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.
Root out Invasives
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.
Green Ground Cover
Shell and stone might be low-maintenance, but they require pesticides to keep them weed-free and offer no food or shelter for wildlife. 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
The melaleuca tree (pictured above) is considered “a pest” and “hazardous” because of its tendency to blow over during windstorms. It has become illegal to plant one in Florida. BUT by using Melaleuca mulch, you will not only help eliminate this pest of a tree, but you will NOT be using Cypress tree mulch, which are being harvested at an alarming rate for the sole purpose of mulch.
Beach Buttercup, Beach Primrose, Black-eyed Susan, Blanket Flower, Blue Daze(S), Blue Sage, Butterfly Milkweed, Camphor Daisy, Coreopsis, Crown of Thorns, Dill, Dotted Horsemint, Fennel, Firecracker, Fire Spike, Fireweed, Gaillardia, Goldenrod, Liatris, Liriope, Mimosa, Penta, Porterweed, Prickly Pear, Rosemary, Scarlet Sage, Sea Oxeye, Spider Lily, Spiderwort, Starry Rosinweed