Almost any plant will survive in your landscape if you plant it in the right place. You can drastically reduce the need for water, fertilizer, pesticides and pruning if you choose and group plants according to their water and sunlight needs, as well as the type of soil, sunlight exposure and water conditions of your planting sites. Also, be sure to remove invasive exotic plants that may steal water and nutrients from your Florida-friendly plants.
Get to know your yard.
- Take a good look at your soil. Get your hands in it. Is it dry and crumbly, or does it stick together like clay? Is it sandy? Does it have a lot of rocks, shells or coral in it?What color is it? Bag up a sample and take it to your garden center if you want an expert's opinion. Remember, you can have different types of soil in different parts of your yard.
- Observe the path of the sun throughout the day. Which areas get full exposure in the morning or afternoon? Which never get full sun?
- Observe the natural moisture of your land. Do certain areas absorb water better than others? Are some areas always dry no matter how much water is provided?
Plan your landscape.
- Use the resources of our Find FFL Plants page to identify which plants are best for each part of your landscape.
- Consult a professional or a knowledgeable friend for advice.
- Get kids involved! They love to look through pictures of plants and can help you narrow your choices.
- Consider moving plants around before buying more. A scrawny plant may thrive and grow big if relocated to a more suitable spot.
- Consider reducing the amount of grass you have. Keep only as much as you use. Plant flower or vegetable beds instead, or get creative with rocks, sand and more Florida-friendly ground covers.
- Plan for mulched areas instead of grass.
Choose plants carefully.
- Choose plants that thrive under the conditions you noted.
- Pass by plants that require a lot of water.
- Unless you are an avid gardener, do not purchase plants that need a lot of maintenance.
- Remove invasive exotic plants so they don’t steal water and nutrition from the rest of your landscape.
The same concept applies to your trees. Be sure to check Right Tree for the Right Place for even more ideas.
Get detailed information and helpful charts and graphics in the UF-IFAS Florida-friendly Handbook.#1: Right Plant, RIght Place.
Watch a one-minute video of grouping plants with similar needs from the Neighbor-to-Neighbor Florida-friendly Landscaping series produced by Charlotte Harbor National Estuary Program and WGCU Public Media.