What’s the difference between Native, Non-Native, Invasive, and Non-Invasive plants?
Native plants are species that have evolved in Indiana and were here before European colonization of the state. Non-native species are those that came from another part of the world as a result of human activities. Invasive species are non-native species that cause economic or environmental harm, or harm to human health. Non-invasive species are non-native, but do not cause these kinds of harm. The vast majority of non-native species are non-invasive, and perfectly appropriate for use in landscaping without fear that they will escape your garden. However, there are other advantages to using native plants in landscaping. They are hardy, generally easy to care for, and provide excellent food and shelter for wildlife, including pollinators.
How do I know whether a plant is native, non-native, or invasive? There are many resources to help determine whether a species is native, non-native, or invasive. Common natives in horticulture is a list of many of the Indiana natives that are for sale at nurseries and retailers. The USDA PLANTS database is a useful resource to look up the native range of plant species. Finally, the list of invasive plants in Indiana may be found here.