In recent years, the subject of native plants has taken on new significance in Florida horticulture. Some reasons for this significance include the loss of natural areas to development, coastal deterioration due to disturbance of native vegetation, and concern about excessive water use to support exotic landscapes composed of introduced species.
Three factors make native plants favorable to use in Florida.
Because native plants are adapted to Florida soils, temperatures, and rainfall patterns, they require less irrigation and fertilization. This claim is true if several factors are present, specifically providing the right native with the right soil type and irrigation amount. Oftentimes in development, water flow patterns change as a result of native topsoil removal.
Low maintenance: Native plants are resistant to pests and diseases in Florida, because they evolved under constant exposure to these organisms. Invasive plants may not have this resistance, providing an unwanted food source to pests and disease, and could compete with native plants for water and soil area.
Education about Florida's ecology: Florida's increasing population should be more educated about the state's natural resources and how these resources are preserved. This education can come from seeing native trees in parks, state and national parks, and forested areas and understanding how these trees interact with their environments and provide the clean air, water, and soil that Florida residents rely on.
Many of Florida's native trees are housed at the Miami Science Museum
, where the Native Flags exhibit is housed. Click here
to view more informaiton about the museum's Native Flags exhibit.