Natural & Native
Florida’s indigenous plants are beautiful and beneficial to your landscape.
For some people, the idea of native plants in their garden conjures up images of an overgrown, weedy landscape that looks ignored. While some gardeners take native plants to the extreme, you can consider a more managed approach. Incorporating just a few Florida native plants into your landscape is easy to do and can add a real boost to your yard.
Native is a term that describes plants that would have been found in the ecosystem prior to European settlement.
The benefits of using native plants include: more habitat for wildlife; food sources for birds, small mammals and insects; and water conservation with the use of hardy, drought-tolerant landscape plants. Florida’s native plants tend to need little or no irrigation once they are established.
Mass plantings will give your landscape a more formal appearance. Using three or more of a single plant close together will keep your lawn looking more organized and deliberate, while using a “scattered” type of planting will give it a more wild and natural appearance.
The popularity of native plants is on the rise, and they are becoming more common in garden centers and nurseries in our area. Whether you choose to experiment with just a few native plants or jump right in for a completely native yard, taking the time to appreciate these plants will have you seeing our environment in a whole new way.
Keri Byrum is Assistant Director of Harry P. Leu Gardens, Orlando.