Native Plants

Why Are Native Plants Important?

Over the millenia, plants, insects, birds, and soil enhabitants have learned to not only tolerate each other, but also to depend upon each other. In a natural, native ecosystem, everything works together. Humans have drastically altered the landscapes with non-native plants and various poisons, which has upset these natural balances. But, research by Doug Tallamy and many others has shown that even small landscapes filled with native plants can make a significant difference in restoring the local working ecosystem.

As the saying goes, "Real butterfly gardeners cheer when something is eating their plants." 

To learn why native plants are so important, watch this 4-minute Doug Tallamy video. 

Also, watch this short video by Roger Hammer on FNPS. His native yard's bird count is 171!

Native Plant Selection

Florida has quite a number of different natural ecosystems including dry uplands, wetlands, mangrove forests, saltmarshes and more. When you are considering Florida natives for your yard or for your community, it's helpful to learn about the natural habitats that might have been in place before your neighborhood was developed. The Florida Native Plant Communities webpage on the FNPS site is an eye-opener. 

Dotted horsemint (Monarda punctada)When selecting a plant, even a native plant, choose the “Right Plant for the Right Place”, that is, match the plant’s needs with the existing yard conditions for success. Some examples to consider are their preferences for sun/shade, moist/dry, and sandy/rich soil. You'll also want to know its mature size.

Also, Florida is a large state, so just because a plant is native to Florida, that doesn't mean that it's native to all of Florida. The plant profiles of recommended native plants on the FNPS website's Native Plants for Your Area will provide the information you need to make good choices. 

In addition, here are some local plant recommendations:

- A list of favorite natives compiled by Jake Ingram, landscape architect and Ixia member. These plants (68 in total with 24 “favorites” marked with *) are all inhabitants of upland sites in Florida and, with three or four exceptions, are native to NE Florida counties, USDA Zones 8B & 9A. Reliable, Durable and Dependable Native Plants for Northeast Florida

- Suggested Florida native plant replacements for exotic and invasive plants:  AlterNatives for Northeast Florida (This was a brochure that the Ixia Chapter designed as a handout to help educate people how to replace known, non-native invasive plants with sustainable natives.)

Native Landscaping Videos

FNPS and Karina Veaudry, a landscape architect who has been incorporating Florida natives in her designs and installations, have made this series of videos available to everyone. So if you don't know where to start, these videos will provide the background you need to get started and for the long run.

Books for working with native plants in your yard and in your community:

(Using these links to purchase the books from Amazon
will generate a small payment to FNPS.)

Native Plant Identification


Native Plant Landscapers and Nurseries:

Scarlet rosemallow (Hibiscus coccineu)

Where To See Florida Native Plants:

  • Native Park 3306 Park Street, Jacksonville, FL 32204

  • But to see real Florida native ecosystems it's best to sign up for some of our our guided field trips or get out on your own into natural areas, preserves, or state parks.  Subscribe to our periodic newsletter that lists upcoming programs and events by clicking the Subscribe button on the sidebar or by sending an email with your name and email address to
The mission of the Florida Native Plant Society is to promote the preservation, conservation, and restoration of the native plants and native plant communities of Florida.