Residential green areas often represent a significant portion of a city’s green infrastructure which has generated great interest in studying the factors that contribute to the formation of plant associations in residential yards. This project evaluated the external factors to the household socio-ecological system that influence the availability of plants for residential landscapes and how they may influence the presence of native plants in residential yards on households within the Río Piedras watershed in the metropolitan area of San Juan, Puerto Rico. The methods used included a residential survey with open and closed questions that addressed the sources of plants used in landscaping and an evaluation of ornamental plant species inventories from local nurseries. A total of 432 yards were surveyed.
Yard plants in this watershed have multiple sources. Aside from obtaining plants at local nurseries, natural dispersion, exchanges among family and friends and historical plantings can be just as important sources of yard plants. Our results also suggest that the majority of residents do not know where to get native plants which could represent a challenge for the development and implementation of initiatives for natives gardening. At the same time, most commercial nurseries have a deficit of native plants in their inventories. This information is critical to species conservation strategies that seek the inclusion of urban residential areas and may help improve initiatives about the involvement of individual citizens in sustainable gardening practices at the residential scale