51 Plants Native to Florida: Trees, Flowers, and Shrubs
Curious which plants are native to the great state of Florida? In this article, we look at some of the most common plants that you'll find in the sunshine state. You'll learn about trees that are native to the area, as well as shrubs, and flowers that will do well in a similar hardiness zone.
The ideal climate and growing conditions in Florida make it the perfect spot for plant life to thrive. Many plants native to Florida are well-known for their distinctive beauty and low maintenance.
You can find everything from glorious shrubs to majestic trees to all kinds of vines in this sunny state. Plants native to Florida have adapted to its heat, drought, and humidity. Growing native plants not only adds beauty to your landscape but also prevents erosion, the spread of invasive species, and most importantly, supports your local ecosystem.
But native plants can vary slightly, so learning their characteristics can help you decide what native plants you want to grow in your garden or on your property. And the best part? Creating a Florida-friendly landscape is easier than you may think.
Florida Native Trees
If you’re looking for low-maintenance plants that will make your landscape stunning, there are many options to choose from. Here, we detail 51 plants native to Florida that will help create a beautiful and healthy landscape for your property. We start off with the most popular trees that are native to the Sunshine state, starting with the most common.
Bald Cypress (Taxodium Distichum)
Most bald cypress can survive up to 600 years in the wild, and some even live up to 1,200 years. They grow across the Atlantic coastal region, as far north as Delaware and as far west as southeastern Texas.
These beautiful trees make a perfect addition to your property because they add a gorgeous vertical accent. They can grow in dry locations, and during the autumn season, their feathery foliage changes to copper color before they fall off. Their leaves then return with a flush of green during the spring season.
Chickasaw Plum (Prunus Angustifolia)
Next is the Chickasaw Plum – a flowering tree with a mass of thorny and slender branches twirling around a trunk. It grows up to twenty-five feet tall, but you can find them usually in the six to twelve feet range.
The Chickasaw Plum tree is covered with small, white flowers that give out a sweet fragrance during the spring season. Small fruit also appears, and they turn yellow from red when ripe. You can eat the tart plums directly or turn them into jelly. Other wildlife enjoys it as a snack as well.
Florida Maple (Acer Barbatum)
Among the plants native to Florida, the Florida Maple is perfect for ornamental use and recreational use as a shade tree. It blooms lovely orange or yellow-colored fall leaves, and the plant itself has high heat tolerance, making it suitable for Florida weather.
The Florida Maple can grow up to sixty feet tall, but you can often see this tree at heights of thirty feet. This tree gives off beautiful fall colors in muted oranges and yellows, and the older Florida Maples have attractive ribbed gray bark.
Pine trees are among the plants native to Florida – some of these work very well for home gardens with ample spaces.
Loblolly Pine Tree – This is the largest pine tree in Florida and can grow up to 150 feet. The Loblolly Pine is very tolerant to salt and drought once established.
Slash Pine Tree – This tree can rise to 100 feet high and four feet wide. It can grow well in a broader range of settings.
Sand Pine – This tree is small, typically less than 25 feet tall. Mainly, it grows in sandy coastal areas of the peninsula.
Gumbo-Limbo Tree (Bursera Simaruba)
Another plant native to South Florida is the Gumbo-Limbo Tree – a large tropical semi-evergreen tree that can rise to sixty feet high.
The wood of the Gumbo-Limo is lightweight and soft, making it easy to carve. It was once used to make carousel horses before plastics became the standard building material.
The branches and the trunk are usually thick and covered with smooth, resinous, peeling bark in a copper color that has a shiny, freshly-varnished, and attractive appearance.
This tree is affectionately called the ‘tourist tree’ because of the peeling red bark, similar to the skin of a sunburnt tourist.
Longleaf Pine (Pinus Palustris)
Among the plants native to Florida that once dominated the southeastern U.S., the Longleaf Pine covered almost 60 million acres of land.
Some varieties of native wildlife become dependent on the Longleaf Pines, including the gopher frogs, Florida mice, the endangered red-cockaded woodpecker, and the eastern diamondback rattlesnake.
The Longleaf Pines can grow up to 125 feet tall in a good environment. Its thick, scaly bark is reddish-brown, and its long, flexible needless are bright green – giving the plant a weeping appearance.
The spiny cones are large and equally dramatic. When the cone is already six to ten inches in length, crafters and florists prize them because they make excellent kindling. However, never wait for them to drop as the Longleaf Pine cones can hold on the tree for more than a year.
There are about nineteen species of oak tree plants native to Florida, including the most attractive ones such as the Bluejack Oaks, Shumard, Live Oaks, Laurel Oaks and Water Oaks. Oak trees are hardwood trees that have many ornamental uses.
These oak trees are precious to wildlife because they serve as their habitat and provide them food. Some trees even offer stunning autumn foliage. Oak trees are generally strong and durable. Compared to other trees, they have a longer lifespan.
Several varieties of oak trees become hurricane-resistant when properly pruned. They can grow very quickly and can provide good shade for your property.
Redbud (Cercis Canadensis)
The Eastern Redbud is a medium-sized tree that can reach up to thirty feet with a spread of twenty-five feet. It has an irregular crown which is sometimes vase-shaped, rounded, single-trunked, or multi-trunked – depending on the pruning and cultivar. It grows in almost every part of the eastern U.S.
The Eastern Redbud is a magnificent native tree, indicating the spring season when it begins to strike its spectacular floral display. Its size and rapid growth make it an ideal option for many gardeners that hope to add life to an empty space in their gardens.
Pawpaw (Asimina Triloba)
Primarily seen in the wild, the Pawpaw tree is among the tree plants native to Florida and other parts of the U.S. The tree has a silvery bark and drooping leaves. It also produces fruits that are edible and nutritious, tasting like bananas or custard-like mangoes.
It is well-known to wildlife and becomes the host tree for many butterfly species such as the Zebra Swallowtail.
Southern Magnolia (Magnolia Grandiflora)
Magnolia plants have a wide variety of sizes and shapes. But the beautiful Southern Magnolia is one of the most popular Magnolia plants native to Florida.
This tree can reach up to 90 feet high – depending on its cultivar. It has very lustrous and evergreen foliage, making it a perfect backdrop for other plants in the garden. The Southern Magnolia blooms gorgeous creamy-white flowers during the spring and summer seasons, producing a lemony fragrance. The flowers can grow as big as a dinner plate in diameter.
Typically, Southern Magnolias grow as specimen plants. However, a row of these Magnolias makes an excellent screen for establishing a border between properties or blocking any unsightly view. Some gardeners, with time and patience, also train Southern Magnolias to be an espalier plant.
Florida Native Shrubs
There are many different shrubs that are native to the state of Florida. Many of them can be seen both in the wild, and are often repurposed as ornamental shrubs for yards and gardens. These come in a variety of different species, and most are fairly easy to care for, if they are in a hardiness zone that’s similar to their native location.
The Red Buckeye is a small tree not reaching more than twenty feet. It is a deciduous plant that makes it a specimen plant in areas too small for large trees. The Red Buckeye blooms red tubular-type flowers that consistently attracts hummingbirds and butterflies.
This plant is well-known for its spectacular display of clusters of beautiful red flowers during the spring season. It also has a flaky brown bark and a coarse structure that appeal to a typical dull winter landscape.
It works very well in partial sun and has a fail tolerance to shade. The Red Buckeye plant grows in various soil types and must be irrigated, especially during dry seasons. It’s best to plant the Red Buckeye during late winter or spring.
Just remember that its seed pods are very poisonous to humans.
Beautyberry (Callicarpa Americana)
If you’re searching for a plant for your garden that can attract birds, then Beautyberry is the plant for you! Beautyberry is among the many plants native to Florida, and it bears striking bright purple fruits. Their deciduous leaves are coarse, fuzzy, and light green-colored.
Also known as the American mulberry, the Beautyberry is native to hammocks and Flatwoods. However, thanks to the birds, this plant has spread across many diverse terrains. This small and sprawling shrub grows between three to eight feet tall and four to eight feet wide.
This size is ideal for a specimen plant, and its branches create long arches bending to the ground. This plant needs pruning to keep it more compact, but ensure to prune before it blooms.
Coontie (Zamia Integrifolia)
The Coontie plant, just like cycad, has ancient origins. However, this native Florida plant is the sole cycad plant that is native to North America. It has also become a preferred food source for the rare Atala Butterfly and other larvae.
The Coontie plant looks similar to a small fern and grows up to three feet tall. The leaves are glossy and featherlike and connect to a short yet thick underground stem.
Long ago, native people ground up these stems to make starchy flour for food. Even though they practiced this before, don’t try it yourself because the stem is considered toxic unless there’s proper preparation involved.
Coral Bean (Erythrina Herbacea)
If you want something to beautify your garden from spring to fall, then you can never go wrong with the Coral Bean. It is among the plants native to Florida that blooms red flowers and attracts butterflies and hummingbirds.
As the summer garden fades during the fall season, the seed pods of the Coral Bean start to mature. The Coral Bean looks like black English pea pods, and they open to show scarlet red seeds inside. The plant is beautiful but also very poisonous. So, ensure to keep this plant away from your children and pets.
Coral Honeysuckle (Lonicera Sempervirens)
The Coral Honeysuckle is among the flowering plants native to Florida. It is also called the Trumpet Honeysuckle and blooms bright red flowers throughout the spring and summer seasons.
Some varieties also bloom yellow flowers. They are very attractive to butterflies and hummingbirds, and when they mature, they produce berries that draw songbirds during late summer and the start of fall.
The medium-sized glossy green leaves of the Coral Honeysuckle are attractive enough to become a backdrop for other plants in your garden.
Firebush (Hamelia Patens)
The Firebush plant is a semi-woody, perennial shrub known to many gardeners because of its Florida friendly blooming flowers from late spring to winter. It produces bright red flowers attractive to hummingbirds and butterfly species such as Gulf Fritillary and Zebra Longwing.
The plant also produces berries that songbirds feed on. The Firebush plant produces flowers for months, and once established, it is an extremely easy shrub to maintain.
Florida’s Native Bromeliads
Various Bromeliads species come in different sizes and shapes, and most are tropical that can grow outdoors in areas free of frost. If you live in frosty areas, you can still grow Bromeliads in containers and just bring them inside when the colder season comes.
When growing Bromeliads indoors, place these houseplants in covered patios that receive diffused light and are not exposed to direct sun. Although some varieties can work in various light conditions, find the right Bromeliad that works best for you.
One of the evergreen plants native to Flordia is the Gopher Apple. Many gardeners use this as a groundcover because it only grows up to twelve inches in height.
It spreads quickly by its underground stems and usually can be found on roadside scrub habitats and dunes. When the plant matures, it forms a very thick groundcover and spreads over a few square yards.
The plant has glossy green leaves with white blooms that usually appear during the summer season. It also bears fruits that are up to one inch long. The fruit usually starts white and then matures to a purplish, red, or pink color and contains a single seed. These fruits are the favorites of gopher tortoises and other mammals.
Next to the list of plants native to Florida is a classic Southern plant – the Native Azaleas. They are known for their structure and the fantastic blooms they produce, and once they are in full bloom, you can hardly see their leaves.
These beautiful ornamental plants are perfect for North and Central Florida landscapes. They come in various sizes and shapes, which are very versatile with any garden type.
While this plant is not available in South Florida, Native Azaleas have some relatives that can be used as an alternative.
Oakleaf Hydrangea (Hydrangea Quercifolia)
This coarse-textured shrub is a great plant to consider. The Oakleaf Hydrangea is usually used for understory planting under large trees such as Live Oaks.
Every summer season, the shrub produces large cone-shaped white-colored flowers that continue to bloom for several months. Then, these flowers change to purple or light pink. Several varieties are also available, offering superior blooms.
The broad, dark-green leaves of Oakleaf Hydrangea are also oak-shaped – the reason why the plant has this name. The leaves grow the largest when grown in the shade and can reach up to twelve inches long and wide.
They are very charming, making them an excellent choice for a backdrop for other plants. The leaves turn red, purple, or bronze during the fall season and hold onto the plant until winter.
Hibiscus (Hibiscus coccineus)
The Hibiscus coccineus, also known as the swamp mallow, or marsh hibiscus a flowering shrub, is commonly found in landscapes and garden centers. The flowers are beautiful because they come in rainbow colors. There can be in a single form or double forms, and most last for only a day.
The single-form flowers are only short-lived. However, the Hibiscus coccineus still blooms all year-round. The plant attracts hummingbirds and various butterflies such as blues, Gulf Fritillaries, and Cloudless Sulfurs.
Scarlet Salvia (Salvia Coccinea)
The herbaceous Scarlet Salvia is among the native Florida perennials – very attractive to butterflies and hummingbirds because of its beautiful tubular flowers that bloom during spring and fall. The flowers come in a variety of colors, such as red, white, or pink.
This plant can reach up to four feet high and works very well in any Florida-friendly landscape. It can thrive in various conditions and is relatively tolerant to drought. Growing it gives you flexibility – you can mix it with other plants, mass them together in a border, or plant in a container.
Southern Shield Fern (Thelypteris Kunthii)
If you are looking for spectacular plants for a shade garden, then the Southern Shield Fern might be what you need. The Southern Shield is among the fern plants native to Florida, and it goes by some other names like the Kunth’s maiden fern and Southernwood fern.
It has long, slender and triangular fronds, emerging in spring and reaching four feet high. During the summer season, the foliage becomes light green and turns into rich bronze during fall.
Resurrection Fern (Pleopeltis Polypodioides)
Perhaps, you already saw a Resurrection Fern on the branches of a Live Oak or any other tree. It is among the air plants native to Florida. This small plant can do what others can’t – playing dead one day and completely alive and flourishing the next.
During dry seasons, the plant is usually gray and shriveling up. However, when the rain comes, the Resurrection Fern ‘resurrects’ and springs to life in just a matter of hours – turning from gray to bright green and opening its fronds up.
Saw Palmetto (Serenoa Repens)
The slow-growing Saw Palmetto is among the native Florida palm trees that can reach up to ten feet tall with a spread of up to ten feet. It has a multi-trunked palm with stout stems that produce fan-shaped fronds crawling across the ground.
Although most of the plants produce green leaves, the color is still variable. It sometimes comes in silver or blue-silver color, which is common in the eastern part of Florida. The forms with these colors are frequently called Cinerea, Glauca, Sericea in the horticulture trade.
Although the Saw Palmetto is native to Southeastern Florida, it is also found in the north and the west. It grows in the wild such as the natural areas, but can also be useful for home gardens and commercial landscapes across the state.
The Seagrape is a shrub, usually covering the coastal areas in Florida. Although it is a shrub, it can also be grown as a tree, depending on the pruning and planting site. When it matures, it gives a dense and symmetrical crown that reaches up to 50 feet high and 30 feet wide.
This plant is susceptible to freezing temperatures and frost. The Seagrape can be pruned into a screen, windbreak, a hedge, or an attractive tree with an exposed and exciting twisted trunk. It is beneficial on shorelines because it helps prevent dune erosion.
Even though it has the name ‘grape,’ it is not a true grape. But, the fruits are edible and taste like muscadine grapes.
Known as a trademark of South Florida, the tangled-looking Spanish Moss droops from fences, telephone lines, and oaks across the state. It usually comes in green or gray.
Debunking the popular myth, Spanish Moss is an epiphyte, not a parasite, which means that the plant gets all its nutrients from the rainwater and air. So, you don’t need to remove them from your trees or fences because they play an essential role in the ecology of Florida.
Many insects and animals use this tree for protection. They take advantage of its thick masses for cover. Insects even love to use them as hideouts. Thus, the Spanish Moss is a significant part of the nest of various bird species, such as the Baltimore Oriole and the Parula Warbler.
So the next time you see a Spanish Moss in your garden, be a good host.
Florida Native Flowers
Next, we’ll take a look at flowers that are native to the state of Florida. These flowers are often found in the wild, but they can also be found around yards, or inside home gardens. Most of these flowers are fairly low maintenance, provided they are in their native hardiness zones. If you have pets, you’ll want to make sure to check if each flower is compatible with your furry companions.
Beach Sunflower (Helianthus Debilis)
Added to the plants native to Florida is the Beach Sunflower. This beautiful butterfly-attracting flower is perfect for warm, dry sites, including coastal areas.
Many gardeners love to use the Beach Sunflower as groundcover because they are bright, colorful, and resistant to drought. They are also visually appealing, making great additions to any home garden where you are looking to fill in some gaps.
Black-Eyed Susan (Rudbeckia Hirta)
The sunny-colored Black-Eyed Susan is among the plants native to Florida that is tough yet very easy to grow. It is a native wildflower that can tolerate salt and drought, making it an excellent option for coastal landscaping.
This plant is one of the nine species of Rudbeckia – all native to Florida. The Black-Eyed Susan is the most grown in various landscapes among the Rudbeckia species and is excellent for butterfly gardens.
The plant has a mound of foliage with a brown center, and the bright-colored flowers have orange, yellow, red, and even golden petals.
To get a Black-Eyed Susan, you can purchase one or grow one using seeds. Pick a well-drained location during the spring season, and ensure that you plant it when it’s sunny.
The flowers start to bloom ten to fourteen weeks after you plant the seeds, and they persist throughout the summer.
Carolina Jessamine (Gelsemium Sempervirens)
The cheerful Carolina Jessamine flower, also known as Yellow Jessamine, creeps in as warmer weather comes. This lovely vine is among the plants native to Florida, and it blooms during late winter up to early spring.
The Carolina Jessamine is usually found in the wild, along roadsides and open woodlands. When the weather starts to warm, the hedgerows and treetops bloom with two-inch long, trumpet-shaped yellow flowers. What’s great is they put out a sweet smell which makes it more attractive for gardeners and pollinators.
When Carolina Jessamine is grown under the sun with no shade, it stays relatively compact and bushy. But in shadier areas, the vine climbs up trees and follows a leading to the sunlight. It can even reach up to 20 feet long, and its narrow leaves grow opposite to each other along the bronze stems.
The Carolina Jessamine is an excellent vine for trellises, pergolas, arbors, and especially home gardens. It covers the area easily and quickly. Additionally, the vine can also be grown as a groundcover and works pretty well in steep areas.
Columbine or Red Columbine (Aquilegia Canadensis)
Another beautiful wildflower plant native to Florida is the Red Columbines, which belong to a broader group of Columbine plants. The Columbine plants grow in nearly every U.S. state, but the exact Columbine plant species vary from state to state.
Over time, the plant forms clumps and continues to spread, making it an excellent choice for groundcover by many gardeners – though it needs some maintenance to keep them in bounds. It grows very well in moist soils but also has excellent tolerance in drought. The plant is also deer-resistant, making it a great plant to keep if your garden is exposed to wildlife.
In Florida, the Red Columbine grows naturally – mostly in rocky woodland sites. It blooms delicate red-and-yellow flowers that attract bees, hummingbirds, hawk moths, and butterflies.
Purple Coneflower (Echinacea purpurea)
The purple coneflower, also known as echinacea, is a beautiful purple perennial flower. These flowers have a variety of different uses, but are commonly grown as a bright purple perennial flower. While they are grown as annuals in colder climates, the hot and humid Florida climate is a great place for these flowers to bloom all year.
The Purple Coneflower is actually from the same family as the common daisy, which is well loved for its ease of care and longer bloom times. This flower is a fantastic addition to any garden, and grows in the wild in many Florida locations. It’s a wonderful attractor for pollinators like butterflies, and bees.
Fakahatchee Grass (Tripsacum Dactyloides)
Tripsacum Dactyloides: AKA: Fakahatchee Grass is native to Florida. It has tall, grass-like foliage growing upright, forming clumps four to six feet in width and height. The leaves of this plant have sharp teeth-like shapes on their edges.
This plant bears flowers on stout spikes above its leaves in late spring and comes in various colors, including white, yellow, pink, or rust.
This plant can bring a taste of native Florida into your garden, adding texture to your yard. It is sometimes referred to as the Eastern Gamagrass, and because it forms a big clump, it is excellent to be an accent plant or a border plant.
Additionally, the Fakahatchee Grass is a preferred food source for the larvae of the Byssus Skipper butterfly.
Florida Violets are perennial wildflower plants native to Florida. Typically, they grow in clearings and open wood areas throughout Florida. They bloom lovely yellow, white and purple flowers low to the ground. Usually, you see these plants throughout the Eastern U.S.
Blue Violet (Viola Sororia) – The Blue Violet is a common annual, growing on home landscapes and forest floors throughout the eastern U.S. It is often mistakenly regarded as a weed, but when it blooms, the flowers can be white or purple. The plant usually blooms in ate winter. It reseeds freely and spread very fast in the right environment and conditions.
Walter’s Violet (Viola Walteri) – This Florida Violet is found in the woody areas in North Florida and Northern Central Florida.
Bog White Violet (Viola Lanceolata) – This Florida Violet is a tiny plant found along the waterline of marshes, ponds, and bogs throughout the state.
Florida’s Native Orchids
Florida is home to many different orchids that are native to the area, including the following:
Ghost Orchid – The Ghost Orchid is very popular among gardeners and plant lovers, but this is just one of the orchid plants native to Florida. They may be less eye-catching than other tropical orchid species, but they give an exciting accent to your landscape.
Butterfly Orchid – The Butterfly Orchid is the showiest among the orchid plants native to Florida. They bloom small yet beautiful flowers which produce a sweet fragrance.
Spider Orchid – The Spider Orchid gives a spike with small and spider-like bloom in white color. Growing a Spider Orchid from its seed is challenging, but it’s one of the easiest to grow once it’s established itself in your garden.
Gaillardia (Gaillardia Pulchella)
The Gaillardia, or the Blanket Flower, is a perennial plant native to Florida. It blooms very bright flowers all throughout the summer and fall seasons.
Its flowers can be single, double, semi-double, or tubular, and the plant grows on long stems above its soft and hairy leaves. The natural hybridization of this plant causes variations in colors and petal shapes and colors.
Usually, the flowers are orange-red, reddish-purple, orange, solid yellow, or red with a yellow tip. These flowers are beautiful to butterflies. The plant can reseed itself, so expect to see it every year.
Among the plants native to Florida, the Liatris plant is especially impressive. This perennial plant is beautiful yet strong at the same time. It has several names, including gayfeather, colic root, or blazing star. It makes a perfect addition to your garden because it attracts bees, butterflies, and gardeners, as well.
This tall, slender plant blooms beautiful purple flowers, and when these attractive flowers are cut, they hold up very well in a vase.
The green color of the grass-like leaves of Liatris lasts through the summer, but it turns to bronze during the fall season. The plant has at least thirteen species – so you won’t have any problem finding the right plant.
Some species have compact growth patterns and stronger stems that hold them up when cut for displays. There are also Liatris plants that bloom in shades of white and purple.
Muhly Grass (Muhlenbergia Capillaris)
If you are looking for a plant superstar, this versatile Muhly Grass may be what you are looking for. Among the plants native to Florida, the Muhly Grass can put on a fabulous show during the fall season, even if it only receives little maintenance and care throughout the year.
You can usually find Muhly Grass in Flatwoods and along highways and coastal lands in Florida. It is commonly used in mass plantings because of its drift-like beautiful effect and in borders. But nowadays, this plant is a more popular option in home gardens and commercial spaces.
Growing this ornamental plant is very simple – it produces clumps reaching up to three feet high and three feet wide when it reaches maturity.
Passion Flower (Passiflora Incarnata)
This easy-growing flowering vine, Passion Flower, is among the perennial plants native to Florida. It blooms beautiful five-inch flowers that come in different shades of purple – each with five far-flung petals.
The center part of the flower is similar to a helipad, with a tiny yellow pollen sac with the shape of a bean suspending overhead. During summer and fall, each of these flowers only lasts for a day. The green fruit called ovoid is also edible.
This plant can go long without water and is valuable to butterflies such as the Gulf Fritillary. Thus, the Passion Flower plant is a must-have for any butterfly garden.
Pink Sundew (Drosera Capillaris)
Interestingly, there are also carnivorous plants native to Florida, and one of them is the Pink Sundew. This plant has a unique way of looking for nutrients in poor, dry soil, such as catching insects.
There are more carnivorous plants in Florida than you can find in other states, and they are usually growing in the panhandle and bogs.
If you wonder how they catch insects, they have these attractive scents to lure them and sticky fluids into helping contain the prey. After successfully trapping the insect, they release digestive juices to absorb its nutrients.
You can grow carnivorous plants like the Pink Sundew in your home garden. Just ensure they receive lots of light, and preferably, they must be in a moist environment. It’s best to grow them in containers with moist soil or rain gardens. You can also grow them indoors as long as the area is well-lit.
Although you can find many of them in Florida, they are a threatened species now. So, never remove them from the wild and only buy plants produced by respectable growers or retailers.
Prickly Pear (Opuntia Humifusa)
Want a low-maintenance plant for your garden? Then, the Prickly Pear, which is among the cactus plants native to Florida, is for you. It takes the sun and survives with little water and minimal care. The evergreen cactus is a beautiful backdrop in borders, and it even adds some accents of its own.
Additionally, it gives food and a safe place for animals, making it the top Florida-friendly option for any garden. Several parts of this plant are edible, including the pads and the fruits. Some of these are used for cooking, ranging from main dishes, bread, vegetable sides, desserts, candies, cocktails, beverages, and many more.
Railroad Vine (Ipomoea Pes-Caprae)
Next to the list of plants native to Florida is a beautiful plant – the Railroad Vine. Many gardeners use this plant as a groundcover, especially for coastal areas. The Railroad Vine is usually known as the Beach Morning Glory plant.
It is highly tolerant to sea salts and sandy soils and very helpful in preventing soil erosion around dunes.
Its low-growing runners have leather-green leaves that can reach up to thirty feet. Thus, the plant has its name because of these long runners. It needs constant pruning to help it stay in bounds.
The plant blooms with trumpet-shaped flowers in pink any time of the year – but mainly blooms the best flowers from May to November.
Spiderwort (Tradescantia Ohiensis)
You’ll know that the spring season is arriving when this beautiful flowering plant starts popping in your garden. The Spiderwort is among the upright perennial plants native to Florida.
Over time, it forms clumps and blooms in spring, with flowers having only three petals in pink, blue, violet, or white. Each one-inch flower can’t last more than a day, but this plant continues to put out new blooms for two months.
Star Anise (Illicium Floridanum)
The rapidly-growing Star anise is among the evergreen plants native to Florida. It has olive-green leaves that give off a unique scent of licorice when crushed or bruised. Its slender branches usually droop to the ground, generally forming a rounded canopy.
Gardeners use this shrub for windbreaks and dense hedges. They also use this as a border or espalier plant. The Star Anise reaches up to twenty feet high and ten feet wide in shade or sun. However, it grows well in the sun.
Swamp Lily (Crinum Americanum)
Crinum Lilies are a common sight in several southern gardens. But, only one variety of Crinum plants is native to the Southeast – the Swamp Lily, which is often confused with the streamside spider lily. Neither are a true lily variety, but are often confused with the genus since they have lily in the name.
The Swam Lily is also known as the String Lily and is usually found in wet areas like the swamps and stream banks. Around the home and commercial landscapes, Swamp Lily is ideal for rain gardens, water gardens, swales, and even on pond shores.
The Swamp Lily has strap-shaped leaves in green color, and the plant usually grows up to three feet high. During the warmer months, the plant blooms with spidery-white fragrant flowers reaching several inches in width.
Swamp Sunflower (Helianthus Angustifolius)
Among the sunflower plants native to Florida, one of the most beautiful is the Swamp Sunflower. The gardeners usually prefer it because it attracts pollinators, brightens the gardens, and most especially, shelters the wildlife, making it a must for any Florida landscape.
This herbaceous perennial plant goes dormant during winter in colder parts of Florida, but it springs back to life when the temperature rises. It is desirable in many landscapes and fits very well because it’s low maintenance.
Compared to other sunflowers, this plant is more upright but smaller than the giant sunflowers. A row of Swamp Sunflower can attract pollinators and keep the neighborhood delighted all fall.
The Swamp Sunflower stands out from the rest because its leaves are narrow and rough. That’s why it is sometimes known as ‘narrow-leaf sunflower.’ It has dark green foliage with bright flowers, that form mounds as tall as six feet high and six feet wide.
The flowers attract butterflies and bees, making the plant an excellent choice for pollinator gardens. Its thick-leave foliage also serves as a shelter for wildlife.
The Walter’s Viburnum is among the plants native to Florida, with dark green glossy leaves emitting an intriguing fragrance when bruised or crushed. It usually grows up to twenty feet, but you can also find them in dwarf form because you can grow this plant either as a shrub or small tree.
This type of viburnum has small and beautiful white flowers that attract bees and butterflies in spring. The fruit also attracts birds and wildlife, and it becomes an ideal nesting site for Cardinals.
Walter’s Viburnum can tolerate different soil types and usually prefers to grow in full sun. This plant is low maintenance and highly tolerant to drought, but it may produce tree suckers, so you need to prune it regularly.
If you live in coastal areas in Florida, the Wax Myrtle is an ideal choice for your garden. It is also known as the Southern Bayberry, deriving its name from the waxy berry which was once harvested to create a bayberry candle.
Nowadays, the Wax Myrtle is preferred and appreciated for its salt tolerance and easy maintenance. It grows in full sun and well-drained soil. This plant is also a host for birds and butterflies. If you want, you can also prune the Wax Myrtle into a screen, hedge, or border.
Wild Coffee (Psychotria Nervosa)
Wild Coffee is next to the list of plants native to Florida. This has fascinating leaves that grow up to six inches longs. On the underside of each leaf, you can also find very fine hairs along the mid-rib. Its fruits and leaves are similar to Coral Ardisia, but the plant grows larger and less tolerant to cold temperatures.
This shrub grows to ten feet high and eight feet wide, with a round and dense growth habit. If Wild Coffee grows under the shade, it looks like a small tree with a canopy. It is also available in different cultivars, such as the dwarf shrub or the Little Psycho.
The fruits of the Wild Coffee attract many birds and other wildlife, while its flowers become a nectar source for the rare butterfly species called Atala, which are found mainly in the Southeast.
Wildflowers for All Seasons
The wildflower plants native to Florida can give you a kaleidoscope of shapes and colors to your garden. These low-maintenance wildflowers take the heat and thrive in humid areas and come back annually.
If you want to support wildlife or enjoy the sight of native plants, pick a wildflower and let them add some color to your garden.
Winter Wildflowers: The Florida winter is short and mild. Several of these plants which grow between December and February continue to bloom until spring. They are essential to pollinators because they sustain them when nothing else is in bloom.
If you want to make your garden your refuge during these colder months, pick the Butterweed or the Lyreleaf Sage. If you live in North and Central Florida, you can add Atamasco Lily, Wild White Indigo, and the Blue Phlox.
Spring Wildflowers: In Florida, the spring season comes early, and the plants start to bloom after the first rain, including the Blue-eyed Grass, Florida Greeneyes, and the Blue Violet. The Lupines, Green and Gold, Woodland Pinkroot, and Columbine also bloom in the northern part.
Spring to Summer Wildflowers: Many plants native to Florida bloom from spring until summer: Lizard’s Tail, Carolina Wild Petunia, Passion Flower, Oakleaf Fleabane, Daisy Fleabane, Pinewoods Milkweed, and Spring Lady’s Tresses. The Golden Ragwort, Stoke’s Aster, Soft Greeneyes, and Georgia Tickseed also bloom in the northern part.
Summer Wildflowers: When the hot summer months arrive, many wildflower plants native to Florida are at their best. These are the Narrowleaf Yellowtops, Oblongleaf Twinflower, Bartram’s Rose Gentian, and the Beach Sunflower. The Turk’s Cap Lily and the Florida Purple Coneflower are also great options in the northern part.
Summer to Fall Wildflowers: For plants that bloom from summer to fall, you can try the Gian Ironweed, Goldenrods, Coastalplain Honeycombhead, Grass-leaved Golden Aster, Jacquemontia, Leavenworth’s Coreopsis, Partridge-Pea, Bee Balm, Starrush, and Wild Ageratum. The Orange Coneflower, Lanceleaf Coreopsis, Standing Cypress, and the Cardinal also grow natively in the northern and central parts.
Fall Wildflowers: During the fall season, many landscapes transform into a paradise of beautiful autumn colors. The wildflower plants native to Florida present during this season are the Rayless Sunflower, White Crownbeard, and the Slender Blazing Star. The Swamp Sunflower, Vanilla plant, and the Pinkscale Blazing Star also bloom in the northern and central parts.
Wildflowers in the Garden
Florida is home to many wildflower plants, several of which grow along the roadside, and some which thrive in the garden.
Phlox: This wildflower usually blends in with grass, but when late winter comes, Phlox bursts into bloom.
Purple Coneflower: This plant attracts bees and butterflies, brightening any garden in beautiful colors other than purple.
Blue-Eyed Grass: This plant prefers moist areas, producing beautiful yellow-centered blue flowers that take the shape of a star.
Ironweed: This plant got its name because of its rigidness. It usually blooms from July to October.
Milkweed: Milkweed is a group of plants with milky sap. One of them is the Asclepias tuberosa, a perennial plant native to Florida, with yellow and orange flowers attracting monarch butterflies.
Spiderwort: Spiderwort is often seen as weeds, popping in fields and yards. It blooms very delicate flowers, not lasting more than a day.
Many plants native to Florida, like the Yucca, are tough and beautiful at the same time. Yucca is a perfect addition to any garden because it blooms white flowers on green strap-shaped leaves. The plant needs full sun to grow and is usually tolerant to drought, sandy soils, humidity, and heat.
Yucca has different varieties, including the Mound Lily Yucca, Adam’s Needles, and Spanish Bayonet – all of which are plants native to Florida and are commonly available at nurseries.
Because of their odd shapes and coarse texture, these plants are specimen plants and focal points. Yuccas come in various sizes and mostly have sharp-pointed leaves. So, ensure that you place them in the correct location.
Now you have many improved selections of easy-thriving plants native to Florida. Ask your local nursery what plants would work best for you and your home. Always remember that native plants are more likely to grow when placed in the right environment. If you plant them correctly, your garden will flourish in no time at all.