Native, Drought Tolerant Plants for your Florida Landscape

With water restrictions becoming more and more stringent, perhaps you’ve been thinking about changing your landscape accordingly.

Luckily, Florida has plenty of native, drought-tolerant plants that will add beauty to your landscaping without adding to your already excessive water bill.

While newly-established plants will need plenty of water to grow and settle into their new location, after six months to a year, most of the plants on this list won’t require watering except during the very driest times.

Here are 13 beautiful native plants that won’t wither during Florida’s dry season. (For even more suggestions, the University of Florida maintains a website with 350 low-maintenance plants.)

Beach Sunflower (Helianthus debilis)

The beach sunflower is not only drought tolerant, but it’s salt-tolerant, too, which makes it a great option for people who live near the coast.

It comes in both upright and prostrate varieties and can make a beautiful garden border. Beach Sunflower prefers direct sunlight.

Beautyberry (Callicarpa Americana)

American Beautyberry is a shrub that grows six to eight feet tall and has lavender flowers and beautiful purple berries in the late summer and early fall. Beautyberry will grow in either direct sun or light shade.

Blanket Flower (Gaillardia pulchella)

The blanket flower is a salt-tolerant plant that looks even better partnered with Beach Sunflower. Its bright red and gold flowers attract butterflies. Blanket flowers need plenty of sun – any amount of shade will discourage flowering.

Bluestem Palmetto (Sabal minor)

Also called the dwarf palm, this plant loves the shade and looks great planted around taller trees. It’s one of the hardiest palm varieties in the world, tolerating nearly any soil condition and a little bit of shade.

Buttonwood (Conocarpus erectus)

The Silver Buttonwood tree is a popular choice in Florida. It’s hardier than many other trees and will thrive with very little water. The silvery leaves can add class to any landscape. It can be used as a hedge, accent, or small tree.

Firebush (Hamelia patens)

The Firebush has beautiful red tubular flowers that will attract hummingbirds and butterflies to your garden. It prefers direct sun but will tolerate some shade.

Golden Aster (Pityopsis graminifolia)

Golden Aster grows up to two feet tall and loves plenty of sun and sandy soil. The yellow flowers have a long blooming season.

Longleaf Pine (Pinus palustris)

The Longleaf, also called Yellow Pine, is the stately pine tree of the south. It loves the sun and can grow 80-100 feet tall. The long needles make great mulch.

Pink Muhly Grass (Muhlenbergia capillaris)

Pink Muhly is a native grass that grows three to four feet tall. The beautiful pink plumes show up in early fall. Pink Muhly can be divided every few years if you like it enough to spread it throughout your garden.

Silver Saw Palmetto (Serenoa repens)

Silver Saw Palmetto is a striking small palm that is practically maintenance-free after it’s established. Be sure to keep it away from walkways, though, as the leaves are sharp and can slice sensitive skin.

Spiderwort (Tradescantia virginiana)

The spiderwort comes in a variety of colors and has a long blooming season. Each flower only sticks around for a day, but flowers come and go throughout the plant all through the spring flowering season.

Trumpet Honeysuckle (Lonicera sempervirens)

Unlike invasive Japanese Honeysuckle, Trumpet Honeysuckle is native to Florida and is easier to control. The bright red or yellow tube-shaped flowers on this twining vine attract butterflies and hummingbirds to your garden.

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