A native plant is indigenous to a specific location. This includes trees, flowers, grasses and other plants that are naturally found (or have existed for many years) in the area.
Incorporating native plants throughout your landscape benefits local wildlife and fosters biodiversity. Not only are native plants preferred by native birds, bees and other wildlife, they are adapted to local soil and climate conditions. That means they require less water and polluting “inputs” such as fertilizers and other industrial chemicals. Native plants installed around farm crops attract and support native pollinators.
We have lots of information on how to incorporate native plants into your landscape, whether it’s on your farm or in your forest, along your stream or in your garden. We can make suggestions on the best plants for specific climate conditions and identify options that will attract pollinators to your land. One of the publications we like to share with homeowners is the Native Plants for Willamette Valley Yards booklet. The Native Plant Database at East Multnomah SWCD is a great resource. Also check out the Portland Plant List and visit our Landscaping with Native Plants page. If you’re interested in creating a habitat-friendly yard and garden, we also like referring folks to the Backyard Habitat Certification Program (BHCP), which helps guide and certify native gardens. You could even reach the “gold standard” for healthy habitats. Visit the BHCP page to learn more.
A relatively new movement, called meadowscaping, has gained ground in the past decade. Meadowscaping is the process of replacing lawns with native bunch grasses and wildflowers that attract native wildlife. Visit our Meadowscaping page for more information. We are pleased to announce the completion of the area’s first publication on meadowscaping, The Meadowscaping Handbook: Designing, Planting and Managing an Urban Meadow! It was compiled as part of a collective effort by the Pacific Northwest Urban Meadowscaping working group and includes the data on local prairie research and the experiences of regional ecologists and landscape professionals. Click here to order a copy of The Meadowscaping Handbook. This publication can be downloaded for personal or individual use. No reproduction or copying of this book can be made without expressed written consent of the West Multnomah Soil & Water Conservation District.
If you have native white oak habitat or want to develop it on your land, we recommend a great new publication, Conserving Oregon White Oak in Urban and Suburban Landscapes. If you have questions about adding oak to your landscape, contact our Senior Conservationist Kammy Kern-Korot.
The Native Seed Network has lots of great information on local species and suppliers.
For more information on native plants and to see plant lists for your garden or landscape, visit our library.