Choosing plants is the fun part of landscaping! Florida’s climate supports countless varieties of plants — many of which are grown by local nurseries. The plants you choose determine how much maintenance your Florida-Friendly Yard will require and also how long your landscape will last. For example, fast-growing trees often have a shorter life span than slow-growing trees.

  • Focus first on low maintenance plants suitable to your site. Once these plants are established in the right location, most require little, if any, supplemental water, fertilizers or pesticides.
  • Don’t want to water? Select drought-tolerant plants suited to your soil. Once they are established, your watering chores will be done.
  • Welcome wildlife. Provide flowering and fruiting plants to bring birds and butterflies into your yard. Florida is a stopover for many migrating and wintering butterflies and birds — design a landscape that caters to these colorful, winged creatures.
  • Plant for impact. Limit the number of plants with high water and maintenance requirements, placing them where they will have the greatest visual impact.
  • Aim for diversity. Create a mosaic of trees, shrubs, groundcovers, native grasses and wildflowers. Monocultures — large expanses of the same plant species — are prone to disease and insect infestation and aren’t as sustainable as a diverse plant community.
  • Keep grass useful. Plan turf areas to be functional and design them for easy maintenance. Define planting bed edges and shapes to accommodate your mower without tricky maneuvering.
  • Beg off quick fixes. Do not be fooled by the quick-fix appeal of fast-growing plants. Such plants require frequent pruning, which creates more clippings and yard waste. Also, fast growth yields lots of lush, green shoots— which can attract certain pests. Slow-growing plants may take longer to fill in your landscape, but they’ll ultimately last longer and create less work.
  • Mulch. A mulch layer around trees, shrubs, planted beds and covering bare ground provides many benefits. In areas that are difficult to mow, irrigate or otherwise maintain, use mulch to replace turf or groundcovers. Also consider placing mulch in shady areas where plants don’t grow well.

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