Earth Watch: Florida-friendly landscaping

- “Planting in Florida is a whole different ball game,” said Brian Niemann Florida-Friendly Landscaping Agent UF IFAS Pinellas County.

Landscaping in Florida is a challenge. From the dry soil to the pests it’s a battle to keep your yard looking it’s best.

Super: Brian Niemann Florida Friendly Landscaping Agent UF IFAS Pinellas County
“Take a little bit of time and do some homework and understand your site conditions,” Niemann said.

Know the sun and shade patterns and moisture content around the house. Plant the right plant in the right place.

“Firebush is a great native shrub. It's a really nice one to bring hummingbirds into your landscape and great for the west and south sides of the house to help with energy efficiency,” Niemann explained.

“This is a really nice shrub. Golden dew drop gets these really nice purple flowers. This is really attractive to a lot of bees and butterflies,” said Niemann.

Look for native plants. They adapt well to our climate and soil.
“Salvia is a good one. There's many different species available, many different flower colors,” he said.

“Blanket flower is a nice Florida native wildflower. It recedes itself very easy. You'll have this one for a while in your landscape,” said Niemann.

Deep and infrequent watering is key. Just make sure you follow the watering and fertilizer restrictions in your county.

“It takes 3/4 of an inch of water to wet the root zone of your plants. Any more than that you think of it like this sponge and water is going to right past the root zone. We really like using drip line or micro irrigation for ground cover and shrub beds,” said Niemann.

Cover the irrigation system with 2-3 inches of recycled mulch. No one will know it’s there. Don’t spend the whole summer doing yard work.

“Make it as easy as you can on yourself. If you follow the University of Florida guidelines your setting yourself up to do that,” he said.

For more information on Florida-friendly landscaping visit

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