When choosing plants for your landscape, it can be tempting to choose the ones that are really showy with big leaves or lots of flowers. Many times native plants are a little more understated, yet still beautiful. There are many benefits to including native plants within your landscape.
They are very hardy
Native plants are usually the hardiest choice for landscaping in your backyard. These plants are also used to the extreme fluctuations in temperature, thinner air, and sporadic rainfall. Many are also a lot more resistant to critter we have such as deer and chipmunks. Native plants are used to getting beat up quite a bit so growing in a nurturing landscape setting is relatively easy for these types of plants native to Colorado.
They use less water
Plants native to Colorad0 are a lot more used to the arid weather of the state. Because they use less water, using native plants will also save you time and money. Many plants native to Colorado have also developed special adaptions to help them save water. For example, some plants such as cacti, asters, goldenrod, blanket flowers, yarrow, & sagebrush have crassulacean acid metabolism. This means that to save water, they close the stomata (the opening or ‘pores’ on their leaves) during the day and open them at night, which is opposite to most plants that open their stomata during the day. This means less water evaporates from their leaves since they open during the cooler nights than the warm, sunny days.
They provide healthier places for people and wildlife
Lawns and non-native landscapes are known to have a need for a lot of fertilizers and other chemicals. Did you know that the average suburban lawn has about 10x more chemicals saturating it than most farmland? By using more plants native to Colorado, you are not only creating a more wildlife friendly place but you are also creating a healthier and safer space for you and your family to enjoy the outdoors.
They are beautiful, yet low maintenance
Good landscaping adds value to your home and gives people a good first impression. Because these plants are more adapted to our local environment, they won’t need much if any extra fertilizer or water.
For ideas on what native plants to use for our area, check out this resource from the Audubon Society.