Virginia bluebells bloom at Wardensville Garden Market in Wardensville, W.Va., on April 22, 2018 (Photo by Will Parson/Chesapeake Bay Program)

Early spring is the time of year when many people start to think about their backyard gardens. What you may not realize is that your yard is a great place to begin helping the Bay. One easy way to benefit the Chesapeake is by choosing native plants.

Native perennials like the Virginia bluebells pictured above tend to be lower maintenance than non-natives—they are adapted to the local climate, can handle its precipitation levels and pests, and require very little, if any, fertilizer. Reducing fertilizer and pesticide use reduces polluted runoff, which can help your local waterway.

Native plants also provide food and habitat for wildlife. Planting Virginia bluebells, for example, is a great way to attract butterflies to your yard. Butterflies are the most common pollinator for the bluebells since they can easily perch and extract the nectar from the trumpet-shaped flowers.

In addition, some non-native plants that are popular in gardens can propagate beyond your backyard and take over natural landscapes. Choosing native plants means you can be sure you’re not inadvertently contributing to the problem of invasive species in our region.

Learn more about how to choose and use native plants.



Susan Davis

So nice to read your Virginia bluebells planting recommendations! I have a few that were shared by a friend, who later passed on from cancer. When the bluebells bloom, it is a beautiful reminder of her. Now I need to find some additional locations to plant more!!

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