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Using Native Plants


Native plants are those that occur naturally in an area. Native species have evolved over time with the biological and physical factors such as soil, climate, and rainfall specific to their region.

Landscaping your yard with native plants has many benefits

Native plants provide food and shelter for native wildlife. The great variety of plant species for all conditions carries a high habitat value. For a list of wildlife-friendly native plants, check out Native Plants for Backyard Florida Habitats.

Check out the University of Florida’s Wildlife Extension for complete information on Landscaping for Wildlife.

Native plants help to restore regional landscapes. They are the best species adapted to local conditions that thrive with the least care and create a sense of place.

Wherever I go in America, I like it when the land speaks its own language in its own regional accent.” Ladybird Johnson- Wildflowers Across America, 1993

Using native plants promotes wise stewardship of the land and conservation for our natural areas. Native species are members of a community of plants, animals, and microorganisms that keep each other in check and won’t harm natural areas.

Follow these principles when landscaping with natives:

Right Plant, Right Place—assess your local site conditions and select compatible plants whose ultimate size and shape fit your needs.

Use a Diversity of Plants—using a variety of plants provides a more diverse wildlife habitat and more seasonal interest, and pest and disease damage is less noticeable.

Plant sites in layers—a multi-layered approach to your lawn provides more home cooling ability and cover for wildlife that utilize plants in different ways.

Native plant species that attract wildlife:


Liquidambar styraciflua

good for seeds

live oak

Live Oak
Quercus virginiana

good for mast

wax myrtle

Wax Myrtle
Myrica cerifera

good for berries


Callicarpa americana

good for berries


Hamelia patens

good for nectar and berries


Lanceleaf Coreopsis
Coreopsis lanceolata

good for nectar


cabbage palm

Cabbage Palm
Sabal palmetto

good for fruit

longleaf pine

Longleaf Pine
Pinus palustris

good for structure




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Copyright © 2004 UF/IFAS Extension and Mark Hostetler
Content written by Elizabeth Swiman and Mark Hostetler
University of Florida, Gainesville, FL 32611