Is that plant native?
Here’s a really nice resource for checking if a plant is native to Virginia: The USDA Plant Database State Search. Just enter either the common or scientific name of the plant and click on our state and it will come back with the list of varieties of that plant that are native to here.
Try entering Monarda, that’s the scientific name for Bee Balm and Bergamot – you’ll see all the different varieties that are in our state. From the list that comes back, try clicking on a name that’s highlighted in blue and you’ll see photos and range maps for the plant. Pretty cool.
Of course, Virginia is a pretty big state with a variety of ecosystems that range from mountain to coastal, so you may need to do a bit more research to get species that are good for Loudoun (such as checking out our Gardening for Wildlife Plant List) but this database provides a good reference.
Springtime is such a fun time to get out those gloves, knee pads and spades and dig in the dirt! As you do, planting native flowers and shrubs is so important.
Plants and animals have evolved together — with plants blooming at the time when specific pollinators have come on the scene, and animals like hummingbirds, bees, flies, butterflies, ants, developing their bodies and seasonal rhythms to take advantage of what the locals plants have to offer at specific times throughout the year.
Planting non-natives can disrupt this, not to mention that non-natives often require more water and other resources in order to get them to thrive in an alien environment.
In addition to the USDA Plant Guide database, you can also search and download our Gardening for Wildlife Plant List.