There's a trick to successful, low-maintenance, low-cost gardening in Florida: native plants!
Plants that grow naturally in your area have been tested over the years by Mother Nature and have proven themselves.
Black-eyed Susans are natives, so are Tickseed and some of the Sages. Some, like Blazing Stars, Passion vines, Asters, and Verbenas, will attract butterflies
as well. A Beautyberry shrub will brighten your landscape with not only its clusters of magenta berries but the many birds
that they attract. Some native plants are pictured in our photo gallery
Check out our native plant lists:
- All plants (by family)
- Annuals & perennials
- Annuals & perennials for birds
- Shrubs & small trees for birds
- Trees for birds
- Butterfly nectar plants
- Butterfly nectar plants (by family)
- Butterfly host plants (by family)
There are also organizations
that promote native gardening and some that offer certification of backyard habitats
Many native plants are protected by law because their numbers are dwindling. Please do not collect native plants without knowing what they are and that it is okay to collect them. Taking protected plants is illegal, but worse, it will contribute to the endangered status of the plant and perhaps harm the habitat of threatened or endangered wildlife. Once you've identified a particular plant, you can check the list of protected plants
. Rather than removing a non-protected plant from its habitat, consider collecting some seeds or cuttings. This method will probably be more successful as many don't transplant easily. Better yet, check your yellow pages for a local nursery that sells native plants.
I have to add a word of warning about buying native plants. I have visited several nurseries that promote native plants and said I was only interested in purchasing natives. Yet I have been directed to non-natives even when a native of the same species was just a few feet away.
To find a nursery near you, you might want to check with the Association of Florida Native Nurseries
, which has a listing of nurseries by county.