Powderpuff (Mimosa strigillosa)
Powderpuff (Mimosa strigillosa) is a great native groundcover alternative. Photo by Lisa Roberts

Florida is uniquely varied in its climate and growing conditions, allowing for a huge variety of plants to thrive. But 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.

There are many native plant alternatives to common invasive exotic landscape plants. The Florida Exotic Pest Plant Council (FLEPPC) has a wonderful resource for South Florida, Explore your AlterNatives. For Central Florida, Lake County has produced Greener Choices, Alternatives to Invasive Exotic Plants. And the UF/IFAS Extension has created guides for North, Central and South Florida.

Here are just a few of the recommended alternatives commonly sold exotic invasive species:

Consider these native groundcovers …

Dune sunflower (Helianthus debilis) by Stacey Matrazzo

Recommended:
Dune sunflower (Helianthus debilis)

Read more about Dune sunflower.
Click here to find a nursery in your area that sells Dune sunflower.
Photo by Stacey Matrazzo

Blue-eyed grass (Sisyrinchium angustifolium). Photo by Mary Keim

Recommended:
Blue-eyed grass (Sisrynchium angustifolium)

Read more about Blue-eyed grass.
Click here to find a nursery in your area that sells Blue-eyed grass.
Photo by Mary Keim

Powderpuff (Mimosa strigillosa)

Recommended:
Powderpuff (Mimosa strigillosa)

Read more about Powderpuff.
Click here to find a nursery in your area that sells Powderpuff.

Photo by Lisa Roberts

Beach verbena (Glandularia marítima) by Andrea England

Recommended:
Beach verbena (Glandularia maritima)

Click here to find a nursery in your area that sells Beach verbena.
Photo by Andrea England

… instead of these FLEPPC-listed invasive species

Wedelia (Wedelia trilabata). Photo © Hans Hillewaert / CC BY-SA 4.0

Wedelia (Wedelia trilobata, syn. Sphagneticola trilobata)
(FLEPPC CAT II Invasive)

Photo © Hans Hillewaert / CC BY-SA 4.0

Lantana (Lantana camara), FLEPPC CAT I Invasive. Photo by Stacey Matrazzo

Lantana (Lantana camara)
(FLEPPC CAT I Invasive)

Photo by Stacey Matrazzo

Mexican petunia (Ruellia simplex). Photo by Prenn CC BY-SA 3.0

Mexican petunia (Ruellia simplex, syn. Ruellia brittoniana)
(FLEPPC CAT I Invasive)

Photo by Pinus (Creative Commons)

Consider these native flowering shrubs …

Recommended:
Walter’s viburnum (Viburnum obovatum)

Read more about Walter’s viburnum.
Click here to find a nursery in your area that sells Walter’s viburnum.
Photo by Mary Keim

Simpson's stopper (Myrcianthes fragrans). Photo by Jenny Evans (https://www.flickr.com/photos/jevanssccf/5372933736)

Recommended:
Simpson’s stopper (Myrcianthes fragrans)

Click here to find a nursery in your area that sells Simpson’s stopper.
Photo by Jenny Evans

Chapman's senna (Senna mexicana var. chapmanii) by Andrea Salas

Recommended:
Chapman’s senna (Senna mexicana var. chapmanii)

Click here to find a nursery in your area that sells Chapman’s senna.
Photo by Andrea Salas

Cloudless sulphur caterpillar on privet senna. Photo by Peg Urban

Recommended:
Privet senna (Senna ligustrina)

Read more about Privet senna.
Click here to find a nursery in your area that sells privet senna.

Photo by Peg Urban

Recommended:
Wild coffee (Psychotria nervosa)

Click here to find a nursery in your area that sells Wild coffee.
Photo by Stacey Matrazzo

Recommended:
Marlberry (Ardisia escallonoides)

Click here to find a nursery in your area that sells Marlberry.
Photo by Homer Edward Price 

… instead of these FLEPPC-listed invasive species

Coral ardisia (Ardisia crenata)
(FLEPPC CAT I Invasive)

Photo by Daderot

Surinam cherry (Eugenia uniflora). Photo by Hans Hillewaert

Surinam cherry (Eugenia uniflora)
(FLEPPC CAT I Invasive)

Photo © Hans Hillewaert / CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

Heavenly bamboo (Nandina domestica). Photo by Lazaregagnidze

Heavenly bamboo (Nandina domestica)
(FLEPPC CAT I Invasive)

Photo by Lazaregagnidze / CC BY-SA 4.0

Climbing cassia (Senna pendula var. glabra). Photo by Forest and Kim Starr

Climbing cassia (Senna pendula var. glabra)
(FLEPPC CAT I Invasive)

Photo by Forest and Starr / CC BY 2.0

Consider these native flowering vines …

Climbing aster (Symphyotrichum carolinianum). Photo by Mary Keim

Recommended:
Climbing aster (Symphyotrichum carolinianum)

Read more about Climbing aster.
Click here to find a nursery in your area that sells climbing aster.

Photo by Mary Keim

Coral honeysuckle (Lonicera sempervirens) by Terry Zinn

Recommended:
Coral honeysuckle (Lonicera sempervirens)

Read more about Coral honeysuckle.
Click here to find a nursery in your area that sells coral honeysuckle.

Photo by Terry Zinn

American wisteria (Wisteria frutescens) by Shirley Denton

Recommended:
American wisteria (Wisteria frutescens)

Click here to find a nursery in your area that sells American wisteria.
Photo by Shirley Denton

… instead of these FLEPPC-listed invasive species

Japanese honeysuckle

Japanese honeysuckle (Lonicera japonica)
(FLEPPC CAT I Invasive)

Photo by Jon Sullivan / CC BY 2.0

Chinese wisteria (Wisteria sinensis). Photo by Flyax

Chinese wisteria (Wisteria sinensis)
(FLEPPC CAT II Invasive)

Photo by Flyax/ CC BY 3.0

Consider these native grasses …

Hairyawn muhlygrass (Muhlenbergia capillaris). Photo by Bill Randolph

Recommended:
Muhlygrass (Muhlenbergia capillaris)

Read more about Muhlygrass.
Click here to find a nursery in your area that sells muhly grass.

Photo by Bill Randolph

Elliott's lovegrass (Eragrostis elliottii). Photo by Mary Keim

Recommended:
Elliott’s lovegrass (Eragrostis elliottii)
Purple lovegrass (Eragrostis spectabilis )

Click here to find a nursery in your area that sells Elliott’s lovegrass.
Click here to find a nursery in your area that sells purple lovegrass.

Photo of Elliott’s lovegrass by Mary Keim

… instead of these FLEPPC-listed invasive species

Napier, elephant or purple fountain grass (Pennisetum purpureum). Photo by Forest and Kim Starr

Napier, elephant or purple fountain grass (Pennisetum purpureum)