FNPS Promotes

the Preservation, Conservation, and Restoration of the Native Plants and Native Plant Communities of Florida.

We provide scientifically sound information on native plants, their habitats, the wildlife that depends on them, and their management and culture

Photographs above by Donna Bollenbach and Shirley Denton, Suncoast Chapter


Action Needed!

Posted February 04, 2016

The Florida House and Senate have again proposed an annual budget that fails to provide adequate funding for the state’s land conservation programs.  The Senate proposes to provide only $10 million for the Florida Forever land acquisition program while the House proposes $15.2 million. Neither…

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FNPS Seeks Social Media Contractor

Posted January 26, 2016

FNPS is seeking a contractor for its social media, current a blog, Facebook, and Twitter.  If you enjoy coordinating volunteers, writing about native plants, and maintaining social media sites, this may be for you.   Follow this link for details.

FNPS Announces A New Grant Award: The Dan Austin Award for Ethnobotany

Posted December 06, 2015

The Florida Native Plant Society is now accepting donations for a new grant award in memory and recognition of Dan Austin and his work in ethnobotany.  The “Dan Austin Award” will be given to a student studying Florida ethnobotany. 

Each year that funds are available and there is a submission that meets the criteria for ethnobotany, FNPS will award a grant of up to $1,500 in honor of Dan Austin.

Please join us in building the reserve to offer this special award.  If you, or your FNPS chapter would like to donate to the Dan Austin Award fund, please earmark your donation as “Dan Austin Conservation”.  

Call for Research Track Papers and Poster Presentations Florida Native Plant Society 2016 Conference

Posted January 04, 2016

The Florida Native Plant Society Annual Conference will be held in Daytona Beach, Florida, May 18-22, 2016. The Research Track of the Conference will include presented papers and a poster session on Friday May 20 and Saturday May 21.

Researchers are invited to submit abstracts on research related to native plants and plant communities of Florida including preservation, conservation, and restoration. Presentations are planned to be 20 minutes in total length (15 min. presentation, 5 min. questions).

Abstracts of not more than 200 words should be submitted as a MS Word file by email to Paul A. Schmalzer paul.a.schmalzer@nasa.gov by February 1, 2016. Include title, affiliation, and address. Indicate whether you will be presenting a paper or poster.


FNPS 2016 Endowment Grant Research Awards and Conservation Grant Awards

Posted October 07, 2015

The Florida Native Plant Society maintains an Endowment Research Grant program for the purpose of funding research on native plants. These are small grants ($1500 or less), awarded for a 1-year period, and intended to support research that forwards the mission of the Florida Native Plant Society…

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Florida Native Plant Society Annual Awards

Posted January 31, 2016

It is time to nominate our outstanding members and Chapters for their work during 2015.  Please help identify those individuals or chapters that merit recognition by submitting nominations. Also, announce the Palmetto awards at your chapter meetings and include the award definitions in your February and March newsletters and encourage FNPS members to send in their nominations.

Follow this link for instructions.

FCC Legislative Issues and Opinions

Posted January 13, 2016

The Florida Legislature is in session.  The Forida Conservation Coalition, of which FNPS is an affiliate, has put out a list of issues that FNPS members may want to review and act on them by contacting their legislators.  You can expect recommendations for action from FNPS on items relevant…

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IFAS W.I.S.E. Programs of Potenial Interest to FNPS Members

Posted December 16, 2015

W.I.S.E. provides continuing eduacation for Master Naturalists, Master Gardeners, UF/IFAS extension faculty and other advocates for promoting natie wildlife and the control of invasive species in Florida .  They have extended an invitation to FNPS members to participate.

To learn more about the program and program schedule and register for individual programs, please visit http://www.eventbrite.com/e/wildlife-invasive-species-education-wise-tickets-19135567999.

If you have questions, you can contact Yvette.

Latest from the Blog

Add Native Plants to Your Landscape

by Donna Bollenbach

A few years ago my parents decided that they could no longer keep up with the maintenance of their home. They moved in with my sister, and asked my husband and I if we would like to live in their house. As we were between homes, we accepted. The move from a country home on a two wooded acres to a suburban home on a 1/3-acre lot with a tropical landscape was quite a change for us. We missed our native trees and shrubs and all the wildlife they attracted. The tropical vegetation was pretty, but had very little attraction for the wildlife.  

We joined the Florida Native Plant Society

Shortly after moving, we joined the Suncoast Native Plant Society. We learned that the native plants we took for granted in our rural home attracted more wildlife because they preferred natives for food and shelter. In our rural landscape we had very little grass, but lots of oaks, longleaf pines, beautyberry, firebush, pokeweed, dewberry, holly, sweetbay, Carolina willow, elderberry and other native plants. The wildlife in our yard included nesting owls and hawks, woodpeckers, a variety of song birds, hummingbirds, snakes, frogs, toads, gopher tortoise, an occasional deer or bobcat, and an abundance of bees and butterflies. While we knew we would not be able to attract all these animals to our suburban home, we did want to bring in the birds and butterflies, which seemed to be less attracted to the non-native plants.

As a member of the native plant society for nearly three years now, I also discovered there are two approaches to planting natives: Some people take the all or none approach: They rip up their entire yard, nix the lawn, and replant everything with natives. Unless you can afford to hire someone to do most of the work, the all or none approach is not practical. Furthermore, many people are not willing to give up their bougainvillea, bird-of-paradise and bottle-brush. We had the added consideration that my dad, a veteran gardener, was proud of this lawn and tropical landscape and his feelings would be hurt if we ripped it all up in one day.

We decided to go slow and integrate native plants into the landscape

The second, and more practical approach, is to integrate native plants into your current landscape. This is the method we adopted, and it is still a work in progress. Our first project was a previously landscaped area of front yard near a loquat tree. While not native, the loquat tree provides edible fruit for us and the wildlife, so we decided to keep it. But underneath it was a thick blanket of snake plant and philodendrons, which seemed to have little value for wildlife, except perhaps for Cuban (non-native) lizards to hide.  We pulled up all the plants in the bed, added a little topsoil, and went shopping for native plants.
Wild coffee (Psychotria nervosa) under the loquat tree (Eriobotrya japonica).

Unfortunately, Hillsborough County does not have a native plant nursery, and while the big box stores have a “Florida Friendly” section, very few of the plants are true natives. We purchased our first natives from a native plant nursery in Sarasota County.  Since then we have purchased most of our plants at the SNPS semi-annual native plant sales, and we’ve picked up a few at the native plant auction following our chapter’s meetings.

We wanted plants that were suitable for the location that we were planting them without any added fertilizer or pesticides. One, pesticides are harmful to the birds, butterflies and bees that we were trying to attract. Two, when it rains the chemicals in pesticides and fertilizers wash into the ground and end up in our lakes, rivers and eventually, our drinking water, so they are not good for people either.
Our soil was average, neither moist nor dry, and drained well.  There were areas of shade, part sun and full sun in the bed. In the shaded areas we planted wild coffee. In the areas that received part sun we put in Simpson’s stopper. In the sunny areas we planted firebush, cassia, blue porterweed, blue mist, and a native mimosa. We planted red, white and pink salvia throughout.

Firebush (Hamelia patens)
Scarlet sage (Salvia coccinea)

We watered the plants daily for a few weeks to establish them. (If planted in the right place, native plants need little irrigation, but like any potted plant, they do need water when they are first put in the ground or in the case of a drought.) Our plants grew like crazy, especially the blue porterweed. It turns out the porterweed we purchased was not the native species which stays low, but a non-native that grows tall and unwieldy. It did attract lots of butterflies though, and hummingbirds, as did the firebush and the salvia. We allowed the blue porterweed to stay until it started toppling over on the firebush. Then I removed it and replanted it next to a fence line where it is just as happy. A native garden, like any garden, is trial and error.
Monarch on blue porterweed (Stachytarpheta jamaicensis).

The whole garden is filled with the color of wings and the buzzing of bees.

Scarlet wasp moth on blue mistflower (Conoclinium coelestinum).

The integrated approach to planting natives works for us. It allows us the time to evaluate and enjoy each new area. And, our native plants did bring in the birds and butterflies. Sometimes the whole garden seems to be filled with the color of wings and the buzzing of bees.

Ground cover, Powderpuff (Mimosa strigillosa).
Our Florida (Mostly) Native Landscape


Posted by Ginny Stibolt.

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