Plants are considered native to Florida if they were here at the time of European contact in the early sixteenth century (1513). Florida has more than 2,400 native species of plants, with some found only in Florida (Wunderlin 1998). They have survived through the ages because they are adapted to Floridian soils, temperature, and rainfall patterns. Each plant is associated with specific natural plant communities or ecosystems that occur throughout Florida, such as the coastal strand, sand scrub, sandhills, hammocks, flatwoods, and swamps. Although the Florida Association of Native Nurseries (FANN) estimates that only about 25% of our native flora is in commercial production (FANN 2003), interest in native landscaping continues to increase as evidenced by the recent influx of native plant literature and books. Still, data indicate that native plant sales in Florida have remained essentially constant over recent years with estimated total sales of $100.9 million in 2000 (Hodges and Haydu 2002).
Because of demand for the use of native plants in the landscape, "Native Florida Landscaping (ORH 3815C)" was developed and added to the UF curriculum to teach students how to incorporate these plants into existing landscapes. With a "Right Plant, Right Place" concept in mind, native plants can offer unique attributes that fulfill color, line, form, texture, and scale requirements of a variety of landscapes. Proven native performers of the Florida Treasure Coast (Martin, St. Lucie, and Indian River Counties) will be discussed with relation to function, form, and landscape use.
Useful Native Plant Resources
Barnett, M. R., and D. W. Crewz. 1997. Common Coastal Plants in Florida: A Guide to Planting and Maintenance. Gainesville: University Press of Florida.
Bell, C. R., and B. J. Taylor. 1982. Florida Wild Flowers and Roadside Plants. Chapel Hill, NC: Laurel Hill Press.
Daniels, J. C. 2000. Your Florida Guide to Butterfly Gardening. Gainesville: University Press of Florida.
Dehgan, B. 1998. Landscape Plants for Subtropical Climates. Gainesville: University Press of Florida.
Haehle, R. G., and J. Brookwell. 2004. Native Florida Plants (2nd ed.). Lanham, MD: Taylor Trade Publishing.
Huegel, C.N. 2010. Native Plant Landscaping for Florida Wildlife. Gainesville: University Press of Florida.
Nelson, G. 1996. The Shrubs & Woody Vines of Florida. Sarasota, FL: Pineapple Press.
Nelson, G. 2000. The Ferns of Florida. Sarasota, FL: Pineapple Press.
Nelson, G. 2010. Best Native Plants for Southern Gardens. Gainesville: University Press of Florida.
Nelson, G. 2010. The Trees of Florida (2nd ed.). Sarasota, FL: Pineapple Press.
Nelson, G. 2011. Botanical Keys to Florida's Trees, Shrubs and Woody Vines. Sarasota, FL: Pineapple Press.
Rogers, G. K. 2011. Landscape Plants for South Florida. Palm Beach Gardens, FL: George Rogers Publishing.
Simberloff, D., D. C. Schmitz, and T. C. Brown (eds.). 1997. Strangers in Paradise. Washington, D. C.: Island Press.
Suncoast Native Plant Society. 1997. The Right Plants for Dry Places. St. Petersburg, FL: Great Outdoors Publishing.
Taylor, W. K. 2009. A Guide to Florida Grasses. Gainesville: University Press of Florida.
Wasowski, S., and A. Wasowski. 2010. Gardening with Native Plants of the South. Lanhsam, MD: Taylor Trade Publishing.
Wunderlin, R. P., and B. F. Hansen. 2011. Guide to the Vascular Plants of Florida (3rd ed.). Gainesville: University Press of Florida.
Useful Native Plant Websites
Cowley, M. 1997-2005. Florida's Native Plants. Useful information about native gardening, plants for birds, and butterfly plants. http://www.nsis.org/garden.
Florida Assoication of Native Nurseries. 2013. Contains wholesale and retail plant listings, news and events, and useful "know the difference" articles. http://www.floridanativenurseries.org/.
Florida Wildflowers Growers Cooperative. 2013. Informative brochures, planting information, seed availability, and photo gallery. http://www.floridawildflowers.com/.
Florida-Friendly Landscaping (FFL) Program. 2011. Informative website with designing information, plant database, landscaping tips, and glossary. Teaches homeowners about low-maintenance plants and environmentally sustainable practices. http://fyn.ifas.ufl.edu. (Direct link to the Florida-friendly interactive database and yard at http://www.floridayards.org/.)
Native Plants Network. 2009. A forum for dispersing practical information about planting and growing native plants for conservation, restoration, reforestation, and landscaping. Bloomington: Indiana University Press. https://npn.rngr.net [Accessed 4/12/2022]
Reforestation, Nurseries, & Genetic Resources (RNGR). This program's mission and site is to supply people who grow forest and conservation seedlings with the very latest technical information and to provide links to other organizations and individuals with similar interests. http://www.rngr.net.
The Florida Native Plant Society. 2011. Information about upcoming native conferences, local chapters, and publication links. The site also contains a state map where you can click on your county and see what native species grow in your area. https://www.fnps.org/
Wilson, S. B. 2011. Florida Native Landscaping. Website contains a virtual garden tour and hyperlinked plant identification sheets showing flower, fruit, form, and leaf characteristics. https://irrecenvhort.ifas.ufl.edu/fnl/index.html.
Related EDIS or County Extension Publications
Allen, G. M., M. D. Bond, and M. B. Main. 2012. 50 Common Native Plants Important In Florida's Ethnobotanical History. Cir 1439. Gainesville: University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences. https://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/uw152.
Haynes, J., J. McLaughlin, and L. Vasquez. n. d. Native Landscape Plants for South Florida. http://miami-dade.ifas.ufl.edu/pdfs/fyn/native-plant-list.PDF.
Meerow, A. W., T. K. Broschat, and H. M. Donselman. 2011. Native Trees for South Florida. EES-57. Gainesville: University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences. https://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/eh157.
Norcini, J. G. 2012. Native Plants: An Overview. ENH1045. Gainesville: University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences. https://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/ep297.
Sources to Obtain Native Plants for the Treasure Coast
Florida Association of Native Nurseries (FANN). Native Plant & Service Directory. Wholesale and retail catalogs available online at www.afnn.org.
D. R. Bates Liners Plus, 17639 64th Place North, Loxahatchee, FL 33470, 561-790-3246, E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org, http://www.plantrealflorida.org/professionals/detail/179
Indian Trails Native Nursery, 6315 Park Lane West, Lake Worth, FL 33467-6606, http://indiantrails.vpweb.com/
Maple Street Natives, 2395 Maple Street, W. Melbourne FL 32904, 321-729-6857, http://www.maplestreetnatives.com
Meadow Beauty Nursery, 5782 Ranches Road, Lake Worth, FL 33463, 561-601-9673, http://meadowbeautynursery.com/
Mesozoic Landscapes, 7667 Park Lane Road, Lake Worth FL 33467-6728, 561-967-2630, E-mail: email@example.com
The Natives, 2929 JB Carter Road, Davenport, FL 33837, 863-422-6664, http://www.thenatives.net
Plant Real Florida. A website dedicated to homeowners that lists landscape professionals, environmental consultants, garden and landscape products for native landscaping, and retail nurseries and garden centers that sell native plants. Also contains relevant information on native plants and landscaping with natives. http://www.plantrealflorida.org/
Gardens within or Near the Treasure Coast with Native Plant Displays
Environmental Learning Center, 255 Live Oak Drive, Vero Beach, FL 32963, 772-589-5050, http://www.elcweb.org.
Heathcote Botanical Gardens, Inc., 210 Savannah Road, Fort Pierce, FL 34982, 772-464-4672, http://www.heathcotebotanicalgardens.org
IRREC Teaching Garden, Indian River Research and Education Center, University of Florida, 2199 S. Rock Road, Fort Pierce, FL 34945, 772-468-3922, http://www.irrec.ifas.ufl.edu
Mounts Botanical Gardens, 531 North Military Trail, W Palm Beach FL 33415, 561-233-1757, http://www.mounts.org
Pan's Garden, 386 Hibiscus Ave., Palm Beach, FL 33480, 561-832-0731, https://www.palmbeachpreservation.org/visit/pans-garden [Accessed 4/12/2022]
Local Treasure Coast Chapters of the Florida Native Plant Society
Conradina Chapter, Melbourne. Region: Southern portion of Brevard County.
Eugenia Chapter, Vero Beach. Region: Indian River County.
Lakela's Mint Chapter, Fort Pierce. Region: St. Lucie County.
Cocoplum Chapter, Jensen Beach. Region: Martin County.
***For statewide membership information and meeting dates and locations of local chapters, see https://www.fnps.org/.
Florida Association of Native Nurseries (FANN). 2003. Native Plant & Service Directory. Retrieved 10 April 2007. htpp://www.afnn.org.
Hodges, A. W., and J. J. Haydu. 2002. Economic Impacts of the Florida Environmental Horticultural Industry, 2000. Econ. Info. Rpt. EI 02-3, Food and Resource Economics Department. Gainesville: University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences.
Wunderlin, R. P. 1998. Guide to Vascular Plants. Gainesville: University Press of Florida.