21 Native Wildflowers For Florida Gardens

If you’re a Florida gardener looking for native plants to add to your wildflower garden, we’ve got you covered. In this article, Florida gardener Melissa Strauss shares 21 great flowering natives to plant in your Florida garden.

Vivid red salvia flowers bask in the warm sunlight, showcasing nature's vibrant palette. Below, the verdant green leaves offer a serene sanctuary, a testament to the wonders of the natural world.


Here in Florida, we have a unique range of climate conditions from tropical zone 11 to much cooler zone 8. With such a range of climates, there is a wide range of native plant life and Florida wildflowers.

Native gardening definitely has some advantages over growing non-native plants. For one thing, native plants support native wildlife. Many species of butterflies and bees have specific wildflowers that they adapted to use as food sources, and Florida pollinators are no different! Additionally, native plants are also much easier to care for because they’re adapted to regional weather and soils.

By planting native species, you take much of the guesswork out of tending to your garden. Plants that naturally grow in your environment will need significantly less attention than non-natives. Here are 21 of my favorite native Florida wildflower species for a low-maintenance and wildlife-friendly garden. 

Swamp Milkweed

A close-up of purple swamp milkweed flowers, their delicate petals unfolding gracefully. In the background, lush green leaves sway gently. The contrast between the vivid blooms and the soft foliage creates a captivating natural scene.
Opt for native milkweed like swamp milkweed to protect Monarch migration.
botanical-name botanical name Asclepias incarnata
sun-requirements sun requirements Full sun to partial shade
height height 3’-5’
hardiness-zones hardiness zones 3-9

When I think of Florida native wildflowers, I automatically think of butterflies. It is a goal in my garden to attract monarch butterflies. The only surefire way to attract these insects to your garden is with milkweed. Milkweed is the sole larval food for the Monarch caterpillar. Fortunately, more than 70 species of this plant are native to the United States. 

If you are gardening in Florida and looking for a native milkweed, it may be confusing. The tropical milkweed that pops up at every nursery is not native to Florida. It has been suggested that non-native milkweeds lead to Monarchs reproducing at the wrong time in migration. This may or may not be true, but it seems better to offer them foods they would encounter naturally.

Swamp milkweed is a pretty native species with narrow, lanceolate leaves and long, strong stems. The flowers are borne in umbels atop the stems. Rather than the orange and yellow of tropical milkweed, swamp milkweed produces beautiful pink flowers with a spicy scent. This plant is versatile in terms of light exposure and soil. It does need at least partial sun to bloom. 

Butterfly Milkweed

A vibrant cluster of orange butterfly milkweed blooms against a backdrop of lush green leaves. The blurred background hints at a flourishing meadow filled with more butterfly milkweed flowers, creating a harmonious tapestry of color and life.
The butterfly milkweed boasts mid-sized stems with gold or orange umbels.
botanical-name botanical name Asclepias tuberosa
sun-requirements sun requirements Full sun to partial shade
height height 1′-2’
hardiness-zones hardiness zones 3-9

Another versatile milkweed that is native to Florida, butterfly milkweed can really take the heat. If you’re too far south for swamp milkweed, butterfly milkweed is a great alternative. Milkweeds are drought tolerant and require little to no care once established. Caterpillars will strip your milkweed of its leaves, but that’s OK because you are helping a new generation of butterflies prepare for metamorphosis! You can prune the stems back or just allow them to grow new leaves in time. 

Butterfly milkweed is mid-sized with umbels of gold or orange flowers on strong stems. Its leaves are narrow and lanceolate. This plant is truly one that you can plant anywhere. It prefers not to have wet feet, but I’ve seen this everywhere, from coastal dunes to the Everglades. 

Florida Paintbrush

A close-up of Florida paintbrush flowers, their purple petals gently unfurling amidst slender stamens. In the background, a soft blur of yellow blooms creates a serene contrast against the green and earthy brown grasses intertwining in a natural tapestry.
This hardy, drought-tolerant plant needs deadheading to contain growth.
botanical-name botanical name Carphephorus corymbosus
sun-requirements sun requirements Full sun
height height 2’-4′
hardiness-zones hardiness zones 8-11

Florida paintbrush is a pretty wildflower that blooms mainly from late summer through the fall. It occurs naturally in Central and Northern Florida but will thrive as far south as zone 11, near Miami and Naples. This member of the Aster family flowers in bursts of violet-pink. Clusters of flowers bloom atop three-foot stems, growing from a basal rosette of leaves. 

The flowers have a delicate appearance, with only disk flowers and no ray flowers. However, the plant is exceptionally hardy and drought-tolerant. It is a great pollinator plant and readily reseeds itself. If you prefer to keep this plant confined, be sure to deadhead the spent flower heads. 

Lanceleaf Tickseed

Vibrant orange Lanceleaf tickseed flowers bask in sunlight, their delicate petals unfurling in the warmth. Lush green foliage envelops the blossoms, providing a verdant backdrop to their vibrant hue.
These plants boast bright yellow petals and thrive in diverse soil conditions.
botanical-name botanical name Coreopsis lanceolata
sun-requirements sun requirements Full sun
height height 1’-3’
hardiness-zones hardiness zones 4-9

 This bright little sunshine of a plant is an incredibly easy addition to the wildflower garden. But then, ease is one of the landmark traits of a native wildflower garden! Lanceleaf tickseed has a grass-like appearance with tall, arching leaves. The flowers are single and bloom atop tall, thin stems. 

Lanceleaf tickseed flowers are bright yellow with a cluster of disk florets surrounded by large ray florets. They are highly drought-resistant and can tolerate sandy or salty soil, as well as soil with a high clay content. Butterflies, other pollinators, and a host of beneficial insects frequent patches of these flowers. 

Purple Coneflower

A close-up captures the intricate beauty of purple coneflowers, their petals gracefully unfurling around prominent orange centers. In the background, a soft blur reveals a tapestry of more coneflowers, their vivid hues intermingling with the lush green leaves.
The purple coneflowers are ideal for native wildflower gardens due to their large, long-lasting flowers.
botanical-name botanical name Echinacea purpurea
sun-requirements sun requirements Full sun to partial shade
height height 2’-4’
hardiness-zones hardiness zones 3-9

Purple coneflowers look great in the garden and they are easy to grow. While these take a little while to germinate and mature, once they are in the garden, you can depend on them to return. Their large, showy, purple flowers with orange centers are a favorite for pollinators. 

These are sturdy plants with excellent drought tolerance. They like average soil and don’t need much fertilizer. An overabundance of nitrogen in the soil will slow flowering. Purple coneflowers bloom for a long portion of the summer. These Florida wildflowers make a great addition to the native garden. Their large flowers are unusual for a native wildflower.

Coastal Mock Vervain

Coastal mock vervain flowers bloom vibrantly, showcasing delicate purple petals in full bloom. Serrated leaves of coastal mock vervain provide a textured backdrop, their jagged edges framing the vivid blooms.
This is a versatile plant that attracts gulf fritillaries and skipper butterflies.
botanical-name botanical name Glandularia maritima
sun-requirements sun requirements Full sun
height height 8″-12″
hardiness-zones hardiness zones 8-11

Add this endangered flower to your Florida wildflower garden to help support the species. Coastal mock vervain, also known as beach verbena, is endemic to the east coast of Florida. Umbels of lavender to pink flowers bloom above the lobed foliage of this delightful native wildflower. 

Gulf fritillaries and skipper butterflies are attracted to this plant. It makes a nice addition to the pollinator garden. This low-growing plant makes a nice ground cover or border. It also makes a nice container plant if you want to bring more native plants to your patio container garden.

Dune Sunflower

A close-up of a yellow dune sunflower blooming gracefully. A red ant explores the intricate landscape of the flower, adding a touch of dynamic life to the serene scene. Beyond, a blurred backdrop reveals greenery, enhancing the flower's natural beauty.
Birds enjoy the seed heads provided by the dune sunflower.
botanical-name botanical name Helianthus debilis
sun-requirements sun requirements Full sun
height height up to 2’
hardiness-zones hardiness zones 8-11

If you’re building a native coastal garden, dune sunflower makes a perfect ground cover. This low-growing native is evergreen in zones 10-11, where it can bloom year-round. It is highly drought and salt-tolerant, growing best in poor and sandy soils. It also adapts well to other soil types and can grow inland

The yellow daisy-like flowers resemble black-eyed Susans. They are appealing to pollinators, and the low-growing foliage provides cover and safety for small animals. Birds love to eat the seed heads. Make sure to give this plant a location with excellent drainage, as the roots won’t tolerate being wet

Scarlet Swamp Hibiscus

A pink scarlet swamp hibiscus flower up close, its delicate petals unfurling in graceful arcs. In the blurred background, slender leaves sway gently, their green hues providing a soothing contrast to the vivid pink bloom.
This wildflower requires regular watering if planted in hot, dry spots.
botanical-name botanical name Hibiscus coccineus
sun-requirements sun requirements Full sun to partial shade
height height 6’-8’
hardiness-zones hardiness zones 5-9

For some of the largest and boldest native flowers in the garden, scarlet swamp hibiscus has few rivals. The extra large, red blooms that grow on this plant can be as large as 10-12 inches across. Their large, ovate petals have light veining, and a prominent stigma and stamens sit in the center. 

One of Florida’s most striking native wildflowers, this is a great shrub for low-lying and swampy areas. It is tolerant of wet soil and in fact, prefers it. If you plant this shrub in a hot, dry spot, you must water it regularly. In areas that experience colder winters, this plant will die back to the ground in winter. In warmer areas, it is deciduous. 

Wild Blue Phlox

A cluster of wild blue phlox blooms vividly in the foreground, each delicate petal unfurling gracefully. Behind them, a soft blur hints at the stems and lush green leaves, providing a serene backdrop to nature's intricate beauty.
This northern Florida native flourishes in partial sun or dappled light.
botanical-name botanical name Phlox divaricata
sun-requirements sun requirements Partial to full shade
height height 1’-2’
hardiness-zones hardiness zones 3-8

Wild blue phlox is a great plant for the northern Florida shade garden. Pollinators love the small, fragrant blue flowers. It is not salt, or drought-tolerant, so it doesn’t work well for sandy coastal gardens. This is an inland plant that grows under woodland tree canopies

This plant makes a great mass planting in the garden bed that gets partial sun or dappled light, a pleasant surprise for Florida wildflowers that typically demand full sun. However, in full or full shade, it will struggle. It is wonderful for those in-between spaces in the garden. 

Black-Eyed Susan

Standing tall and proud, a group of black-eyed Susan flowers displays nature's harmonious blend of colors. Each blossom boasts golden petals, a beacon of warmth against the green foliage. Their dark, coal-colored centers contrast beautifully with the sunny hue.
The black-eyed Susan flowers boast abundant yellow blooms ideal for brightening gardens.
botanical-name botanical name Rudbeckia hirta
sun-requirements sun requirements Full sun
height height up to 4’
hardiness-zones hardiness zones 3-9

I can’t say enough great things about this plant. Even though it is as common as they come, black-eyed Susans are one of my favorite native Florida wildflowers. They are so easy to grow, and provide an excellent nectar source for native bees. They are highly disease and pest-resistant. 

Black-eyed Susans seem able to grow just about anywhere. They need a significant amount of sun, but they are drought-tolerant and tolerate a wide range of soil types. This plant produces a ton of bright yellow flowers with a deep brown center. They make great cut flowers and bring a ton of sunshine to the garden. 

Tropical Sage

Red tropical sage flowers display their intricate tubular shapes, enticing pollinators with their vivid hue. Nestled behind the blossoms, lush green leaves form a verdant backdrop, accentuating the striking beauty of the delicate floral arrangement.
This is a resilient member of the mint family.
botanical-name botanical name Salvia coccinea
sun-requirements sun requirements Full sun to partial shade
height height 1’-3’
hardiness-zones hardiness zones 8-11

Tropical sage goes by a lot of names and is one of the most fragrant Florida wildflowers. Pollinators love this plant for its tubular, nectar-rich flowers that grow on tall spikes. You will love it for its exceptional ease of care and disease resistance. The fragrant foliage is a nice benefit, as well. 

This member of the mint family has a shrubby form and can tolerate hard pruning to help it maintain its shape. It’s highly adaptable to different soil conditions and drought tolerant. I find this to be one of the most foolproof plants in the native garden. 

Seaside Goldenrod

A cluster of Seaside goldenrod flowers bathes in the warm sunlight, their vibrant yellow petals stretching towards the sky. In the background, a soft blur accentuates more seaside Goldenrod blooms.
This is a coastal plant that enhances coastal gardens with its vibrant color and texture.
botanical-name botanical name Solidago sempervirens
sun-requirements sun requirements Full sun
height height 2’-8’
hardiness-zones hardiness zones 3-8

Goldenrod wildflowers light up the fall in Florida. These plants grow in a wide variety of environments as incredibly hardy perennials. Large clusters of golden flowers are nectar-rich and favored by pollinating insects. This is a great source of food for them in the fall as the seasons begin to shift. Fun Fact: The honey produced using this plant has a musty smell but tastes pleasantly light and sweet!

Seaside goldenrod grows along the coasts of Florida and you will also see it inland. It is well suited to mass plantings and it is very salt tolerant. It’s wonderful for adding color and texture to coastal gardens. 

Blue Porterweed

A vibrant blue porterweed plant stands tall, its slender stems reaching towards the sky, adorned with serrated leaves. Sprouting from the stems, delicate purple flowers add a pop of color, contrasting beautifully with the green foliage.
Blue porterweed reaches up to six feet in a single season in zone 9.
botanical-name botanical name Stachytarpheta jamaicensis
sun-requirements sun requirements Full sun to partial shade
height height 6″-12″
hardiness-zones hardiness zones 10-11

If I were to recommend one plant for the Florida hummingbird garden, blue porterweed is it. I have a large specimen of this plant right outside my bedroom window. In the summer, I wake up to hummingbirds every morning. Bumblebees are fond of the blue-violet flowers, too.

Blue porterweed is an attractive plant with tall, graceful stems. The ends of the stems bloom from the bottom to the top with small, tubular, blue flowers. It is tolerant of full sun or partial shade and seems to bloom best with some afternoon protection. In zone 9, it dies back in winter but re-grows in the spring. 


A close-up of a spiderwort flower, featuring delicate bluish-purple petals, basks in the sunlight. Alongside the flower, verdant buds promise future blossoms. In the backdrop, a soft blur of greenery creates a serene atmosphere.
This species of spiderwort blooms persistently for up to three months.
botanical-name botanical name Tradescantia ohiensis
sun-requirements sun requirements Full sun to full shade
height height 2′-3′
hardiness-zones hardiness zones 4-9

Spiderwort seems to pop up everywhere, and I am not mad about it. This relative of zebrina has similar, small bluish-purple flowers. Instead of a creeping or trailing habit, it grows upright. The leaves are long and lanceolate, growing in a rosette. The flowers bloom on terminal stems growing from the center. 

This plant is not picky about the sun but will bloom best with full morning exposure. The bloom time begins early in the year, in February if the temperatures are warm enough. The flowers only open for one day, but the plants can continue to bloom for up to three months. 

Giant Ironweed

A cluster of slender stems elevates vibrant purple giant ironweed flowers and buds, standing tall in a garden. Their regal hue catches the eye, beckoning pollinators with promises of nectar and beauty.
This species attracts butterflies due to its tubular disc florets devoid of ray florets.
botanical-name botanical name Vernonia gigantea
sun-requirements sun requirements Full sun to partial shade
height height up to 12’
hardiness-zones hardiness zones 8-10

Giant ironweed is another great plant for those with naturally wet soil types. This plant grows in floodplains, wet pine woods, and ruderal areas naturally. It can grow quite tall— up to nine feet under ideal conditions. This summer bloomer produces small, fuzzy-looking flowers in an electric shade of pink. 

The blooms peak in July but continue to bloom into the fall months. Butterflies love this plant, so it makes a great addition to the pollinator patch. Giant ironweed is a member of the Aster family, but unlike most of its relatives, it has no ray florets. The disc florets are long and tubular with curled stamens. 

Cherokee Bean 

Long, slender stems of Cherokee bean reach towards the sky, their vibrant red flowers catching the sunlight. In the backdrop, lush greenery bathes in the warm glow of the sun, creating a picturesque scene of natural beauty.
These Florida native wildflowers grow up to nine feet in a season.
botanical-name botanical name Erythrina herbacea
sun-requirements sun requirements Full sun to partial shade
height height up to 20’
hardiness-zones hardiness zones 6-11

These easy-to-grow Florida native wildflowers are essential for the hummingbird enthusiast. The tubular red flowers grow high up in the air, where little pollinators are certain to spot them. They are easy to propagate from seeds, cuttings, or root division. 

Cherokee Bean is highly tolerant of different soil conditions, including sandy and salty. This plant will die back in a freeze but grows to about nine feet in a season. In zones where the plant is evergreen, it can tower to heights of 20 feet. Watch out for the seeds of this plant. They are toxic to humans and pets. 


Vivid orange firebush flowers bloom proudly amidst green leaves, captured in a radiant sunlight bath. A slender brown stem supports this natural marvel, a testament to nature's intricate beauty.
This butterfly-attracting plant features red tubular flowers and green foliage.
botanical-name botanical name Hamelia patens
sun-requirements sun requirements Full sun to partial shade
height height 2’-15’
hardiness-zones hardiness zones 8-11

Firebush is a great, long-flowering shrub that grows native throughout Florida. It dies back to the ground in areas that experience freezing weather. However, it will return in spring and can grow nine feet in a single season. In South Florida, this plant grows year-round and doesn’t die back. It can grow much larger in this area. 

Firebush produces clusters of small, red, tubular flowers, and has green foliage with orange accents. It attracts several butterfly species including the zebra longwing and gulf fritillary. A dwarf cultivar exists which is suitable for container gardening

Sweet Pinxter Azalea

A lush carpet of sweet pinxter azalea blooms covers the ground, its delicate white petals contrasting beautifully with the vibrant red stamens peeking out from the center. Each flower nestles comfortably among the foliage, creating a harmonious tapestry of colors.
The sweet pinxter azalea is a shrub with sweetly scented flowers.
botanical-name botanical name Rhododendron canescens
sun-requirements sun requirements Partial shade
height height 3’-8’
hardiness-zones hardiness zones 5-9

If you love azaleas but don’t want to plant non-native shrubs in your garden, there is good news. Sweet pinxter azaleas are native to northern Florida, and they are a great support for local birds and butterflies. Rather than blooming in spring with their northern cousins, this azalea blooms in midsummer. 

Sweet pinxter azalea has sweetly scented flowers that are attractive to ruby-throated hummingbirds. This shrub grows to about three to six feet tall and has a similar spread. The white and pink flowers are borne in terminal clusters on old wood. 

Trumpet Creeper

A close-up of trumpet creeper flowers reveals soft red hues, delicately painted by nature's brush. Glossy green leaves form a lush backdrop, accentuating the vibrant blooms' elegance. Each petal, a masterpiece of intricate design, whispers tales of summer's warmth.
This fast-growing vine with vibrant trumpet-shaped flowers thrives in various soils.
botanical-name botanical name Campsis radicans
sun-requirements sun requirements Full sun to partial shade
height height 20’-40’
hardiness-zones hardiness zones 4-10

Trumpet creeper is a tall, vigorous vine that is great for covering a wall, arbor, or fence. It can grow as tall as 30 feet with adequate support. It grows quickly and requires pinching if you want it to be lush and bushy. You can plant this vine in a wide variety of soil types, and in full or partial sun. 

Trumpet creeper blooms in the summer, producing yellow or orange trumpet-shaped flowers. You might see a hummingbird or two hanging out near your trumpet creeper. This plant is adaptable to wet soil types and prefers moist soil.

It will easily withstand drought, though. It’s not a plant to grow on an arbor, or in a garden bed with other plants, though. Instead, grow it in an open area where it can climb and spread without the need for intervention.

Carolina Jessamine

Vibrant yellow Carolina Jessamine blooms sparkle under sunlight, adorned with delicate water droplets that catch the eye. The intricate details of the flowers stand out against a soft blur of lush green foliage in the background.
The Carolina jessamine is ideal for planting near living spaces due to its wonderful fragrance.
botanical-name botanical name Gelsemium sempervirens
sun-requirements sun requirements Full sun to partial shade
height height up to 20’
hardiness-zones hardiness zones 6-9

One of the earliest blooming vines native to Florida, Carolina jessamine is a beautiful addition to the native garden. While it is best grown in full sun and rich soil, it is very adaptable. You can grow it in partial shade, but the foliage will not be as dense. Best flowering also happens in full sun exposure

The delicate vines of Carolina jessamine are great climbers. The plant has fine, lanceolate leaves and bright yellow, trumpet-shaped flowers. The flowers have a wonderful fragrance, which makes them great for planting near the house or outdoor living space. 

Coral Honeysuckle

Coral honeysuckle flowers, a blend of red and yellow, bask in the warm sunlight. Lush green leaves provide a contrast, adding to the beauty of the scene. In the background, more coral honeysuckle plants mingle against a serene blue sky.
This low-maintenance flowering vine boasts vibrant blooms attracting hummingbirds.
botanical-name botanical name Lonicera sempervirens
sun-requirements sun requirements Full sun to partial shade
height height up to 20’
hardiness-zones hardiness zones 4-10

This is a great little flowering vine that requires little afterthought. It is drought-tolerant and adaptable to different soil compositions. Coral honeysuckle is native to most of the state of Florida. Its vines grow to about 20 feet long and climb any structure they are close to. 

I find this to be another favorite with the hummingbirds. They love its bright orange, tubular flowers for their abundance of sweet nectar. Coral honeysuckle grows and blooms best in full sun, but it will tolerate partial shade. You can also plant this as a creeping ground cover

Final Thoughts

It can be tricky finding garden plants that thrive in Florida conditions. Harsh, hot summers and sandy, salty soil can be tricky to work around. By planting native flowering plants, you can have a stunning wildflower garden that is not only beautiful to look at. This type of garden will also give much-needed support to local pollinators and wildlife.

Close-up of a flowering Solidago canadensis plant, one of the most popular goldenrod varieties. Featuring dense clusters of small, bright yellow flowers arranged in elongated, plume-like inflorescences, the plant adds a vibrant burst of color to late summer and fall landscapes. The lance-shaped leaves are toothed and arranged alternately along the stems.


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