Going native seems to be a trend these days, at least in the garden anyway. More United States gardeners are adding American native plants to their yards. There are many reasons why people grow native perennials. Some people think that they are more environmentally sound, others are concerned with maintaining habitats, and some just like the way native plants look.
When looking at a native plant nursery, you may want to find out if their definition of "native" matches your own. At its broadest, native plants can be defined as what can reproduce in an area without assistance from people. Another native plant nursery may say they are plants that were in America before European settlement, while others may say American native plants are restricted to specific areas, be they states, growing zones, or geographical features.
Native perennials can be incorporated for different gardening needs. If you want to feel your yard is lacking wildlife, native perennials like Spigelia marilandica have flowers that attract butterflies, hummingbirds, and bees. Several native shade plants can be utilized in the woodland garden. Phegopteris hexagonoptera and Dryopteris ludoviciana are just two examples of native shade plants that can cover any shady understories. Often native plants require less maintenance after they are established as they are suited to the surrounding climate and soil conditions.
It is important to remember that "exotic" doesn't automatically mean "invasive." Some American native plants will spread like weeds, while some exotics won't spread at all. A little research with a local extension office or at a native plant nursery that also offers exotics will help you with your decisions. Soon you'll be able to enjoy a diverse garden -- what can be more American than that?