Why Go Native?
Florida’s native plants have evolved with the birds, bees, butterflies, insects and other wildlife for the last 10,000 years. Our native plants have adapted to our unique climate of a dry season and a wet season in addition to the intense heat and harsh Summer sunlight.
Native plants provide food, shelter and a place to raise the young of birds and butterflies. Native plants come in a variety of colors, sizes and shapes and include groundcovers, grasses, wildflowers, vines, small shrubs, large shrubs, small trees and large trees.
Once native plants become established they will need very little care and maintenance. They are drought tolerant and won’t need frequent watering or fertilizer.
Native plants provide nectar for hummingbirds and butterflies. They also provide seeds, nuts and berries for birds and other wildlife. Bees enjoy the pollen from all of the native plants.
How do you know what to plant that is the best choice for your specific zip code? Simply go to audubon/plantsforbirds and type in your zip code to get a free list of the best plants recommended for your specific location. It is the best resource to help homeowners decide which native plants to include in their landscape. It also includes native plant nursery locations.
Bird & Butterfly Sanctuary Certification Program
Peace River Audubon Society commends your interest in creating a landscape that is wildlife friendly . You should first assess your space. Are you going to focus on one corner of your back yard or are you going to cover a larger area? Be aware of how much sun your yard gets daily and plan your plantings accordingly. Most native plants like full sun but be sure to research this first. Remember the motto: “right plant, right place”. The information at audubon.org/plantsforbirds will be very helpful. It includes photos of plants, descriptions of how tall and wide they grow, and it includes which birds are attracted to specific plants. Another helpful resource is the University of Florida. When you are researching a plant on the internet, type the plant name and IFAS to get the UF official information about that plant. By participating in the creation of a wildlife sanctuary:
• You agree not to use pesticides and herbicides as they can poison the nectar and fruit that the wildlife eat
• You will consider composting yard and food waste to be recycled in your garden.
• You will also remove any invasive plants or trees from your yard. Qualifying yards will receive a yard sign to display at your location. As a steward of wildlife conservation it is important to share your new landscape information with your neighbors, family and friends. Educate them about the importance of creating a micro habitat for wildlife. Also inform them of the need to remove invasive nonnatives like Brazilian Pepper trees, Carrotwood trees and Air Potato Vines. Post your successes on social media.