We focus on Florida Native and Florida friendly plants. We also carry, Orchids and Roses.
We have bamboo!
We can do pre-orders or special orders as well as installation. Best contact for that is through email or text please 😊
Thank you for your patience on our recent changes. We have hadto deal with a family emergency.
Organic plant products will be available soon.
Hours of operation:
Saturday: 10am -3pm
**Appointments are available “
The hours will change accordingly as we grow
“For the past 7 years I've dedicated myself to running my gardening business, Elizabeth the Garden Lady (aka Helping Hands Home and Yard Services) expressing my compassion for taking care of Earth's beautiful creations. Designing landscapes, and managing weeds and bushes using natural modalities, has been my way of introducing a better way to respect and care for plants. It has been my passion for many decades to work directly with plants in various landscapes. Growing up living off of our garden as sustenance has always instilled in me the importance of having a connection with the Earth, and the understanding who we are stewards of this planet.
As I began thinking about the ecosystem and my relationship with the interconnectedness of it all, I realized I needed to dedicate my time towards reintroducing plants either Native or friendlier to the ecosystem here in Florida. With the overuse of fertilizers and other chemicals needed to maintain the lifecycle of certain plants not indigenous to Florida's plant kingdom, I realized I needed to devote my time to offering access to plants that would bring some balance back to the ecosystem. As I began to meditate on ways to offer solutions towards improving our landscapes and to better nurture our waterways, something was being cultivated through my awareness of the very limited options for Native plants in this area.
I realized I needed to establish an outlet for business that would offer more options to the community. A Return to Eden would be my vision. To hopefully offer a mindful approach to a landscape that is rapidly changing here in Florida. To educate and support those wanting to incorporate Native solutions to their landscape. A Return to Eden is a return to Nature, a return to a place where balance and restoration is our priority. A place where we remember how necessary it is to work with Nature as our ally”
-Elizabeth, The Garden lady" aka Elizabeth Clark
a dream realized...
Important links and information
Work in progress. We will be adding useful links for care as well as awesome resources :)
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Beach Sunflower; Helianthus debilis. Native. Attracts butterflies. Florida native. Perennial. Coastal areas, Prefers full sun. Reseeds. Blooms all year round. Grows 1-2’ and has flowers and fruit for birds. Prefers sandy and well-drained soil. Tolerance for high sea spray. Can be used for groundcover and edging. Medicinal: used as a remedy for pulmonary infections. Florida native.
Beautyberry: French Mulberry. American Beauty Berry. Callicarpa americana. Nectar source for butterflies and bees. Clusters of berries provide food for birds and small animals. Flowers are small and may be pink, lavender or white and emerge late spring or early summer. Fruits are small and less and a half an inch in diameter and emerge in dense clusters. The fruits are edible to humans but are not really tasteful.However, beautyberry jelly is quite tasteful. The leaves conain callicarpenol which ward off mosquitoes. In the mint family. Native to Florida. Perrenial. Prefers dry to moist, well-drained or sandy soil. Grows up to 3-8 feet tall with a 6 foot spread. Pruning in late winter is recommended for denser growth. Medicinal: Leaves and other parts of the plant are used to treat malerial fevers and rheumatism. Boiled roots can be made into treatments for dizziness, stomach aches and uring retention. The bark can be made into concoctions for itchy skin. And important medicinal plant for Native Americans. Contains chemical properties to prevent acne.
Bee Balm. Spotted bee balm. Horsemint. Monarda punctata. An upright herbaceous perennial with light green leaves on tall, sprawling stems. It grows wild throughout the US from USDA Hardiness Zones 4 to 9. In this native range it grows in clumps between 2 to 4 feet wide. Flowers on sums all summerlong 3-4’ high. Cream pink to purple flowers. Belongs to the mint family. Medicinal; Medicinal uses of horsemint were discovered by several indigenous peoples, including the Meskwaki, Delaware, Mohegan, and Nanticoke. These peoples used it to treat colds, skin problems, fevers, and even headaches. Attracts hummingbirds, butterflies and bees. Prefers sun in sandy or well-drained soil. Florida friendly.
Bird Pepper. Capsicum annuum var. glabriusculum. (Nightshade family). Only pepper native to Florida. Thought to be the progenitor of modern peppers.Hotter than a Habanero! Native to South Florida. Annual or short-lived perennial. Full sun to partial shade. Moderately moist to dry, well-drained sandy, clay or calcareous soils. 3’± tall. Does not do well with frost or freezing temps. Evergreen shrub found in coastal areas. Bird pepper flowers are tiny (about ¼ inch in diameter), white and five petals.Berry turns bright red when ripe. Medicinal and Culinary uses. Have vitamins A and C and are thought to prevent cancer and tumors. Aztecs called it Chili. Grows year round. Florida native.
Black-eyed Susan. Rudbeckia hirta. Butterflies and bees love them. Prefers rich, well-drained soil. Sun to partial shade. Black-eyed Susans grow 1 to 3 feet tall or more with leaves of 6 inches, stalks over 8 inches long, and flowers with a diameter of 2 to 3 inches. Butterflies, bees, and other insects are attracted to the flowers for the nectar. Pollinator plant. Black-eyed Susan’s are meant to symbolize justice. Medicinal; Root; tea used for worms, and colds. Root wash used for sores, snakebite, and swelling. Root juice used for earaches. NOTE; Black-Eyed Susan has been found to have immuno-stimulant activity similar to Echinacea. Dermatitis from contact is rare but has been reported.Florida friendly.
Blue-eyed Grass. Sisyrinchium angustifolium. An evergreen, clump-forming wildflower. Found in wet prairies and open habitat in Florida. Pollinator plant. Blue and lavender tiny flower when blooming. In the Iris family. Flowers generally open around noon in sunny conditions and close at the end of the day. Prefers moderately dry soils. Excellent ground cover. Prolific self-seeder. 4-20” tall. Looks like grass but part of Iris family. Perennial. Medicinal uses: long history. Medicinal; Native tribes used it for: easing hay fever, encouraging regular bowel movements, quelling diarrhea, treating intestinal worms and stomach ailments.Leaves are edible when cooked. Florida native.
Brindabella Roses. Floribunda Rose. Prefers sun exposure. 4’ tall when mature. Good for low hedges and borders. Fragrant and disease resistant. Shrubbery. Flower color; blue, pink, red and white.Florida friendly.
Buddha Belly Bamboo. Good for aesthetic uses. Beauty uses, good for hair and skin. Wind break. There are many Buddha's Belly Bamboo benefits and uses. But even if we know the uses of the plant, one should also know which part of the plant could be used. It can be leaves, fruits, flowers, stem, seeds or the roots too. NOTE: In some cases, one part of the plant may be edible while another may be toxic. Hence, you should know which part of the plant is used for a particular need. Part of Buddha's Belly Bamboo used are Sap and Stem. Beside beauty benefits and aesthetic uses, there are some additional uses of the plant, which can be beneficial to know and improve its usability. Other uses of this plant are Container, Espalier, Screen and Used in paper industry. Medicinal: Healthy teeth and helps painful gums. Florida friendly.
CardinalFlower.Lobelia cardinalis. Wildflower that occurs naturally in floodplain forests. Beautiful scarlet flowers bloom summer through early winter. Primary pollinator is the hummingbird, also attracts butterflies and bees. Medicinal; used in medicine since the 1600s. Of the Bellflower family, Full sun to partial shade, prefers well-drained to moist to wet soil. Grows 2-5’ tall. Great for water gardens and along riverbeds. Considered a threatened species in Florida. Medicinal; The root is analgesic, anthelmintic, antispasmodic, and stomachic. A tea made from the roots has been used in the treatment of epilepsy, syphilis, typhoid, stomach aches, cramps, worms etc. A poultice of the roots has been applied to sores that are hard to heal. The leaves are analgesic and febrifuge. A tea made from the leaves is used in the treatment of croup, nosebleeds, colds, fevers, headaches etc. A poultice of the leaves has been applied to the head to relieve the pain of headaches. This species is considered to have similar medicinal activity to L. inflata, but in a milder form. It was seldom if ever used. The plant is used to make a homeopathic remedy. The report does not say which part of the plant is used, nor what it treats. NOTE: The plant is potentially toxic, but the degree of toxicity is unknown. It contains the alkaloid lobeline which has a similar effect upon the nervous system as nicotine. The sap of the plant has been known to cause skin irritation. Florida friendly.
Cat Nip: Nepeta cataria. catswort, catswort, and catmint, is a species of the Lamiaceae family and native to southern and eastern Europe, the Middle East etc. Cat Nip refers to the genus. The name is derived from the attention that cats have given it. Short-lived herbaceous plant that grow to be 20-40 inches tall. Member of the mint family. The small flowers are either pink in color or white with fine spots of pale purple. Used as an ornamental plant or use in gardens. Pollinator. Attracts cats and butterflies. Drought tolerant and deer resistant. Best grown in full sunlight. Medical: Has a long history in traditional medicine for a variety of ailments such as stomach cramps, indigestion, fevers, hives, and nervous conditions. Has been consumed as a tisane, juice, tincture, infusion, or poultice and has even been spoked. However, it has fallen out of modern use. Can be steeped for ten minutes as a sleep aid in a tea.
Coastal Verbena.Glandularia maritima. Beach Verbena, Mock Vervain. Blooms year round. Great groundcover. Nectar source for butterflies and birds, Pollinator plant. Deep pink to lavender flower. Florida native. Verbena and Vervain family. Perennial. 8-12” tall 2’ spread. Loves sun and well drained sandy soils. Medicinal; The roots of the plant can be used for internal medicine to treat depression, anxiety, coughs, colds, fevers, stomachaches, cramps, jaundice, and headaches. Florida native.
Coreopsis. Tickseed. (native). Florida State Wildflower. Coreopsis gladiate. The coastal plane tickseed. Blooms late summer to early winter. Pollinator plant. Yellow petals around brown center. Aster family. Perennial. Prefers moist to wet and seasonally inundated sandy soils. Full sun. 2-3’ tall. NOTE: The name “coreopsis” stems from the Greek koris, for “bedbug,” and opis, meaning “resembling,” because the seeds look like little bedbugs. The common name is tickseed, which comes from the seeds’ resemblance to ticks. Coreopsis varieties produce daisy like yellow, red, orange, pink, and violet flowers that bloom from summer to fall. This low-maintenance plant makes few demands. It tolerates heat, humidity, and drought, and when cut, adds cheer to a bouquet. Plant in masses for striking visual effect. It is well suited to beds, borders, and containers. Medicinal; A tea made from the roots is emetic and is also used in the treatment of diarrhea. An infusion of the whole plant without the root has been used by women desiring a female baby. A tea can be made from the dried plant. It was used as a coffee substitute. Florida native.
Cosmos: Cosmos bipinnatus Full sun. Blooms Summer and Fall. Flowers are Orange, Pink, Red, and White. Annual with colorful daisy-like flowers. Attract birds and is a pollinator plant. Prefer well drained soil, nothing special. Will even survive in poor soil. Produce 3 to 5 flowers, some are even maroon in color. Plant 12-18 inches apart. Grows 18-60 inches tall. If you let the spiky-brown seed heads blow away during the fall, cosmos are likely to self-sow throughout your garden. Medicinal; Studies have shown that Cosmo caudatus exhibits high antioxidant capacity and various medicinal properties, including anti-diabetic activity, anti-hypertensive properties, anti-inflammatory responses, bone-protective effect, and anti-microbial activity. Florida friendly.
Creeping sage: Salvia Misella: Southern River Sage. Native to southern Florida. Excellent ground cover. Pollinator plant for bees. Does well in sandy soil. Has a slight aroma but not overwhelming and is earthy smelling. Goes dormant in the winter but quickly returns when temperatures warm up in the Spring. Short-lived perennial. Blue flowers. Full sun and partial shade. Medicinal: Used for digestive problems, including loss of appetite, gas (flatulence), stomach pain (gastritis), diarrhea, bloating, and heartburn. Also good for overproduction of perspiration and saliva; and for depression, memory loss and Alzheimer’s disease.
Christmas Berry. Lycium carolinianum. It is an Evergreen woody shrub found along salt marsh and mangrove trees and on dunes along the coast. It gets its name from the bright red berries that abundantly appear around Christmas. Flowers appear in summer and fall. Pollinator plant. Flowers are small about a half inch in diameter. Branches rigid and often has thorns. It’s a close relative to the Goji berry. Nightshade family. Full sun to minimal shade. 3-6 feet tall with 3–5-foot spread. Wetland species that is highly salt tolerant. Best suited for coastal landscapes. Vital food and shelter for wildlife. Can form a hedge, stand alone or as a buffer. Medicinal: Fruit: raw or cooked. Fruit has a slightly salty taste. Berry. Only when ripe, should it be eaten-red. Rich source of vitamins and minerals, especially vitamins A, C and E. Good source of essential fatty acids. Being investigated as a food which might be capable of reducing the effects of cancer and as a means of halting it or reversing the cancerous growth. Florida native.
Drift Roses; Small scale roses. 1-2 feet tall and 2-3 feet wide. Moderate growth rate. Spreads. Flower colors: red, pink, coral, peach, apricot and yellow. Blooms in Spring to Fall. Perennial, groundcover, container plant, front and shrub border. Prefers full sun exposure and well-drained soil. Moderately drought tolerant. Florida native. Easy to low maintenance. Pollinator plant. Medicinal: Rose oil heals depression, grief, nervous stress and tension. Helps reduce thirst, healing wounds and good for skin health. Vapor rose therapy is good for some allergies, headaches and migraine. Can use in a teach as well to alleviate upset stomach, diarrhea, sore throat or a cough. Florida native.
Dune Sunflower. Beach sunflower. Helianthus debilis. Naturally grows along the coast but adapts well for inland use. Bright flowers ae a pollinator for bees, moths and butterflies. Yellow, daisy-like flowers consist of brownish red disk surrounded by brownish-red disk florets, surrounded by bright yellow ray florets. Astor family-Daisy family). West coast dune flower is in this area. Prefers dry, well-drained soils. Grows 1-2 feet tall with a 3–4-foot spread. Can tolerate salt and wind. Prolific self-seeder and a tendency to spread quickly, depending on the variety. Florida native.
Eastern Cedar Tree. Red cedar. Southern red cedar and even pencil cedar.NOTE: Was used in pencil manufacturing for years. Juniperus virginiana. Florida native. Can be used as a windbreak or screen. High salt tolerance. Great in coastal areas. Florida native. Popular as a Christmas tree. Member of the Cypress family and is a juniper. Foliage darkens as it ages. Roosting and coverage for birds. When mature, reaches a height of 20-30 feet tall and 20-30 inches wide. Best in full sun and tolerates partial shade. Medicinal: Wood berries and leaves can be used. Used to treat cough, bronchitis, joint pain, water retention and flatulence. Also used to improve
Elderberry: Sambucus nigra. Canadensis. Florida native shrub or small tree that grows to 10 feet or taller. Found mostly in wet, open spaces, swamps and on the banks of canals and other disturbed areas. Produces hanging clusters of blue-black berries. Edible parts: Berries are toxic when raw, but edible when cooked. Flowers in large flat clusters from spring to fall about 2-10 inches across. Flowers have 5 petals and is white. Medicinal: leaves are used in ointments to heal wounds. Flowers and berries to make wine; infusions were a common treatment for colds and rheumatic conditions. Commonly recommended for his immunity-boosting properties.
Elliot’s Aster; Symphyotrichum elliottii. Florida native aster. Elliot’s Easter plant. Bushy Aster.It looks almost like lavender cotton candy, It adorns roadsides and natural areas. Occurs naturally in ditches, wet flatwoods, swamps and marshes. Wonderful plant for attracting butterflies, bees and other pollinators due to its fragrant blooms. Herbaceous perennial wildflower that produces a coronet of blooms of many lavender ray florets and yellow disk florets. Florida native. Asteraceae family. Prefers moist, sandy, loamy, and clay soils. 4 feet tall. Works wells in moist and wetland gardens and in containers. Plant in sun for best results. Note that the sucker grows aggressively, so care should be taken when incorporating it in the landscape and may require some control as it spreads beyond where desired. Flower: purple with yellow center. Medicinal: Either dry or fresh, the flowers and leaves of the plant can be eaten. Most used in herbal teas, fresh salads, or used as a garnish. Has several health benefits that have mostly been used in the treatment of weak skin, pain, fevers, and diarrhea.
Fiddlewood Tree. Spiny Fiddlewood and guitar tree. Citharexylum spinosum or Citharexylum fruticosum. Member of the Verbena family. Shrub. 12-25 feet tall. Long lived perennial. White flower. Young fruit orange, mature to brown. Evergreen. Flowers and fruits throughout the year. Aromatic, showy flowers and fruits, Hurricane wind resistance. Full sun to partial shade. Berries eaten by wildlife. Pollinator plant. NOTE: Wood has been used for musical instruments such as violins and guitars. Florida native. Flowers are small white, and trumpet shaped and fragrant. Fruit is berry-like, orange turning red to brown to black as it matures. Edible but not the tastiest fruit in the woods. Medicinal: All parts are used in medicines to treat conditions such as asthma and rheumatism. In the Caribbean, it is used to treat sores and to aid in digestion. Wood used to make fiddles in the Caribbean and in cabinetry.
Frog’s Fruit. Phyla nodiflora. Turkey Tangle fogfruit, Capeweed, creeping Charlie, Matchhead, Creeping lip, Purple lippa, sawtooth frog fruit. Native in Florida and in southern US. Perfect ground. Minimal care. Distinct white and purple flowers. Flowers all year round. Flower is white to pink in color and about quarter of an inch wide. Clusters of nutlets available all year round. Full sun to partial shade. High tolerance to windborne salt but low tolerance to flooding of salt and brackish water. Will tolerate most soil types. Moderate to high drought tolerance once established. May need supplemental water during extended dry periods. Attract a wide variety of pollinators. Verbena family. 1-3 inches tall forms dense mats. Will tolerate most soil types. Makes excellent groundcover. Being used as a turfgrass alternative. Pollinator plant and nectar source. Can be used in containers and hanging pots as well. Medicinal: Leaves are often used as a tea substitute; leaves are edible when cooked and it is often recommended to boil them. Antibacterial, anti-inflammatory, astringent, aphrodisiac, may medicinal properties. The whole plant can be used medicinally. Used in traditional Chinese medicine known as Guo Jiang Teng as an herb that clears wind heat, helps to treat a variety of blood diseases, fevers, malaria, dysentery, vertigo, some venereal diseases, boils, abscesses, and burning sensations during urination.Also, an Ayurvedic medicine known as Jalpapli, and infusion is given to women after childbirth to help stimulate healing.It also clears heat and resists poison. A great bitter herb, helping to improve digestion and can ease stomach troubles. The juice is often used to ease gastric irritation. And infusion is also made to be given to children for upset stomach. A decoction of the whole plant can be helpful for gastric ulcers. Has properties to prevent the formation of kidney stones. Antibacterial for wound care, It has a cooling property to soothe burns. Traditional treatment for acne and can be used to treat chicken pox, eczema, leprosy, scabies and minor wounds. Treats dandruff and joint pain as well. Helps lower blood sugar for diabetes. NOTE: Avoid this herb if you are pregnant.
Heliotrope (white and yellow). Pineland Heliotrope- (native). Euploca polyphylla. Formerly referred to as a Heliotropium polyphylla. Perennial Occurs naturally in Florida in pine rock lands, wet prairies, coastal thickets and ruderal areas. Typically blooms throughout the year. Attracts a variety of pollinators, especially small butterflies. Their many small flowers may be white or yellow and are on distinctly curved spikes. White flowers are more prostrate and has a creeping habit while the yellow flowers tend to be more erect and taller. Boraginaceae or forget-me-not family. Prefers moist to moderately dry sandy soils. Full sun to partial shade. 6-12 feet tall and there is a smaller form as well. It is adaptable to many growing conditions. Drought tolerant and can grow in nutrient poor soils. Not particularly salt tolerant. Medicinal: It is rich in pyrrolizidine alkaloids; antimicrobial, antiviral, anti-tumor, anti-inflammatory, and wound healing. Provides remedies for gout, inflammation, skin disorders, menstrual cycle disorders, and noxious bites.
Mulberry tree. (Native) Morass pp. Moraceae. A fruit producing tree that can provide tasty fruits. History of use; It has a rich history and has been enjoyed by people in North America for centuries. On expedition in the mid-1500s De Soto observed Muskogee Indians eating dried mulberry fruits. Over winter the Iroquois mashed, dried, and stored the fruit to later add to water, making warm sauces that were occasionally mixed into cornbread. Cherokees made sweet dumplings by mixing cornbread and sugar with mulberries. The Timucua people of northeast Florida used the fruit, along with the tree's leaves and twigs, to make dyes, and the Seminoles used the branches to make bows. In the 1800’s Mulberry was brought to China as a host plant for silkworms. It produces a fruit that resemble slender blackberries. The fruits are also quite popular with wildlife. Berries ripen in late Spring or Summer. Grows up to 40 feet tall, though smaller in northern climates. Despite the name, white mulberry can produce pink, black, purple or white fruit. They get their name from the color of the flower buds. Trees thrive in infertile, sandy soils and are drought tolerant. They are drought tolerant after establishment and moderately wind resistant. NOTE: Keep in mind that fallen fruit sometimes stain the ground where they land, so best to avoid plating on driveways or walkways. They require very little maintenance. Recommended that you should only prune to remove dead or damaged wood or crossing limbs. Be careful when pruning the tree as it has a milky sap that causes skin rashes in some people. Medicinal. The mulberry is traditionally used to host silkworms and is considered a sacred tree in ancient China. White mulberry leaves treat colds, flu, and fevers.The bark and fruit may be eaten as food. Small branches are used for rheumatic and arthritic pains, especially through the extremities of the body. Small twig tea is said to improve vision and circulation and reduces high blood pressure, headaches, and to help diabetes by stimulating insulin production. Fruit is given as a blood tonic, and helps with anemia, consumptive diseases with thirst, premature graying of the hair, canker sores, burns, piles, dizziness and insomnia. Very good for constipation in the aged caused by dryness of deficient blood. Bark of the tree is anti-inflammatory to the lungs and bronchioles, helps reduce edema, quiets coughs, wheezing in asthma and emphysema, fever and difficulty in urination. Leaves were poulticed for toothache, snakebites and as an antidote for aconite poisoning. The bark is a traditional European remedy for tapeworms; used in a decoction. Also, a laxative preparation for home use. Native Americans used the milk juice to cure ringworm on the scalp; drank root tea for weakness, difficulty in urination, dysentery and lowering fever. Florida friendly.
Horsetail (native). Equisetum hyemale. Horsetail is an ancient plant that dates back millions of years and naturally found in wet areas. Easily recognized by its hollow-thin reed-like stems that resemble bamboo. Perennial. The stems have vertical ridges that look like a Greek column. The evergreen plants grow up to three feet tall and will spread quickly in the right conditions. Can be planted in containers and water gardens. Medicinal: Contains silicon which can help strengthen bones. It was traditionally used to stop bleeding, heal ulcers and wounds, treat tuberculosis and kidney problems. Is used as a diuretic and is used in some cosmetics. The parts aboveground are used in medicine. Because it contains traces of nicotine it is not used for children. Horsetail remedies prepared from Equisetum arvense are generally considered safe when used properly. NOTE: Another species of horsetail, however, called Equisetum palustre is poisonous to horses. To be safe, never take that form of horsetail. Be sure to buy products made by an established company with a good reputation. Prolonged use of even the safe form of horsetail (E. arvense) is also not advised. Taking horsetail by mouth may cause levels of vitamin B1 (thiamin) in the body to drop. If you take horsetail on a regular basis, you should also take a quality multivitamin or at least a B complex supplement daily. People with heart or kidney disorders, diabetes, or gout should not use horsetail. DO NOT drink alcohol regularly while taking horsetail because horsetail may cause levels of thiamin to drop. Horsetail may flush potassium out of the body so people who are at risk for low potassium levels should not take Horsetail. Women who are pregnant or breastfeeding should not take horsetail.
Marlberry Bush (native). Ardisia escallonioides. An evergreen shrub or tree that occurs naturally in coastal strands and hammocks and pine rock lands through central and south Florida. Blooms and fruits intermittently throughout the year with peak blooming in summer through late fall. The abundant fruit is enjoyed by birds and small animals and is also edible to humans.The dense foliage provides shelter and cover for wildlife. Fragrant flower may be creamy white or pinkish and have distinctly notable anthers. The thick green leaves are glossy. Bark is smooth and whitish gray. Fruits begin as small green to reddish drupes that run shiny and black when mature. Each fruit bears a single hard seed. Myrsinaceae family. Perennial. Prefers dry to moist soils, well drained organic, sandy or calcareous soils. Full sun to partial shade. 3-18 feet (taller in southern climes). Can be easily pruned or trimmed to reach desired shape. It is salt and drought resistant and will grow in sunny and shady landscapes. Native Florida plant. Caution: Marlberry may be confused with its non-native cousins, Coral ardisia (Ardisia crenata) and Shoebutton ardisia (Ardisia elliptica). Coral ardisia is differentiated from Marlberry by its toothed leaf margins and bright red berries. Shoebutton ardisia’s flowers are a bit larger than Marlberry’s and pinkish purple. Some sources put it in the Primrose family. Medicinal: not poisonous but recommended not to eat it.
Mist flower: Conoclinium coelestinum. Blue mistflower, wild ageratum, pink eupatorium, hardy ageratum and blue boneset. Found in river swaps, moist meadows and roadside ditches. Flowers give the appearance of a blue fog when blooming en masse. Very attractive to pollinators, especially butterflies, moths and bees. Many stems bear dense flat clusters of small flowers from bright blue to lavender to pinkish white. Aster family. Native throughout Florida. Prefers moist to wet, sandy, loamy or mucky soils. Full sun to partial shade. Grows 1-3 feet tall. Perfect in a wildflower garden. Medicinal: Used in traditional medicines. Can be used to treat skin infections and sore throats. Leaves can be applied to wounds to stop bleeding.Proven to have antioxidant properties.
Mrs. Schiller’s Delight: Virburnum obovatum. Adoxaceae. Dwarf Walter’s Viburnum. 2 by 5-foot-tall shrub. Florida native. Long loved perennial. Flower is white and the fruit is black in color. Blooms late winter to early spring. Fruits ripen late summer to early fall. Showy flowers and fruits. Hurricane and wind resistance. Good as a foundation plant, low hedge or mass planting. Dwarf is a cultivar of Walter’s Viburnum. Prefers full sun to partial shade. Not salt tolerant or to direct spray. Birds and wildlife consume the fruit. Pollinator and good cover plant. Heavy bloomer with dense foliage. Easy maintenance and fragrant.
Native Fire Bush (native). Firebush. It is a fast growing and showy evergreen shrub to small tree found in hardwood hammocks and coastal and upland forests. Typically blooms Spring through Fall but can bloom year-round in armer climates. Nectar filled flowers vary in length, attracting butterflies and hummingbirds. Berries are plentiful and are eaten by a variety of birds and small mammals. They are also edible to humans, though the taste it not too desirable. Produces clusters of bright orange and red thinly tubular flowers. Leaves are elliptical to ovate. Fruits are small green berries that turn red to purplish-black as they mature. Coffee, bedstraw or madder family. Prefer dry to moist, sandy, somewhat alkaline soils. Full sun to partial shade. Grows up to 10 feet tall with 3-6 foot spread. Great for attracting butterflies and birds. Plant in full sun for best flowering or more shade for attractive flowers. Caution: Avoid nonnative varieties of Firebush, particularly H. patens var. glabra (frequently sold as African, Dwarf or Compact firebush), as it may interbreed with the native firebush. Calusa firebush is a native cultivar that may be used if a more compact size is desired. Medicinal; Firebush leaf extracts can be used for anti-inflammatory, analgesic, and diuretic purposes. Has been shown to have antiviral and antifungal properties as well. A tea can be made from the leaves, stems, and flowers, and can be drunk to release menstrual cramps, treat a fever, and diarrhea, can also be a treatment for wounds, burns, insect bites etc. Can be made into jellies and syrups.
30. ORCHID. Dendrobium. Dendrobium spp. The dendrobium species of orchids are the most popular due to their easy care and flowering habits. Typical length of over one foot. The white-lavender and combination flowers can remain open for 3-4 weeks. Can be used as a houseplant or on a windowsill. They typically have a long bloom period. NOTE: Grow in a bright spot for best flowering. One easy way to water it, is to soak the moss for about 10 minutes. Then leave the orchid be until the moss begins to dry out and soak it again. Appreciate average to high humidity. Repot the orchid when the bark or moss its growing on starts to break down. This happens every couple of years or so. Beautiful to look at but not intended for human or animal consumption. They can be brought inside while in bloom but there must be enough light. Then they should be put on the lanai so that they can grow a new stalk and get ready to bloom again. Summertime is usually too hot for them and can burn. Bring inside in the winter if it gets below 50 degrees. Cool weather causes them to lose their leaves. Watering should be done once or twice a week.
ORCHID. Dendrobium. Dendrobium spp. The dendrobium species of orchids are the most popular due to their easy care and flowering habits. Typical length of over one foot. The white-lavender and combination flowers can remain open for 3-4 weeks. Can be used as a houseplant or on a windowsill. They typically have a long bloom period. NOTE: Grow in a bright spot for best flowering. One easy way to water it, is to soak the moss for about 10 minutes. Then leave the orchid be until the moss begins to dry out and soak it again. Appreciate average to high humidity. Repot the orchid when the bark or moss its growing on starts to break down. This happens every couple of years or so. Beautiful to look at but not intended for human or animal consumption. They can be brought inside while in bloom but there must be enough light. Then they should be put on the lanai so that they can grow a new stalk and get ready to bloom again. Summertime is usually too hot for them and can burn. Bring inside in the winter if it gets below 50 degrees. Cool weather causes them to lose their leaves. Watering should be done once or twice a week.
ORCHID. Vandas. Vandeae. Found in tropical area, requiring bright sunlight, high humidity, warm temperatures and plenty of water. The flowers are showy and colorful with a large variety of colors available. Tall plants that bloom once a year, though when combined with Ascocentrum, plants can bloom several times a year. Flowers range in size from 1-4 inches and are very popular. Many species are fragrant and are long lasting. Much hybridizing is being done with many of the newer known species. Currently there are 80 species and 4 natural hybrids known. Bright light and daily watering if in baskets. Plants should be disturbed as infrequently as possible.
Pineland Lantana: Lantana depressa. Verbena family. Native. Endangered? Low mat-forming shrub leaves 2 inches long and I inch wide. Flowers are bright yellow gold but fade to orange with age. 15-20 flowers in dense, flat-topped clusters.Fruit is fleshy, shiny and black. Grows in pine rock lands of southern Dade County, especially Everglades keys, coastal grasslands, sandy inland ridges and on dunes. Flowers all year round. Prefers full sun. Tolerant of salty wind. Prefers lime rock or sand for growth. Birds eat the fruits and spread the seeds. Pollinators for butterflies and bees. Caution: This is a rare South Florida native that has entered the nursery trade. A major concern is hybridization with Lantana strigocamara, a multicolored invasive exotic. Due to the potential hybridization, it is best to acquire L. depress var. depressa only, and it is best to acquire it from a native plant nursery, not a big box store. Medicinal; The plant extracts have been used in folk medicine for the treatment of cancers, chicken pox, measles, asthma, ulcers, swellings, eczema, tumors, high blood pressure, bilious fevers, catarrhal infections, tetanus, rheumatism and malaria.
Pineland Mint (native). Conradina grandiflora. Wildflower. Native. Flowers bloom in pink, purple and white. Prefers full sun, dry soil moisture. Pollinator for butterflies and bees. Groundcover plant. Medicinal: none found in research.
Purple Love Grass (native). Eragrostis spectabilis. Florida native. Beautiful eye-catching ground cover. A bunching grass that glows slowly with a fibrous root system.Grown on disturbed and undisturbed sandy soils, borders and embankments, meadows, dray savannahs and prairies. Drought and salt tolerant and it thrives in sandy soils where other grass cannot be grown. Prefers full sun but is tolerant to partial shade. Blue-green foliage is displayed in the spring. In the fall it develops a bronze-red color and seeds have a beige color. The entire seed branch will detach and blow away like tumble weed in the wind. In gardens due to its low maintenance and a perennial that will reseed. Plant is 2 feet tall with a 2–3-foot spread. Supports wildlife that use it for cover and for nesting material. Attracts butterflies and birds.Deer will not eat the plant, but other small animals will forage on its seeds. When large quantities are planted it produces a stunning display. Used internationally in landscaping designs.
Railroad Vine (native). Pompea pes-caprae. Beach morning glory. Bayhops, or goat’s foot. It is a fast-growing evergreen commonly found in beach dunes. Flowers are large funnel-shaped and purple to purplish pink in color. Florida native. Flowers attract bees, butterflies, moths, beetles, wasps and ants. Prolific bloomer.Occurs naturally in coastal peninsular counties etc. Often used in beach restoration and stabilization. Does best in dry, nutrient-poor sandy soils and can tolerate moist soils. Prefers full sun.Grows 6-16 feet tall. Vine length varies from 10-20 feet and can extend as long as 100 feet. Highly tolerant of heat and wind and salt. Does best on beach dunes. Medicinal: Has been used to treat jellyfish stings. Leaves and stems contain a white sap that protect it from pests.
Red Anise: Illicianeae. Florida Anise. Florida native. Long-lived perennial. Flower is a vivid red in color. Evergreen, Blooms in Spring, Fruits ripen in fall. Showy flowers, interesting foliage. Prefers shade. Not salt tolerant of inundation by salty or brackish water. Low tolerance to salty wind or direct salt spray. Prefers sandy or loam soil. Rapid growing and lush blooming, and low maintenance. Can propagate with cuttings. Red blooms in Spring followed by star-shaped seed pods which cling to the stems. Leaves give off a fresh Anise scent when crushed. Prefers damp shady areas. Can grow 10-15 feet tall with 6–10-foot spread. Good for hedges, ornamental. Allow room around other plants for it to reach fullness. Pollinated by a variety of insects, especially native flies. Found in forest floodplain or along riverbanks. Medicinal: history; Cherokee would use a tea from the leaves and roots to treat colds and coughs. Also used as an expectorant.NOTE:Do NOT use this Florida anise as a spice-it is toxic. Has compounds that are toxic to humans and animals.
Rosinweed: Starry Rosen weed. Silphium astericus. Florida has two native species. Rosinweed stems contain a gummy substance that Native Americans used to clean their teeth. Cherokees also used the plant medicinally. Aster family. Perennial that may die back in the winter, particularly if cold. It sports new foliage in the Spring and can produce flowers from mid spring to early fall and even through winter if warm enough. The flowering stems can reach 3-5 feet with plants about 2 feet across. The two-inch flower heads have yellow ray petals and discs. This species loved as it blooms over a long period of time.Attracts butterflies and bees and other pollinators. Easy to care for. Once maintained, they do not need extra water except in extra-long droughts. Fairly drought resistant and does well in dry sandy soils. Medicinal: Rosinweed is used to reduce edema (excess body water or swelling, cause sweating and relieve spasms. Used for treating digestive disorders.
Salvia Azura(native). Azure blue sage. A perennial wildflower that naturally occurs in flatwoods or sandhills. Blooms August through November. Attracts bees, butterflies and even hummingbirds. Blooms are a bright sky-blue in color. Azure blue sage is unlike other salvias in that it produces only stem leaves, no basal leaves. Florida native. It does have the tell-tale square stem that salvias and other members of the mint family have. Prefers very dry well-drained soils and full sun. 2-4 feet tall. Medicinal; Folk medicine in Asia and Latin America. Has been used for disorders such as seizure, ulcers, gout, rheumatism, inflammation, dizziness, tremor, paralysis, diarrhea and hyperglycemia. Can also cure heartburn or bloating, excessive sweating, age related cognitive disorders, and inflammations in the throat and skin. Wide range of medical properties were verified in studies.
Scorpion Tail (native). Heliotropium angiospermum. Boraginacae. Annual to short-lived perennial. Noted for showy flowers. Can be used as a tall groundcover or small shrub. Full sun and partial shade. Tolerant of brief/occasional inundation as can occur in storm surges. Nectar plant for butterflies. Native habitats are in hammocks and disturbed sites. Medicinal; used to treat a variety of skin ailments, sores, burns and bites. To clean the skin of a new-born, to stimulate menstruation and induce abortions.To treat gout and as an anti-inflammatory. Many medicinal uses.
Sea Ox-eye Daisy (native). Bushy seaside oxeye. Sea marigold, beach carnation, seaside tansy. Borrichia frutescens. A perennial small to medium sized shrub with attractive daisy-like blooms. Each flower has yellow ray florets surrounded by yellow-orange disk florets with black anthers. Flowers are approximately 1 inch in diameter. Naturally found in coastal strands, mangroves, beach dunes, salt marshes and tidal flats. Seeds provide food for birds and other wildlife. Prefers very dry to well drained soils. Full sun to minimal shade. 3-4 feet tall. Highly drought and salt tolerant and can withstand occasional saltwater inundation. Works well as a border planting and mixed in a flower garden. Pollinator plant. Medicinal; Some uses include boiling the leaves in a tea for whooping cough, back pain, colds, chest complaints, asthmas and malaria.
Seaside Golden Rod (native). Solidago sempervirens. Blooms in very showy masses on dunes, brackish marshes, on sandy soils on coastal areas and occasionally inland. Attracts birds searching for insects. Nectar attracts butterflies, bees and other pollinators. Bright yellow flowers in clusters. Native Florida plant. Medicinal: Have been used since Roman times or earlier. Seaside goldenrod was used by Seminoles to treat wounds. Aster family. Prefers well-drained, sandy soils. Full sun to partial shade. 3-5-foot-tall bloom. Does best in dry, sunny conditions. Medicinal: The piney tasting leaves are an important remedy for the urinary, digestive, and respiratory systems. Used as a dye and even beverage tea. Caution: Resembles a variety that is very toxic to humans and livestock.
Spicewood (native). Pale lid flower. Calyptranthes pallens. Small upright tree or shrub with a unique spicy fragrance. Member of the Myrtle family.Light green, glossy leaves that have a pink-red tinge when young. The flowers are small and bloom white to beige in the spring and summer. The fruits change from green to orange to yellow and then black. Many species of birds find the fruits appealing. Prefers full sun to shade location and is adaptable to many types of soils. But is best in moist to wet areas.Can be clipped to form a hedge or to shape. 10-15 feet tall. Pollinator plant.
Spiderwort (native to Florida). Tradescantia ohiensis. A clump forming, upright perennial that is native to Florida and blooms in the spring with one-inch flowers that have three petals in either, white, pink, blue or violet. Native to Florida. Each flower lasts less than a day, but the plant puts out new flowers for six to eight weeks. The stems ooze a jelly-like sap when pulled. It is not only attractive but edible as well. The flowers can be eaten fresh in a salad. The stems and leaves can be eaten raw or cooked. The sap or juice can be used to soothe insect bites like aloe is used. Prefers full sun to light shade. 1-2 feet tall. To keeps plants healthy, cut them back in the late summer-when they appear to stop blooming. They will bounce back in the fall. Important pollinator plant. Spiderworts spreads easily, but if kept under control can be used as a beautiful border plant. Fun fact: The stamens in the spiderwort can be used to detect radiation.Low level exposure will turn the bluish filament on the hairs on the stamen pink! Medicinal: Roots can be used as a laxative. Sap for insect bites. People add the leaves to stews and the greens to salads along with the flowers.
Stokes Astor (native). Stokesia leavis. Wildflower native to 9 counties in Florida. Flowers typically bloom in spring and summer but may bloom throughout the year. Attracts a variety of bees, wasps and butterflies. Flowers are about 2-3 inches in diameter and may be bluish-purple, lavender, pinkish or even white. Aster and daisy family. Prefers well-drained, acidic to neutral soils. Full sun to partial shade. 1-2 feet tall and wide. Works well in mixed wildflower and butterfly gardens. Can spread easily and may require occasional thinning. Remove spent flowerheads to encourage a longer flowering period. Medicinal; Flowers can be eaten fresh or dried. The Native Americans had a multitude of uses for the plant. The roots used in soups and young leaves as greens. The Iroquois combined Aster with blood root and other medicinal herbs to make a laxative. It was also used an infusion with the root to aid with headaches.Potions of the flower were used to treat venereal disease.
Tea Bush (native). Grayleaf, broomweed, or teabush. Wooly pyramid flower.Melochia tomentosa. Primarily found in south Florida. The shrub can reach 12-14 feet in height without pruning but can be maintained much smaller. Has soft gray green leaves on branches that have a pendulous tilt. Throughout the warm weather bees flock to it. Small pink flowers bloom in profusion. Very ornamental as a plant. Prefers full sun or partial shade in well drained to moist conditions. Long-lived perennial. Medicinal: Used as an animal food, a poison, and medicine and even has environmental uses. Flower color: pink. Evergreen. Flowers year round but heavy in fall to early spring. Known for its showy flowers and interesting foliage.
Tropical Sage. Salvia coccinea. Known also as: scarlet sage, red salvia, blood sage, hummingbird sage, Texas sage, or Tropical sage. Perennial wildflower. No pollinator can resist the red flowers. Bees, large butterflies and hummingbirds love it especially. Typically blooms in summer and fall but can bloom year-round. Can also bloom in lavender though more typical the deep red. Occurs naturally in woodlands, hammocks and disturbed sites. The flower spike consists of many red, tubular blooms that are about 1 inch long. Leaves are deltoid and oval. Member of the mint family. Native throughout most of Florida. Prefers moderately dry to mist, well-drained, sandy to rich soils. They grow 2-4 feet tall.Prefer full sun to minimal shade. Highly adaptable to many conditions. Use it in a mixed wildflower bed or as an accent. Self-sowing and will germinate throughout the year.Drought tolerant. Medicinal; Considered an American Native plant due to its long history of use before colonization. It is not poisonous to pets roaming the garden. Though creating teas or tinctures or not good as there are some reports of it causing gastric upset. Chemicals contained in it are good for fighting illness caused by inflammation and can help with cancer or cardiovascular disease. Grown for its beauty and the ability to feed wildlife.
Twin Flower. dyschoriste twin flower. Dyschoriste oblongifolia. Host plant for common buckeye. An herbaceous perennial with narrow opposite leaves and tubular lavender flowers marked by dark purple streaks. Versatile and low maintenance. Tolerates dry to moist, well-drained soils in sun to partial shade. Compact grown provides ideal choice for small spaces. Blooms Spring through fall and reaches about 1 foot in height. Found in sandhills, pine flatlands and hardwood forests. Native to Florida. Moderate watering. Used as a native groundcover. Attracts many pollinators, mainly bees.
Wild Columbine: Aquilegia Canadensis. Florida native wildflower. One of Florida’s most unique wildflowers. Occurs naturally in only three counties in Florida. Blooms in the Spring. Nectar is a favorite for hummingbirds, ling-tongued bees, and butterflies. Small birds enjoy its seeds. Perennial herbaceous wildflower. Each flower consists of five red petals with five yellow sepals. Each petal has a hollow spur or horn-like structure where lots of nectar is stored. Fruits are capsules that bear many tiny black seeds. Buttercup family. Jackson, Liberty, and Washington counties. Moist to moderately dry, calcareous soils. Partial to full shade. Grows 2-3 feet tall. Medicine: Native Americans used the plant to treat headaches, sore throats, and fevers. As well as stomach, kidney, urinary and heart problems. The crushed seeds were rubbed on heads to control lice and on hands as a love charm.
Wild Petunia: Prairie petunia, Fringe leaf, hairy ruellia, low ruellia, fringe-leaf wild petunia. Ruellia humilis. Grows to the height of 2 feet. Wildflower. Compact, bushy, leafy appearance. Flowers are petunia shaped and vary in color from lavender to purple. Blooms in May through September. Florida friendly. Reseeds readily, growth habit is sprawling. Wonderful addition to wildflower garden. Larval food plant for Buckeye and several other butterfly species.Ornamental blooms. Pollinator plant. Nectar source. Prefers moist soil. Hearty and easy maintenance. Grows in various conditions. Medical: Used for the treatment of the Flu, asthma, bronchitis, high blood pressure, eczema and diabetes.
Wild Lime: Zanthoxylum fagara. Citrus family. Perennial. Full sun to partial shade. 5 to 20 feet tall and 3-10 feet wide. Evergreen shrub to small tree that occurs naturally in hammocks throughout Central and South Florida. Blooms year round with peak flowering in winter and spring. Larval host for several butterflies. Fruit provides food for birds and small wildlife. The flowers are tiny, yellow to yellowish green. Fruits are round and yellow green when mature into a brown husk that splits to reveal two shiny black seeds. The plants trunk and branches are armed with hooked thorns, bark is scaly. Despite its name is merely a cousin of the culinary limes and other citrus fruit. It is also known as prickly Ash, although it is not related to other ash trees. Wild lime flowers and leaves crushed smell like lime. With dense foliage and thorny branches it’s great for establishing a buffer or privacy screen. Can be pruned. Can tolerate partial shade but prefers full sun for better growth. Medical and culinary; The leaves and bark can be ground into a powder and used as a bitter spice.
Yarrow:Achilla spp. Semi-evergreen herbaceous perennial with fernlike foliage and display masses of flowers from spring to fall. The flowers may be single or double and come in shades of red, pink, yellow, and white. Most species are long lived and can spread into a mass of textured foliage. Useful as a groundcover. Can grow 1- feet tall and 2-3 feet wide. Gray-green leaves. Attracts butterflies and other beneficial insects. Used in mixed borders, as groundcover, and as cut flowers-dry or fresh in arrangements. Prefers full sun and low water needs. Prefers well-drained soils and is very drought tolerant. Low maintenance. NOTE: The biggest difference that yarrow has from poison hemlock is its distinctive frilly, feather-like leaves. Medicinal: Popular in European folk medicine, contains chemicals that aid in digestion.Can relax smooth muscle in the intestine and uterus and can relieve stomach and menstrual cramps. Traditionally applied to skin for wounds and bleeding, taken by mouth to reduce inflammation and taken as a sedative to relive anxiety or insomnia. Brings down fever from sweating and used to fight infection.
Zinnia (Zinnia Elegans); Full sun, Bloom time: summer and fall. Flowers: pink, purple, red, white, yellow.Attracts butterflies. Easy to grow, blooms heavy. Sensitive to frost.Can grow from 6 inches to 3 feet tall. Need full sun and well-drained soil. Remove old flowers for longer flowering. Can be planted in mass, in a container, as a border or grown them for bouquets. Medicine: Used in folk medicine for the treatment of malaria and stomach pain and are used as hepatoprotective, antiparasitic, antifungal and antibacterial agents. Florida friendly. Easy to grow.