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Native Plants: Sharing Beauty and Saving Water in Florida

by | Jun 14, 2019 | Native Plants

Florida native plants are beautiful and diverse. From the colorful coral honeysuckle to iconic Spanish moss, Florida’s native plants are strikingly beautiful and can enhance any garden. The variety ensures that you’ll find the perfect addition to your garden whether it’s a groundcover or a palm with many providing safe food sources for local wildlife too.

Aside from helping create a gorgeous and picturesque landscape, native Florida plants help conserve water when appropriately planted. The setting is vital here because attempts to grow a species dependent on wetlands in a dry higher site will work against you if your goal is the reduction of water usage.

Native vs. Non-Native Florida Plants

Florida’s native plants are iconic and represent the beautiful, multifaceted state. The native plants support various species of wildlife including butterflies, birds, honey bees, wild bees, and other insects. Florida’s native plants are designed to thrive and grow within its climate, soil, and wildlife making them a sustainable, healthy choice. Why convert your garden or landscape to something appropriate for more tropic climes when the versatility of Florida and its native plants are all you need?

Non-native plants in Florida, on the other hand, are either there by accident or with intent. While most non-native plants in Florida support human well-being, crop production, and landscaping, some become invasive and create problems, particularly if they are fast-spreading.

Saving Water with Native Plants

Florida can be very dry at times with drought conditions being frequent. Its water tables constantly depleted from an expanding population with its daily demands. If you a lush, green Florida garden is what you’re hoping for, you know that regular watering is required. Want to save natural resources and save money on your monthly water bill?

It can be done with the help of native plants.

First, consider adding native plants in your Florida garden or landscape that need little to no water from external sources. Having evolved over the centuries to the Florida soil and its moisture conditions, in a natural habitat, native plants are better adapted than any non-native you try to transplant. 

A healthy, vibrant selection of diverse native plants can be used to take up lawn space. The shade from shrubs and trees help decrease the loss of water from your landscape as well. Using native groundcovers can also be useful in taking up lawn space for the same purpose. In using the right native plant in the right environment, you can have a scenario where you have an abundance of plants that flourish on less water.

What Else Can Native Plants Do For You?

Native plants in Florida are not only environmentally-friendly but they offer so many other great benefits you’ll want to know about.

  • Economic Benefits: Using native plants in your Florida garden or landscape brings a lot of economic benefits to local communities:

    • Fishing: The fish native to inland lakes and streams, including those that breed in the coastal areas, depends on native plant life directly for food and shelter or as a food source to attract their prey.
    • Hunting: The hunted wildlife are reliant on native plant species for their food sources and survival.
    • Tourism and Hospitality: There is much Florida wildlife that tourists come to see and they depend on native plants too. Tourists also come to see Florida’s beautiful springs and streams, and to maintain their natural habitat and features, native plants are vital.
  • Minimizing Fertilizer Use: Much of the soil in Florida is nutrient-poor so the only way some plants can be naturally grown is through the use of fertilizers. While some plants do grow faster with the use of fertilizers, others definitely don’t. You can save yourself this hassle by planting the best native species for the given setting. Avoid over-fertilizing because much of it will run off and potentially pollute water sources.

  • Minimizing Herbicides and Pesticides: The use of native plants in Florid greatly reduces the need for herbicides and pesticides. Keep it diverse because monocultures of most plants will attract unwanted pests. You can strategically use islands of flowers, shrubs, and trees to have less lawn to maintain and water.

Florida has a selection of native plants that can not only be used to bring stunning diversity and beauty to your garden or landscape, but they can help you to reduce water usage as well. With a little research into what native plants grow best where, you can save money, help protect water as a valuable natural resource, and have a flourishing garden you can be proud of.

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