Using Native Plants
Native plants are those that occur naturally in an area. Native species have evolved over time with the biological and physical factors specific to their region such as soil, climate, and rainfall.
Benefits to Landscaping with Native Plants
Native plants provide food and shelter for native wildlife. The great variety of plant species for all conditions carries a high habitat value. For a list of wildlife-friendly native plants, check out Native Plants for Backyard Florida Habitats. See also the University of Florida's Wildlife Extension website for complete information on Landscaping for Wildlife.
Native plants help to restore regional landscapes. They are the best species adapted to local conditions that thrive with the least care and create a sense of place.
"Wherever I go in America, I like it when the land speaks its own language in its own regional accent."
- Lady Bird Johnson, Wildflowers Across America (1993)
Using native plants promotes wise stewardship of the land and conservation for our natural areas. Native species are members of a community of plants, animals, and microorganisms that keep each other in check and won't harm natural areas.
Where do you find native plants for your yard? Don't remove them from natural wild areas. Instead, visit the National Native Plant Nursery Directory online to find plant nurseries in your state that sell native plants.
Native Landscaping Principles
Right Plant, Right Place
assess your local site conditions and select compatible plants whose ultimate size and shape fit your needs
using a variety of plants provides a more diverse wildlife habitat and more seasonal interest, and makes pest and disease damage less noticeable
a multi-layered approach to your lawn (using grass, ground cover, bushes or shrubs, and trees of different heights) creates a diverse habitat and provides more home cooling ability and cover for wildlife that utilize plants in different ways
Native Plant Species that Attract Wildlife
Sweetgum - seeds
Live oak - mast (acorns)
Wax myrtle - berries
Beautyberry - berries
Cabbage palm - fruit
Longleaf pine - structure