Tag Archives: Florida native plant

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. http://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/uw059

Marianne Cowley. Native Plant Families for Hummingbirds, Your Florida Backyard.  1997-2015. http://www.nsis.org/garden/bird-plants-nectar-family.html

Florida Native Plant Society, http://fnps.org/


Bald Cypress Tree (Taxodium distichum)

bright green spring growth

bright green spring growth

Baldcypress tree is a wildlife playground!

Deciduous, great hurricane wind resistance, fall color, interesting foliage. Moth larval host.

Wildlife interaction: seeds are eaten by wild turkey, wood ducks, evening grosbeak, and squirrels.  The seed is a minor part of the diet of waterfowl and wading birds.  Yellow-throated warblers forage in the Spanish moss often found hanging on the branches of old cypress trees.  Cypress domes provide watering places for a variety of birds, mammals, and reptiles of the surrounding pinelands. source: http://www.fs.fed.us/database/feis/plants/tree/taxdis/all.html

Supports many species of wildlife

Supports many species of wildlife

Learn planting conditions:  http://www.fnps.org/plants/plant/taxodium-distichum

Platanus occidentalis (AMERICAN SYCAMORE)

sycamoreBarkJune2013Stately, fast growing tree that can reach heights of 150 ft. Deciduous, but the flaking bark provides wonderful winter interest.

Give this beauty room to grow.  Also called ; AMERICAN PLANETREE

sycamore091511Wildlife interaction: seeds feed multiple types of wildlife and older trees can provide nesting locations. Hosts several species of moths and I personally find butterflies resting for the night under the huge leaves.

Learn more:  http://www.fnps.org/plants/plant/platanus-occidentalis

Hamelia patens (FIREBUSH)


Photo © Jenny Welch

Firebush grows 10 ft, tall to use as a hedge, specimen or backdrop. Cold sensitive, will die back if freeze but should regenerate from roots. Sun to part sun.

Don’t be fooled by common names. Before buying, check the species. Those sold in big box stores generally are not native to Florida. A clue is the color of the fruit. Orange/Yellow fruit are not the native, black fruit is!

Wildlife interaction: HUMMINGBIRDS and Zebra Longwing butterflies are attracted to red flowers. fruits feed birds/mammals

Learn planting conditions:  http://fnps.org/plants/plant/hamelia-patens

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: http://www.floridanativenurseries.org/info/native-news/native-milkweed-research-update/

If you raise butterflies, In order to assure healthy adult Monarchs, follow Monarch Watch’s instructions to avoid passing on the parasite Ophryocystis elektroscirrha. http://www.monarchwatch.org/biology/control.htm

Learn planting conditions for this species of milkweed: http://www.fnps.org/plants/plant/asclepias-incarnata

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: http://www.fnps.org/plants/plant/rudbeckia-spp

Self seeds.

Rusty Staggerbush (Lyonia fruticosa)

Blue Dasher Dragonfly rests on coastalplain staggerbush

Blue Dasher Dragonfly rests on coastalplain staggerbush

Want Dragonflies? Pollinators? Along with a water source, Lyonia (Lyonia spp.) shrubs provide perfect habitat as landing areas and nectar source.  Good cover for mammals.  A slow growing small tree or shrub. Bell shaped flowers with evergreen leaves that have a dusting of a rust coloring providing interesting foliage.

Learn planting conditions: http://www.fnps.org/plants/plant/lyonia-fruticosa