Native + Cultivar = Nativar
For those new to the world of plants, that etymology equation is a great place to start when discussing nativars. As defined in The American Gardener, native plants are “those that have evolved and adapted to a specific location and have remained genetically unaltered by humans.” In other words, a plant that occurs naturally in an area and thrives in the soil, moisture, and weather of that region. In comparison, cultivated plants (cultivars) have been developed, produced, or instigated with human involvement. Cultivars can be a plant that has naturally mutated and selected by humans or those that have been intentionally bred for specific characteristics.
Nativars are at the cross-section of native and cultivated plants. They are varieties that have been selected from a native species for their environmental and ecological benefits and offered to the public as a cultivar. Nativars come with the same attributes that make the native plant sought-after, like being great pollinators, drought-resistant, and sustainable. However, nativars also come with additional attributes like extended flowering times, better shape and size, and disease resistance.
For any new plant going in your environment, it is important to consider what benefits and characteristics you’re looking for and what the environment around you needs. Nativars are a great option to supplement native plantings or bring the ecological benefits of native plants with more modern landscape benefits to your yard.
First Editions® has many terrific nativar options to choose from. Browse through the following list to learn more about each plant and its unique characteristics.