You must have seen Lantana, a plant that has small flowers in shades of pink, yellow and orange that grows in clumps. It grows all across our forests and largely used in our home gardens as well because of its fast growth and pretty appearance. While you can get lost in its beauty, it’s a hard hitting fact that Lantana was never a part of our country’s native plants. It was introduced in India in 1809 (Calcutta Botanical Garden), as an ornamental plant for its beautiful and colourful flowers. This ‘genuine’ intention of growing something beautiful has taken over a lot of our Indian forests in the Western and the Eastern Ghats. How did Lantana become such a successful plant? Its rapid seed production and easy seed spread helped it escape from a cultivated setting and become an invasive plant with serious effects on native flora. It is so hardy that it grows in all types of landscapes tipping off our indigenous species. This can be problem not only to our forests but also to our plantations and farms. The protection of native plants is a serious issue and has been raised as one of national concern.
Why is it important to conserve native plants? Native plants provide many different functions for the soil, climate, carbon storage, water table and other dependent organisms. While all of these are critical for us, one of the serious concern is that these plants provide shelter and food for many insects, birds and mammals. Native plants of India have originated in India. They have adapted perfectly to the environment they originated in. They grow, produce young and thrive best in their habitats. Now, when you have a hardy plant such as Lantana take over native habitats, the native plants can’t do anything but perish. Lantana has a strategy of providing tasty nectar and delicious fruits. So butterflies and birds that have been visiting native plants, have now started being a loyal Lantana guest and therefore, native plants miss out on important biological functions.
The use of only native plants in your landscape helps limit the chances that potentially invasive, exotic plant species will be introduced into the environment around your home. Many of the invasive, exotic plant species present in our forests today were introduced as landscape plantings many decades ago. Continued introduction of new exotic plants into suburban landscapes will result in many new invasive plants in the future. Here are some benefits of a native garden:
Beauty: Many native plants produce showy flowers, abundant fruits and seeds, and brilliant foliage. By planting native plants, you will have a beautiful yard that is friendly to wildlife.
Low Maintenance: Native plants generally grow well and require little care when grown on proper soils under the right environmental conditions. When installed in the appropriate habitat, native plants require less maintenance than exotic alternatives. Once established, they usually need less water. They require no fertilizer and little pest control, having evolved with the area's insects and diseases. Native plants will save you money (on supplies) and time (on garden care) and will also curtail the toxins (pesticides, fertilizers) used to maintain artificial conditions.
Community: As more people use native plants in their urban landscaping, it adds to the available habitat for wildlife and benefits the community as a whole. Going native helps save our natural heritage for future generations.
Get Help From an Expert
Want a gardening expert to help you with your plants ? Get in touch with us at https://www.urbanmali.com/ or call us at 918880482000 for any queries. We can help you grow your very own native plant garden.