Orlando is located in central Florida and falls into the 9b plant hardiness zone. Native plants growing in this region can handle extreme heat and humidity, but will not easily survive in areas where the temperature goes below 25 degrees Fahrenheit. Many native plants in the Orlando area are protected. Although you can be fined for collecting them from the wild, they may be available at nurseries.
Wildflowers native to the Orlando area include Spotted or dotted horsemint, yellow colicroot, jack-in-the-pulpit, milkweed, butterfly weed, Florida greeneyes, golden canna, bald-headed carphephorus, partridge pea, golden aster, pine hyacinth, swamp dogwood, swamp lily, prairie clover, narrow leaved sunflower, scarlet hibiscus, prairie iris, blazing star, blackeyed susan, goldenrod, viburnum, violet and zephyr lily.
Native vines in Orlando include American groundnut, netleaf virgin's bower, yellow jesamine, tievine, scarlet morning glory, glades morning glory, coral honeysuckle, Virginia creeper, passion vine and American wisteria.
Central Florida native shrubs include Florida hobblebush, flag pawpaw, tarflower, scarlet savory, beautyberry, trailing chinquapin, buttonbush, titi, coralbean, American strawberrybush, garberia, firebush, coastal plain St. John's wart, allberry, yellow star anise, Virginia willow, saltmarsh mallow, lyonia, wax myrtle, winged sumac, rouge plant, alachua blackthorn and possum haw.
Small trees native to the Orlando region include the Florida maple, red buckeye, dwarf pawpaw, hornbeam, scrub hickory, fringe tree, persimmon, water ash, various hollies, scrub bay, scrub plum, scrub oak, myrtle oak, sassafras, buckthorn, American snowbell and wild lime.
The Orlando area was naturally thickly forested. Trees include red maple, pignut hickory, hackberry, loblolly-bay, eastern red cedar, sweetgum, yellow poplar, southern magnolia, sweet bay, red mulberry, red bay, sand pine, slash pine, longleaf pine, loblolly pine, black cherry, wafer ash, pond cypress, bald cypress, American elm and sparkleberry.
Ferns occur in the damp forest areas and include giant leather fern, swamp fern, southern wood fern, bracken fern, widespread maiden fern and chain fern.
Orlando-area natives that make good ground cover include green dragon, water hyssop, twinflower, gopher apple, herbaceous mimosa, partridge berry, pointed blue-eyed grass and arrowroot coontie.
Grasses native to Orlando include short-spike bluestem, bushy bluestem, broomsedge bluestem, bottlebrush grass, wiregrass, saw grass, Elliot's lovegrass, purple lovegrass, soft rush, bristle basketgrass, woolgrass, sand cordgrass and pineywoods dropseed.
These plants grow in the many swampy areas and ponds: spatterdock, white water lily, floating harts, green arum, pickerelweed, lance-leaved arrowhead, lizards tail and alligator flag.
- Photo Credit Siri Stafford/Lifesize/Getty Images
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