With interest mounting in using wildflowers in urban landscapes, there is a huge demand for information for those new to Florida’s native plants. Enter “20 Easy-to-Grow Wildflowers,” a new publication from the Florida Wildflower Foundation. The free 24-page magazine features a selection of 20 “tried and true” species that are easy to grow and maintain.
Longleaf milkweed is a deciduous perennial wildflower that occurs naturally in bogs, moist to wet flatwoods and prairies. It typically blooms in spring but may bloom well into summer or early fall. It is a larval host plant for Monarch and Queen butterflies, and an important nectar source for bees and wasps.
Mock bishopsweed (Ptilimnium capillaceum) is a delicate little annual that is too often disregarded as a weed. But despite its small stature, it is both attractive and ecologically beneficial, especially when it occurs in mass. Its many dainty white flowers typically appear in spring and summer in swamps, marshes, coastal swales, ditches and along pond edges. Like most members of the Apiaceae family, mock bishopsweed has a long taproot, which helps the plants survive “hazards” such as drought and being eaten by black swallowtail caterpillars.
Want more to draw more flitting hummingbirds and vibrant songbirds to your landscape? It’s simple. Just add wildflowers to provide nectar, seeds and insects and the birds will come.
Manyflowered grasspink is a state-threatened terrestrial orchid that blooms winter through spring, but most abundantly in March through May. It occurs naturally in dry to wet pine flatwoods and dry prairies. The plant is fire-dependent; blooming typically occurs within several weeks of a burn.
Dr. Walter K. Taylor, University of Central Florida professor emeritus of biology, has received the Florida Wildflower Foundation’s T. Elizabeth Pate Coreopsis Award for his lifetime of contributions to La Florida, “land of flowers.”
Manyflower beardtongue (also known as white beardtongue) is a deciduous perennial wildflower with showy white flowers. The common name “beardtongue” refers to the tendency of blooms within the Penstemon genus to have a long, often hairy filament that protrudes from the mouth of the corolla, giving the appearance of a fuzzy tongue.
Want to learn about Florida’s native wildflowers and the butterflies, bees and wildlife depending on them? Join us at the Florida Wildflower Symposium on April 27 and 28 in Orlando to learn from expert speakers and workshop leaders. Visit the symposium page to learn more. Online registration is closed, but you can register onsite Friday and Saturday. Cost is $45 for Florida Wildflower Foundation members and $60 for nonmembers.
Fetterbush (also known as shiny lyonia) is an erect woody evergreen shrub that produces a plethora of small, fragrant blooms in whitish-pink to pink to red. It occurs naturally in pine and scrubby flatwoods, scrub, dry hammocks, dry prairies, and along swamp and cypress pond margins.
Gardens are such peaceful places: colorful, tranquil, quiet except for the comforting buzz of a bee or the fluttering wings of a bird. Yet they are a hotbed of (we blush) seduction and sex.
“People often look at plants as being boring and passive, and animals as being interesting and active,” says Dr. Craig Huegel, a speaker at the April 27-28 Florida Wildflower Symposium in Orlando. “But plants make the same choices ecologically that animals do, so it makes perfect sense that reproduction in plants isn’t a completely passive thing.”
Also known as St. John’s mint and Creeping Charlie, Browne’s savory is a long-lived aquatic perennial wildflower with a sprawling growth habit. It is a highly aromatic plant, particularly when its leaves or stems are crushed. It can be used to make a tea or to add mint flavor to a salad or other dish.
Southeastern blueberry bees are our most efficient blueberry pollinators, but they are only active for a short period of time in early spring!
Rain lily is a short-lived perennial wildflower. Its showy, solitary flowers are white (although sometimes tinged with pink) and, as the name suggests, typically bloom after a rain shower. Flowering can occur in late winter through early summer, but their tendency to bloom around Easter has earned them another common name — Easter lily.