Here are some Guidelines to get you Started:Plants already on your property, particularly native plants, may be well-suited to the site, and if at all possible, should be retained! Saving existing plants reduces costs and leaves valuable wildlife habitat undisturbed. If you’re building a new home, retaining existing plants also limits erosion by reducing the amount of clearing required.
Don’t plant noxious, invasive species! The State of Florida prohibits planting Brazilian Pepper, Australian Pine, Carrotwood and Melaleuca, though, unfortunately, there are still plenty around. These invasives crowd out native plants, seriously threaten Florida’s ecosystems and wildlife, and some can cause allergic reactions.
Aim for diversity. Strive for a potpourri of trees, shrubs, ground covers, native grasses and wildflowers. Large expanses of the same plant species (monocultures) are prone to disease and insect infestation.
Good alternatives to turf areas are ground covers or landscaped beds. They greatly cut down the need for fertilizing, watering, cutting and pesticides! (Shore and Blue Juniper, for instance, make an evergreen low maintenance cover for septic fields.)
Strange as it seems, slower-growing plants last longer and create less work.
More Information at:A Guide to Environmentally Friendly Landscaping: Florida Yards and Neighborhoods Handbook
Florida-Friendly Landscaping: SW Florida Water Management District
Native and Florida-Friendly Plants
Here are more than 100 Native & Florida-friendly plants. Plants that appear in bold are Native Island plants. Plants designated with "(S)" are suitable on top of septic fields
The melaleuca tree is considered “a pest” and “hazardous” because of its tendency to blow over during wind storms. It has become illegal to plant
one in Florida.
By using Melaleuca mulch, you will not only help eliminate this pest of a tree, but you’ll NOT be using Cypress tree mulch, which are being harvested at an alarming rate for the sole purpose of mulch.
Melaleuca mulch is a wonderful, fine mulch. It has been documented as being highly insect-resistant (including termites). And it does not wash away.
Red Mulch is not recommended due to the impact the dye has on the environment.