Native plants are those that were growing in a region before people came. They have formed symbiotic relationships with nature over thousands of years, and therefore are the most sustainable in this habitat.

Native plants will thrive in the soils, moisture and weather of our region. Their benefits are many.

• Save time and money. Native plants can adapt to the typical amount of precipitation our area receives. They are able to hold water better than non-native plants, which will save you significant amounts of water, leading to lower water expenses and increased savings.

• Better resistance to local weather. Native plants tend to withstand the environment better than non-native plants, allowing them to withstand harsh weather and grow back the following year. Perennials can be expected to survive, and annuals are more likely to re-seed.

• Less maintenance. Native plants are typically more resistant to disease, drought and other environmental risks. They can spread quickly to crowd out weeds and typically require less pruning and thinning. Native plants also assist in managing rain water runoff and maintain healthy soil as their root systems are deep and keep soil from being compacted.

• Restore natural habitats. Native plants contribute to a natural habitat for the animals that reside in the area, producing fruit, nectar, nuts and seeds that provide a natural source of food for many birds and animals within the area.

Many birds, butterflies, dragonflies, and other animals require native plants for their existence. Baby birds require insects and larvae for survival. Our Sun City golf courses have planted native plant gardens as well as a milkweed garden.

• Rarely invasive. Most native plants are not invasive, while many non-natives that evolved in other parts of the world or were cultivated into forms that don’t exist in nature often escape into the wild and become invasive exotics that destroy our natural habitat.

• No fertilizer or pesticides needed. Native plants are adapted to our climate and can defend themselves against indigenous insects, fungi and disease. Their built-in defense systems protect them and eliminate the need for fertilizers and pesticides, saving you money and protecting our environment.

For information on landscaping with native plants, including layout plans, visit the Sun City Hilton Head Bird Club website at suncitybirdclub.org

David Smith is a resident of Sun City.