Kiawah’s Grow Native initiative is a community-wide effort to increase the use of native plants in landscaping projects across the island with an overall goal of improving wildlife habitat.
Using native plants in landscaping has a direct impact on the ecosystem. Benefits include:
– protection of water resources, allowing gardeners to reduce fertilizers, pesticides, and irrigation practices which otherwise can contribute to stormwater runoff pollution and degradation of downstream water quality.
– sustain pollinators vital for fruit production and provide high-quality food and shelter for 10 to 15 times as many species of wildlife as non-native plants.
– provide essential watershed protection, helping natural aquifers recharge, serving to filter water naturally flowing into rivers and estuaries, lessening erosion and flooding.
– resistance to saltwater intrusion from flooding and storm surge.
The Grow Native plant database is a searchable online database of native trees, shrubs, perennials, vines, ferns, and grasses that provides detailed information on growing conditions, size, flowering information, salt tolerance, deer resistance, and the wildlife value for each plant. The database was designed to help promote the use of native plants on the island and serve as a resource for residents, landscapers, landscape architects, landscape designers, and other entities There are currently 196 plants in the database, but the list will be expanded over time.