Even without help from human hands, the Jacksonville area would bloom quite nicely. Because of its subtropical climate and plentiful rain, unique native plants abound. Home gardeners have many choices of native plants that thrive in Jacksonville to complement a landscape.
Native plants are easier to maintain than imports, and Jacksonville gardeners have a cornucopia of choices! Let’s start from the ground and work our way up.
Bermuda, Zoysia, and centipede all do well in Jacksonville. Bermuda is the most common sod you’ll see in parks, golf courses, and yards. Jacksonville’s climate is perfect for Bermuda. Zoysia is great if you have kids trampling around in the backyard because it holds up well to foot traffic. If you hate fighting weeds, centipede grass might be the ticket. It’s slow to grow but stays weed-free. St. Augustine is popular because it makes a thick, green turf. It’s a thirsty grass, though, and doesn’t tolerate drought well.
Shrubs and Bushes
- Star anise bushes are popular natives and bloom in several colors. When pruned, they make excellent hedges or privacy screens. The leaves smell like licorice when crushed.
- Yaupon hollies are another option. Once they’re established, they need little attention. If you want, you can trim a yaupon into a bonsai plant!
- Seagrape and wax myrtle are also part of the wide selection you’ll find at nurseries.
- Juniper bushes are an old standby favorite and have a place in any yard or garden.
- Tickseed: If you want natives, tickseed should be at the top of the list. This is Florida’s official state wildflower, and you’ll see it along highways. It’ll be right at home at your home and comes in a dozen varieties and colors ranging from pink to orange to red.
- Canna lilies are perennials that come in a variety of colors.
- Milkweed and blanket flower love the Florida sunshine.
- The beach sunflower does as well in your flowerbed as it does in the sand.
- Violas or sand violets enjoy Jacksonville’s mild winters.
- Snapdragons make excellent ground covers and borders and grow best during the cool season.
You can’t call yourself a Floridian if you don’t have a palm tree. The native sabal palm is Florida’s state tree! Trees are a long-term investment. That’s especially true of the sabal palm. If you plant it from seed, you won’t be around when it’s mature, but nurseries carry the mature trees for transplanting. The palm is so prolific in Florida, chances are good you already have a few in your yard.
Other natives include:
- Southern live oak.
- Flowering dogwood.
- Southern red cedar.
- Red maple.
A Word About Roses
For some, a yard or garden is not complete without roses. No roses are native to Jacksonville, but they can thrive if the plants are suited for Florida’s climate. Imported roses seldom do well.
Jacksonville has a lot going for it when it comes to home landscaping. The area typically gets 52 inches of rain per year and plenty of days with sunshine and warmth. Freezes occur only 10 to 15 nights a year and are brief. But the region is subject to drought. Native plants that thrive in Jacksonville tend to be drought resistant.
Have questions about lawn care in Jacksonville? Make sure to check our Jacksonville, FL lawn care page.