VA Native Plants in the News

The following native plant oriented editorials are from the Richmond Times Dispatch. The first one is by RTD opinions editor, Pamela Stallsmith, and the second one is a response to Pamela by our own NNNPS President, Ted Munns. 

Editorial: Go native

Mar 15, 2019

As spring beckons and gardeners begin thinking about planting, they should consider the many plants, shrubs, flowers and trees native to the Richmond region. The advantages of native plants are many. They require less maintenance and are quick-growing, tough and long-lived. Native perennials, vines, wildflowers and groundcovers rapidly fill out patchy areas, either by reseeding or spreading, and are easily divided to create plants for starting new gardens, according to Better Homes and Gardens. The plants promote healthy habitats for birds, bees, butterflies and other fauna.

If you’re looking for a great resource, you will find one in “Native Plants for Virginia’s Capital Region,” recently published by the Virginia Coastal Zone Management Program, led by the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality. The guide provides detailed information on 241 native plants found in Amelia, Charles City, Chesterfield, Cumberland, Goochland, Hanover, Henrico, New Kent and Powhatan counties. It gives tips for growing such blooming beauties as Common Yarrow, Purple False Foxglove, Yellow Wild Indigo and Wild Columbine.

“Native Plants for Virginia’s Capital Region” is the first product of the upcoming Plant RVA Natives spring campaign, which stresses the importance of using native plants in residential and otherwise built environments, according to DEQ. Guides are also available for the Eastern Shore, Northern Virginia, Northern Neck, Hampton Roads, Piedmont and Central Rappahannock. Free copies can be ordered at .

“As natural habitats decline, especially in our coastal areas, landscaping with native plants by home gardeners and businesses is vital to support local ecosystems and biodiversity,” Virginia CZM Program Manager Laura McKay said in a statement. “Native plants attract beneficial insects — essential pollinators — that are necessary for the survival of native plants, birds and animals.”

The Richmond region is blessed with a bounty of beautiful gardens, both private and public. We enjoy walking the trails at Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden and Maymont. Adding Virginia natives to the mix adds glory to any garden.

Pamela Stallsmith

Native plants help sustain Va. wildlife

Editor, Times Dispatch:

Mar 15, 2019

I want to thank Pam Stallsmith for her editorial “Go native” in a recent issue of The Times-Dispatch. The greening of Virginia begins with the acknowledgment that plants native to Virginia are an investment in sustainability of our natural beauty as well as to provide habitat and forage to our abundant wildlife. Without certain native plants, butterflies such as the monarch would disappear because the adult female lays its eggs only on milkweed plants. The resulting caterpillars feed only upon the milkweed — none other. Plants and insects have evolved together and provide the basis for our bird population to thrive because together they provide the foundation for the rich protein-based diet that adult birds feed their offspring. The Virginia Native Plant Society is at the forefront of highlighting, promoting and protecting the vast range of our native plants. We in the Old Dominion are fortunate to have among America’s most diverse native plant system in the country. Let us all “Go Native, Grow Native.”

Ted Munns
President, Northern Neck Chapter of the Virginia Native Plant Society

articleKyle Langford