Guide for Choosing Native Wildflowers and Plants

Landscaping with Florida’s native wildflowers and plants provides refuge for birds, bees and butterflies while creating “habitat highways” through urban settings.

Need help finding the right natives for your landscape?

Look no further!

Our “Guide for Choosing Native Wildflowers and Plants” includes over 70 Florida native wildflowers, shrubs, vines and grasses that work well in home landscapes and are generally available at nurseries that specialize in native plants.

Use this guide to identify plants that are suitable for your geographic location and soil and light conditions. Increase diversity and attract wildlife by choosing plants with varied bloom colors and bloom seasons, as well as plants that provide nectar and pollen. And don’t forget to add some larval host plants to provide food for caterpillars.

Profiles of the plants included in the guide are included below. Click the buttons below to jump to a specific section.

bird bath, rain barrel, watering can, yellow and red flowers
Photo by Pamela Adams

Wildflowers

Wild columbine

Wild columbine (Aquilegia canadensis) is one of Florida’s most striking and unique native wildflowers. It occurs naturally in only three counties in the Panhandle and is a state-listed endangered species.
Read more… Wild columbine

Swamp milkweed

Swamp milkweed (Asclepias perennis) blooms in late spring through early fall and attracts many pollinators. It is a larval host plant for Monarch, Queen and Soldier butterflies.
Read more… Swamp milkweed

Butterfly milkweed

Butterfly milkweed (Asclepias tuberosa) is a perennial that produces large, showy clusters of bright orange to reddish flowers from spring through fall. It occurs naturally in sandhills, pine flatwoods, and…
Read more… Butterfly milkweed

Herb-of-grace

Herb-of-grace (Bacopa monnieri) is a creeping, mat-forming perennial that occurs naturally in coastal hammocks and swales, salt marshes, freshwater marshes and swamps, and along river, stream and ditch edges.
Read more… Herb-of-grace

Greeneyes

Florida greeneyes (Berlandiera subacaulis) is an endemic wildflower found in Florida’s sandhills, pine flatwoods, mixed upland forests, and along dry roadsides. Their bright yellow flowers bloom in spring, attracting a…
Read more… Greeneyes

Florida paintbrush

Florida paintbrush (Carphephorus corymbosus) blooms from mid-summer into fall, attracting butterflies and other pollinators. It occurs naturally in sandhills, pine flatwoods, scrubby flatwoods, mesic flatwoods and ruderal areas.
Read more… Florida paintbrush

Partridge pea

Partridge pea (Chamaecrista fasciculata) is a larval host for several butterflies, including the Gray hairstreak and Cloudless sulphur. The plant is also used by bees, ants, flies, wasps, birds and…
Read more… Partridge pea
Purple thistle flower

Purple thistle

Purple thistle (Cirsium horridulum) is a larval host for the Little metalmark and Painted lady butterflies. The seeds are an important food source for seed-eating birds.
Read more… Purple thistle
Lanceleaf tickseed flower

Lanceleaf tickseed

Lanceleaf tickseed (Coreopsis lanceolata) has conspicuously sunny flowers that typically bloom in spring. It attracts butterflies and other pollinators, and its seeds are eaten by birds and small wildlife.
Read more… Lanceleaf tickseed

Pineland heliotrope

Don’t forget Pineland heliotrope (Euploca polyphylla) if you’re looking for year-round blooms! This member of the forget-me-not family is a Florida endemic and is adaptable to a variety of conditions…
Read more… Pineland heliotrope
Dune sunflower bloom

Dune sunflower

Dune (or beach) sunflower (Helianthus debilis) typically flowers in summer, but may bloom year-round. Its bright yellow flowers attract a variety of pollinators, including butterflies, moths and bees.
Read more… Dune sunflower
Scarlet hibiscus bloom

Scarlet hibiscus

Scarlet hibiscus (Hibiscus coccineus) has large, crimson blooms that attract hummingbirds, butterflies and other pollinators. They remain open for only one day, but the plant produces many flowers throughout the…
Read more… Scarlet hibiscus
Mimosa strigillosa

Sunshine mimosa

Sunshine mimosa (Mimosa strigillosa) has showy “powderpuff” flowers that bloom spring through summer, attracting mostly bees. The plant is a larval host for the Little sulphur butterfly.
Read more… Sunshine mimosa

Spotted beebalm

Also known as Dotted horsemint, Spotted beebalm (Monarda punctata) is a robust, aromatic wildflower known to attract a huge variety of pollinating insects, including bees, wasps and butterflies. It blooms…
Read more… Spotted beebalm

Wild blue phlox

Wild blue phlox (Phlox divaricate) is a delicate perennial wildflower. Its beautiful blooms appear from spring into early summer in slope forests, bluffs and calcareous hammocks.
Read more… Wild blue phlox
Frogfruit flowers

Frogfruit

Frogfruit (Phyla nodiflora) is both a versatile and vital wildflower. This evergreen perennial is low-growing and creeping, often forming dense mats of green foliage.
Read more… Frogfruit
Wild petunia

Wild petunia

Wild petunia (Ruellia caroliniensis) typically blooms late spring through late summer/early fall, attracting a variety of pollinators. It is the host plant for the White peacock and Common buckeye butterflies.
Read more… Wild petunia
Tropical sage flowers

Tropical sage

Tropical sage (Salvia coccinea) is a versatile perennial wildflower that no pollinator can resist, but it is particularly attractive to bees, large butterflies and hummingbirds.
Read more… Tropical sage
Starry rosinweed flower

Starry rosinweed

Starry rosinweed (Silphium asteriscus) is a robust perennial with showy yellow blooms. It is typically found in pine flatwoods, sandhills, open woodlands, mixed upland forests and disturbed or ruderal areas.
Read more… Starry rosinweed
Seaside goldenrod flower stalk with bees

Seaside goldenrod

The conspicuous golden blooms of Seaside goldenrod (Solidago sempervirens) are found on dunes, in tidal marshes, bogs and sandy flatwoods, along roadsides and in disturbed areas in Florida’s coastal counties…
Read more… Seaside goldenrod

Blue porterweed

Blue porterweed (Stachytarpheta jamaicensis) is an excellent addition to a butterfly garden: It is a host plant for the Tropical buckeye and a nectar source for many other butterfly species.
Read more… Blue porterweed
Spiderwort flower

Spiderwort

Spiderwort (Tradescantia spp.) flowers attract many pollinators, especially bees. Like all species in the dayflower family, the flowers are ephemeral, meaning they stay open only one day.
Read more… Spiderwort
Frostweed flowers

Frostweed

Frostweed (Verbesina virginica) typically flowers late summer through fall along moist forest and hammock edges throughout the state. It is attractive to many bees, butterflies and other pollinators.
Read more… Frostweed
Great Southern white on Tall ironweed, Vernonia gigantea

Giant ironweed

Giant ironweed (Vernonia gigantea) is a robust perennial wildflower that blooms in summer and fall, with peak blooming in July. It attracts many pollinators, particularly butterflies.
Read more… Giant ironweed

Shrubs

Marlberry, Ardisia escallonidides

Marlberry

Marlberry (Ardisia escallonioides) blooms and fruits intermittently throughout the year. Its abundant fruit is enjoyed by birds and small animals and is also edible to humans.
Read more… Marlberry
Hammock snakeroot flowers

Hammock snakeroot

Hammock snakeroot ( Ageratina jucunda) is a low-growing shrub found in pine flatwoods, sandhills, hammocks, upland mixed woodlands, and along roadsides and stream banks throughout Florida’s peninsula and Eastern Panhandle…
Read more… Hammock snakeroot

Buttonbush

Buttonbush (Cephalanthus occidentalis) is a wetland shrub with pincushion-like blooms that attract bees, butterflies and moths. Ducks and other birds eat the seeds and the foliage is browsed by deer.
Read more… Buttonbush
Snowberry, Chiococca alba

Snowberry

Snowberry (Chiococca alba) is a robust evergreen vinelike shrub that occurs naturally in pine rocklands, shell mounds and coastal strands and hammocks. Its fragrant flowers bloom spring through fall.
Read more… Snowberry

Cocoplum

Cocoplum (Chrysobalanus icaco) produces flowers and fruits throughout the year. Its dense foliage and substantial fruit provide cover and food for many birds and small wildlife.
Read more… Cocoplum
False rosemary

False rosemary

False rosemary (Conradina canescens) occurs naturally in sand pine scrub and sandhills. Many pollinator species are attracted to false rosemary, but bees are the most prominent visitor.
Read more… False rosemary
Parsley haw, Crataegus marshallii

Parsley haw

Parsley haw (Crataegus marshallii) is an important source of nectar for a variety of pollinators and is a larval food source for many butterfly and moth species.
Read more… Parsley haw
Beach creeper, Ernodea littoralis

Beach creeper

Beach creeper (Ernodea littoralis) is an evergreen low-growing, mat-forming shrub found on dunes, beaches and coastal hammock edges throughout Central and South Florida.
Read more… Beach creeper
Coralbean flowers

Coralbean

Also known as Cardinal spear or Cherokee bean, Coralbean (Erythrina herbacea) is a semi-deciduous to evergreen woody shrub. It produces red tubular flowers that attract hummingbirds and butterflies.
Read more… Coralbean
Garberia flowers

Garberia

Garberia (Garberia heterophylla) is endemic to Florida’s north and central peninsula and is a state-listed threatened species. It is an excellent nectar source for many butterflies and bees.
Read more… Garberia

Firebush

Firebush (Hamelia patens var. patens) is a hardy, fast-growing and showy evergreen shrub to small tree. It produces clusters of bright orange to red tubular flowers that are filled with…
Read more… Firebush
Scarlet hibiscus bloom

Scarlet hibiscus

Scarlet hibiscus (Hibiscus coccineus) has large, crimson blooms that attract hummingbirds, butterflies and other pollinators. They remain open for only one day, but the plant produces many flowers throughout the…
Read more… Scarlet hibiscus

Gallberry

Gallberry (Ilex glabra) is an evergreen shrub to small tree with tiny flowers that attract bees. Its pulpy berries and evergreen foliage provide food and cover for birds.
Read more… Gallberry

Yellow anise

Yellow anisetree (Illicium parviflorum) is an evergreen shrub to small tree found in mesic hammocks, bluffs, ravines and seepage swamps. It is endemic to only seven Central Florida counties.
Read more… Yellow anise
Virginia willow, Iitea virginica

Virginia willow

Virginia willow (Itea virginica) is a spreading shrub with showy spikes of tiny white flowers that bloom late winter through early summer. The plant provides food and cover for wildlife…
Read more… Virginia willow

Buttonsage

Buttonsage (Lantana involucrata) occurs naturally along coastal strands, dunes, hammocks, and pinelands in coastal counties from Pinellas and Brevard south to Monroe and into the Keys.
Read more… Buttonsage
Gopher apple flowers and leaves

Gopher apple

Gopher apple (Licania michauxii) is a hardy, low-growing, woody perennial shrub that occurs naturally in sandhills, pine flatwoods, scrubby flatwoods and scrub. It can bloom year-round.
Read more… Gopher apple
Christmasberry's lavender flowers

Christmasberry

Christmasberry (Lycium carolinianum) gets its common name from the many bright red, egg-shaped berries it produces in December. While toxic to some animals, they are favored by many birds.
Read more… Christmasberry

Snow squarestem

Also known as Cat’s tongue, Salt and pepper and Nonpareil, Snow squarestem (Melanthera nivea) typically blooms summer through early winter, but can bloom year-round, attracting bees, butterflies and other pollinators…
Read more… Snow squarestem

Wild coffee

Wild coffee (Psychotria nervosa) flowers typically bloom in spring and summer, but may bloom year-round. They are attractive to a variety of pollinators, especially Atala and Schaus’ swallowtail butterflies.
Read more… Wild coffee

Saw palmetto

Saw palmetto (Serenoa repens) is an evergreen shrub found in scrub, pinelands, coastal hammocks, and dunes throughout Florida. Dr. Mark Deyrup of Archbold Biological Station calls it the “most amazing…
Read more… Saw palmetto
Wild lime, Zanthoxylum fagara

Wild lime

Wild lime (Zanthoxylum fagara) has dense foliage that provides cover, and fruit that provides food for birds and small wildlife. The plant is the larval host for several butterflies.
Read more… Wild lime

Vines

Crossvine

Crossvine (Bignonia capreolata) puts on a spectacular spring display of orange tubular flowers. They are mainly pollinated by hummingbirds but attract some butterflies, as well.
Read more… Crossvine
Trumpet creeper, Campsis radicans

Trumpet creeper

Trumpet creeper (Campsis radicans) is a high-climbing woody vine so named because its showy flowers are trumpet-shaped. They bloom year-round and are very attractive to hummingbirds.
Read more… Trumpet creeper
Coral honeysuckle flowers

Coral honeysuckle

Coral honeysuckle (Lonicera sempervirens) flowers are attractive to many butterflies, and hummingbirds find them irresistible. Birds such as Northern cardinals enjoy the bright red berries.
Read more… Coral honeysuckle
Purple passionflower bloom

Passionflower

Purple passionflower (Passiflora incarnata) has extraordinarily intricate purple-and-white-fringed flowers. The plant is the larval host plant of several butterflies including the Gulf fritillary and Zebra longwing.
Read more… Passionflower
Rubbervine, Rhabdadenia biflora

Rubbervine

Rubbervine (Rhabdadenia biflora) is an evergreen flowering vine with white to pinkish-white flowers that bloom spring through fall, but may bloom year-round if temperatures remain warm.
Read more… Rubbervine
Climbing aster flower

Climbing aster

Climbing aster (Symphyotrichum carolinianum) is a robust vine-like shrub that produces many fragrant daisy-like lavender to pinkish blooms. It is an excellent nectar source for many butterflies and bees.
Read more… Climbing aster

Grasses and Grass-like Plants

Wiregrass, Aristida stricta

Wiregrass

Wiregrass (Aristida stricta) is a perennial bunchgrass found in scrub, pinelands and coastal uplands throughout much of Florida. It is is a primary food source for gopher tortoises.
Read more… Wiregrass
Hairyawn muhlygrass

Muhlygrass

Nothing says fall in Florida like the purple haze of Hairyawn muhly (Muhlenbergia capillaris) in bloom. When planted en masse, this perennial bunchgrass puts on a spectacular fall display.
Read more… Muhlygrass

Sea oats

There is nothing more iconic to the Florida summer coastal scene than Sea oats (Uniola paniculata) swaying to the sea breeze in the dunes. The flowers of this tall and…
Read more… Sea oats

Adam’s needle

Adam’s needle (Yucca filamentosa) is a low-growing evergreen shrub found in scrub, sandhills, flatwoods and coastal dunes throughout much of Florida. As a landscape plant, it provides interest with its…
Read more… Adam’s needle