Why plant natives?

Plants along wall
Simple and beautiful: native plants bring benefits for all

Five great reasons to plant native species

Any form of native planting, whether it be a balcony, garden or to a regenerating forest fragment, can bring numerous benefits to both you and the wildlife in your surroundings.

1. Enjoy easy, affordable and simple gardening

By opting for locally native and eco-sourced plants, you'll save both time and money. These plants are well-adapted to the local conditions, requiring minimal maintenance from you. They are drought tolerant and do not need additional fertilizers or pesticides. Moreover, native wildflowers are primarily perennials or self-sowing biennials, taking care of next year's planting themselves.

2. Support local biodiversity

Through native planting, you'll witness an increase in the presence of birds, reptiles, and insects, while also helping to support their local populations, some of which may be threatened. Native plants provide the best food and shelter for our native animals as they have co-evolved, establishing complementary relationships.

Wellington is home to numerous species that can only be found in this region, and many of them require our support to ensure their survival. New Zealand has unfortunately lost a significant number of unique species, but by incorporating eco-restoration practices into your gardening, you can contribute to saving others from a similar fate.

Healthy gardens act as "stepping stones" or "green corridors" between larger forests. Birds, as well as smaller wildlife and plants, utilize these stepping stones and corridors for movement. Pollination and seed dispersal across different areas enhance biodiversity, thereby improving the natural defense mechanisms of our habitats.

When suitable native plants filter the water in our streams, lakes, and seas, the water becomes cleaner and supports a greater diversity of life. Clean rivers are not only safer for drinking but also provide a more enjoyable swimming experience.

By embracing native planting, you are making a positive impact on your immediate environment, fostering biodiversity, and promoting the well-being of both wildlife and humans alike.


3. Long-term stability and shelter

Indigenous plants play a crucial role in stabilizing soil, offering long-term flood and erosion control. This is especially invaluable for the banks, fragmented rock slops and exposed coastline of Wellington.

In addition to their soil-stabilizing properties, native plants also provide excellent shelter, not only for you and your home but also for local wildlife. Coastal natives, in particular, are well-adapted to the windy conditions often experienced in Wellington.

4. Keep Wellington beautiful

Beautiful native gardens contribute to Wellington's regional identity and create a lasting sense of place for future generations.

5. Connect with your neighbours and inspire others

Once you embark on your native planting journey, you'll be eager to share and expand your knowledge. Complimenting a neighbor on their vibrant yellow kowhai tree could spark a conversation about locally endemic species and even foster new friendships.

You're also invited to join our volunteer outings, where we work together in Miramar's public spaces. It's a fantastic opportunity to meet like-minded individuals, forge new connections, and discover new places. If you have children, why not explore the hidden corners and fascinating creatures of your garden together?

Volunteer | Kids’ stuff

Exotic problems

Exotics can be visually appealing in your garden, but it's important to exercise caution

  • Many exotic plants compete with native species, strangling them, and adversely altering the soil. They also have the tendency to invade nearby bush and forests.
  • You'll find that many exotic plants are prone to rust and mold, requiring more time and effort to maintain.
  • Exotic plants can also have unexpected effects on wildlife. For example, rhododendrons have nectar that is poisonous to native tui and silvereye, often resulting in the death of these birds.
Rhododendrons have nectar poisonous to native tui and silvereye and very often lead to death for these birds. Credit.

Some pest plants are still available for sale, as they are not yet classified as weeds. However, they can cause havoc when established in the wild. While it is legal to grow these species, we strongly recommend planting non-weedy exotic species or local native plants. It's an easy step to take.

Consider good alternatives

If there's a non-native plant you like, you can refer to the handy publication “Plant me instead” to find a native substitute.

Some exotic plants are considered non-invasive. For example, banksia and grevillea are not problematic species and are popular among nectar-eating birds such as tui and bellbird. Colorful and aromatic exotics that won't spread uncontrollably include carnations, lavender, and gardenia.

Don’t forget the weeds & pests

The presence of invasive plants in your garden can contribute to the decline of native bush located kilometers away. Weeding, especially the identification and removal of the most invasive weeds, brings about significant positive change in local habitats. Learn more about  weeding.

When you visit places like Zealandia (Karori Sanctuary) or Kapiti Island and observe the many rare native species thriving in their mammal-free environment, you'll notice a stark contrast to the current biodiversity on Miramar. You have the opportunity to help bridge this gap and provide a safe habitat for rare species on the peninsula once again. Wouldn't that be wonderful? Learn more about how you can make a difference by taking action. Learn more about pest control.