Native plants satisfy desires for beauty and for environmental stewardship.
For a long time gardeners relied on what was available at retail nurseries or pass-alongs from friends. The horticultural trade was geared to splashy exotic plants, that many times didn’t suit the conditions of the area, and required frequent watering, fertilizing, pesticides, or other inputs. Or worse, some selections were too happy to take over, and became invasive invaders that escaped gardens and took over natural areas. However, there is a rising awareness to the many benefits of Native Plants, such as –
- Conserves water. Natives often do well on rainfall alone. Fresh water doesn’t need to be spent needlessly on landscaping.
- Natives are already adapted to local conditions. The right plant, in the right place, is much less demanding of your time and care.
- Furnishes food and habitat to wildlife. The critters are enjoyable to watch, and you aid in the survival of the animals that visit.
- Overcomes the need for chemicals, and reduces your exposure to toxic substances.
- Presents a pride in the place you chose as you home. Highlights what makes your area special.
- Some natives are EDIBLE!
- Saves money. Less fertilizers, less water, less chemicals, equal less bills!
Now many nurseries are stocking native plants, and a growing segment are devoted to only natives. The next time you are shopping, ask about native plants!
There is a wealth of information online about the many beautiful and beneficial plants that make Florida the land of flowers. Below is some information to get you started.
NATIVE ALTERNATIVES TO INVASIVE PLANTS:
WILDFLOWER PLANT GUIDE:
FLORIDA WILDFLOWERS & BUTTERFLIES:
UF/IFAS page on native plants: http://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/topic_native_plants
Florida Federation of Garden Clubs wildflower information: http://www.ffgc.org/projects/native_plants_wildflowers/index.html
- Florida Native Plant Society: http://www.fnps.org/
- Citrus Co Chapter can be seen on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/CCNPS
Florida Friendly Plant Database *allows search option for natives only*: http://www.floridayards.org/fyplants/
- Plant Real Florida: http://www.plantrealflorida.org/
The Back Ten Feet: http://www.backtenfeet.com
Florida Wildflower Foundation: http://www.flawildflowers.org/
Florida Wildflower Cooperative: http://www.floridawildflowers.com/
Florida Natural Areas Inventory: http://fnai.org/index.cfm
Florida Wildlife Commission plants on Flikr http://www.flickr.com/photos/myfwc/sets/72157624054234354/
Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center: http://www.wildflower.org/ Endemic Plants Of Florida: http://www.landscope.org/florida/plants-animals/lists/Endemic%20Plants/Endemic%20Plants%20List/
Endangered & Threatened Plants of Florida: http://www.virtualherbarium.org/EPAC/
Florida Exotic Pest Plant Council – Invasive Plant Lists: http://www.fleppc.org/list/list.htm