Flowering Plants Native to Florida for Your Yard
For avid gardeners, there’s no shortage of ways to beautify their outdoor area. In addition to gardening tools and plants, many Floridians like to use native species of plants known for their beauty and distinctive traits. Their natural environment is filled with flowers, trees, shrubs, and grasses, perfect additions to any landscape design. These plants are not fussy about soils and can be grown in any yard.
We have provided a short profile for each plant to help you learn which flowers are ideal for your landscape design. Many of these plants will do well in containers and hanging baskets, whereas others can be grown in small patches of land. Each plant has something to offer, but it is up to the individual gardener to decide which ones are most suitable for their family.
In many areas of Florida, the climate is ideal for growing native flowers. The region’s subtropical weather allows most plants to grow without much trouble. However, certain areas have special characteristics that affect how certain species should be maintained and cared for throughout the year.
This article showcases 20 of Florida’s native flowers that bring nature to your front door.
Lady Slipper (Cypripedium Reginae)
These native plant orchids have small, dark-green leaves and tubular flowers. The flowers typically come in white, yellow, pink, or orange shades. It can be difficult to find the plant outside its native habitat of Southeast Florida, but it can be cultivated as a houseplant. In addition to having beautiful blooms, the plant is easy to grow as long as you provide adequate light and water.
Firebush or Coral Hibiscus (Hibiscus coccineus)
The firebush or coral hibiscus is a shrub with dark reddish-brown leaves and red flowers. The flowers grow along the shrub’s branch tips, which can be 3 to 8 inches long. As the plant blooms, its flowers come in a variety of colors, including red, orange, pink, and white. The firebush can grow to be 8 to 10 feet in height and width, but it can also be cultivated as a houseplant.
Coral-pod (Erythrina crista-galli)
The coral-pod is an evergreen shrub that grows throughout Florida’s coastal areas. The plant’s branches are covered in beautiful seashells that resemble coral reefs. It makes a very good ground cover and can be used to hide other plants in the landscape. Its branches have large numbers of white flowers that grow in clusters during spring and summer. It attracts many birds, like mockingbirds and other species of warblers. It can also be used to create privacy hedges or windbreaks.
Fountain Grass (Panicum)
The fountain grass is a perennial plant that grows well in many parts of the state. The plant produces large tufts of green that turn brown by early fall. During the winter, it produces tall pink or blue flowers that are known for their stunning appearance. It can grow up to 12′ tall when planted in Florida’s warm climate and works effectively as a ground cover underneath large trees near bodies of water.
Butterfly Weed (Asclepias tuberosa)
The butterfly weed is a perennial plant that grows in gardens and along the edges of wooded areas. It produces clusters of small yellow flowers that attract many species of butterflies and bees. The flower is known for its distinctive coloring and is one of the first plants to bloom each year. Butterfly weed thrives in full sunlight during spring and summer but needs protection from wind and frost during the winter months.
The bluestem or wild cane has long soft leaves that grow upright from the ground throughout much of Florida. The plant grows well in full sunlight and is perfect for habitat gardens or areas in need of native ground cover. The leaves are also known for their soft texture and lovely colors, which vary depending on the location of growth. Bluestem produces small tan flowers throughout the year, which come in shades of blue. Bluestem produces small tan flowers throughout the year, which come in shades of blue. It also works well as a ground cover or privacy plant.
Sand Verbena (Abronia latifolia)
The sand verbena is a perennial plant that grows in sandy soils and along the edges of wooded areas throughout much of Florida. It produces masses of white and yellow flowers during the summer. The sand verbena can grow up to 20 inches high, but it prefers moist soils and in full sun or shade. It can also be cultivated as a houseplant. In this manner, it grows well indoors and is often used as an ornamental plant.
Florida Rosemary (Ceratiola ericoides)
The Florida rosemary is a small evergreen shrub that grows to be only 2 feet tall. Its leaves have soft purple or blue coloring and are known for their beautiful texture and structure. The flowers come in shades of white or pink and grow throughout the year, but they bloom at their finest during spring and summer. Rosemary grows best in moist soil, but it can also tolerate light sand environments as long as it is moist most of the time.
Sea Holly (Eryngium amoenum)
The sea holly is a small shrub that grows to be only 4 inches in height and can be used to create a low-maintenance hedge. It has typically blue-green leaves and produces small, white flowers throughout the year. The plant is native to the coastal areas of South Florida and thrives in moist environments that are also partially shaded by trees. In the summertime, it produces edible spiny fruits known for their sweetness.
Wild Ginger (Asarum canadense)
The wild ginger is a perennial plant that grows well throughout Florida’s varied landscapes. It produces clusters of small yellow flowers known for their exotic fragrance. The plant can grow up to 1 foot tall and prefers partial sunlight, but it can handle partial shade. Wild ginger is commonly used in gardens as a ground cover along pathways or walkways where it will not impede other plants in the landscape.
Soldier’s Fingers (Bidens alba)
The soldier’s fingers or beggar-ticks are annual plants that grow best in coastal areas throughout Florida. The plant produces dense clusters of small white flowers that have the appearance of miniature fingers or arrows sticking out from the stems. The plant grows well in full sunlight and can also survive in moist soil. It is a very low-maintenance plant that attracts many local bees and butterflies.
Beach Sunflower (Helianthus debilis)
The beach sunflower is a small plant that is native to the coastlines of Florida. The flowers are short and rounded but come in shades of yellow or bright-orange petals. The flower produces thick green leaves with soft edges, also known for their vibrant color. The flowers bloom during summer and attract many types of bees and butterflies to the garden. Beach sunflowers grow best along the coast in sandy soil or dune grasslands.
Staghorn Sumac (Rhus typhina and Rhus typhina var. cuspidata)
Staghorn sumac is a small shrub that grows well throughout Florida’s Coastal areas and is often used as a ground cover in sandy locations and other soil types that have lots of organic matter in them. The plant produces light green clusters of leaves with small yellow flowers and will grow in partial shade or full sun, depending on the location where it is grown in the landscape. The plant is relatively low-maintenance, but it does require ample moisture.
Seaside Croton (Codiaeum variegatum)
The seaside croton is a very hardy annual plant that grows well throughout coastal areas of Florida’s landscapes. It grows to be only 2 feet tall, but it can spread as wide as 6 feet long while producing clusters of green and white leaves. The plant produces red-colored flowers that attract butterflies and other pollinating insects. It grows best in moist soil and full sunlight.
Coastal Goldenrod (Solidago sempervirens)
The coastal goldenrod is a perennial plant native to the dune plants of Florida, but it can also grow in many parts of New Jersey, Eastern North Carolina, and South Carolina. The plant grows well in sandy soils along the coast, but it can tolerate some shade from surrounding plants when it is planted in other types of soil. It grows well in simple lawns and gardens, attracting local butterflies and other pollinating insects to a home landscape.
Florida Tick-trefoil (Desmodium tortuosum)
The Florida tick-trefoil is a perennial plant native to coastal areas of Florida, but it can also be found growing in the Southeastern part of the United States. The plant grows well in sandy soils and produces small clusters of yellow flowers that come from its round leaves. The flowers are known for their sweet smell that attracts bees throughout the year. It grows to be only 1 foot tall, but it can spread out to 3 feet wide while producing small white fruits during the fall months of September through October.
Florida Burclover (Leucanthemum vulgare)
The Florida burclover is a perennial plant commonly found growing in coastal areas throughout the United States, but it can also be found in Florida and other areas of the Southeastern part of the country. The plant grows to be 1-3 feet tall and looks very similar to summer snowdrops, but it produces white flowers throughout the year. The flowers are known for their sweet fragrance and attract various types of pollinating insects. The plant needs at least 6 inches of water per week to thrive, but it can tolerate dry soil.
The bindweed is a vine native to Central and Southern Europe and parts of Asia. It is also known as Italian morning glory and Italian twine. The bindweed grows very well in Florida’s sandy soils, but it can grow in moist soil as well, but it requires a constant amount of water while it is establishing itself in the landscape from seedlings in the summer months of June and July before flowering begins in October or November. The plant produces a white flower and red berries that spread like a weed throughout the landscape. The plant requires full sunlight throughout the day to grow well.
Wireweed (Sagittaria latifolia)
The wireweed is an herbaceous perennial native to Florida and parts of Central America, but it has been naturalized in other parts of the United States, such as southern California, Texas, Arizona and New Mexico. The vine grows well in dune areas, but it can also grow in moist soil types such as river banks. The vine can grow up to 25 feet long if it isn’t pruned at all while growing in the landscape. The vine produces an amazing purple flower during the summer months of June through August. The flowers are very sweet-smelling and attract bees to its foliage.
Summer Snowflake (Leucocrinum ssp.)
The summer snowflake is a perennial plant native to the dune plants of Florida, but it can also be found growing throughout the Southeastern part of the United States. The plant grows well in sandy soil areas and prefers full sunlight from May through November. The plants produce beautiful white flowers as far back as July, but they are known for their fragrant scent that attracts pollinators such as bees throughout much of the summer months from June through September.
Carolina Pea (Cercis canadensis)
The Carolina pea is a perennial plant native to the dune plants of Florida and parts of the southern United States, but it is also known for growing in other parts of the Southeastern part of the United States, such as Georgia and South Carolina. The plant grows well in sandy soil areas, but it likes to be planted in wet soil types as well. The plant produces small clusters of reddish flowers during the summer months from May through August. The flowers have a sweet smell that attracts pollinators like bees throughout much of the summer from June through September.
Sumac (Rhus typhina)
The sumac is an evergreen plant native to the dune plants of Florida, but it can also be found growing throughout the American Southeast, such as Georgia and South Carolina. It produces multiple stems growing 6 inches in height with shiny green leaves that turn yellowish-green in the fall months of August and September. The stems produce flowers that are yellow-orange in color and bloom from July through August to attract pollinating insects from June through September.
Spreading Sea Holly (Eryngium yuccifolium)
The spreading sea holly is a non-native plant that has been naturalized throughout Florida’s coastal areas and sandy soils. This plant grows well in full sunlight during the day and is a perennial plant that spreads quickly in the garden. It produces small clumps of flowers during the spring months from May through June, but it also produces small white berries that can spread throughout the landscape if not removed.
Florida Buttonwood (Calycanthus floridus)
The Florida buttonwood is an evergreen shrub that mainly grows in Tampa Bay. It can be used for privacy screens, container plants, and accent plants in a landscape, but it does not grow well in full sun. Most of the plant’s leaves are actually green and are arranged in neat rows. It is a flowering shrub that produces small pale-green flowers throughout the year. The plant’s flowers are usually pink, white, or orange.
Choosing the Right Native Plants For Your Yard
Landscapers and gardeners often have to decide what kind of native plants are best suited for their yard, garden or landscape. In Florida, native plants are important because they help protect the environment in a number of ways. In addition to being beneficial for the environment, native plants tend to be more disease and pest resistant than non-native plants that are brought into the country from other parts of the United States. There is also a large variety of beautiful native wildflowers that can add value and beauty to a garden or yard.
Things you should consider before you can decide which plant is right for your yard:
- Hardiness zones
For a plant to grow well in your yard, it has to be right for your area. If you live in an area that doesn’t fall within the hardiness zones for the plant you are looking at, it may not grow well or possibly die. Many nurseries will tell you if the plant is suited for your hardiness zone or not.
- Sun and shade preferences
Some plants need more sunlight than others in order to thrive and spread throughout the landscape. It is important to know what kind of sunlight a certain plant requires in order for it to do well in your landscape. If a plant needs full sunlight throughout the day, then it is not the right plant to place in your shady garden. You will want to avoid these plants altogether if they don’t prefer full sunlight throughout the day.
- Growing conditions
There are many factors that can contribute to whether or not a certain plant will grow well in your landscape. For example, if your yard consistently has high winds, you may not want to choose a type of palm that is susceptible to wind damage, such as saw palmetto or turkey oak. This can help prevent costly and time-consuming maintenance throughout the year for watching over these plants in order for them to survive throughout the year in their environment and not be damaged by high winds. Another thing to consider is whether or not your area gets a lot of rain. Certain plants that are native to wet climates may not do well in areas that tend to get very little rain due to the lack of moisture in the soil.
- Water requirements
Landscapers and gardeners have to think about which plants require more water than others. Certain plants that prefer high levels of humidity may struggle if there isn’t enough moisture in the soil throughout the year and decide not to grow well if it doesn’t get enough water from rainfall or irrigation.
- Special pollinators
Certain types of plants will require certain types of pollinators in order for them to grow. For example, some flowers are pollinated by hummingbirds, while bees pollinate others. Certain plants also require special insects or birds to help facilitate fertilization as well. It is important that you choose the right type of plant for its pollination needs in your landscape so that it can grow well and thrive throughout the year.
- Special pests
Some plants will attract special pests or unwanted insects that like to feed on the leaves or fruit of certain plants. Certain plants will attract black flies and other insects that love to feed on plants with leaves made out of oily material, such as deciduous trees. If you plan to grow citrus trees in your yard, you may have to spray them regularly or even prune them to keep insects away from feeding on the plants. You may also want to consider planting various native plants that don’t attract bugs like aphids, cabbage worms, and other unwanted pests.
Native Florida plants are the ones that are native to our state and do best in our area. Choose native Florida plants that can withstand the conditions in your yard or garden. Planting native plants in your yard is a great way to make a statement about the environment, but it is also an environmentally-friendly choice.
Choosing the right plants for your yard, garden or landscape is important. It is key for us to understand which plants are native to Florida and will do well in our area. Native plants need less water, fertilizer and maintenance because they are used to our climate conditions and don’t require as much attention as non-native plants may need. It is better for the environment to plant native plants over non-native plants because native plants are less likely to need as much attention and maintenance, which will help protect the environment by not using harmful chemicals or other unnecessary care to a plant that we don’t need.