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Learn more about native plants

These articles provide an introduction to to Florida native plants and the benefits of using them in your home landscape. For suggestions of specific plants, cultivation and maintenance tips, please consult with your local professionals.

Bumblebee nectars on the flower of Buttonbush (Cephalanthus occidentalis), a medium to large-sized shrub that attracts butterflies and is a good choice for lake or pondside margins throughout much of Florida. Photo by Sharon LaPlante.

Starting a Water Garden

  Florida’s beautiful rivers, lakes, creeks, and ponds are supported by unique communities of native plants, from trees to tiny wildflowers. Bring some of this wet and wild beauty into your home landscape with a water garden, and you’ll dramatically …

Blue birds at nest box

Gardening for Birds with Florida Native Plants

By incorporating bird-friendly Florida native plants in your landscape, you and your family can enjoy birdwatching at home, all year long. Think how proud and thrilled you’ll be when birds build their nests in your yard and teach their hatchlings …

Long-tailed Skipper on Spanish Needles (Bidens alba)

What is a Florida native plant? And why do we care?

“For most purposes, the phrase “Florida native plant” refers to those species occurring within the state boundaries prior to European contact, according to the best available scientific and historical documentation. More specifically, it includes those species understood as indigenous, occurring …

Monarch caterpillar on swamp milkweed

Save our Monarchs: Plant Native Milkweed

The monarch butterfly is one of our most easily recognized butterflies and well known for its long migration across North America. Unfortunately, the loss of natural habitat, in particular native milkweeds, has resulted in dwindling monarch populations vulnerable to other …

Broward County is one of our most heavily urbanized areas. Yet it is home to nearly a dozen native plant communities, as shown on this close-up view of the Plant Communities Map. The light blue swath is Everglades. The best example of native coastal landscaping can be found in Hugh Taylor Birch State Park. In Fern Forest, Broward County Parks, a remnant wetland forest can be seen – just a fraction of what was once one of the richest ecosystems in Southeast Florida – a river running through huge Bald Cypress and a forest of tropical trees covered in orchids, bromeliads and ferns.

About the Plant Communities Map

The plant communities map referred to throughout this website is used to illustrate the natural diversity of Florida and to show where in the state certain native plant communities occur. The map shows what Real Florida was, and in some …

Longleaf pine woodland

About Native Plant Communities

Why Native Plant Communities are Important Models for Landscape Design – by Michael Jameson, native plant grower and founding member of FANN When children are nurtured and raised into adulthood, the ideal is that these people will then be able …

birdbath

Know Your Plants

The first step in making your landscape sustainable is to understand what you have. Identify all the plants on your property, so that you can determine which to keep, which to remove right away, which need to be replaced over …

Coreopsis field

Why Local Matters: Ecotypes & Provenance

A fundamental selling point for native plants is that they are naturally adapted to the place they occur – the soils,  climate, natural water regime (not sprinkler systems), and surrounding plants, animals, insects and other organisms. This natural adaptation makes …

palamedes swallowtail caterpillar on red bay leaf

Bringing Nature Home: Why Native Plants Matter

The science is in. If you want birds, butterflies and other wildlife, you need native plants. What does the extinction crisis have to do with our yards? As it happens, a lot. And to a great extent, we have Dr. …