Native Plants for West Kootenay Gardens
If you are interested in growing plants that use less water, create habitat for wildlife while helping preserve native biodiversity, look here for practical tips.
Why grow native plants?
Native plants provide many benefits in your garden and on your property. They are beautiful, adapted to our region, and provide habitat for native animals. Native plants can provide food, shade, flowers and erosion control.
The key to growing native plants successfully is a genuine interest and knowledge.
You need to know your local conditions the plants that grow in your area, and how to propagate these plants.
While there are many benefits, growing native plants “from scratch” native plants will not give you an instant garden. It takes patience. It’s important to first of all to know your site. Spend some time at the site. Take notes – what plants grow there now, is it dry or wet, sunny or shady. Then find a reference site that has similar conditions.
If you encounter plants you’re not familiar with, look them up. Plants of Southern Interior British Columbia and the Inland Northwest by Robert Parish, Ray Coupe and Dennis Lloyd is good book to start with. It has brief descriptions of each plant, the ecosystems it grows in and excellent illustrations. If you want to use an online resource E-Flora BC (http://www.geog.ubc.ca/biodiversity/eflora/) has lots of information.
Know Your Site
Learn all you can about your intended site, and work with the conditions you have rather than trying to change them.
Is it sunny, shady, dry, moist? What kind of soil does it have?
Find plants that grow in similar conditions in the wild.
Native plants for dry sites
Arrowleaf balsamroot, Balsamorhiza sagittata
Russet buffaloberry, Soopolallie, Shepherdia canadensis
Western mountain-ash, Sorbus sitchensis
Buckbrush, Ceanothus velutinus
Lewis’s mock-orange, Philadelphus lewisii
Saskatoon, Amelanchier alnifolia
Wild roses, Rosa sp.
Chokecherry, Prunus virginiana
Oregon-grape, Mahonia, Mahonia aquifolium
Native plants for sites with average moisture
Kinnikinnick, Arctostaphylos uva-ursi
False box, Paxistima myrsinites
Shrubby penstemon, Penstemon fruticosa sp.
Common camas, Camassia quamash
Native plants for wet/damp sites
Red-osier dogwood, Cornus sericea
Twinberry, Lonicera involucrata
Willows, Salix sp.
Alders, Alnus sp.
Easiest to grow native shrubs
Red osier dogwood
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