Plant Your Own "Native Garden" | Signature Series | Orlando Shakespeare Theater Plant Your Own "Native Garden" | Signature Series | Orlando Shakespeare Theater

Plant Your Own “Native Garden”

Learn about Floridian foliage with Eric L. Schmidt of Harry P. Leu Gardens.



Best Florida Native Plants

Looking to cultivate your own “native garden,” like Tania in Native Gardens? Get to the root of successful gardening by planting native Floridian foliage! Orlando Shakes spoke with Eric L. Schmidt, Harry P. Leu Gardens’ botanical records and plant guru, to learn about Floridian plants, so you can exercise your own green thumb beautifully and sustainably.

Bald Cypress

Taxodium distichum- Found naturally in wet or swampy areas and can grow in standing water, but can grow fine in upland areas, produces “knees” in wet locations, a large growing deciduous conifer, very long lived and storm resistant, excellent nesting and roosting tree for birds

Cabbage Palm

Sabal palmetto– State Tree of Florida, very easy to grow; sun or shade, wet or dry, fire and salt resistant, small fruits are important food source for birds and wildlife, tree provides shelter and habitat for many small animals

Coral Honeysuckle

Lonicera sempervirens– Evergreen vine for sunny locations, tubular red-orange flowers during the warmer months, good for attracting hummingbirds

Dahoon Holly

Ilex cassine– Evergreen tree with smooth leaves, produces red berries that are very attractive to birds, grows in wet or dry locations, great smaller tree for landscapes

Dune Sunflower

Helianthus debilis– spreading perennial groundcover, bears yellow flowers, likes full sun and is very drought and salt tolerant, great for butterflies, bees and other pollinators


Hamelia patens– large shrub that bears tubular red-orange flowers all year, attracts hummingbirds and butterflies, clusters of fruit attract birds

Muhly Grass

Muhlenbergia capillaris– ornamental grass forms tight clumps 2-3 ft tall, in fall it produces lacy pink inflorescences (flowers), very drought tolerant


Coccoloba uvifera– native to coastal regions of central and south Florida but grows well in Orlando, large shrub or small tree with very attractive large, leathery, round leaves, hanging clusters of white flowers are attractive to bees and pollinators, produces clusters of small grape-like fruit that is edible, also good for birds and wildlife, very drought and salt tolerant and very exotic looking

Sensitive Vine

Mimosa strigillosa– low growing groundcover with ferny leaves that close up if touched and at night, bears pink ball shaped flowers, great no-maintenance groundcover for sunny locations, very drought tolerant

Simpson Stopper

Myrcianthes fragrans– evergreen shrub that can also be grown as a small tree, , bears fragrant small white flowers in spring which attract bees and pollinators, bears small orange-red fruit that attract birds, also a good nesting plant for birds, drought tolerant but also grows in wet soils

Small Leaf Viburnum

Viburnum obovatum– another evergreen shrub that can also be grown as a small tree, tolerates pruning very well and can also be used as a hedge, small rounded leaves, in spring it is covered in white flowers, thick growth habit is very attractive to birds for nesting and cover, there are smaller varieties available that are great for hedges, very drought tolerant but also grows well in wetter soils

Southern Live Oak

Quercus virginiana– large, spreading evergreen tree, a symbol of the Deep South, often covered in Spanish Moss, very long lived and wind resistant, this tree gets very large so give it plenty of room, very drought tolerant

Southern Red-Cedar

Juniperus silicicola– evergreen conifer with scaly needle-like foliage, grows in wet or dry soils, small bluish-gray fruit is a favorite of birds, also a good nesting and cover tree for birds

Swamp Mallow

Hibiscus coccineus– perennial shrub that bears large red flowers that look very exotic, needs a moist soil and can even grow in shallow water

Tropical Sage

Salvia coccinea– flowering perennial that grows 1-2 ft tall, bears small tubular red flowers all year, good for butterflies and hummingbirds, grow in a sunny location

Native Gardens, the sitcom style comedy of good intentions and bad manners, runs at Orlando Shakes from January 3 – February 4, 2018. Click here for tickets.