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Gardener reveals hassle-free tool for choosing the best plants for your yard: 'Who knew?'

"It's a great tool, and they keep making updates."

"This is fabulous, what a smart way to research and pick plants."

Photo Credit: iStock

As swapping traditional lawns for more beneficial, eco-friendly native plant yards grows in popularity among American homeowners, you may be wondering which plants tend to thrive in your area.

Thankfully, a Redditor in r/NativePlantGardening, an online community for gardeners who have a passion for growing native plants, has shared an extremely helpful online tool for those looking to rewild their yards.

The post introduces the National Wildlife Federation's Native Plant Finder, a tool for finding native plants by ZIP code, ranked by the number of caterpillar species the plant can host. 

The poster also noted an additional function of the tool that identifies which native plants can support certain species of butterflies and moths according to your location. 

"Who knew that wild strawberries host more caterpillars than any other forb where I live in Oregon? Or that willow trees host more than four times as many species as strawberries, and also more than the celebrated Garry Oaks? I didn't!" the Redditor said.

Not only can installing a lawn full of native plants save you hundreds of dollars a year on yard maintenance and lower your utility bills by conserving water while still sequestering carbon from the air, but native plant gardening also contributes to a healthier ecosystem for your area's pollinators

Supporting pollinators such as butterflies and moths helps plants flourish — especially the ones we rely on for food. 

If you want to reap these kinds of benefits, even a partial replacement of your lawn with native plants, clover, buffalo grass, drought-resistant ground cover, or xeriscaping — landscaping that lowers or eliminates the need for water — can create a habitat for local wildlife to prosper. 

You'll also be able to avoid dependency on the added chemicals in lawn care products such as pesticides, meaning less contaminated runoff will pollute your local water sources. 

Redditors expressed gratitude for the discovery, noting how they use it for their own research and gardening pursuits.

"This is fabulous, what a smart way to research and pick plants," one user said. "They have info on trees and shrubs as well."

"It's a great tool, and they keep making updates," another commenter added. "The keystone plant data is also really cool to see. I've been using it to make sure I have as many of these genera as possible in my yard." 

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