Advantages of Landscaping with Florida Native Plants

We at Daniel’s Lawn Service & Pressure Washing often refer to your property as your slice of Central Florida paradise. Incorporating Florida native plants into your landscape can make it even more so! The Sunshine State’s diverse variety of botanical life can enhance every area of your yard, providing several advantages in addition to their considerable beauty.

Florida Native Plants Can Better Tolerate Florida’s Challenging Climate

Recent arrivals acclimating themselves to Florida’s semitropical climate may still be baffled by our ongoing heat, humidity and absence of four well-defined seasons. So just imagine what plants might think – if they could! If you’re from “up north” and want to have a bit of home in your landscaping, those beloved flowers and shrubs may find our environment inhospitable. Florida native plants are equipped to grow and thrive here, requiring little more than basic care.

As our blog post – “Landscaping with Florida Native Plants” – points out, it’s about more than just temperatures that give native plants the winning edge. In addition to being a subtropical climate, the state itself has many unique characteristics when it comes to soil, water and wildlife. The plants we see today have taken many thousands of years to adapt to our specific climate and geography. Because of this, Florida native plants can naturally endure our heavy rainy season, very hot temperatures, periods of drought, humidity, (very) occasional winter freezes, the harsh sun and more.

The Florida Native Plant Society provides the following additional benefits:

  • Florida native plants require less water than non-native species, which helps to conserve the state’s water supply – as well as keeping your water bill manageable.
  • Most Florida soils are naturally low in nutrients, and the plants that are found naturally in those soils generally need little or no supplemental fertilizer.
  • Florida native plants provide food for birds, pollinators and other beneficial insects.

The biggest advantage of all is that they’re simply easy to take care of! You won’t need to put in too much extra work as you would with non-native plants in order to compensate for growing in a non-native environment. Florida native plants allow you to put in less effort and resources at less expense for spectacular results!

There is a Wide Variety of Florida Native Plants to Choose From

Fortunately, you don’t need to feel deprived should you decide to devote much of your property’s landscaping to Florida native plants! Despite the misconception that native plants aren’t all that ornamental based on what’s observed in the wild, reality is very different. Be it groundcovers, annual or perennial flowers, vines, shrubs or trees, you’ll find many choices to make any landscaping vision a stunning reality!

Florida Native Plants Offer Many Landscaping Possibilities

If you wanted, you could plant your entire yard with Florida native plants and create intriguing layers, flower beds and focal points. Of course, you don’t have to go to extremes. They play well with non-native plants, serving as attractive accents.

And for our newcomers, don’t assume that palm trees are the only Florida native trees available! If you’re longing for a bit of home, the lovely Florida maple is ideal for use as an ornamental or shade tree – and even provides beautiful fall colors with leaves turning muted shades of yellow and orange.

A List of Our Favorite Florida Native Plants

There are so many native Florida plants that we simply don’t have the space to give details on every single one. This is good news, however, because it means you have a generous variety of options! We’ve included 11 plants here, but Google and your local nursery will be your best friends when it comes to researching more.

  1. Beautyberry – Also referred to as the American mulberry, the beautyberry shrub brings lavender-pink flowers in the spring and summer, before bringing forth gorgeous purple fruits in September. They can be planted year-round, preferably in rich soils (but poor and sandy soils are okay, too).
  2. Black-Eyed Susan – Easy to grow, the black-eyed Susan is a sunny-colored wildflower that’s perfect for butterfly gardens. This plant forms a mound of foliage topped with a bright display of flowers characterized by brown centers surrounded by red, orange, yellow or golden petals. Seeds can be planted directly in the ground, or you can buy small plants. Choose a sunny, well-drained location in the spring. The flowers will develop 10 to 14 weeks after the seed is planted, and should survive throughout the summer.
  3. Blanket Flower – Resembling a sunflower, the blanket flower comes in vibrant yellow, orange, red and even reddish purple. This summery flower tolerates heat, saltiness and sand with ease. Just be sure to plant blanket flowers in any well-draining soil and in full sunlight for best growth.
  4. Coontie – A type of shrub-sized cycad, the coontie looks very tropical with its palm-like leaves. They are sturdy against cooler temperatures and tolerant of salty soils. Plant coontie in any well-draining soil and any light environment.
  5. Coral Honeysuckle – Also known as trumpet honeysuckle, this vine is best known for its bright red, tubular flowers. Clusters of blooms emerge on new growth in spring and summer. The flowers attract hummingbirds and butterflies for months before maturing into berries. These fruits draw songbirds in late summer and fall.
  6. Firebush – Firebush is a hearty shrub with dazzling orange flowers. Plant it in the late spring or summer in well-drained soil (particularly limestone soil). While firebush does love being in the sunlight, it can also grow well in partial shade.
  7. Muhly Grass – Great for filling space, muhly grass is famous for its pink, purple and white fluff. Plant this grass in sunny areas and expect them to grow the most in the springtime. Give them two to two and a half feet of space between each planted grass for optimal growth.
  8. Native Azaleas – This flowering shrub comes in a variety of bright colors. They can flourish in any well-draining soil, and enjoy partial shade. Our blog post – “Dress Up Your Central Florida Landscape with Azaleas” – covers this Florida favorite in greater detail.
  9. Native Bromeliads – Besides palm trees, no plant says “Florida” quite like native bromeliads. Standouts for their bold, often colorful leaves and for the exotic flower spikes that many produce, bromeliads have a lot to offer if you want to create a landscape with a more tropical look. The main thing to consider when choosing a bromeliad is the amount of light your spot receives. Bromeliads come from a wide range of environments – from areas with deep shade to full sun – so chances are good that you can find one suitable for your site.
  10. Passion Flower – This flowering perennial vine attracts butterflies and hummingbirds. It produces stunning blooms in shades of purple or lavender – as well as green fruit that’s technically edible but not tasty. Plant at the base of a fence, trellis, or arbor. It performs best in full sun, but can tolerate some shade. Because the vines spread, plant where it has room to roam. The passion flower will grow as high and as wide as the structure it grows along.
  11. Southern Magnolia – The elegant southern magnolia tree features dark green leaves and big white flowers that bloom in both the spring and summer. It grows well in moist but well-draining soils, and can be planted in any variety of sunlight exposure.

The Take-Home Message

Whether you’re considering a new plant for your yard, or an entirely new landscaping design, Florida native plants can provide great benefits in many ways. Our landscaping experts at Daniel’s Lawn Service & Pressure Washing can advise you on the best types of Florida native plants for your property – and provide a landscaping design that allows you to incorporate and showcase them to give you a yard that will truly be your slice of Central Florida paradise!

In addition to landscaping design, our full-service company provides plant and tree installation, tree trimming, yard maintenance, pressure washing and so much more. Contact us today so we can do the work, and you can do the enjoying! We proudly serve all of Central Florida – including Orlando, Sanford, Longwood and Lake Mary! We look forward to helping you achieve your goals and bring your vision to life!