By Kelsey Hansen, Group Tours and Education Coordinator
Happy National Plant-a-Flower Day! To get your Florida Friendly garden ready for spring, find a few blooms you like, that are native to Florida, and start planting! Go outside, enjoy the sun with loved ones, and plant something beautiful that will blossom in a few months, and will also provide food and shelter to all the pollinators.
Coral honeysuckle, or trumpet honeysuckle, produce vibrant red, tubular flowers that grow in clusters. The plant grows as a vine and is great for ground cover or helps control erosion on steeper slopes. The flowers attract hummingbirds and butterflies, and once the plant produces berries it will attract songbirds in the late summer and fall.
Marigolds are a great addition to your Florida Friendly Garden. They bloom all summer, easy to tend to, and help control insects. Marigolds grow great when they are planted together and can create a great groundcover.
Sunflowers are one of the most perfect flowers to include in o your Florida Friendly Garden. They are extremely easy to grow and are adapted to the summer heat. One of the most attractive native sunflower species is the swamp sunflower. This is a great flower that is used to attract pollinators, brighten up your garden, and wildlife use it for shelter.
The passion flower is a vine that produces purple to lavender flowers, with each flower only lasting about a day. The flower produces an oval shaped fruit that you can eat right off the vine. It is can tolerate dry conditions and is a great addition to butterfly gardens.
The blanket flower, or gaillardia, blooms throughout the summer and fall, and is a very resilient Florida native. You will probably notice bees buzzing around this flower since their petals allow them to land easily. The blanket flower can grow anywhere in Florida; it can tolerate any soil type and is also tolerant to extreme heat.