Plant Native This Earth Day

Happy Earth Day Bluejays. It is important to take some time this month in honor of Earth Day to learn about small steps we can take to help improve our local and global environment. One small action we can take is having a garden full of native flowers, making our yards cute while improving biodiversity and benefiting the local bee population.

Missouri has many gorgeous native flowers that vary in many different colors. Are you wanting to include yellow into your garden at home? While the native black eyed Susans are very popular, there are other options available such as the gray goldenrod, fewleaf sunflower, lanceleaf coreopsis and many other yellow native flowers. There are flowers native to Missouri in practically any color, and would make pretty additions to an already existing garden or a brand new one.

Planting native plants are not only pretty, but they will benefit bees and feed monarch butterflies on their migrations. Some native flowers that benefit both insects are ironweeds, purple coneflowers, wild bergamot, and aromatic aster. 

Encouraging growth of native plants can also prevent the spread of invasive plants throughout our local ecosystem, which would have a strong negative impact on Missouri’s biodiversity. Our native plants will also improve water quality and prevent flooding. 

On Friday, Apr. 21, a few Interact club members including myself went to a Rotary conference to learn about biodiversity. At the conference there was a biologist who talked about how native plants are adapted to our environment, with very long 8 feet deep roots to help drain the area after lots of rain. 

With all of the benefits that planting native plants provide for the local ecosystem, it is always a great idea to consider them this Spring when planting your new gardens.