Monarchs and Milkweed

Milkweed is critical food for Monarch larva. Photo by John Flannery View as a PDF The Monarch butterfly is in peril Throughout Florida and the United States, habitat loss, the wide use of herbicides and genetically modified crops, and frequent roadside mowing have decreased milkweeds (Asclepias species), the Monarch’s host plant. As a result, the…

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Powderpuff (Mimosa strigillosa)

Try these alternatives to common invasive species

Some of the plants that are common to our home landscapes are actually invasive species, many of which are now widespread in Florida’s natural areas. Removing these species from your landscape and replacing them with native alternatives can help prevent the spread of invasive species and will provide suitable food and cover for native wildlife. We suggest some “alter-natives” for your landscape.

Rice button aster (Symphyotrichum dumosum). Photo by Mary Keim

Flower Friday: Rice button aster

Also known as bushy aster, rice button aster (Symphyotrichum dumosum) is a perennial herbaceous wildflower and a profuse bloomer like so many other Symphyotrichum species. Its flowers are small but they attract a plethora of pollinators including butterflies and native bees. It is the larval host plant for the pearl crescent butterfly.

Grow Wildflowers

Help paint Florida with wildflowers The State Wildflower license plate helps teach residents to create sustainable landscapes that showcase Florida’s first flowers. Get yours today. Image from Nancy Bickner’s garden in Largo Florida. Start with 20 Easy Wildflowers. Learn to grow and maintain 20 foolproof Florida native wildflowers. Bring best practices home Discover the best…

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Elliott's aster (Symphyotrichum elliottii) by Ron & Diane Bynum

Flower Friday: Elliott’s aster

Elliott’s aster is an herbaceous perennial wildflower that produces a coronet of lavender blooms. It typically flowers in late fall and occurs naturally in roadsides ditches, wet flatwoods, swamps, and marshes. It is a wonderful plant for attracting butterflies, bees and other pollinators due to its many fragrant blooms.

Climbing aster (Symphyotrichum carolinianum). Photo by Mary Keim

Flower Friday: Climbing aster

Climbing aster is a robust vine-like shrub that produces many fragrant daisy-like blooms of lavender to pinkish or even bluish. It occurs naturally in floodplain swamps and marshes, in coastal hammocks and wet pine flatwoods, and along riverbanks and lake edges, and is an excellent nectar source for many butterflies and bees.

Elliott's aster (Symphyotrichum elliottii) by Ron & Diane Bynum

Bloom Report: Fall is Aster Time!

Elliott's aster (Symphyotrichum elliottii) by Ron & Diane Bynum Northern neighbors have their leaves, but we have a rainbow of wildflowers by Jeff Norcini In cooler climates, fall is when “leaf peepers” hit the road to view red-, yellow- and orange-leaved trees. Here in Florida, fall color means wildflowers. And when you hit the road…