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FYN Publications: Native Landscape Plants for South Florida

Ornamental Grasses, Ferns & Groundcovers

Note: U indicates plants commonly available in nurseries and/or garden centers in south Florida

Click on underlined scientific names for photos and/or more information.

 

Common name
Scientific name

Size
(feet)

Light
preference

Salt tolerance

Comments

Beach bean
Canavalia rosea

6-12”

Full sun

High

Attractive purple flowers. Excellent groundcover for beach-front locations, although it can grow into surrounding shrubs or over fences.

Limber caper U
Capparis flexuosa

12-25’

Full sun to full shade

High

Medium to large vining shrub with large, fragrant flowers in spring and beanlike fruit capsules in summer or fall.

Butterfly pea
Centrosema virginianum

3-12’

Full sun

Low

Easily cultivated vine with delicate, finely divided leaves bearing three long, narrow lobes. Flowers are purplish-pink and pea-like in appearance.

Rubber vine, devil’s potato
Echites umbellata

10-30’

Full sun

Low

Evergreen, twining, climbing vine with dark green, glossy leaves and beautiful tubular white flowers. All parts of this plant are highly toxic.

Railroad vine
Ipomoea pes-caprae

3-8”

Full sun

High

Course, sprawling vine with smooth, fleshy leaves and large, rosy pink, ‘morning-glory’ flowers.

Beach morning glory
Ipomoea stolonifera

6”

Full sun

High

Twining, viney groundcover grows over sand dunes. Blooms from spring to fall, with white ‘morning-glory’ flowers opening each morning and closing in the afternoon. Ideal for beach-front.

Key morning glory
Jacquemontia pentanthos

10-20’

Full sun

High

Twining, rambling vine with ‘morning-glory’ type flowers in spring, summer, and fall. Native to Florida Keys, so is tender to frost. Also called skyblue clustervine.

Coral
honeysuckle U
Lonicera sempervirens

10-15’

Full sun to partial shade

Low

Showy evergreen vine that blooms heavily in the spring with clusters of tubular, orange-red flowers that attract butterflies and hummingbirds.

Morinda, redgal
Morinda royoc

5-10’

Full sun to partial shade

High

Evergreen, vine-like shrub with long, thin leaves, small whitish to reddish flowers, and distinct yellowish fruit that smells of cheese when bruised.

Passion flower U
Passiflora incarnata

5-10’

Full sun to partial shade

Low

Vine with shiny green leaves and large, showy, fringed white/purple flowers followed by medium-sized, purple fruit. Highly attractive to butterflies as a larval food plant.

Corky-stemmed passion flower U
Passiflora suberosa

20’

Full sun to partial shade

Low

Vine with shiny green leaves and very small, greenish yellow flowers followed by small, purple fruit. Highly attractive to tropical zebra butterflies as a larval food plant.

Wild allamanda U
Pentalinon luteum

50’

Full sun to partial shade

Moderate

Fast growing, twining vine to 50’ in length. Lustrous, elliptical leaves with lighter colored midribs. Blooms year-round. Blossoms bright yellow, bell-shaped. Urechites lutea is a synonym.

Rubber or mangrove vine
Rhabdadenia biflora

12’

Full sun to partial shade

High

Robust, twining vine with dark green leaves and beautiful, paper-white flowers with yellow centers and edges tinged with pink. Often found in association with mangroves, but it does not require such conditions to grow well.

Mistletoe cactus
Rhipsalis baccifera

6’

Light to full shade

High

Hanging epiphytic cactus with pencil-thin, yellowish stems to 2 feet or more in length. Bears small, white flowers and small, white berries with black seeds.

 

Native Plant Categories

The 135 native plant species listed in this publication are grouped according to their functions in the landscape. Separate pages are provided for the following categories: