The best way to guarantee your landscaping looks beautiful in all seasons is to focus on native plants that thrive in your region’s soil and climate — and Central Florida is no different. Thankfully, there’s a diverse array of Florida native plants to choose from to make your Central Florida landscaping vibrant and pristine year-round. Spring is just around the corner, so it’s the perfect time to get planting! From a basic introduction to Florida native plants to their benefits and the best ways to plant some of them, we’re covering it all in our latest Daniel’s Lawn Service blog post.
Florida Native Plants: A Brief Introduction
If you’re just new to gardening or landscaping and don’t know where to start, Florida native plants are a great choice. Not only do they naturally cooperate with Florida’s weather, but they also benefit the entire ecosystem, unlike non-native invasive plants. Three main categories of native plants for Florida include flowers, shrubs and trees. You may already be familiar with some of them! Common native plants for gardening and landscaping include muhly grass, beautyberry, Southern magnolia and coontie — just to name a few. Aside from reading online, you can visit your local nursery to learn more about native plants to the Sunshine State and how to properly care for each one.
Why Landscape with Florida Native Plants?
So, what’s the big deal about using plant species native to Florida over plants from elsewhere? It’s about more than just temperatures. Florida is a subtropical climate, and 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 Florida’s heavy rainy season, very hot temperatures, periods of drought, humidity, occasional winter freezes, the harsh sun and more.
Since Central Florida is indeed a subtropical climate, native tropical plants can bring a burst of color to your landscape or garden. The biggest benefit of all is that they’re simply easy to take care of! You won’t need to put in too much extra effort as you would with non-native plants in order to make up for growing in a non-native environment. Florida native plants allow you to put in less effort for incredible results.
What to Plant and Where to Plant It
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 an enormous variety of options! We’ve included 10 plants here, but Google and your local nursery will be your best friends when it comes to researching more.
Here’s what you need to know about these Florida native plants and where to plant them:
- 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).
- 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.
- 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.
- Yucca — The yucca plant makes a dramatic statement with its long, pointy leaves and white interior blossoms. It’s a very durable plant, best planted in well-draining soil and can be planted any time of the year. Just be sure to give it plenty of space for it to grow! Yucca is also very tolerant to salt and planting near the sea.
- Coral Honeysuckle — Also called trumpet honeysuckle, these bright red (sometimes yellow) flowers grow best in full sunlight and slightly acidic soil, but they are adaptable to other growing conditions, as well.
- Passion Flower — Passion flowers are a flowering vine, and they are incredibly bold and beautiful. These purple flowers grow best in rich, moist, well-draining soils and in both full sunlight and partial shade. Expect to see flowers bloom in summer or early fall!
- Azaleas — A Florida favorite, this flowering shrub comes in a variety of bright colors. They can flourish in any well-draining soil, and enjoy partial shade.
- 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.
- 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.
- Southern Magnolia — An icon of southern life, the Southern magnolia tree features dark green leaves and big white flowers that bloom in both the spring and summer. These sweet Southern magnolias grow well in moist but well-draining soils, and they can be planted in any variety of sunlight exposure.
Central Florida Landscaping Done Right
Want to make sure your Central Florida landscaping is done right? Daniel’s Lawn Service & Pressure Washing is here for you! We serve both Central Florida residents and local business owners with our professional lawn care and landscaping services. As a locally-based business ourself, we know the ins and outs of native Florida plants and landscape design. Give us a call today!