Gardening with Native Plants

May 7, 2021

Have you ever tried gardening with native plants? Did you know that in addition to beautifying your garden, native plants can help improve the environment, support biodiversity, and attract birds and butterflies to your garden? Read on to learn more!

What are native plants?Gardening with Native Plants |

First of all, what are native plants? Native plants are plants that grow naturally in Canada and were not introduced by humans.  These plants are typically well-adapted to the climate and soil conditions where they grow. Many of the plants that we see in gardens today are not native to Canada. Ornamental plants from Asia, Europe, and other parts of the world were brought to Canada to be used in gardens for decorative purposes. Unfortunately, some of these new plants have become invasive.

Why garden with native plants?

Gardening with native plants has many benefits!

  • Native plants are uniquely adapted to suit their environmental conditions, such as the local climate and soil conditions.
  • Native plants often require less water and maintenance than non-native plants, and can therefore be a more sustainable and less labour-intensive option.
  • Native plants help attract native pollinators, such as bees, butterflies, and hummingbirds, as well as other native wildlife. This helps support the local ecosystem and increase biodiversity.

Gardening with native plants has been making a comeback! Many ecologists and horticulturalists have been stressing the importance of native species, especially in urban and suburban areas.

Popular native plants in Ontario

There are so many native plants in Ontario that would suit a wide range of gardens and garden styles! From flowers of varying heights and colours to shrubs, small trees, large shade trees, and ground cover plants, these plants can be used just about anywhere!

Some popular native flowers and shrubs in Ontario include:

  • Black-Eyed SusanGardening with Native Plants |
  • Echinacea (Purple Coneflower)
  • Bee Balm
  • Wild Bergamot
  • Wild Columbine
  • Canada Anemone
  • Blue False Indigo
  • Wild Lupine
  • Cardinal Flower
  • Border Phlox
  • Blanket Flower
  • Swamp Milkweed
  • Honeysuckle Bush

Some popular native ground cover plants include:

  • Foam Flower
  • Wild Woodland Strawberry

And of course, there are many native tree species to choose from! From larger trees such as white pine, white cedar, balsam fir, oaks, and maples to small trees such as the serviceberry, pin cherry, and nannyberry, there is sure to be something to suit every yard!

If you’re wondering where to buy native species, or what plants might suit your garden, you can check out Ontario Native Plants at They also offer advice on planning your garden and how to attract pollinators!

We hope you’ve gained some inspiration for your garden this year! Do you garden with native plants? We’d love to hear your recommendations!

By Kate at FWIO