Whether it's a comprehensive start-from-scratch landscaping project or simply selecting the perfect shrub to fit into a corner of the yard, the Cape Cod homeowner is met with a daunting number of choices when visiting the local nursery.
What grows best in the Cape's climate, or is most compatible with our sandy soils? Which plantings are the most drought tolerant? Does a certain plant need to be fertilized? Is it disease resistant?
APCC has launched an initiative to promote the use of native plant species by homeowners and professional landscapers. By creating an interest among consumers to use native plants, we also hope to encourage more local nurseries to stock a larger inventory of native plants.
The first phase in this initiative is our list of native plant species. The list was originally compiled by the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service, and includes plant species native to southeastern Massachusetts that can be readily obtained by commercial nurseries for their customers.
Native plants are not just an environmentally preferred alternative to the non-native plants commonly used in landscaping-they are typically hardier and better adapted to thrive in this region. Consequently, native plants require less water, fertilizer and pesticides. Eliminating the need to fertilize or apply pesticides helps protect our groundwater, ponds and coastal embayments. Selecting drought-tolerant species conserves water use. All of this translates into a healthy, beautiful landscape that also saves you money!
Native plants have the added advantage of providing natural food and shelter for birds, butterflies and other wildlife. And their use also helps protect the Cape from non-native invasive plant species. For every category of plant, shrub or tree sold in a commercial nursery, there is an equally attractive native plant species that can be used-if there is a demand for it.
Where to Find Native Plant Species
Native Plant Species for Cape Cod, Massachusetts
Wetland Status Key
OBL - Obligate – Occurs 99% in wetlands
FACW - Facultative Wetland – Occurs
FAC - Facultative – Equally likely to occur in wetlands or uplands
FACU - Facultative Upland – Occurs 67% - 99% in uplands