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FYN Publications: Native Landscape Plants for South Florida

Wild Flowers

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
(inch)

Light

Salt tolerance

Comments

Butterfly weed U
Asclepias
tuberosa

18-36

Full sun to partial shade

Low

Perennial wildflower with orange, summertime flowers. Essential component of a butterfly garden. Attracts butterflies and hummingbirds. Prefers sandy soil; will not grow well in alkaline limestone soil.

Seaside oxeye U
Borrichia arborescens

2-4

Full sun

High

Upright plant with yellow, daisy-like flowers. Widely used on banks and slopes. Excellent for beach-front plantings in sand. Requires freely draining soil to prevent root rot.

Silver oxeye U
Borrichia frutescens

2-4

Full sun

High

Similar to B. arborescens, but with silvery foliage and a less upright stature.

Tickseed
Coreopsis leavenworthii

18-36

Full sun

Low

Florida’s state flower. Tall, fast growing stems terminate in yellow flowers with brown/black centers. Forms large patches by self-seeding, but will die back in the winter.

Twinflower U
Dyschoriste oblongifolia

8-12

Full sun to partial shade

Low

Small, sprawling perennial that forms a groundcover by underground rhizomes and seeds. Delicate stems bear small purple flowers.

Yellowtop U
Flaveria linearis

24-48

Full sun to partial shade

Low

Erect to sprawling perennial with large clusters of tiny yellow flowers throughout summer. Vigorous and easy to grow, but cannot tolerate wind exposure.

Indian blanket
Gaillardia
pulchella

12-24

Full sun

High

Colorful annual or short-lived perennial. As easily grown as it is beautiful. Considerable variation in flower color; typical variety bears red flowers with yellow-tipped petals. Plant in open site with good drainage.

Rain lilies U
Habranthus
spp.

24-48

Full sun

Moderate

Flowers yellow, pink, red or white, produced spring and summer after rain. Goes dormant in cool season, requiring very little water. Flowers best when crowded.

Beach
sunflower U
Helianthus debilis

36-48

Full sun

High

Erect or prostrate, spreading plant with sand paper-like leaves and 2.5-3” yellow sunflowers. Suitable for beach-front plantings. Good for attracting butterflies.

Pineland heliotrope
Heliotropium polyphyllum

6-12

Full sun to partial shade

High

Sparse, partly erect or prostrate perennial composed of thin stems that arch at the top and bear tiny yellow flowers along the top side. Slowly forms large patches in cultivation.

Pineland lantana
Lantana depressa

24-48

Full sun

High

Low, sprawling, woody shrub with small, yellow flowers that attract a variety of butterflies. Beware of the invasive L. camara.

Pennyroyal
Piloblephis rigida

6-24

Full sun

Low

Low-growing perennial. Not picky about soil, but likes it dry. Small, shrimp-like flowers emerge from green, scale-like brachts. Attractive to butterflies.

Silkgrass U
Pityopsis graminifolia

24-36

Full sun

Low

Perennial, grass-like herbaceous plant with silvery, silky stems, grass-like basal leaves, and small, terminal yellow flowers.

Black-eyed
Susan U
Rudbeckia hirta

24-36

Full sun to light shade

Low

Typical daisy-like annual or short-lived perennial (depending on variety), with large, yellow-orange to reddish-orange flowers with darker centers. Attracts butterflies. Does not tolerate prolonged, wet weather.

Thickleaf wild petunia
Ruellia succulenta

12-18

Full sun to partial shade

Low

Herbaceous, succulent perennial with pink, petunia-like flowers year-round. Ruellia caroliniensis var. succulenta is a synonym.

Blue-eyed grass
Sisyrinchium angustifolium

12-20

Full sun

Low

Grass-like herbaceous plant with leaves resembling blades of grass and beautiful bluish-purple flowers with yellow centers. Prefers moist soil but is drought tolerant.

Pineland or sweet goldenrod
Solidago odora v. chapmanii

12-24

Full sun to light shade

Moderate

Erect perennial with a slender stem topped in the fall by brilliant yellow flowers. Best if deadheaded in winter.

Seaside goldenrod
Solidago sempervirens

36-48

Full sun

High

Tall, erect perennial similar to S. odora, but prefers dry, coastal, sandy sites in full sun.

Blue porterweed U
Stachytarpheta jamaicensis

12-36

Full sun to partial shade

Moderate

Small, shrubby, perennial groundcover bearing tiny bluish-purple flowers that are highly attractive to butterflies. Commonly mistaken for the imported S. urticifolia.

Pineland pinklet
Stenandrium dulce

2-6

Full sun to deep shade

Low

Tiny, dwarf perennial that grows as a basal rosette of leaves, and produces short stalks bearing small pink flowers. Will eventually spread to form groundcover, but cannot tolerate competition from other plants.

Stoke’s aster
Stokesia laevis

24

Partial shade

Low

Clumping perennial bearing terminal bluish, lavender, or sometimes white flowers. Cutting it back will encourage clump formation.

Rice button aster
Symphyotrichum 
dumosum

12-24

Full sun to light shade

Low

Perennial wildflower with a distinctive and unusual growth habit, forming loose, wiry clumps of stems bearing numerous small leaves and small, lavender flowers.Aster dumosus is a synonym.

Spiderwort U
Tradescantia ohiensis

18-24

Full sun to light shade

Low

Herbaceous plant with gray-green leaves and purple flowers that open in early morning and close by mid-afternoon. Prefers dry to moderately moist soil.

 

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: