Want a more eco-friendly yard? Try one of these Florida native plant nurseries.

Native plants require less water and maintenance, reducing the need for fertilizers and pesticides. Image: Wet, Wild N Wacky Florida Plants via Facebook.

By Crystal Harlan

May 20, 2024

Choosing native plants creates a more sustainable and eco-friendly yard, benefiting both you and the environment.

Awareness of the value of native plants has increased in recent years, however they are still under-utilized in most Florida landscapes, much to the detriment of our local biodiversity and environment.

But first, what exactly is a native plant? According to the University of Florida IFAS Extension, “Native is a term that is widely used to describe a plant species that has naturally existed in an area for an extended period of time. ‘Native’ species are widely understood to be those that occurred within political borders before European contact (~1500), and not as a result of direct or indirect human influence.”

Native plants thrive in specific regional climates, soils, and interactions with local wildlife. By planting them, we support local food webs, providing essential resources for native insects, birds, and other animals that have co-evolved with these plants.

Our local pollinators and insects depend on native plants, and birds, in turn, depend on insects, especially as food for young chicks. Even planting a small area with natives can attract butterflies and birds to your neighborhood.

And because these plants thrive in our Florida climate, they require less water and maintenance, reducing the need for fertilizers and pesticides, which can be harmful to the environment. So not only are they better for the planet but also for your pocketbook.

Beeman’s Nursery Inc.
3637 S.R. 44, New Smyrna Beach
This nursery specializes in native grasses and aquatic plants for use in landscaping, restoration projects, and along dunes, pond banks, and estuarine shorelines.

Green Isle Gardens
11303 Hwy. 33, Groveland
At Green Isle Gardens, you’ll find over 150 species of native plants and wildflowers, with a focus on upland plant species. The nursery’s plants are grown on 8 acres without the use of pesticides.

Sweet Bay Nursery
10824 Erie Rd., Parrish
This nursery in Manatee County specializes in native butterfly and wildlife plants, perennial wildflowers, shrubs, trees, ferns, and grasses. Sweet Bay also offers free classes on butterfly and bird gardening.

Sandhills Native Nursery
19326 Merritt Rd., Fountain
Located on a dirt road in the sandhills of the Panhandle, this nursery sells a wide variety of native trees, shrubs, flowers, grasses, vines, and groundcovers. It also offers consultations to help create beautiful and sustainable gardens and landscaping.

Southern Native Nursery, Inc.
16651 Van Gogh Blvd., Loxahatchee
Family-owned and operated since 1981, this 15-acre nursery and garden center has a wide selection of Florida native and butterfly host and nectar plants.

Indian Trails Native Nursery
6315 W Park Ln., Wellington
Indian Trails has been growing Florida native trees, shrubs, grasses, ground covers, and wildflowers, since 1987. This nursery also operates an Airbnb onsite!

Wild Wet N Wacky Florida Plants
1380 D’albora Rd., Merritt Island
This Merritt Island nursery specializes in a wide variety of pesticide-free native plants for coastal areas, scrub, wetlands, upland, bogs, and ponds.

All Native Garden Center & Plant Nursery
300 Center Rd., Fort Myers
Voted “Best Native Plant Nursery” in Southwest Florida for over 10 years, All Native has Florida Friendly Landscape and Backyard Wildlife Habitat certifications, and has won multiple awards since it first opened over two decades ago. The nursery offers thousands of native trees, shrubs, palms, wildflowers, grasses, vines, ferns, and aquatics

Native Butterfly Flowers
82 SW Irwin Ave., West Melbourne
As its name suggests, this nursery specializes in environmentally sound landscaping practices using Florida native plants to create a yard that supports butterflies and other pollinators.

Wilcox Nursery & Landscape
2501 Indian Rocks Rd., Largo
Established as a family business in 1941, Wilcox is committed to helping create self-sustaining yards with a wide variety of native plants and landscape design and installation services.

Little Red Wagon
4113 Henderson Blvd., South Tampa
In addition to selling an ample selection of native plants, this Tampa nursery is committed to promoting utilization of beneficial native plants through education and outreach programs, including its summer camps for kids, and a butterfly exhibit inside the nursery. Proceeds from the nursery benefit the Tampa Bay Butterfly Foundation.

RELATED: 7 non-native species wreaking havoc in Florida

 

Author

  • Crystal Harlan

    Crystal is a bilingual editor and writer with over 20 years of experience in digital and print media. She is currently based in Florida, but has lived in small towns in the Midwest, Caracas, New York City, and Madrid, where she earned her MA in Spanish literature.

CATEGORIES: NATURE
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