Native Plants

Cardinal airplant and other Florida native plants

Why Native Plants?

Florida native plants are those which occurred naturally in Florida before Europeans arrived and pioneers started cultivating plants.  Why are they important?

Florida's natural environment consists of diverse ecosystems which provide us with clear air, drinking water, stable soils, protection from floods and rising seas, recreation and natural beauty. Each ecosystem is sustained by a unique collection of Florida native plants, adapted over thousands of years to the particular ecosystem.

Native plants are critical sources of food, shelter and nesting area for wildlife. Animals from birds to the Florida black bear depend on our plants. Some native butterflies lay their eggs only on native plants.

Florida has many threatened and endangered native plant species. Even ecosystems are imperiled: less than 2% remains of the original pine rockland in Miami-Dade County outside of the National Park. Pine rocklands support over 400 native plant species and dozens of native animals species. Some of these species are endemic, found nowhere else in the world.

By planting natives in our landscapes, we help support wildlife, enhance native biodiversity, and reduce introduction of non-native pest plants. This not only provides enjoyment for ourselves and value to wildlife attracted to our landscapes, but it provides benefits to nearby natural areas.

Native plants have adapted to Florida's soils, rainfall patterns, seasonal temperatures, storms, and native insects. Using the right plant in the right place in our landscapes, they require little water and care to thrive once established.

And they are beautiful! When you include Florida native plants in your landscape, you celebrate the unique natural beauty of the "Real Florida."

Find out where you can obtain native plants

Additional Resources