Getting Started


Join the Florida Native Plant Society.

Chapters sponsor programs related to growing native species. Many have plant sales and plant raffles. All have knowledgeable, interested people.


Decide what you want to create. Native plant gardens range from extreme formality to casual wildness.

Study Your Site.

Check the soil survey, dig a hole. If you have a natural soil, you will likely find that the plants that originally thrived in an ecosystem associated with that soil, as listed in the survey, will do well for you. If you live in a subdivision, you may live on fill. Check the pH, check the soil texture, and consider that your site is probably different from what it once was. Remnant trees or large trees in your area can give you a clue to the type of habitat that existed prior to the subdivision. Plan for the current site conditions that exist. Read the books listed on the website.

Visit demonstration gardens and natural areas.

Many Water Management District offices, parks and extension offices have demonstration gardens. Visit local and national parks and preserves for great ideas from mother nature!

Learn your local sources.

Check out native plant nurseries in your area and local retailers. Some of the most easily grown natives are very widely available. Make sure to buy locally grown plants. Plants adapted to the climate of your region will do better than imports. A mahogany (from the Florida Keys) is not native to Tallahassee and will likely freeze during the first winter.

Consult an expert.

One of our knowledgable staff members at Sweet Bay Nursery will be happy to help you!