Native Garden for Birds and Pollinators in Miami, FL

Hi everyone,
I am working on redoing my garden and I want to create a mini “sanctuary” of sorts of native plants to attract all types of birds, mainly songbirds and hummingbirds, and pollinators.
I understand that Lantanas, Shiny Leaved Wild Coffee, Firebush and Cocoplum could be good additions but I would appreciate any feedback on native plants in the Miami area that could be effective for attracting birds and pollinators.

Ideally plants that are hardy and can self-sustain to an extent with minimal maintenance.

I strongly suggest exploring the Audubon Native Plants Database and the National Wildlife Federation Native Plant Finder. Both of these allow you to find native plants specific to your location.

If you decided to plant Lantanas, please make sure you are planting the native species! Most big-box stores sell Lantana camara which is invasive in Florida. Florida does have two native species: Lantana involucrata and Lantana depressa.

Some of my favorites native to the region (make sure to research soil/water/light requirements to select the plants best suited to your area):

Buttonbush (Cephalanthus occidentalis): shrub that grows in wet areas; wildly popular with pollinators; showy flowers.

Blanketflower (Gaillardia pulchella): herbaceous flower; grows in sandy soils.

Blazing-Stars (Liatris sp.): find out which species are native to your area; pollinators love them!

American Beautyberry (Callicarpa americana): birds love the berries!

Yaupon Holly (Ilex vomitoria): birds love the berries!

These are just a few options. Florida has tons of fantastic native plants to choose from!


If you haven’t seen Xerces website yet Pollinator Conservation Resources: Southeast Region | Xerces Society

That would be invasives…

Invasives can be quite prolific, but many people find native plant gardening easier than gardening with non-invasive nonnatives. Native plants evolved to live in the conditions of the area. When you garden with native plants, you find yourself watering and fertilizing less or not at all. There are many native options that will thrive with little maintenance as long as you research their requirements before making your plant selections.

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Blue Porterweed Tends to attract a good amount of skippers and butterflies to my yard.

Tropical Milkweed gets a lot of butterflies and caterpillars, but it isn’t native. A similar native though is the Butterfly Milkweed

Coontie tends to attract Atala butterflies. Though some years I’ll get hundreds and some I’ll get just a handful.

The only invasive in my yard that I like is my Persian Silk Tree (Albizia julibrissin) It gets hummingbirds, bees, and butterflies.

But yes, it’s invasive, and probably not what you’re looking for. Perhaps there’s a native substitute? I hope this helps!

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That’s because their non-invasiveness means that they don’t meet the gardener’s criteria of hardiness, self-sustainability, and minimal maintenance. If they met those criteria, they’d be invasive.

This was really brought home to me in a conversation with a land manager about Oriental bittersweet. I asked, “why do people plant Oriental bittersweet when we have a native American bittersweet?” The reply was that Oriental bittersweet grows faster and produces more fruits – in other words, gardeners prefer it because of its invasive traits.

Many native plants meet the criteria of hardiness, self-sustainability, and minimal maintenance when planted in the right areas. My point was that invasives are not the only minimal-care plants. In fact, some invasives can be quite a lot of work as they need continuous pruning or weeding to keep them in their designated areas.


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