The Coastal Spider Lily or Mangrove Spider Lily can be found on beaches, sand dunes, mangrove swamps and wetlands of Florida. It is an evergreen, bulbous perennial that typically grows 2-3 feet tall and 2-4 feet wide in full to partial sun, and is drought tolerant once established. Over time, it will multiply and form clumps with foliage that makes a great accent in the landscape. Garden uses are moist borders, bog gardens, water gardens and along streams and ponds.
Fakahatchee Grass, Dwarf
Smaller species of Fakahatchee clumping grass makes it a better option for landscaping if you’re short on space. It has noticeably smaller, narrower leaf blades and grows 2 to 3 feet tall and wide. It has little, sharp teeth along the blade edges. Flowers appear in late spring on spikes, usually yellow in color. It is drought tolerant and useful for stabilizing slopes or banks.
A Florida native, Ironweed is a long-lived perennial that reaches 3 to 10 feet tall. A member of the sunflower family, it is found in the eastern U.S. and Puerto Rico. Ironweed flourishes in moist areas and can be found growing on prairies, grasslands, fields, roadsides and woodlands and along the banks and exposed sand bars of streams. From July to October, dark purple flowers appear in in large masses blooming at the top of the plants. Be prepared to look up if the plant is taller than you are!
Native Floridian palm with lustrous, evergreen leaves. Excellent as accent plant. Adds textural interest beneath new or established trees. Slow-growing, shrubby palm that can spread to 8 feet tall and wide. Its common name comes from the sharp, black needles found along the trunk.
Tropical Sage is one of Florida’s native plants that creates a dramatic effect if grown in mass plantings as part of your landscape. Space them approximately 18 inches apart in a planting bed, in full-sun and well-drained soil. They also do well as container plants.
Native Floridian grass great for landscaping as an accent or border plant to add curb appeal to the property. Easy to grow and propagate and is drought tolerant, even though it is frequently found growing on river banks, hammocks, swamps and other wet sites.
This Florida native has beautiful orange-red flowers throughout most of the year. A large, soft-stemmed shrub that can reach a height of 8 to 12 feet, it grows quickly, tolerates shade to full sun (showing the best color in partial to full sun) and is drought tolerant once established.
Hammock (Swamp) Twinflower occurs mostly in the partially shaded edges of forested wetlands. It is a deciduous perennial that emerges in early spring and produces a large number of decumbent stems. Each reaches several feet in length and root in various places as they touch moist soil. The deep green leaves are opposite each other on the stem, ovoid in shape and about 1/2” long. The foliage is attractive and makes for an interesting ground cover for shady and moist locations. Flowering can occur in most months, but most common from late spring to early summer. The flowers are a pale lavender with a deeper lavender throat.
Swamp azalea, Florida’s only white-flowered and summer-blooming rhododendron, is a long-lived perennial shrub to small tree that can grow from 5 to 15 feet tall and 12 feet wide. Occurs naturally in wet flat woods, bay swamps and along lake margins.
Native shrub, also known as Wild Coffee, with deep green, shiny and evergreen leaves. Bears clusters of small white flowers that bloom from the branch tips in spring/summer and produce red fruit in summer/fall. The fruit resembles true coffee beans, but they do not contain caffeine. While wild coffee is in the same family as true coffee (Rubiacaea), they are not the same species.
Walter's Viburnum is Florida's most common native Viburnum naturally distributed through much of central and north Florida. It is adapted to full sun to filtered lighting and is cold hardy throughout Florida. It is a slow-growing rounded evergreen broadleaf shrub reaching heights of 2-5 feet with a 3-5 feet spread and used as a median planting, hedge or border screen.
Also known as Henry’s Garnet, this compact shrub is commonly found in swamps, stream banks, wet hammocks, and floodplain forests throughout Florida. A great addition to any garden landscape, it features graceful arching branches that grow 3-4 feet tall and 4-6 feet wide. Blooms in mid-spring with tiny, fragrant white flowers along drooping flower spikes 3 to 6 inches long. Very showy!
Simpson Stopper, a member of the Eucalyptus family, is a Florida native that provides the landscape with springtime flowering, colorful berries and evergreen leaves. It is very versatile as it can function as a tree which can reach a height of 30 feet and a width of 20 feet.
Swamp dogwood is found only in low, moist woodlands and swamps throughout the southeastern U.S. and west to Missouri. It grows 10 to 15 feet tall and wide with stiff, upright branches, reddish-purple stems, and dark green leaves that are 1 to 4 inches long. In Spring you will find creamy white flowers in clusters up to 3 inches across. In the fall the fruit turns blue and is about 1/4 inch in diameter. Typical of most dogwood plants, this shrub is deciduous and drops its leaves in the fall.
Scrub Blueberry is a 2 ft. low, colony-forming evergreen shrub. It bears very attractive small, blue-green leaves with pink new growth and pink to white, urn-shaped flowers in short, axillary racemes during the spring. The small berries are deep blue and are truly delicious. The berries ripen in late spring and early summer. The flowers attract butterflies and other pollinators, and fruit attracts birds. Plant in moist, acidic, well drained soils in full sun. Scrub Blueberries make good container plants and are in some cases, easier to grow in pots. Care needs to be taken to keep blueberries moist and the soil acidified. This is a beautiful and productive small plant that deserves wider ornamental use.
Clumping perennial native grass that grows low to the ground in dense tufts, 8-18 in. tall. In late summer, the fine-textured, stiff inflorescence appears like reddish-purple clouds hovering at ground level. Eventually this inflorescence breaks off and floats around like a tumbleweed. Good companion for many wildflowers or a naturalistic ground cover. It can also offer a contemporary look in a container. Plant in full sun in average to moist soil.
Clumping, perennial native grass with pretty bluish-green foliage that grows low to the ground in dense tufts, 18 to 30 inches tall. In late summer the fine-textured inflorescence appears like bluish-green clouds hovering at ground level. Eventually this inflorescence breaks off and floats loose. Pruning back the inflorescence at this late stage of flowering can help to keep the landscape tidy. Good companion plant for many wildflowers or a good naturalistic ground cover. Plant in full sun in average to moist soil. It can be a great naturalistic or contemporary look in a pot as well.
Low-growing, erect perennial that 6 to 18 inches in height. Flowers bloom prolifically in late winter through the spring months with intermittent blooming throughout summer and fall. They are one inch across with 5 petals, tubular in shape, and range in color from purple to lavender to a pale pinkish white. Opposite gray-green leaves are ovate to elliptic. This is small mounding plant that is very adaptable and easy to grow in full sun to bright shade as well as being drought tolerant. Wild petunia is a nectar plant for butterflies and is also a host plant for Common Buckeye and Peacock butterflies. It also attracts a variety of other pollinators.
Eastern Smooth Beardtongue
The rarest of Florida’s three native beardtongues, Eastern smooth beardtongue is somewhere between our other two native penstemons in stature. Its basal leaves are deep green and flushed with red in the main leaf vein and sometimes along the leaf margins. Individual plants reach about 2 feet tall at flowering time. The flowers are a soft pink in color and similar in structure to that of the white beardtongue (P. multiflorus). The "beardtongue" along the lower fused petals is quite noticeable and bright yellow. Large numbers of these flowers are produced during the late spring and summer months. Plants may stay in bloom for nearly a month and make a stunning display. Plant in masses of at least 5 per cluster in well-drained soil under filtered sun or in locations where it will receive mostly morning sun.
Beautiful 2 to 3 ft. perennial grass that produces large, airy, much-branched flower and seed heads nearly half as high as the entire plant. In the fall, the plant takes on a dramatically ornamental and feathery look with the deep pink hue from these flowers. Nothing is like a dewy fall morning or fall sunset with light glistening through the blooms of Muhly Grass. It is simply breathtaking!
Thread Leaf Coreopsis
Thread Leaf Coreopsis is a native perennial in the daisy family that grows in dense bushy clumps. It may grow 2-3 feet tall with a similar spread. Plants thrive in infertile sandy and rocky soils and tolerate drought, low levels of salt, infertile soil, heat, and humidity. If the soil is too rich or moist, stems become weak and plants tend to flop. The clumps will spread by rhizomes and can be divided every 2-3 years. It will also self-seed. Shearing the plant after blooming will sometimes produce fall flowers. This plant provides an airy appearance to the sunny border, naturalized area, native garden, or mass plantings. Its long bloom season provides a profusion of daisy-like yellow flowers. It is an easy-care plant that will give you years of enjoyment.
In the pea family (Fabaceae), this unusual glossy-leaved thorny shrub can grow to 6'. After the leaves fall in winter and before they reappear in spring, upright spikes of showy, tubular scarlet-red flowers adorn the bare branches. These are followed by a legume pod containing several bright red beans. The pod is blackish, constricted between the seeds, and up to 8 1/2 inches long. The seeds are firmly attached to the pod by a sturdy 1/8-inch-long thread and will remain in place for months. Planted for the showy flowers and seeds, the brittle branches are subject to damage by windstorms. In Mexico, the toxic seeds have been used for poisoning rats and fish. They should be kept away from children.
Clusterspike Indigo Bush
Also known as Clusterspike Indigo Bush is a deciduous shrub in the pea (Fabaceae) family found growing in pine flatwoods and sandy river terraces. Long-lived perennial that grows to 3-4 ft. tall and wide. Bears brown fruit and white and lavender flowers with a short bloom time. Interesting foliage creates a nice backdrop for smaller plants to provide texture in the garden. Can also be used as a specimen plant in a sunny spot or as a moderately tall wildflower. Grow in full sun or part shade. Moderate moisture needs, with tolerance for dry periods. Wildlife larval host that attracts native bees, butterflies, songbirds, and other pollinators. Host plant for the silver-spotted skipper and southern dogface butterflies. https://www.fnps.org/plant/amorpha-herbacea
Also known as River Sage, a perennial ground cover that can spread indefinitely on wiry stems. The tiny electric blue flowers must be viewed at close range and attract the Cassius Blue Butterfly to the nectar. The soft foliage is bright green and when crushed has a musk indicative of its membership in the mint family. This is a useful ground cover that is very adaptable but prefers moist soil and will grow in sun or shade. The bright green foliage is great for brightening shadowy or dark areas of a landscape. It can be mowed after establishment. https://www.wilcoxnursery.com/store/Creeping-Sage-1g-p180918158 Used as a ground cover, one of the relatively few Florida plants that both forms a low dense cover and survives shade. Depending on site, this plant may spread more than preferred, but easy to pull up if it is not wanted. Easily propagated by dividing the root ball and will also grow from seed. Will grow in full sun, part shade, and shade. Prefers somewhat moist ground (no flooding) and, once established, can tolerate dry periods. Attracts pollinators and is larval host for Fulvous Hairstreak. https://www.fnps.org/plant/salvia-misella