Droughts, hurricanes, sandy soils, summer flooding, hot sun, and harsh summers are facts of life in Florida. Why fight it? Native plants are used to these conditions and require less care and reduce need for chemical fertilizers, and irrigation. Not only does this save you time and money, but it reduces the pollution of our waterways, and the impact on our water supply. The use of native plants also provide food and shelter for wildlife.
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(conocarpus erectus) is often used for seaside landscaping because of its tolerance for full sun, sandy soils, and salty conditions. It is also commonly used as a formal hedge or foundation plant because it takes clipping well. Left unclipped it will become a handsome medium sized tree.
Cocoplum 'Red Tip'
is a Florida native and a dense, evergreen shrub, making it a popular choice for a formal hedge. The fruit is attractive to wild life and can be used to make preserves. It is drought tolerant once established, and will tolerate seasonal flooding. It prefers sun to partial shade. It does best if the soil is enriched with organic matter.
(Forestiera segregata)is also known as wild olive or ink-bush and is a Florida native that works as a hedge or screen. It’s growth rate can be moderate to fast and if left unclipped it can reach a height and spread of 8 – 15 feet. It does well in poor soils but needed drainage and is drought tolerant once established. It does best in full sun.
Florida Royal Palm
The Florida royal palm (Roystonea elata) is almost Indistinguishable from the Cuban royal palm, and differs only in the lack of a swollen base. It is a stately, fast growing, palm and prefers wetter conditionsthan the Cuban species. It can withstand some flooding. They prefer full sun and can survive temperatures down to 28 degrees.
Bursera simaruba is a fast-growing native tree, that can attain height of 20-50 ft. Its most striking feature is its massive trunk and reddish bark that peels away to reveal a smooth and sinuous gray underbark. It prefers moist, well-drained sandy or limestone soils, containing some organic matter and is drought tolerant once established. Give it a position in full sun or light shade.
(Rapanea punctata) is a Florida native with a narrow columnar crown, and a height of 20 ft. It has attractive dark green leaves small, dark blue fruit born in clusters, along its stems that are attractive to birds. Plants of both sexes must be grown to obtain the fruit. It does well in partial shade and in a variety of soil conditions, including poor drainage. It tolerates salt spray.
( Muhlenbergia capillaries), produces a diffuse pink cloud of inflorescence above a dense basal clump that lasts for 6 to 8 weeks in late summer. Since it doesn’t produce runners it will stay within bounds. It Does best in full sun or light shade and tolerates a wide range of soil conditions. It is an excellent ground cover for poor soil and will tolerate salt spray.
(Acer rubrum) is a large, fast growing, deciduous shade tree. Young leaves have a red tinge. Easy to establish, this native is tolerant of wide ranging comditions. It prefers moist, acidic soil and can take some flooding and does best in full sun. The bark is easily damaged by weed eaters, and it is suseptable to storm damage. Select one that has been grown from seed in your area.
(chrysophyllum oliforme) is not easy to establish but well worth the effort. It is known for its beautiful leaves, dark green on top and a glowing copper underneath. It requires more water and time to establish, and it's sensitive to transplant shock. It is severely damaged by freezing temperatures and can stain driveways. It is listed as threatened in Florida.
(Viburnum obovatum) is a beautiful shrub that should be more widely used. It can be trained into a small tree, formal or informal hedge, or used as an accent shrub. It will tolerate poor soil and seasonally wet conditions, and blooms profusely when planted in full sun. It is also an important source of food for wildlife. Unforunately it is not drought tolerant.
Wild Cinnamon Tree
(Canella winterana) also called cinnamon bark, is known for its spicy fragrance when crushed. Despite its common name this tree is not used in cooking. It is a small, low maintenance native tree that is excellent for difficult situations. Once established it is extremely drought tolerant. The dense foliage of this nativemake it a good choice to shade patios and decks.
(Psychotria nervosa) is a handsome Florida native and an important food source for wildlife. It is moderately drought tolerant, requiring well drained soil and performs well in partial to full shade. It is effective when planted in masses, as a background plant in a shrub border or as a specimen. It easy to maintain and is not bothered by disease or insects.
Yaupon Holly 'Shilling's Dwarf'
(Ilex vomitoria) is an excellent dense, low growing shrub with a moderate rate of growth that makes it a good choice for a short formal hedge. It will tolerate a wide range of soil types, does well in sun or light shade, is moderately salt tolerant, and drought tolerant. ‘Shilling’s dwarf’ produces no fruit since it is a male clone and is propagated by cuttings.