Native vs. Exotic
Native Plants are defined as any plants that occurred in North America before European settlement. Exotic Plants, or non-natives, are those not originally located in North America and your specific region. Plants that are native to where you live have evolved and adapted to your local conditions. Once established, they require very little attention, very little watering, and they’re resistant to most diseases; natives are also incredibly hardy and can survive the cold of winter and the heat of summer.
I work with a lot of natives and non-natives, and there are many non-natives that do well. However, some exotic plants can be very invasive and what many find appealing about some exotic plants, such as colorful berries or pest resistance, make them very difficult to contain. Exotic plants most appealing to birds and other wildlife are usually the most invasive because animals easily spread fruits and seeds.
The amount of time required to keep your garden in check can become a full time job, and since it can take several years to fully realize an exotic plant’s invasiveness, many find going native to be not only a more natural and “green” way to go, but the least invasive to the precious time we have to enjoy our garden spaces.