I won’t even wade into the definition of what a native plant is. That alone can be fairly controversial. And people who love native plants have different ideas about them.
What do I mean? I might say that I am growing native plants and I might be referring to my echinacea. A very strict constructionist would say that coneflowers are not native to Connecticut and therefore I can’t consider them native.
To me, that’s silly–but I do know people who will only plant regionally appropriate native plants. Bless them.
Other folks might be growing the double form of coneflowers–these photos are of a neighbor’s plants–and still consider them native.
Technically these double forms are considered “nativars.” That’s a cute form of native and cultivar, combined.
But here are things to consider when planting these types of plants.
First, what is your goal? Are you just planting ornamentally? If so, plant what you like and what will be hardy for you.
If you are planting for wildlife, consider how closely the nativar mimics the native plant. In the case of the coneflowers, the “cone” is replaced by petals. So there is no place for insects or butterflies to nectar. That’s not a good “mimic.”
On Friday I will show a different nativar that maintains the attributes of its parent.