For many landscape architects it's difficult to limit themselves to the native plants and trees while choosing the plant palette for a project. Reasons are varied and range from Client demands, peer pressure, lack of knowledge or sheer ignorance. Recently I had an argument with a landscape architect on the difference between 'readily available plants' and native species. I don't think any qualified landscape architect is that dumb. It was pure ignorance; and it is one of the biggest reasons we continue to see beautiful but high maintenance plants in areas where they don't belong.

 

What's so special about native plants? Let's look at some of the important factors:

  • Native plants are adapted to the soil and weather type of the area they naturally grow in. They don't require artificial fertilizers or extra maintenance.
  • They don't require artificial irrigation (or very little). Native plants in hot and dry areas are draught prone and will survive the heat and lack of rainfall that's common in these areas. 
  • Native ecosystem depends on native trees and plants. The birds and the bees will thanks you for growing their favorite plants!
  • Native plants are resistant to the common bugs and diseases in their area and hence don't require pesticides (We all know how bad these pesticides can be).
  • It's 'green'. It's the buzzword right? but add up all the above and you can't deny the benefits. LEED rating system also recognizes this fact and gives your project some well deserved points for going native.

An architect once told me that he understands the 'green' thing but what if none of the native plants are good looking? Should he spoil the look of his project by going green and planting 'ugly' native trees?

Well...who said native trees are not beautiful? Anything with a purpose is beautiful and native trees have a role to play in the local eco-system. Take a look again and you'll see the beauty. 

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