To keep your Florida garden or landscape thriving, successful and inexpensive, choosing native plants is critical. Florida's climate has high humidity, heavy rains and glaring summer sun, so by selecting native plants, gardeners ensure they won't spend too much time protecting them from the elements. Florida has a wide variety of native plants, including many in the palm family, as well as the showy, fragrant wisteria.
These palm trees are native to Florida and grow throughout the state, with the exception of the far west panhandle area. Hardy in USDA zones 8 through 11, the cabbage palm is Florida's state tree and is also known as the palmetto. The tree thrives in full sun with just about any amount of water. The cabbage palm attracts birds, has small white flowers and large, fan-like leaves. Palmettos can withstand cold temperatures and salt, as well.
Limited to USDA hardiness zones 9 through 11, the scrub palm is a native Florida plant that grows throughout the state with the exception of the panhandle area, according to FloridaYards.org. This tough, invasive plant can grow to six feet, and it has a fan-shaped, accordion-type leaf that can be 18 inches or more across. Scrub palms, which attract butterflies and birds, are nearly drought-proof, thrive in full to partial sun and prefer sandy soil with any pH balance. These plants grow slowly, but have deep roots and are difficult to transplant.
A showy, woody, invasive vine with fragrant flowers, the American wisteria is a Florida native that grows in all parts of the state except the farthest south. Wisteria can grow to 20 feet high, with vines reaching 12 feet in length, according to FloridaYards.org. The vine, which dies back to bare, brown branches in the winter, produces drooping groups of flowers in lavender, blue or white, as well as velvety six-inch-long pods. Wisteria is not fussy about soil, and thrives in full sun with little water. The vine may also be trained as a tree or bush.