Plant Real Florida
Add native plants to your landscape
and bring home the beauty of real Florida.
Industry Professionals:

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 in natural associations in habitats that existed prior to significant human impacts and alterations of the landscape.
– Definition of “Florida native plant” as adopted by the Florida Native Plant Society.*

Native plants are natural. Droughts, hurricanes, sandy soils, wet soils, hot sun, unpredictable cold snaps, floods, wildfire, and salty sea breezes are all part of Florida. Native plants have existed in Florida for many thousands of years, so they’ve naturally become adapted to our climate, soils, and wildlife. By using native plants, you can greatly reduce and sometimes eliminate the need to irrigate and fertilize. By planting a diverse selection of native plants, you’ll support the “balance of nature” and reduce the need for outdoor pest control. And instead of futile attempts to “improve” the soil with expensive supplements, you can choose native plants that will thrive in your sand, clay, or muck. By planting native, you’ll have a yard that is both environmentally sensitive and sensible.

Think Native. Just about every environmental challenge you might encounter in your yard has been “solved” in nature with the right set of native plants. The natural landscape provides a ready model for natural beauty that works. Find out what your natural landscape was or should be, and use that as a basis for selecting plants for your yard. By planting native, you’ll have fewer frustrations and greater enjoyment in gardening.

Native Plants are for the Birds. Birdwatching is a favorite activity of many Floridians, and can be enjoyed every day in a yard full of native plants. For thousands of years, resident and migratory birds have relied on the wide variety of native plants found in Florida’s naturally diverse landscapes.

Native Plants are Needed by Butterflies. Butterfly gardening is a great way to bring families together to appreciate the many miracles of our natural world. And butterflies in all forms (egg, caterpillar, and adult) are important sources of food for birds and other creatures. For thousands of years, butterflies have sipped nectar from Florida’s wildflowers and laid their eggs on selected native plant species.

Native Plants are Our Natural Heritage. A unique collection of Florida native plants sustains each of our natural areas, including beach dunes, hardwood hammocks, pinelands, sandhills, scrub, and marshes. These natural areas provide us with clean air, drinking water, stable soils, flood protection, recreation and natural beauty. When we clear and alter the landscape for development, we remove the natural resources on which all our lives, and lifestyles, depend. There are 418 endangered plant species in Florida and of these, 104 are endemic – meaning they occur only here and nowhere else in the world. By planting native, we can maintain a Real Florida look in our landscapes, and put back and preserve some of what is rapidly disappearing.

*The Florida Native Plant Society’s definition complements official state definitions limiting native plants to those occurring in Florida before the 1500s.