Top 10 Reasons To Consider Going Native in Florida

1 - Native Plants Are One Tough Customer - Native plants have evolved in harmony with their ecosystems and as a result, once established, they typically require less care and water, and have a higher survival rate than non-native plants. After establishment, take a load off and just watch your garden flourish.

2 - Promoting Biodiversity - Many organisms in Florida depend on native plants for their survival. Natives provide a refuge for wildlife, attracting and providing food for a variety of birds, small mammals, amphibians and pollinators throughout the year. As a result, native plants ensure that our local ecosystems are more stable and productive.

3 - Natives, A Natural Education Resource - Particularly attractive for home schooling, a native garden will provide a high quality educational experience in your own yard and add hours of exploration for little ones and their neighborhood friends.

4 - Bee Smart … Plant Natives A 2006 study showed that pollinators (such as our local honey bees) are declining in drastic numbers and unfortunately scientists are still unsure of the reason why. A number of factors probably attribute to the rapid decline in the pollinators' numbers however we know that providing a toxin-free native plant garden of nectar and pollen rich plant material can only help our buzzing friends. Pollinators' fertilize more than 187,000 flowering plants throughout the world.

5 - Eliminates the Need for Pesticides - Because native plants have developed resistance or natural defenses against predators, you won't need to buy or use nasty chemicals to keep your garden beautiful. Remember the unofficial Florida mantra … what you spill today - you drink tomorrow.

6 - Diversity Is Good For The Eye - Ever drive through a neighborhood and see the same boring landscape in every yard (one tree, a few shrubs and a lot of grass) usually devoid of abundant wildlife? Native plants are unique and usually rare in typical garden habitats. Your neighbors will be asking you all about your new garden plants and your landscape will be the focal point of your neighborhood.

7 - Manage Your Own Storm Water, Help Decrease Flooding - By replacing part of your lawn with a rain garden comprised of native plants, you help rainwater soak into the ground and decrease the amount of storm water runoff that inundates our local sewers, streams and canals which an and cause flooding.

8 - Stop The Spread Of Invasive Exotic Species - Most of the typical garden and landscape plants we buy are exotic (not native to Florida), and some of these exotics escape from our gardens and threaten natural areas. By planting only natives, you'll avoid the spread of exotic invasive plants.

9 - Preserve Our Natural Heritage - Through overbuilding, loss of wetlands and green space, as well as the continual introduction of exotics species is continuing to endanger our native plant species. We are continuing to see more and more native plant species added to the endangered, threatened and commercially exploited lists within Florida.

10 - Let's Make Manicured Lawns a Thing of the Past - People will spend lots of time and money obsessing over a perfectly manicured lawn. However keeping a lawn looking good often involves numerous applications of harmful chemicals that can be detrimental to both our environment and our local wildlife. Many environmentalists will suggest planting native shrubs, trees and plants instead of keeping a manicured lawn because the benefits to nature far outweigh that of just planting grass.