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Ask Mr. Smarty Plants is a free service provided by the staff and volunteers at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.

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Friday - March 07, 2008

From: Inverness, FL
Region: Southeast
Topic: Wildflowers
Title: Wildflower gardening for Citrus Co., Florida
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

I live in Citrus County Florida, on the north central, west side of the state. I hope to start a wildflower meadow in my natural back yard. Can you recommend good wildflowers to grow, and where to get the seeds? We have beautiful wildflowers growing alongside our roads. They appear to be a variety of Phlox. Do you know what kind of phlox they are?

ANSWER:

Before we address your other questions, we want you to take a look at this article from the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center on Wildflower Meadow Gardening. This will help you get started thinking about what kinds of plants you want for year-round appearance. Then, you'll be ready to start picking those plants out.

People who garden in Florida are very lucky, not just because of the usually gorgeous weather, but because of the resources available through the Florida Native Plant Society. We went to that site and found a map of Florida, that, when we clicked on Citrus County, took us to a list of native plants that grow naturally in Citrus County. These are not all necessarily suitable to a wildflower meadow, but you know what will be more likely to thrive where you are. Now, go to our list of Recommended Species for Florida and look over the list of 66 native plants that are found naturally in Florida and are not invasive there. We went through the Florida Native Plant Society list of plants native to Citrus County, and arbitrarily picked out a dozen examples. When you click on the links, you will go to a webpage with a description of the plant and its growing conditions, so you can decide if it's right for your location. But you need to make your own decisions, look at other plants on the Florida database, find pictures, etc.

For suppliers of seed, one of our favorites is Native American Seed in Junction, Texas. They have a website and do mail order. Another way to find seeds is to go to our Suppliers webpage, select on "Florida" and "Seed" and you will get a list of 3 seed suppliers located in Florida.

One of these selections is Phlox pilosa (downy phlox) which may or may not be your roadside flowers. There are 50 different kinds of phlox in our Native Plant Database. Use the "Search" box, type in "phlox" and you can scan down the list, with pictures, and see if you recognize one. If not, and you would still like us to try to identify it, send us a picture using the instructions at the lower right hand corner of the Mr. Smarty Plants page, and we'll try to figure it out.

Suggestions for a Florida Wildflower Meadow

Andropogon glomeratus (bushy bluestem)

Asclepias tuberosa (butterfly milkweed)

Bignonia capreolata (crossvine)

Conoclinium coelestinum (blue mistflower)

Gelsemium sempervirens

Helianthus angustifolius (swamp sunflower) (evening trumpetflower)

Monarda punctata (spotted beebalm)

Penstemon multiflorus (manyflower beardtongue)

Phlox pilosa (downy phlox)

Rudbeckia hirta (blackeyed Susan)

Salvia coccinea (blood sage)

Scutellaria integrifolia (helmet flower)


Andropogon glomeratus

Asclepias tuberosa

Bignonia capreolata

Conoclinium coelestinum

Gelsemium sempervirens

Helianthus angustifolius

Monarda punctata

Penstemon multiflorus

Phlox pilosa

Rudbeckia hirta

Salvia coccinea

Physostegia pulchella

 

 

 

 

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