Native plants are defined by the Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation Natural Heritage Program as plants that occur in the region in which they evolved. Northern Virginia's native plants provide essential services by helping to reduce stormwater runoff, filter water, reduce erosion and flooding, and enable efforts to beautify the region.
Native plant biodiversity has declined in Northern Virginia and parks and open spaces throughout the region currently contend with hundreds of non-native plant species. Some of these non-native plants are invasive and compete with native plant species, degrade soil, facilitate erosion, decrease recreation opportunities, and alter the region's natural landscapes.
Plants that are native to Northern Virginia are perfectly suited to our climate and soil, require fewer fertilizers, soil amendments, or pesticides, and use less water than conventional turf grass landscapes.
In 2011, the Northern Virginia Regional Commission brought together a group of partners to help facilitate the "Plant NOVA Natives Social Marketing Campaign". The goals of the campaign are to introduce local residents to the wide variety of beautiful plants that are native to Northern Virginia and encourage local businesses to promote and sell more native plants. Results from the campaign can be found here: Final Deliverables FY11 Task 54 Northern VA Native Plant Campaign.