

April 23, 2020: Region 7 Spring Regional Meeting: The morning program is “Native Plants” by Guy Denny. (23 Pickwick Place, 1875 N. Sandusky Ave., Bucyrus, OH 44820.) Contact Kristy Apt at kapt@oagc.org.

April 28, 2020: Region 2 Spring Regional Meeting: The afternoon program is Dan Hodges will speak on “Nature in the Garden — Biodiversity of Native Plants”. (South Side Christian Church, 3300 South Side Dr., Lima, OH 45807-2278.) Contact Charlene Guingrich at cguingrich@oagc.org.

April 30, 2020: Region 5 Spring Regional Meeting: The morning program is “Gardening With Native Plants” by Ron Corbett. (The Centre, Miami Valley Centre Mall in Piqua, OH.) Contact Penny Adams at padams@oagc.org.