Grow Wildflowers

See how Resources Plant sources Start with 20 Easy Wildflowers 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.” The 24-page magazine features a selection of 20 “tried and true” wildflowers that are easy to grow and…

About the Foundation

Mission and Values Work for Wildflowers Meet the Board Sponsors & Partners What we do Our mission The Florida Wildflower Foundation nurtures the awareness, understanding and enjoyment of Florida’s native wildflowers through education, planting and research projects that increase the presence of wildflowers and support the wildlife depending upon them. Our vision Florida’s wildflowers are…

Learn about Wildflowers

Recommended references Get to know Florida’s native wildflowers. See more resources Native or Not? A Florida native wildflower is a flowering herbaceous species that grew wild within the state’s natural ecosystems in the 1560s, when Florida’s first botanical records were created. Read the Foundation’s full definition of Florida native plants, including cultivars. Exotic Invaders Learn…

Welcome Baker’s tickseed

by Claudia Larsen Follow this new species’ journey from discovery to naming Recently discovered in North Florida’s Jackson County, Coreopsis bakeri has gone undetected for years because of its resemblance to our common lanceleaf tickseed (Coreopsis lanceolata). Several years of scientific study finally proved that, indeed, it is has been isolated long enough to have…

Chris delivers his pollinator pots to FWF staff.

Create a pollinator garden in a pot!

Chris Waltz, volunteer extraordinaire and wildflower-gardening enthusiast, was inspired by people saying they can’t grow natives because they live in an apartment, condo, or other small space. He started thinking: They grow houseplants and annuals; why can’t they grow natives the same way? The result? A “pollinator garden in a pot.”

gopher-tortoise

Gopher tortoises love wildflowers, too!

Many of us have had the pleasure of seeing gopher tortoises (or at least their burrows) on nature walks. They live in every county in Florida, and although they are associated with dry sandhills, they may also be found in many diverse areas such as pine flatwoods, oak hammocks, scrub areas and coastal dunes. Open pastures and vacant lots can also be a refuge for them. Gopher tortoises (Gopherus polyphemus) prefer sunny open land with sandy soil that is also conducive to the growth of many of our Florida wildflowers. So it is no surprise that wildflowers make up a significant portion of their diet.

Try spiderwort blossoms for an interesting cake decoration. Photo by Claudia Larsen

Ethnobotany of Wildflowers

Imagine yourself as a native Indian or early explorer 500 hundred years ago trying to survive in Florida. The better part of your day was probably spent hunting or gathering for daily sustenance, making tools and building shelters. Although artifacts are recovered by archeologists, the list of plants used for food, medicine and spiritual purposes was generally passed down by word of mouth through generations of early Floridians. There is quite a compendium of knowledge about early uses of native trees and shrubs, but what about wildflowers?

gaillardia-variations

Surprise colors from your favorite plants

Don’t let the title scare you off! I’ve been wondering why plants of the same species sometimes occur in different colors, so I did a little research. As you can see from my photos, some common flowers that have appeared in my garden are red and yellow forms of milkweed (Asclepias tuberosa) and blanketflower (Gaillardia puchella). I also have red, pink and white tropical sage (Salvia coccinea), which I’m sure many of you have also grown. Do you ever have white flower forms of your typically blue spiderwort (Tradescantia ohiensis) or Stokes’ aster (Stokesia laevis)? Wonder what’s going on?