The Big Shift To Native Plants And What It Means For Your Business


Tammy Sons is the CEO of TN Nursery and an expert plant advisor who studied Horticulture. She enjoys her family, the outdoors and nature.

For many years, hybrid varieties have been the aesthetically pleasing option for plant lovers. However, this spring gardening season is bringing a big trend shift as gardeners go back to native plants.

We’ve seen a clear shift in the gardening industry coming from home and garden taste leaders in New York. They don’t want hybrid plants that are susceptible to disease; they are conscious of the environment and the low maintenance care that comes with what’s natural. 

Homeowners are tired of having hybrids that require care that includes hiring a lawn service or spending countless hours on their hands and knees. As homeowners realize how low-maintenance native plants are, they set all the herbicides, insecticides and pesticides aside to enjoy the ease of native plants.

This season, the popularity of native plants is off the charts. Keep reading to find out how you can prepare your nursery or gardening business for this growing trend.

Why Gardeners Are Going Native

Native plants are species that occur naturally in an environment. Because these plants thrive without interference, they are extremely hardy and low maintenance. This also makes these easy-to-care for plants a good choice for beginning gardeners. They don’t require a lot of maintenance in order to successfully grow. 

Instead of spending countless amounts of money and time on hard-to-grow plants, gardeners leave native plants to grow under mother nature’s watch. For every climate in the states, there are native plants that will survive and thrive under volatile weather conditions.

Plant lovers are looking to be free from pesticides. That’s another benefit native plants offer. This naturally-occurring foliage supports ecology because it grows without harsh chemicals. Native plants don’t require any fertilizer and get by with minimal irrigation.

As a product offering, native plants are a no-brainer. These native varieties survive and thrive easily, sending customer satisfaction through the roof. That’s just one reason why we shifted TN Nursery to be a native plant nursery. 

Popular Native Plants For Your Audience

When it comes to native plants, wildflowers are always a popular choice for consumers. Everyone loves the rainbow of colors that spring up naturally as the weather warms. Wildflowers are much easier to cultivate than domesticated plants. They offer ease and beauty to gardeners who are going for blooms. 

On the other side of our audience, we see many government and environmental organizations looking to native plants for restoration efforts. These native plants are used in habitat plannings, to restore river banks, wetlands and more with foliage that originally grew there. This is essential for wildlife restoration because those native plants are part of an animal’s natural diet or where they make their homes.

Native seedlings are a great pick when it comes to restoration and plant mitigation. Live stakes are utilized to restore wetlands and prevent soil erosion. Fastenings and brush layers are also used by environmental organizations for streambank, watershed and wetland restorations. At TN Nursery, we’ve worked with the state of Tennessee to supply river chain for a wetland restoration project. 

Your offerings might fill the needs of a whole new niche if you look beyond your current clientele. With a broad perspective, you might uncover another problem your product can solve and expand your business by offering that solution.

The Problem With Hybrid Plants

Hybrid plants are created when someone takes a native plant and modifies it. They do this to create fancier varieties of the native species, but the modification process often has a negative effect. 

Take, for example, the paw paw tree. It’s grafted with another species to try to improve its aesthetics and make its fruit larger. The consequence of this process is that the tree loses its hardiness and berries lose their flavor. 

Many environmental problems come with things that are man modified. We see that magnified in the Bradford pear tree. This popular tree comes from the prickly pear that grows in the wild. Some nurseries will graft the Bradford pear bloom into that prickly pear. It makes a beautiful Bradford pear tree, but when heavy rain, snow or ice comes, the tree splits right down the middle. It gets so top heavy, it’s destroyed in nature.  

These negative effects can lead to huge consequences for a business. Unhappy customers are one thing, lawsuits are another. Extensive damage can occur when a large tree falls. Moving away from hybrid plants can help businesses protect themselves and their customers.

Beginning and expert gardeners alike are seeing the benefits of native plants and putting them first on their wishlist for spring. By becoming a native plant nursery, our website traffic has surged. Gardening’s hottest trend this season is undoubtedly native plants as plant lovers come for foliage that will withstand the elements and grow for years to come.


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