Category Archives: wildflower

Attract Hummingbirds with Red Flowering Florida Native Plants

Hummingbirds are attracted to red colored flowering plants, and are especially fond of tubular flowers.

Coral Honeysuckle Vine (Lonicera sempervirens)

Ruby-throated Hummingbird at Coral Honeysuckle Vine (Lonicera sempervirens), a Florida Native Plant

Some great Florida native plants to attract hummingbirds include, but are not limited to: Tropical Sage (Salvia coccinea), Southern Beeblossom (Oenothera simulans), Firebush (Hamelia patens), Tampa Verbain (Glandularia tampensis), Cardinal Flower (Lobelia cardinalis), Coral bean (Erythrina herbacea), Standing cypress (Ipomopsis rubra), Scarlet Rose Mallow (Hibiscus coccineus), Tuliptree (Liriodendron tulipifera).

Some great Florida native vines include, but are not limited to: Cross Vine (Bignonia capreolata), Trumpet Vine (Campsis radicans) and Coral Honeysuckle (Lonicera sempervirens).

I personally have witnessed Ruby-Throated Hummingbirds nectaring at a few other plants in my garden. In the purple family: Winged Loosestrife (Lythrum alatum var. lanceolatum) and Giant Ironweed (Vernonia gigantea); and the red bracts (top leaves) of Wild Poinsettia (Poinsettia cyathophora) also draws them in.

There will be a great selection of Florida Native Plants that meet the criteria to attract hummingbirds and a variety of other birds at the 4th Annual Central Florida Native Plant Sale.  A follow-up to the Florida Association of Native Nurseries Trade Show each year at Osceola Heritage Park in Kissimmee, this years’ event takes place on Thursday and Friday March 31 and April 1 from 2 p.m. to 7 p.m. and on Saturday April 2 from 9 a.m. until noon.

Loret March 2016


Univ. of Florida IFAS Extension, Hummingbirds of Florida, Publication #WEC21. 2015.

Marianne Cowley. Native Plant Families for Hummingbirds, Your Florida Backyard.  1997-2015.

Florida Native Plant Society,


Penstemon multiflorus (MANYFLOWER BEARDTONGUE)

Photo © Jenny Welch

Beardtongue is a taller perennial (1.5-2.5 ft) for dry locations.

Wildlife interaction: Larval host: Baltimore checkerspot (Euphydryas phaeton); attracts pollinators and hummingbirds.

Learn planting conditions:


Solidago spp. (GOLDENROD)

goldenrodbee111410Bring in the bees by trying one of the many varieties of Florida Native Goldenrod as a backdrop to your pollinator garden.  The birds will chime in when the seeds set.

Hint:  Goldenrod is probably not the cause of your sneezing since ragweed, which blooms at the same time, has the high pollen count that causes allergic reactions.

Learn varieties and planting conditions:

Asclepias incarnata (SWAMP MILKWEED)

Photo by Peg Urban

Monarch Butterfly Adult and Larvae on Milkweed the Larval Host

Want to help increase the Monarch butterfly population (Danaus plexippus)? Want more pollinators to visit? Milkweed (Asclepias incarnata) will not only entice adults but as a larval host for Danaus spp. will get them to stay in your garden to lay eggs and start the next generation.

This self-seeding perennial is also a larval host for the queen butterfly (D. gilippus) and soldier butterfly (D. eresimus).

A Native Milkweed Research Update indicates that use of the Non-native Tropical Milkweed (A. currasivica), the most common commercially available milkweed may have undesirable affects on monarch populations. You can read about information provided by Jaret C. Daniels, Ph.D., Assistant Curator of Lepidoptera, University of Florida IFAS Assistant Professor of Entomology, Florida Museum of Natural History:

If you raise butterflies, In order to assure healthy adult Monarchs, follow Monarch Watch’s instructions to avoid passing on the parasite Ophryocystis elektroscirrha.

Learn planting conditions for this species of milkweed:

Rudbeckia hirta (BLACKEYED SUSAN)

susanspittleMay2012Want Pollinators? How about songbirds? BLACKEYED SUSAN (Rudbeckia hirta) will entice them. Masses of bright yellow flowers are cheery greetings for pollinators in the garden. Let the spent heads stay on the plant and you’ll be rewarded when small songbirds arrive to eat the seeds.

Learn planting conditions:

Self seeds.

Asclepias spp. (MILKWEED)

milkweedBring in the butterflies and bees and help the monarchs by providing Florida native milkweed.

Choose a species based on moisture conditions.

Shown: Asclepias perennis (SWAMP/AQUATIC MILKWEED) requires moist to wet conditions.

Larval Host for butterfly: monarch butterfly (Danaus plexippus), queen butterfly (Danaus gilippus) and soldier butterfly, (Danaus eresimus).