Why Native Plants?
Native plants offer beauty, value and ease of care.
Beauty: The sensuous curves of the Gumbo Limbo, the golden shimmer of the two-toned Satin Leaf trees and the wonderful flower color and shape of the Jamaican Caper just begin to touch on the wonder of the native plants of Florida. Remember that Ponce de León named this peninsula "Florida" for its flowers, long before we imported the many exotic plants we find in our landscapes today.
Value: Native plants are the foundation of our ecosystem. They provide food and shelter for our wildlife, help filter our water supply and cool our communities. In our landscape they help to connect us with the natural processes of South Florida and encourage our sense of place. In spite of their value, we have eliminated over 90% of the Pine Rock Ridge forest in South Florida -- originally the largest dry land ecosystem in this area. South Florida is home to 68 species of Federally endangered or threatened wildlife and plants and the state lists 298 south Florida plants (Lake Okeechobee and south) as threatened or endangered.
Ease of care: Native plants are adapted to the soils, rain patterns, temperatures and pests of South Florida. By replacing exotic plants in our in our landscapes with natives, we are able to conserve water, reduce fertilizer & pesticide use and attract birds and butterflies to our gardens.
The Florida Native Plant Society elaborates further on this issue on their website.