Native plants (plants that occur naturally in your area) are important to support the local wildlife that is so important to our ecosystem.
There is a huge decline in insects right now and we can help them by creating habitats that provide them shelter, food, and of course, not using pesticides. No matter how small your space is, you can help!
First, start off by replacing your lawn with a garden full of beneficial plants which attract a diverse amount of insects, which will also feed the bird populations. Choose native plants to encourage growth within our native species, as well as reduce water use and fertilization. You want to plant flowers that have overlapping bloom times so that you have flowers at all times of the year.
Native plants to plant
Be careful not to choose nativars – which are native species that have been bred by horticulturists to look better, which is nice for humans, but they may lose the characteristics that insects prefer.
Florida natives on our property
Milkweed is a popular choice by gardeners because it serves as a food source for Monarch caterpillars. There are about 20 milkweed species that are native to Florida. Some of the popular ones include swamp milkweed and butterfly weed.
Please don’t plant tropical milkweed (Asclepias curassavica), as scientists are realizing it is wreaking havoc on the monarch community. Another non-native variety of milkweed that is also questionable is the giant milkweed (Calotropis giganteana).