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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

    Plant Diversity
    using a variety of plants provides a more diverse wildlife habitat and more seasonal interest, and makes pest and disease damage less noticeable

    Vertical Layers
    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
    Liquidambar styraciflua

    live oak

    Live oak - mast (acorns)
    Quercus virginiana

    wax myrtle

    Wax myrtle - berries
    Myrica cerifera

    beauty berry

    Beautyberry - berries
    Callicarpa americana

    cabbage palm

    Cabbage palm - fruit
    Sabal palmetto

    longleaf pine

    Longleaf pine - structure
    Pinus palustris

Original website content and design created by Mark Hostetler, Elizabeth Swiman, and Sarah Webb Miller. With the help of UF/IFAS Communications, the current look and functionality was streamlined for the UF/IFAS Extension Solutions for Your Life website. Al Williamson of UF/IFAS Communications uploads the steaming video for each episode. Images on this website were taken prior to national guidelines of face coverings and social distancing. The site is currently maintained and updated by Tom Barnash and Mark Hostetler.