Florida Native Plants
What are Native Plants?
According to the Florida Native Plant Society, a “Florida native plant” refers to an indigenous plant species that existed in Florida prior to when human colonization caused significant impacts to the landscape. Florida’s first colonizers, the Spanish, named the region “Florida” because of the myriad of beautiful wildflowers that were in bloom when they arrived here hundreds of years ago.
What are Non-Native Plants?
Human expansion, agricultural and horticulture industries, and residential development have introduced an entirely new plant pallet to Florida. Nearly one-third of the plant species growing in Florida’s wilderness are non-native plants. What’s worse is the invasive non-native plants have had a major impact on the beautiful wildflowers our state was named for!
What are Invasive Plants? Why are they harmful?
Plants become “invasive” when they disrupt natural ecological processes like water flow, fire, and animal movement. Non-native invasive plants also fail to adequately provide shelter, habitat, or forage food for Florida’s native animals — and some are even poisonous! The Florida Invasive Species Council has a list of the worst invasive plants. Non-native, invasive plants are so harmful to the ecology and economy of Florida that our state spends millions of taxpayer dollars to remove them. This is a good reason to go native!
Reasons to choose native plants (and remove non-native invasive plants)
- They’re beautiful: There is a lot to be said about native plants’ natural beauty, hence Florida’s name!
- Easy to care for: Native plants are adapted to Florida soils and, once established, they thrive on natural rainfall alone and don’t require any fertilizer.
- Attract birds, butterflies, and other wildlife: Native plants are an important part of Florida’s ecosystem and provide food and shelter for other native species.
How to find a native plant nursery
In the past, native plant nurseries were few and far between, but now there are many native nurseries and professionals specializing in native plant landscapes. Check out the Be Floridian Now Native Plants Brochure for popular plants and the Florida Native Plant Society for native plants that will thrive in your yard, or visit Florida Association of Native Nurseries website to find a nursery, landscaper, or designer near you.
You can help native plants make a comeback by planting them in your garden. There are plenty of native flowers, shrubs, and trees that can enhance your specific site requirements. There is a native plant for every plant palate and personal preference.
So what’s stopping you? Go Native!