that are native to
the region require
fewer pesticides and,
if your soil is healthy,
no fertilizer. They sup-port
we need not only for
showy flowers but also
for food crops. Native
plants also play nicely
with one another,
species can become
natives for nutri-ents
food sources and habi-tats
There are thousands
of native plants to
choose from, but here
are a few suggestions.
Y Plant coral honeysuckle, Carolina jessamine or crossvine instead of English ivy,
Japanese honeysuckle and Japanese or Chinese wisteria. Try Carolina allspice or
sweet pepperbush instead of butterfly bush. Native hollies and Florida anise are
good replacements for privet, which is extremely invasive.
Y Bradford pears are so bad that North Carolina has put a bounty on them — literally!
(See www.treebountync.com for info.) Replace Bradfords with redbud or service-
berry trees. Native ferns include Christmas fern and Southern maidenhair fern.
Elderberry and blueberry bushes provide not just shrubbery but also snacks, and
blueberry bushes are semi-evergreen, providing color for most of the year.
Y Though extremely common in the Cape Fear area, maiden grass (or Chinese silver-
grass or miscanthus) is invasive. Switch grass, panic grass, and pink or white Muhly
grass are excellent alternatives.
Y Don’t forget about trees. Some landscape choices take time to pay off. Though flowers
and shrubs offer faster results, consider including native trees as well. Oaks, maples,
cypress, pines and other trees are crucial parts of our ecosystem, and we need to be
intentional about replacing trees lost to construction, age and hurricanes.
Y Not every non-native plant is considered invasive. Crape myrtles and azaleas were
introduced from Asia, but neither has serious detrimental effects on our ecosystem.
If your landscape has plenty of native plants, a crape myrtle or two won’t do much harm.
Y Check www.ncwildflower.org for other recommended native species.
plants doesn’t mean turning
your yard into a desert land-scape
full of cacti. It means selecting
vegetation that is well-suited for
weather variations. In coastal areas
known for heavy spring and sum-mer
rains, it may seem unnecessary
to think about drought tolerance
in landscaping. However, it pays to
choose plants that can thrive when
water is abundant and survive when
showers are sparse. Besides the pos-itive
environmental impact, it helps
with your water bill.
Southern Maidenhair Fern Serviceberry Trees
EDWARD JOSEPH LOWE C. 1856-1860
PANCRACE BESSA C. 1819