5 tips for growing native plants

5 tips for growing native plants

February 5th, 2011 by Karen Nazor Hill in Life Entertainment

The Chattanooga area offers diverse flora that varies depending on the habitat. This woodland garden features wild columbine, wild geranium, blue phlox and blue-eyed Mary.

Horticulturist Paola Zannini is already planning the sale portion of the upcoming Spring Wildflower Festival & Native Plant Sale at Reflection Riding Arboretum & Botanical Garden. The event will be held April 8-10 at the Riding, 400 Garden Road.

Zannini, who as greenhouse manager oversees the event, said native plants are any that were growing in North America before European settlement.

"Appreciation of our native flora has significantly grown over the past several years, resulting in its inclusion in gardens and formal landscapes," she said. "The advantages are obvious. Native plants, once established, are more adaptable to our gardens, and they contribute to create an ideal habitat for desirable wildlife such as butterflies and birds."

Zannini offers the following tips on growing native plants.

FIVE TIPS

1 Buy nursery-propagated plants. Never buy wild-collected plants, a practice that depletes or destroys natural populations, causing loss of biodiversity.

2 Provide garden habitats that reflect the natural environment from which the plants come.

3 Care for your plants until they are well established and can withstand extreme weather conditions.

4 To avoid lanky plants, don't overfertilize them.

5 Don't deadhead or cut back vegetation until late winter or early spring to provide food and cover for wildlife.

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