Trade Your Pansies for Native Plants and Earn the Benefits

By Ada Mahood

Milkweed seedlings in the Woodstock Union HS/MS Greenhouse. Photo by Abbie Castriotta.

Spring is right around the corner and that means spring plant sales are here! Pansies are a very popular spring plant sale item, but this year consider trading out your pansies and traditional spring plants for native plants. According to an article published by Audubon, the U.S lost 150 million acres of habitat to urban landscaping over the last century. It is super important to promote biodiversity by sticking to planting native plants.

What are native plants? 

Native plants are plants that are in the region naturally and aren’t brought over from somewhere else. Without native plants in the region, local birds or bugs cannot survive, therefore disrupting the whole food chain. Introducing plants that are considered “exotic” like pansies severs the food webs in the area. 

Why are native plants so beneficial? 

There are so many pros to establishing a garden with healthy native plants. For example, once native plants are planted, they require little to no maintenance. They also require very little water because they have adapted to the climate and weather in the region. For people who love the colors of pansies, native plants can have exceptionally beautiful colors during their blooming season and can turn your garden from drab to fab. Another important aspect of native plants is combating climate change. Native plants store Earth warming gasses and help produce oxygen to keep our planet alive and us breathing. 

Why choose native plants for your garden? 

There are only benefits with native plants. By planting native plants, you are producing habitats and food sources for pollinators and wild animals alike. You’re also taking action against the climate crisis while having a beautiful bountiful garden that is sure to win over your neighborhood garden club.

Looking for a place to buy native plants? 

The Spring Plant Sale at the Woodstock Union HS/MS Greenhouse is coming up! The sale will run from May 1st-31st and be open from 9am-2pm on school days. We may add some late days.

We made a few exciting changes this year. Students start more than half of our plants by seed, but we do have to source some more difficult-to-start plants (think petunias and geraniums) from a nursery. This year, all of those plants came from a nursery that is neonicotinoid free (read more about the effects of neonicotinoids on pollinators on the Xerces website)! Students collected and sowed MANY native plants this year. Some will be available this spring and some will be available to pre-order for fall planting. See our full list of plants at

This year, we will also be selling No Mow May signs and Fedco seeds for varieties that you may want to direct-sow in your garden.

We will be holding a plastic plant pot collection drive again. We can only reuse 4-pack and 4” square pots in good condition. We will accept other sized pots and broken pots (if they are #2 or #5 plastic) that we will recycle through a special program, but they must be clean and sorted from the 4-pack and 4” pots that we can reuse. As always, bring cardboard boxes if you have them for transporting your plants to your car.

Please contact Abbie ( with questions. 


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