Skip to main content

Gardening in Florida

The Florida Wildlife Federation strongly supports home gardening projects that provide food, water, and shelter to native species. All species need certain life-sustaining necessities, such as the monarch butterfly needing the milkweed plant. The Florida Wildlife Federation strives to educate others about how they can individually take part in saving the state and the planet in their own backyard

How to Garden for Conservation

Not all conservation has to be on a large scale. Every one of us that has access to land can do our part. Our yards, neighborhoods, schools, parks, places of worship, even whole communities can become preserves that help sustain plants and animals. Even a small area can provide the elements needed by pollinators, birds and other native wildlife.

Every species has specific needs, but all require food, shelter, water, and space to raise their young. Native plants are an essential part of this equation. They are the base of the food web and provide flowers, seeds and fruits used by native pollinators, birds and other animals. Our native plants and animals evolved together, and wildlife needs native plants and trees to sustain their populations. You can have a beautiful landscape and provide these critical elements. If you make your yard attractive to wildlife, they will find it.

One of the most important ways we can help native plants and animals is by eliminating invasive species in our gardens and public parks. These unwelcome species are a major problem in Florida; they can rapidly run wild, threatening many natural areas by overgrowing native plants. Some of the removal of invasive plants can require using herbicides or machinery and may best be done by professionals. But we can take steps in our own gardens, yards and neighborhoods to prevent the spread of some of these invaders.

FWF partners with National Wildlife Federation to promote the Certified Wildlife Habitat program. With a patio container garden, an urban yard or a large rural space planted for wildlife, you can choose to certify your habitat.

Know Your Zone

Use this USDA Florida Plant Hardiness Zone Map to better understand where certain plants will be cold hardy based on average temperatures. North Florida, from the Panhandle to approximately Marion County, is in zones 8A, 8B, and 9A. Central Florida, from approximately Marion County to Lake Okeechobee, is mostly in zone 9B. South Florida, from Lake Okeechobee southward, is in zones 10A, 10B, and 11.

USDA FL Plant Hardiness Zone Map

Additional Resources & Information

Florida Wildlife Federation
Gardening for a Wildlife Habitat
Florida Wildlife Federation
Thank a Native Bee
Florida Wildflower Foundation
Monarch Milkweed