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Why Are Native Plants Important?


longleaf pine for sale

Want to help the environment while adding color and diversity to your landscape? Native plants are the way to go!

Bald Cypress knees in Florida marsh

As a North Florida based company, we like to highlight the importance of incorporating native plants into your landscaping and garden projects. Why are native plants important? Native plants are known to provide shelter and food to native wildlife and pollinators like birds, butterflies, and bees. Also, native plants will help you save money because they need less fertilizer, pesticides, and water as they can naturally thrive in their endemic environments! With so many benefits of planting native species, it’s hard to resist filling your yard with them. 

Here in Florida, we have lush landscapes filled with hundreds of different native plant species. Some of our favorites are Longleaf Pines, which are known for their long prolific spindle-like leaves, and the Bald Cypress, who have knobby knee-like projections. Here at Perfect Plants, we have over 7 different species of Florida Native plants that are waiting to be incorporated into your yard! You can shop for Native Shrubs or Native Trees.


Longleaf Pine (Pinus palustris)

Longleaf pine forest

The Longleaf Pine is abundant throughout Central and Northern Florida and is a keystone species, just like the endangered red-cockaded woodpecker! This evergreen tree will naturally lose its lower branches to make room for birds and wildlife. As the warmer seasons come in, you can spot birds like the brown-headed nuthatch nesting in its branches. Reaching up to 100 feet tall, the Longleaf Pine makes a great privacy wall while enhancing the biodiversity in your yard or landscape. Unfortunately, today’s Longleaf Pines only make up less than 4% of its historic range. By planting a Longleaf Pine, you can help restore this severely threatened species and improve wildlife habitats! 


Bald Cypress (Taxodium distichum)

Bald Cypress in Floridian Landscape. Needle point leaf

The Bald Cypress Tree brings the charm of the South all the way to your home garden. These friendly giants are native throughout the Atlantic coastal region all the way to Texas, and as far north as Delaware. Known as the “tree with knees”, the Bald Cypress can thrive in most soil types but love murky creeks and growing alongside streams. Growing to a height of 120 feet tall, these trees are perfect for all types of landscaping needs. They can be pruned down as a hedge or left to grow into their glory with little to no maintenance. As a long-lived tree (up to 600 years), these plants will help keep our Florida ecosystems alive and well!


 

Oakleaf Hydrangea (Hydrangea quercifolia)   

Oakleaf Hydrange blooms

The Oakleaf Hydrangea is known for its dramatic cone-like, color-changing blooms. Once the Hydrangea loses its leaves in the winter, its exquisite bark exfoliates naturally and prepares itself for the next blooming season.  These plants love the shade and can grow in most natural settings, making them a great native option for woodland gardens. This Florida native flowering plant can be seen growing from Louisiana all the way to North Carolina, and is endemic to the southeastern United States. The Oakleaf Hydrangea is extremely versatile and can make a great addition to property lines or as an accent piece in your garden. Like most native plants, our native pollinators will be overjoyed with the abundant blooms. 


Southern Magnolia (Magnolia grandiflora)

Bracken's Brown Magnolia Bloom
Bracken’s Brown Magnolia Bloom

The Southern Magnolia is a sight to see with its bold saucer-shaped flowers. We carry three different varieties of Southern Magnolias, all native to Florida: D.D. Blanchard, Little Gem, and Bracken’s Brown; and each have their own unique Southern charm. With its distinctive and sought-out leathery underside and evergreen foliage, Southern Magnolias make the perfect accent to any yard. These trees need ample room to reach their full potential as they can grow to a height of 90 feet and spread 40 feet, making them a great option for a shade specimen. A smaller dwarf magnolia variety ‘Little Gem’ is perfect for small spaces.


Redbud Tree (Cercis canadensis)

Eastern Redbud Tree Foliage

With its striking pink clustered blooms and rapid growth, the Eastern Redbud Tree & Forest Pansy Redbud Tree are native must-haves for every yard in the Eastern United States. Only reaching a height of up to 30 feet, these trees are perfect for growing in partial shade and filling out empty spaces in your landscape. Along with its beautiful flowers, the Redbud will put on a show with its heart-shaped color-changing foliage.  The Eastern Redbud is in the same family as legumes, and its flowers are completely edible making them a great springtime snack. If eating flowers is not up your alley, the bees and birds will be happy to take advantage of them. If your tree is sprayed with pesticides/insecticides, make sure it is food grade before consumption.


Dwarf Pink Muhly Grass Shrub (Muhlenbergia capillaris)   

Pink muhly grass native to florida

Our favorite ground cover happens to be native to the South. Dwarf Pink Muhly Grass is low maintenance, has distinctive pink flower plumes, and is non-invasive; what’s not to love! Usually found in Florida’s pine flatwoods and coastal uplands, Dwarf Muhly Grass spreads in clumps making it extremely tolerant to drought and flooding. You will not regret planting these, as they’ll fill your yard with cotton-candy colored foliage which gives it the nickname Cotton Candy Grass. Yum!


White Fringe Tree (Chionanthus virginicus)

White Fringe Tree

New to our collection, the White Fringe Tree is one of the most popular native plants in Florida. This tree is known for its white fragrant spring-time blooms. The fringe-like flowers are unmatched as they cascade over the tree’s light green foliage. As a small tree with a slow growth rate, it is great to plant underneath power lines and in small spaces. The female cultivars will produce dark blue berries in the winter and are the perfect snack for your neighborhood birds.


Native plants are both great for you and your landscape. You can make a great impact by conserving, restoring, and preserving the natural world around us, and the easiest way is to plant Native species. Help us celebrate Florida’s native ecosystems with the Florida Native Plant Society (FNPS).

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