Maintaining and restoring native plants is one of the main ways we engage in forest conservation. Planting a white oak in your yard can be a great way to help your local arboretum. When it comes to your garden, however, it can be harder to find native plants to grow. You might have some worries about growing a less familiar plant, and they’re harder to find at nurseries. Don’t fret!
There are quite a few plants local to Georgia you can add to your garden. If you’re looking for fruit, you have a few options. There are pawpaws, a small green fruit that tastes somewhat like a banana and grow on trees. Once picked, they don’t last long, making them a great choice for a garden. Next, there are persimmons and muscadine grapes, both great for snacking. Then we have the native plums such as American plum and Chickasaw plum. These wild varieties of plum have a tart flavor and is great for jams and pies. Speaking of jams and pies, we have several native berries as well, including Highbush blueberry, serviceberry, and Sawtooth blackberries. For the more savory side of things, there are a variety of nuts, including the American hazelnut, pecan, and black walnut, a few herbs, especially among the mints, and some roots with some great root vegetables including wild sweet potatoes and Jerusalem artichoke.
If you’re wondering about some other options, the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center has a great database of local plants around the country. Their page for native Georgia plants can be found here. And if you want to know where you can buy some of these plants, Trees Atlanta is having our annual Tree Sales in October where you can find several native trees and shrubs!
By Lindsay Malone