The native beauty of Long Island has long been enjoyed by dozens of generations. However, as invasive species have been brought into the area purposefully or accidentally, the region has become home to many other types of plants, including some that are harmful to the environment or that are destroying the gentle balance between plants and animals. Today, you can have a part in restoring Long Island and the surrounding areas to their natural beauty by choosing native plants from Decker’s Nursery.
Common Plants Native to Long Island
There are a variety of plants that have long been considered native to Long Island. These plants grow well here, deal perfectly with the climate and are important sources of shelter and nutrition for many valuable insects, birds, and animals that help to maintain the delicate balance in the local ecosystem. If you want to replace invasive species in your yard or create a new landscaping design using native plants, consider starting with some of these unique and gorgeous options.
Flowers brighten up a landscape and provide important sources of nutrition for many insects and smaller animals. In a yard, they break up different areas of landscaping with bursts of color. Whether they bloom during only one season, bloom throughout several seasons or come back to life the next year, they are important additions to any yard. Some of the most familiar and important native flowers in Long Island include the following:
- Lady fern
- Evergreen wood fern
- Purple coneflower
- Black-eyed Susan
- Blue flag iris
- New York aster
- Butterfly milkweed
Of course, the backbone of any landscape is often the trees that serve as important barriers as well as homes for numerous birds and larger animals. Long Island has long been known for its diversity in deciduous and evergreen trees, and some of the most familiar native trees here include the following:
- Gray birch
- Canadian serviceberry
- Pitch pine
- Black tupelo
- Sugar maple
- Red oak
Smaller than trees but providing more shelter than annual or perennial flowers do, native shrubs are also important in the Long Island area. Many varieties produce gorgeous blooms in the spring, summer or fall, and some also produce berries, which are often edible either for humans or animals.
- Highbush blueberry
- Prairie rose
- Common buttonbush
- Northern spicebush
- Virginia sweetspire
Vines serve as important ground covers in landscaping and can also provide an important source of shade for homes, patios and nearby plants. Some options that are native to Long Island include the following:
- Virginia creeper
- Virgin’s bower
Benefits of Gardening with Native Plants
Although it is certainly interesting to imagine how the native plants you have chosen for your yard have been grown in Long Island for centuries, history is not the only basis for gardening with native plants. In fact, even a small amount of research will quickly prove just how important these species are for biodiversity and complete ecological health. Most importantly, these plants that have long grown in the region are vital for the conservation of area wildlife. Birds, animals and insects have grown accustomed to using these specific plants for their shelter as well as for food. You will also be able to benefit in the following ways from gardening with native plants.
- Improved water conservation as native plants grow quickly and well in the area’s soil and climate
- Low maintenance and easy growing patterns
- Healthy growth and beautiful flowers from species that have acclimated to the area’s seasonal changes
- Beautiful fall colors
- No need for fertilizers and pesticides
- Decreased chance of erosion and lowered risk of water runoff and flooding with deep root systems
Native Trees & Plants at Decker’s Nursery
When it comes to finding native plants right here on Long Island, there is no better place to stop than Decker’s Nursery where you will find a wide array of easy-to-grow trees, shrubs and flowers that offer you showy blooms, gorgeous colors and easy maintenance. Our gardening professionals would be happy to help you find just the right plants for your yard whether you are looking for an herbaceous border, an easy-growing perennial or ground-cover plants to protect your soil.
Frequently Asked Questions
Long Island Native Plants FAQs
Landscaping with native plants is a smart move for your own gardening pleasure as well as for the environment. Not only will you be investing in thousands of years of natural history, but also you will be helping to conserve the local ecological system for generations to follow. However, because of the many non-native and even invasive species that have been introduced into the Long Island area, you may be unfamiliar with plants that are native to the area and may not know how to use them or care for them. At our nursery and garden center, our gardening professionals have the answers and experience you need to garden successfully.
How should I care for my native plants?
As mentioned, native plants are incredibly easy to care for, requiring very little time or effort on your part. You can make your time in the garden even simpler by following these native plant care rules.
- Choose a prime location with the right amount of sunlight and shade.
- Water your plants as soon as you place them in the ground.
- Spread mulch over the roots to protect against heat and drought.
- Pull weeds before they go to seed.
- Place native plants close together to keep out invading plants.
- Deadhead flowers to improve future blooming.
What is the difference between native and indigenous plants?
Native plants are those that naturally occur in an area and that have grown there for hundreds if not thousands of years. Long Island native plants have grown here without any help from humans and have adjusted to the soil, climate and other peculiarities of the region through natural phenomena. For example, some of these plants may have been brought here initially by the wind or water currents. Over time, they have adjusted to the climate to become long-term residents of the area.
Indigenous plants are a sub-type of native plants. They grow in a wide number of areas and can easily adjust to new surroundings. Indigenous plants may die out of one area but will be able to take root in that same area again if allowed. In addition, these plants can often be successfully introduced into new areas.
Where can I buy native plants on Long Island?
The best place to buy native plants on Long Island is at Decker’s Nursery where you will find a wide array of gorgeous plants uniquely suited to our climate. We offer numerous trees, shrubs, berry bushes, perennials and annuals that have grown here for centuries and that will fit in beautifully with the rest of your landscaping. The plants you will find here will create a safe habitat for local wildlife while improving air quality around your home.
What is a native plant garden?
A native plant garden is one that only uses plants that are native to the area. This could include a wide range of plant types, including trees, shrubs, annuals, perennials, vines and more. The garden will take into account the needs of the insects, birds, and animals living in the area and will seek to provide them with the shelter and food they need. A native plant garden not only can be beautiful but also can provide numerous benefits for the local environment and the gardener.
How does planting native plants help the environment?
Using native plants in your garden can keep you in tune with the ecological history of your area while also helping you preserve the local environment for generations to come. These plants help the climate by getting rid of carbon dioxide waste and increasing oxygen levels. This helps offset carbon waste from fossil fuels. In addition, native plants grow deep into the soil, creating a strong webbing of roots that helps to hold soil in place. This can prevent long-term erosion, eliminate excessive water runoff and even decrease area flooding. Perhaps most importantly, native plants provide a safe habitat for local wildlife, preserving the delicate natural balance on Long Island.
When you choose plants that have long grown in the Long Island area rather than beautiful but exotic plants that do not historically grow here, you will find that your time in the garden becomes easier and more enjoyable as well. Because these plants grow so easily here, you will find that they do well even without regular waterings and without fertilizers and pesticides. They attract birds and butterflies to your yard and save you money over time by taking care of themselves for years.
What trees are native to New York?
Trees are the backbone of any yard as they anchor the rest of the landscaping and fill in spaces with rich texture and color all year long. New York has many heavily forested areas, and you can bring some of this beauty to your own yard by focusing on those tree varieties best suited to grow here, which include the following:
- Balsam fir
- Douglas fir
- Norway pine
- Pitch pine
- Eastern white pine
Are native plants good for landscaping?
Traditional landscaping often focuses on removing native plants, which some view as weeds, and replacing them with industrial-grown exotic plants that are favored for their blooms or their functionality. However, native plants are ideally suited for natural landscaping because of their limited needs and their vast ecological benefits. Native plants will change with the seasons, creating bright beauty and textured interest in your garden all year long. Plus, if most people are using industrial plants rather than native plants in their yards, your landscaping will look unique.
Does Decker’s Nursery sell trees native to Long Island?
Decker’s Nursery offers a surprising array of trees of all sizes that have long been prized in Long Island for their natural beauty as well as their ability to balance out the surrounding environment. Whether you want to create a refuge for songbirds and butterflies or want to create a border on the edge of your yard, we have the easy-growing native trees that will help you make your dreams reality.