When shopping for plants, most people tend to choose plants based on appearance, without considering its ecological impact. This is often due to the limited selection of plants available at local retailers.
It’s never too late to make better plant choices by selecting plants that help enhance environmental health. Here are a few examples of the most commonly used landscape plants and their more eco-friendly alternatives:
Chokecherry instead of kwanzan cherry
Kwanzan cherry is a type of Japanese flowering cherry that is often used. Although this plant has lots of aesthetic appeal, its double-flowered petals offer no benefits to pollinators. It is also sterile and non-fruit bearing.
Chokecherry, on the other hand, offers plenty of benefits to the environment. Its flowers contribute to a diverse array of pollinators. The plant is considered a host plant for a large variety of butterflies and moths.
Spicebush instead of forsythia
Forsythia is a plant that’s widely used, yet it offers no benefits to our native bees.
Spicebush is a terrific alternative to forsythia, as its yellow flowers often emerge in early spring, providing an early source of nectar and pollen to small native bees. Its leaves are a good source of nutrition for caterpillars of different varieties, such as the spicebush Swallowtail and Eastern Tiger Swallowtail butterflies.
Inkberry instead of boxwood
Very common in the northeast, boxwoods are native to Asia, Europe, and several parts of Africa. This plant’s most attractive quality is its evergreen foliage.
Inkberry is a better alternative to boxwoods because they offer more benefits to the environment. Inkberries provide compelling flowers for pollinators, and a type of fruit that serves as a beneficial winter food source for many bird species. Keep in mind that inkberry is dioecious like all types of hollies, so purchase both a male and female plant in order to get fruit.
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