Why Choose Native Plants?

When you hear things like “choose native plants for your yard,” what does this really mean and why is it important? Native plants are ones that occur naturally in a region in which they evolved without human influence. These plants are the ecological basis which life depends on to continue supporting a biodiverse environment; for humans and our beautiful wildlife. Biodiversity is a key component of a healthy ecosystem that directly influences the functionality of our food system.

Many of the plants we choose to landscape with are mostly aesthetic and do not provide many benefits to our local ecosystem. When choosing plants that easily coexist with their environment they require less maintenance, attract pollinators, and support the food chain. 

Utah has an abundance of native plants that do not require much water or resources to be kept alive. Many of the landscapes that exist in our community depend on artificial fertilizers, pesticides, and herbicides in order to maintain the ‘lawn’ aesthetic. Choosing native plants helps avoid these potentially dangerous toxins getting into our water and soils. 

The work of pollinators cannot be understated; they ensure that our flowers bloom, enable trees to reproduce, and most importantly pollinate our food crops. Without our pollinating insects, our food system would collapse, their jobs are incredibly important to human survival and we should be supporting them in any way possible. By providing spaces where pollinators can live, eat, and reproduce we can help increase their populations. You have probably heard ‘save the bees’ at some point which is absolutely relevant but supporting all of our pollinating friends is equally important. 

“There’s always a bigger fish.” Well, in this case, a bug, but regardless of the species, there should always be enough food to go around. The food web is a series of biologically interconnected chains which support each other while passing energy from one species to the next. This web is immense and complicated but can be threatened by the introduction of invasive or harmful species. If a certain species dies because of some external reason, whatever species depended on that energy is lost and can cause a cascading effect. But the good news is we can prevent this from happening by choosing plants that provide the necessary components for a diverse and complex ecosystem.

Here is a list of native plants that are native to the Park City region that you can choose to plant in your yard, community garden, or front porch…

  • Arrowleaf Balsamroot
  • Pacific Aster
  • Black-eyed Susan
  • Blanket Flower
  • Blue Flax
  • Colorado Columbine
  • Aspen Daisy
  • Purple Coneflower
  • Prairie Coneflower
  • Lanceleaf Coreopsis
  • Dame’s Rocket
  • Fireflower
  • Wild Geranium
  • Desert Globemallow
  • Golden Banner
  • Iceland Poppy
  • Rocky Mountain Iris
  • Maiden Pinks
  • Red Mexican Hat
  • Mountain Lupine
  • Large Flowered Penstemon
  • Rocky Mountain Penstemon
  • Wasatch Penstemon
  • White Evening Primrose
  • Showy Goldeneye
  • Northern Sweetvetch
  • White Yarrow

Also, check out what the clothing company Patagonia is doing to support our food systems.