About Native Plants
The native plants of the Pacific Northwest occur here naturally, without having been introduced by humans. Because they have evolved here, they are adapted to the native soils and climate. Like the rest of our ecosystem, however, some of our native plants are struggling with changing climate conditions. Kitsap Conservation District encourages residents to choose native plants when possible for their adaptability, beauty and durability, and to help support the ecosystem where they evolved.
Benefits of Native Plants
- Many are drought tolerant once established
- They are disease and pest resistant
- Many have deep roots which can stabilized the soil
- They provide habitat for native fauna, pollinators and other beneficial insects
- They have ornamental qualities such as showy flowers, colorful foliage, bright berries and interesting bark
Sources for Native Plants
Many local nurseries have a good selection of native plants that are useful for hedges, groundcovers, and accent plants. There are also a number of specialty native plant nurseries in the Pacific Northwest that are a great source of plants and information.
The Kitsap Conservation District holds an annual native plant sale in March. We sell a variety of native trees and shrubs in bare root form, groundcovers in small pots, and native perennials in 5 and 10 cubic inch tubes.
Some native plants are relatively easy to propagate from cuttings or seeds. This can be as simple as taking a hardwood cutting from a willow (live stake) and planting directly into the ground, to harvesting, drying and planting seeds.
It is possible to salvage some native plants from properties that are going to be cleared and developed. It is essential to obtain permission and sometimes permits before entering a property to salvage natives. The best time to salvage native plants is during the winter dormancy. See the sources below for good information about propagating and salvaging native plants.
How to Plant and Care for Native Plants
Even though native plants are adapted to local conditions, they require care and maintenance when planting in order to help them establish. Here are a few quick tips:
- Match the plant’s needs to the site conditions
- Prepare the soil, making sure it contains some organic matter and is not compacted
- Plant in the fall if possible
- Mulch the planting area
- Water the plants as needed after planting
- Plan to water for the first 2-3 summers after planting
- Remove weeds until the plants have a full canopy and are shading the ground
For more information, please see the link below.