Go native: Fall a good time to start garden with plants that belong here

Published 9:29 am Friday, October 13, 2023

Leaves are changing, autumn scents are in the air, and migrating birds are making their way south.

Fall is upon us and so is the seventh annual North Carolina Native Plants Week Oct. 16-22.

 The Audubon Society is encouraging homeowners to choose native plants for their own yards and gardens, and by highlighting new state policies that require the use of native plants at state parks, historic sites and along roadways. The policies come after years of advocacy by Audubon members and other supporters, including Sen. Bill Rabon, and help put the spotlight on the importance of native plants for birds and all kinds of wildlife.  

 “It’s a simple equation: more native plants mean more of the bird and pollinator species that depend on them,” Interim Executive Director Curtis Smalling said. “We’re excited to see the state take this commonsense step to promote North Carolina’s amazing native flora. We’re also encouraging everyone to choose native plants for your own yard or garden and to let your favorite garden and plant supplier know you are looking for native plants.” 

 Native plants are important because they provide food for birds and other wildlife that adapted to depend on them. Insects hosted by native plants are particularly important because most bird species require insects to feed their young. Fewer native plants mean fewer insects, which in turn means fewer bird babies growing to adulthood. In North Carolina alone, over 3,900 native plant species support birds and pollinators year-round. 

Help by growing your own native plants garden, and fall is the best time to start. Plants require less water this time of year, but they also still have enough time to establish before colder winter weather.