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Written by: Summer Graham



With 2021-2030 being the UN decade on ecosystem restoration,

I think it is a good time to reflect on the importance of healthy, functioning ecosystems as well as take action in restoring them. Some organizations have spearheaded restoration efforts like the Bonn Challenge, which aims to restore 350 million hectares of degraded ecosystems by 2030! While these large-scale targets are inspiring, you may be wondering if there is anything you can possibly do to help. Well there is - and it starts in your own backyard!


Some common garden species became popular and widespread before they were known to be invasive outside of their native range. By replacing these problem species with native ones, you can reduce the risk of contributing to the degradation of near-by native areas. You may think “This Common Buckthorn is just in my backyard, it doesn’t matter if it’s planted here” but Buckthorn berries are often eaten by birds, which then spread seeds all over! 


Many invasive, non-native garden species are unfortunately still sold in garden centres, so informing yourself (and your friends!) on which species to avoid buying is the first step. Then, you can determine which native species would be most ideal for your garden. By using the Ontario Invasive Plant Council (OIPC) Grow me instead guide, gardeners in Ontario can easily swap invasive species with native ones! See below for some recommended replacements to common Southern Ontario species:


                         Instead of Planting....                                                                                  ...Plant This! 



(Vinca minor)


View Plant


Wild Geranium

(Geranium maculatum


View Plant


European Lily

of the Valley

(Convallaria majalis)


View Plant



Starry Flase Solomon's Seal

(Maianthemum steallatum)


View Plant



(Aegopodium podagraria)


View Plant



Large-leaved Aster

(Eurybia macrophylla)


View Plant


English Ivy

(Hedera helix


View Plant



Wild Strawberry 

(Fragaria virginiana


View Plant



Yellow Arch-angel

(Lamiastrum galeobdolon)


View Plant



Zig-zag Goldenrod

(Solidago flexicaulis)


View Plant



Similar resources are available for Alberta, Yukon, BC, Saskatchewan, and Manitoba (see below). Now that you are inspired to replace your garden with some native species, head to our native nursery locator to find some native plants near you!


Additional Resources:

Ontario OIPC Grow Me Instead Guides Southern 

OICP Grow Me Instead Northern

Alberta Grow Me Instead 

Yukon Grow Me Instead 

Be Plant Wise BC 

Saskatchewan Invasive Species Council

Manitoba Grow me Instead



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CanPlant Blog
August 11, 2022
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