Monday, March 28, 2011

Native Plants Love Florida Sunshine

So many plants just can't stand up to the heat and humidity of a central Florida summer.  Even those plants labeled for "full sun" aren't usually up to it.  There are some plants that can take whatever strong Florida sun comes their way.  These plants are Florida natives.

(Notice the baby lubber grasshopper at the bottom left next to the "www." He is no more.)

Some natives are named for their hometown such as Tampa Verbain, Glandularia tampensis.  I'm gradually incorporating more native plants in with the non-natives that I find do well in my garden. 

Finding native plants is becoming easier to do as more and more garden centers  are stocking them.  Riverview Flower Farm's Florida Friendly Plants stock Home Depots with this Tampa native as well as Blue- Eyed Grass, Sisyrinchium angustifolium and many others.

Blue-Eyed Grass makes a great border plant or ground cover out in the full sun.  It only blooms its bright blue flowers in spring, but it keeps its green grassy foliage year-round.  This plant laughed at the heat of summer and the cold of our recent winters. 

Native Blanket Flowers, Gaillardia pulchella, have reseeded and are popping up in all the sunny spots here at My Garden Path.  When these tall flowers take a breather from blooming they tend to look a little weedy.  All that needs to be done is to trim down to the lower leaves and soon they will be sending up more flowers.

A hybrid form of the Gaillardia has been added along the pathway.  This form is lower growing and much more compact. 

(Notice the lady-bug in the upper left next to the "www."  She has not been harmed.)

As I learn more about native Florida plants I am enjoying incorporating them into my garden.  Certainly, they are hardier and more reliable than many other plants which just don't have what it takes to survive freezing temperatures in the winter and the suffocating humid heat of our Florida summers.


  1. Yes, we need to know about these plants. Coreopsis is another native that I love. Some not-so-native plants that have worked for me are Angelonia (I never even had to deadhead it), dianthus, gaura, salvia farinacea, echinacea (purple coneflower) and daylilies. These go all summer.

  2. I love that blue-eyed grass.


  3. Ha! Those little "bug" captions cracked me up! Glad to know that lubber nymph is no longer with us. I'm with FL...that blue-eyed grass is beautiful. I've seen it soooo many times on blogs, but never in a nursery or in the wild. Perhaps someday I'll get lucky. Coreopsis is one of my fave natives...when I can keep husband from weeding it. Mine just started blooming a couple weeks back. We have to drive 30 miles to reach a Home Depot. Can you believe that?!!! I get to drop by one a few times a year, but I never see many natives there.

  4. Very nice Nana.....I cannot stand those grasshoppers, I had tons of them last year, must keep my eyes open, thanks for the reminder about them.

  5. You are so right about native plants, and they do seem to be gaining in popularity in the nurseries. I am slowly finding some here and there on my nursery visits. Oooh...those nasty lubbers. I was out stomping on them this past weekend in the hopes of eliminating as many as possible before they get BIG.

  6. Kay,
    Oh, I am a BIG fan of natives selected carefully for the right place of course. My garden has all these same plants ya know. Well, except for that hybrid blanket flower. I've got so many seedlings of blanket flower right now I'm trying to get them moved around to spread the love while this rain keeps up...helps me not to drag the hose everywhere.

    How does the Tampa Verbain do in the summer in your garden? This is my first spring with it and I heard it is not so great in humidity.

    Your spring garden is looking so cheery and full this year!

  7. sherryocala - Great list of things that make it all summer. I love salvias of all kinds and the guara does well for me but I can't grow a cone flower that lasts for nothin'.

    FlowerLady - The Blue-eyed grass is great and loves damp spots too.

    Floridagirl - I live just a few blocks from HD. Not always a good thing for the budget. My car just sorta' turns in there. I'm thinking I need some Coreopsis now :)

    Darla - I had tons last year too. I go out every morning to squish those babies.

    Susan - I'm trying Nolo Bait this year to see if it will help NEXT year. I squish the ones I see but I'm sure I'm not getting them all. Plus they come over from the surrounding yards where no one is gardening.

    Meems - I have moved a few seedlings of BF too, at least I'm hoping they're BF:) I carefully guarded one patch that turned out to be carefully guarded weeds! The Tampa Verbain didn't like the rainy part of summer but I cut it back and it rebounded, so...I added a few more and we'll see. I love it this time of year. A friend said it re-seeded in her garden. I haven't noticed that but I may have mulched too heavy over the potential seedlings.

  8. aloha nanak, these are beautiful, i love the hybrid gaillardias...come and link your post to the hot meme today :)

  9. NanaK, I love Florida native plants and my goal is to add all I can to the schools garden. We have the TV set to tape you tomorrow!!!!!!!!!!!!


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