Forget the traditional lawn and invest in native plants

East North Carolina

Do you want to have a vibrant yard, save money and help the environment all at once? Consider dumping the traditional lawn and getting native plants. Native plants are a great tool for environmental, not to mention wallet conservation. Non-native plants like lawn grass use up more water and require more fertilizer and general maintenance and often don't provide anything for local wildlife like bees. Native plants can save you money, attract pollinators like bees and butterflies, and look just as beautiful without the hassle. Let's look at a few. Including:

  • Pepperbushes
  • American Beautyberries
  • Eastern Red Cedars
  • Buttonbushes


One bush to consider is the summer sweet cletha, otherwise known as the pepperbush. This bush, named for its particularly spicy smell, is relatively easy to take care of. It tolerates most soils but grows best in wet, acidic soils. If you have a stream on your property, these bushes can act as erosion control. It does best in partial shade. It's deer-resistant but can become infected with fungus during late rains. You can find various strains of this plant in most nurseries.

American Beautyberry

If you're looking to attract birds, We suggest getting an American beautyberry bush. The berries, often used by Native Americans and settlers to treat sour stomach and other aliments, is a favorite of the local wildlife. If you're into it, you can even make jelly and wine from the berries (though raw berries should only be consumed in small amounts). The bush is low maintenance. It is tolerant of most conditions as long as you keep the soil from getting too dry, It uses much less water than many non-native bushes so it is a money-saver. However, if having deer on your property is a concern, this may not be the bush for you as the beautyberry attracts deer. You can find these in many plant nurseries or order them online.

Eastern Red Cedars

If you want some trees on your property, consider the Eastern red cedar. This cedar was admired by man early settlers to the region and were called the tallest and reddest cedars in the world. For those who don't like dealing with leaves, this tree is good because it's an evergreen. The red cedar prefers full sunlight but is easy to manage otherwise. However you should avoid planting them near apple trees to avoid cedar-apple rust. On the subject of fruit, the fruit of the Eastern cedar is edible. Native Americans used it to flavor meat or as medicine. Look online or in local tree nurseries.


The buttonbush is an ornamental shrub that does well in shade and wet soil. It grows conspicuous and beautiful flowers. It attracts bumblebees. The nuts it produces attract ducks and other waterfowl. However, because the plant is poisonous to livestock, it's best to seek alternative plants if you have livestock on your property. On the other hand, if you want a bush that doesn't attract deer, this is a good one. You can find these at any plant nursery or online for these bushes


This is only a small selection of native plants that can thrive on your property. We encourage you to do more research to find the native plants that are right for you. Look at your local nurseries or contact your local landscapers for suggestions