Learning About Natives
Every now and then, a customer will ask us to provide guidance about reputable resources to learn more about native plants and their habitats. And while I’m always happy to provide individual guidance to our customers both in-person and via our Facebook page, I thought this list of native plant resources might be something a broader audience might find interesting.
Florida Native Plants
My go-to resources for information about Florida’s native plants include:
The Florida Native Plant Society (FNPS) is a wonderful resource for people of all levels of knowledge. For beginners and casual gardeners, FNPS has an interactive site to help find candidate plants that would be appropriate for your site based on county, sun levels, soil moisture, and other factors such as plants to attract butterflies, birds, bats, etc. For more advanced gardeners and naturalists, FNPS area chapters sponsor regular meetings, educational field trips, and host special projects to promote the preservation, conservation, and restoration of native plants in Florida.
For beginning gardeners, the Foundation has produced a wonderful resource called “20 Easy-to-Grow Wildflowers.” This publication includes information about bloom season, bloom color, sun requirements, wildlife value, and care techniques.
The Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center has compiled a database that includes over 25,000 plants native to North America. Searchable by plant name, or a combination of characteristics, the site also provides a list of commercially available plant species by state. (Florida is further divided into Florida-North, Florida-Central, and Florida-South.) I particularly like the way many of the individual plant pages have links to additional bibliographic resources and relevant research literature. (See the Butterfly Weed (Asclepias tuberosa) page as an example.)
This partnership between state, federal, and county government provides scientific knowledge, expertise, and outreach programs (such as the Florida Master Gardener and Florida Master Naturalist programs) to the general public. Their Florida Native Plants list provides links to information about some of the Florida’s most commonly planted native plants.