Finding Florida natives and wildlife-friendly plants can present a special challenge that big box stores can't always meet. Here are Florida nurseries and online seed sites that we like. Of course, we can't guarantee anything from these nurseries or sites, but we've had good luck with them and feel comfortable recommending them.
My Florida Backyard uses only FloriMulch, a mulch derived from the effort to eradicate the hideously invasive melaleuca tree from the Everglades. In our experience, most Florida Lowe's stores seem to carry FloriMulch fairly regularly. If your Lowe's doesn't carry it, visit FloriMulch's website to find a distributor near you. Whatever mulch you choose to use, Florida-Friendly gardeners should always avoid cypress mulch - click here to learn why.
Florida Nurseries Carrying Native Plants
Please note that this is not intended to be an exhaustive list. These are nurseries we've visited personally and can recommend to you. For a complete list of native plant nurseries in Florida, visit the Association of Florida Native Nurseries website.
Wilcox Nursery - Largo, FL
Wilcox Nursery is, in our opinion, the best native nursery in the Tampa Bay area. The selection is large and healthy, the staff is friendly and helpful, and the prices are reasonable for natives. They also offer non-native Florida-Friendly options. Wilcox Nursery has the added bonus of being very close to the free and lovely Pinellas County Botanical Gardens.
All Native Garden Center - Fort Myers, FL
We loved this nursery when we visited during a road trip, and look forward to visiting again the next time we're in the area. Everything this nursery carries is native and the staff is more than happy to help you find what you're looking for (and then some!). Plus, how much do we love that their website is "nolawn.com"? If only this nursery were closer, it would be our favorite hands-down.
Sanibel-Captiva Conservation Foundation - Sanibel, FL
If you're lucky enough to be on or near Sanibel or Captiva Islands, this nursery is a gem. They focus on providing native plants to help preserve and restore the natural and precious ecosystem of these islands. If you live on these islands or other barrier islands nearby, these folks can help you with landscaping that withstands salt spray, erosion, and rough weather. Visitors can enjoy the walking trails on-site and choose plants to buy that fit their own needs.
Florida Native Plants - Myakka, FL
This nursery is tucked away near Myakka River State Park. Plants here are well-labeled and the location and grounds are beautiful. Near the north side entrance to the park, it's definitely the kind of place you need a little help to find; program your GPS or print out a map in advance.
Hollies Farm and Garden - Lutz, FL
As part of their extensively landscaped and beautiful facility, Hollie's carries a small selection of native plants. This is one of the prettiest nurseries we've seen, and also offers a country store and events like butterfly releases and holiday festivals.
Twigs and Leaves - St. Petersburg, FL
This urban nursery is wholly dedicated to natives and organics. The site is small, as you might expect for a nursery so close to downtown, but every inch is filled with flower and vegetable plants suitable for the region. They also provide design and installation services.
Online Seed Sites
Starting seeds can be tricky, especially seeds for more unusual plants. The sites listed here provide complete instructions for germination and tips to help you grow plants successfully.
Summer Hill Seeds
This nursery is located in Illinois but offers many seeds native to Florida. Seeds we've ordered and successfully grown include Aristolochia tomentosa, Passiflora Incarnata, and Ruellia humilus. Orders are shipped promptly and often include a bonus packet of seeds or two.
Diane's Flower Seeds
This small site offers some hard-to-find gems like Ruta graveolens and Eupatorium maculatum. Without being fancy or flashy, this site provides the information you need and shipping is very reasonable.
Prairie Moon Nursery
Located in Minnesota, this nursery offers seeds native to the U.S., including the widest variety of milkweed seeds we've seen. You can buy seeds by the packet or in larger quantities; they also offer bare root and potted plants. The website offers a great deal of information about each plant, so you can be sure you're choosing seeds that have a chance of succeeding in your area.
This Texas wildflower farm offers mixes for all regions, as well as an excellent variety of individual wildflower seeds. Their mail-order catalog is incredibly detailed, including maps showing the region for each seed, making it easy to make the right selections at a glance.