Why plant indigenous plants in your garden?

Eastern Cape (South Africa) indigenous vegetation - Quinten's East London Garden ServiceIndigenous (also called “native”) plants are quite simply the plants that belong in your area. These are plants that have evolved to survive (and thrive) in the local climate and soil. They exist comfortably alongside local animal life. Together, as part of your area’s ecosystem, the indigenous animals and plants look after each other, and in so doing they ensure each other’s survival.

When an urban area develops, the local flora is often completely removed to make place for roads, buildings, and landscaped gardens. Unfortunately, when new gardens are designed, the hardy indigenous flora is completely overlooked in favour of more eye-catching and water-hungry plants. Sadly, some people think that the term “indigenous flora” refers only to the rugged veld vegetation so often seen alongside rural Eastern Cape roads. This misunderstanding leads to a variety of beautiful plants never being considered for urban gardens.

With so many plant options available to gardeners, why should anyone consider adding indigenous plants to their garden? Here, we will consider just two reasons why it makes a lot of sense to incorporate native plants in your garden.

1. It will save you money.

That may sound like a materialistic place to start, but money matters. And if you have ever had a garden, you will know that it can be expensive to keep it looking good. So the idea of having a garden that will actually SAVE YOU MONEY sounds good, doesn’t it? Here is what a lot of people with gardens don’t realize.

  • Indigenous plants require far less fertilization than their exotic counterparts. The tough, native plants are known to thrive in poor soils, and can often survive in harsh environments (including extended periods of drought).
  • Indigenous plants are also ideally suited to their environment and have adapted ways to deal with all the bugs and diseases that may threaten the very survival of a less native garden. By choosing indigenous plants for your garden, you will be choosing to spend less money on herbicides and pesticides (and that is as good for the greater environment as it is for your bank balance).
  • You will also save money on water. That’s a BIG one in a thirsty region like the Eastern Cape where water supplies may be very limited in some years. Indigenous plants not only need less irrigation than exotics, they often also have root systems that have developed to aid the soil in storing water and preventing wasteful run-off.
  • Indigenous plants will also save you time (which we all know equates to saving you money). Indigenous plants are often self-sustaining and make few of the maintenance demands that are typical of a non-indigenous garden. If you are retired with nothing else to do than potter in your garden all day, time shouldn’t matter too much. But if you cannot devote many hours to your garden each week, it is important to plan a garden that won’t place unnecessary demands on your time.

You could think of indigenous plants as the “plug and play” of the garden world: good to look at, but also easy on your pocket and your stress levels.

2. You will be helping to create a better environment.

If you are interested in gardening or in having a beautiful outdoor space, then you are probably at least somewhat conscientious about looking after the planet we live on. Incorporating indigenous plants in your garden makes it easy to contribute towards the well-being of the environment.

  • Indigenous plants attract pollinators. That will encourage better flowering and fruiting in your own garden, and in the gardens of your neighbours.
  • Indigenous plants provide food and shelter for a variety of wildlife. Even a single indigenous garden bed or a variety of small indigenous plants scattered throughout your garden will provide seeds, nectar, nesting material and more for all manner of local animal life.

If you are interested in adding more indigenous plants to your garden, and would like our help, please contact us at 071-513-9719 or simply fill in the contact form on this website. If you are not sure what plants would be good for your garden, take a look at the website of Khumbula Indigenous Nursery. Khumbula Indigenous Nursery has created an extensive database of plants that are native to the Eastern Cape.

Click on any of these links below to read more about the importance of creating indigenous gardens: