Monday, June 14, 2010

Native plants show a respect for our environment and reduce the homeowner’s labor

Missouri is blessed with a burst of colorful native plants that will increase your curb appeal and show off your eco-friendly property.

Missouri is a wonderfully diverse state, with flat plains to the north and the craggy Ozarks to the south. With different terrains come a cornucopia of native plants that will do quite well in your landscaping plans and require little maintenance once established.

The first look a potential buyer has of your house is the drive-by, or curb appeal. If the buyer doesn’t like the outside, most likely the interest goes down, almost regardless of how wonderful the inside is. Enhance your property and show off the beautiful Missouri native plants, whether you are selling now or planning on staying for a while.

From a small balcony garden to acres and acres of land, planting native has distinct advantages:
Once established, native plants need minimal watering, reducing your water bill and the time it takes to spray the plantings.

Because the plants are acclimated to grow in Missouri soil, they establish quickly and don’t need pampering.

Native plants have already dealt and adapted to the problems of pests and weeds. This reduces the need for commercial fertilizers and pesticides, thereby saving you money and reducing your chemical footprint.

Birds and butterflies thrive on native plants, giving you a garden paradise and hours of entertainment watching those in flight coming and going.

Missouri native plants adapt well to sun or shade. For your sunny garden, the Missouri black-eyed Susan is a sure hit. Found in the Ozarks, this tenacious flower can handle rocky areas with well-drained soil. Another winner is the Missouri primrose, or the glade lily, which also does well in rocky areas. The lemon-yellow flowers open in the afternoon for nighttime pollination. The prairie blazing star is another sun worshipper and blooms into October to keep your garden colorful. Butterflies love these purple plums.

On the shady side, there are plenty of choices, all attracting butterflies and hummingbirds. The crested iris is an impressive ground cover in partial shade and just right for landscape borders. The columbine, with its red tubular flowers, is a popular nectar source for hummingbirds and flowers from April through July in average to moist soil. Very common but still spectacular and tough is the purple coneflower. Well into October, the purple blossoms will provide flowers for cutting bouquets.

Including native plants in your yardscape is a gradual process, one the demands planning and patience, but you’ll be rewarded with a low maintenance, natural garden. To learn more about planting native, visit and for a downloadable guide, visit the Missouri Department of Conservation website.

Written by Myra Vandersall

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