By: Stacey Wildberger
I have been writing about using natives in your backyard landscape and the benefits they provide to wildlife but what about the nativars we hear so much about and see in the local garden center? As you start adding to your gardens this spring it is important to understand what a native straight species plant is vs a nativar or cultivar of a native plant.
Nativars are cultivars of native plants that have been propagated for specific “desirable” traits. They are becoming increasingly popular as alternatives to native “straight species”. A native plant is a plant species that occurs naturally in a particular region, habitat, or ecosystem. A nativar is a result of artificial selection- its traits have been selected by humans for some particular need to improve on the natural. The colors, bloom size/ shape, and even their height have been altered for our gardens. While a native freely propagates or self sows in the wild and in your garden a nativar cannot propagate naturally.