31 Oct

Landscaping With Native Plants Saves Water!

  • Karen Mares
  • Comments Off on Landscaping With Native Plants Saves Water!

Fall is a good time to think about planting for your spring and summer landscaping. Ever thought about native plants? It is fall planting season! It may be pouring down rain outside right now, so it’s hard to imagine a time when saving water is on your mind, but in the heat and dry of summer, wouldn’t it be nice to have to water your landscaping less?

What Are Native Plants?

By definition, native plants are those uniquely adapted to thrive in the area. For example, you see cactus growing quite happily in Arizona. Oregon’s native plants, such as the Oregon Grape, Douglas Fir, and Sword Ferns are uniquely adapted to thrive in our wet climate, making them the perfect candidates for your landscaping. Native plants require less watering, fewer need for chemical herbicides and pesticides, and help filter pollution. Native plants also develop strong root systems to help with erosion control, and provide food and shelter for habitats. 

How Can Native Plants Help Save Water?

Native plants require less watering because they are drought-resistant. Our wet winters and dry summers mean their root systems are hardy enough to grow deeper into the soil, where the plants can access water stores. Once established, these plants also help with erosion control. The strong root systems hold together stream banks. Another huge benefit of native plants is their ability to filter pollutants, and even absorb storm water to help prevent flooding. The plants create habitats for native wildlife, providing food, shelter, and shade. Landscaping with native plants reduces our dependence on chemical fertilizers, herbicides, and pesticides as well. They are a unique part of a healthy local ecosystem. 

Examples of Native Plants

Oregon Iris


photo: David W. Barts







 Beach Strawberry







Oregon Grape

native plants

Photo: Meggar








Replace Invasive Species With Natives

Invasive species are plants, animals or fungus that are NOT native to the area or have negative effects on the environment. Local invasive species include the Butterfly Bush, Scotchbroom, and English Ivy. Replacing these plants with natives will go a long way toward giving you a naturally beautiful garden and landscape uniquely adapted to our region.

Want More Information? 

In true Oregonian-style, there is a wealth of information available on the internet to help you decide what native plants you would like to add to your garden and how to recognize and remediate invasive species. Here are a few links:

Solve – Solve is a non-profit organization dedicated to “bringing Oregonians together to improve our environment and build a legacy of stewardship.” Their site provides a wealth of information about the benefits of native plants.

EMSWCD – East Multnomah County Soil and Water Conservation District, or EMSWCD, is a local governmental body whose mission is to provide help and education for water conservation in the area. This is a great place to visit, providing all sorts of ideas for native planting and water conservation. (Psst – they even hold a native plant sale.)

NPSO – Native Plant Society of Oregon is also a wealth of information regarding native plants. Check them out!

About Karen Mares

A Portlander born and raised, Karen lives in Southwest Portland with her husband and children. Karen has kept journals throughout her life, and she began her personal blog, Random Thoughts From A Suburban Mom in 2007. She hasn't stopped writing online since, channeling her passion for words and information into writing and communicating through social media and blogging.