Florida Native Plants
It’s not easy to be a gardener in Florida. From the heat to the sandy soil, conditions for plant life can be difficult. That’s where Florida native plants come in. Below, you’ll find our curated native plant collections that will thrive in Florida.
When you buy native plants for Florida gardens, you’re helping local wildlife while also inviting some amazing animal species to your outdoor space. So check out our collection of Florida native plants for sale, and start helping to restore the natural biodiversity of the sunshine state.
Not sure if these are the right native plants for your garden? Try using our native plant finder by ZIP code. Not in Florida? Then you can shop by state instead!
Biodiversity in Florida
Of the 50 states in the US, Florida ranks 7th in terms of biodiversity. With almost 400 bird species, 90 reptile species, 60 amphibian species, and 90 species of mammals, it’s safe to say that Florida residents have a lot of animals to spot! However, those animal species need the right resources. They need water, cover, and food if they’re going to thrive, and that’s where Florida native plants are extremely valuable.
When you buy Florida native plants, you attract local pollinators such as bees and monarch butterflies. Those animals then thrive, which helps feed local animal species.. We’re blessed with such a stunning natural environment here in Florida, and we can help it to flourish simply by being more selective about what we plant in our gardens and ensuring that we focus on Florida native plants.
Endangered plants in Florida
Florida is consistently listed in the top five locations on the planet for invasive species and has more non-native reptiles than anywhere else in the world. There are also over 190 invasive plant species in the state. The only state with more endangered plant species than Florida is California.
The reason for Florida’s problem with at-risk plants is easy to understand. Both the rapid conversion of natural habitats to built environments across the state and the introduction of some incredibly invasive non-native plants have contributed to the threat against Florida native plants.
Buying and planting Florida native plants isn’t the only thing you can do to help the local environment. Make sure that you always think about your pollinator garden responsibly. You should do everything you can to protect wetlands on your property. Many of the endangered plants in Florida rely on freshwater habitats, and there are over 600 protected plant species that it’s illegal to dig up or destroy in the state (although you can get a permit in extreme cases).
Avoid invasive non-native plants at all times. When considering the wide range of Florida native plants for sale, you don’t have to compromise on color or beauty. The Florida native plants that will thrive in your garden are the perfect addition to any outdoor space, and the benefits they bring are many.
The challenge of gardening in Florida
If you're new to the state of Florida, it can be a bit of a shock when you get around to organizing your garden. Plants that thrive in other states will die almost immediately in the hot summers and sandy soil of the sunshine state. Whatever your gardening goals, research is going to be essential.
From knowing how to grow in soil that’s more sand than dirt to the subtropical climate, seasons start to blur a lot when you're planning to create a year-round outside oasis! Sometimes, it’s simply too hot to be outdoors, so your garden work will keep getting put off.
It’s also important to pay attention to your watering schedule. If you water your garden at the wrong time, those plants will burn or the heat will evaporate the water before it gets into the soil. The key here is to try and water your Florida native plants in the morning. While plants that are native to Florida will be better able to cope with the harsh conditions of the state, overwatering or underwatering them can still affect their health. Remember to aim your water at the soil rather than the whole plant.
The last thing to remember is that Florida is wildly diverse, and although you can shop for Florida native plants by state, it’s often best for Floridians to shop for native plants by ZIP code instead. This will make it much easier to find the native plants ideally suited to your specific part of the great sunshine state.
Florida gardening zones
There are four gardening zones in Florida, as identified by the Department of Agriculture. Those zones are 8, 9, 10, and 11.. In addition to your zone, you should also think a lot about light. The long summers of Florida, combined with the high humidity and the warm nights, will all affect your native plant’s ability to thrive. So your first step is to work out which of the zones you live in.
Then you're going to have to think about where in your garden to plant your plants. We’ve written a complete guide to plants and sunlight, but always remember that if you aren’t buying one of our curated collections of Florida native plants, seeing something labeled as full sun might be referring to, say, eight hours of sun in New York. That’s a very different eight hours of sun from that of Florida! Non-native full-sun plants are more likely to burn and wither away in eight hours of direct Florida sunlight. Always check the sun exposure of your garden.
FAQs about native plants in Florida
There’s a common misconception that if you buy native plants for Florida, you can plant them anywhere in the state, and they’ll flourish. That’s simply not true. Some Florida native plants have evolved to grow on sandy beaches, others in swampy wetlands. Some will grow healthily in salty areas; others will need shade during the hottest parts of the day.
The conditions in your garden will play a large part in whether certain Florida native plants will grow well. Make sure you learn some pollinator gardening basics before looking for Florida native plants for sale.
Florida native plants are those that occur naturally, having evolved in their regions for thousands of years. New, introduced species are considered non-native. Many Florida non-natives can be fine to add to your garden.
The problem, of course, is that some of those plants that were introduced by people are invasive. They take up resources making it hard for Florida native plants to survive. Some of them can be hardier than native plants, but at the same time, they don’t provide the food or shelter needed for Florida’s wildlife, including pollinators. Remember that with the right approach you can attract pollinators, including insects and even hummingbirds, to your pollinator garden in Florida.
No, most Florida native plants aren’t endemic (only found in) the sunshine state. They can all be found in other states, and you’ll find that when you look at the available Florida native plants for sale, you’ll find many that are also native to Caribbean islands, Mexico, and from all across the Southeast of the US. Some of them are even found naturally in northern parts of the US, a testament to their hardiness and ability to thrive in different locations.
Absolutely not. All plants need some looking after, and when you buy Florida native plants, you'll still have to give them some TLC. You will find that plants native to your location require considerably less maintenance than non-natives. That’s because they’ve evolved to co-exist with local animals and to get what they need from the local sunlight and water conditions.
Florida native plants have adapted to the sandy soil and the heat, so choices like the Swamp Azalea shrub can be a great choice. If your garden gets fully exposed to the sun during the day, then look at options like the Carolina Rose shrub, which can cope with the often brutal Florida summers extremely well.
There are an estimated 315 species of wild bees in Florida, and they all rely on pollen and nectar. Across the US, bee populations are in decline, and bee conservation has become a nation-wide effort. You can help by planting pollinator plants that will help declining bee populations. Our carefully selected Patio Pollinator 6-Plant Collection is perfectly suited to Florida gardens, as each native plant in the collection will thrive in full sun conditions.
While bees can and do feed from some non-native plants, many species of bees need pollen from very specific Florida native plants to thrive. Those native plants also provide shade and habitat for bee populations, so you’re helping bees in more ways than one when you’re browsing our Florida native plants for sale.