This is so true! We should have a mix of nectar plants and host plants for the butterflies and caterpillars, and plants that grow berries for the birds, and plants that bloom at night for the moths, and plants with tubular shaped flowers for the hummingbirds, and water for all critters to drink, and nectar plants for the bees and wasps and all the other lovely pollinator bugs. Our gardens should be alive with things moving and growing and living.
Passiflora incarnata, aka Maypop Vine, passionvine, or purple passion flower, are absolutely stunning native vines. They’re host plants to Gulf Fritillary, Zebra, Crimson patch longwing, red banded hairstreak, and Julie heliconian butterflies, and the flowers are stunningly beautiful. Oh, and did you know that wild turkeys like to eat the young curly tendrils of the vines?! How cool is all that!
They grow at least 25′, so give them room to spread. Sturdy arbors, fences, or walls are great supports for them. They cling and climb by curling their tendrils around the support. They like part sun to sun, and are drought tolerant once established. Blooming happens summer to fall.
“Purple Passion Flower (Passiflora incarnata) also known as Maypop, is a showy evergreen, flowering vine that is a larval host plant for the Gulf Fritillary and Zebra Longwing butterfly. The flower is a spectacular pink and purple and generally reaches a width of 3 to 5 inches. Each unique flower lasts about one day, appearing in the summer and early fall. The edible green fruits can be found on the vine along with the flowers.” ~UF IFAS Marion County Master Gardeners~
How beautiful is this native Lupine! Apparently it’s difficult to transplant and get established, so that must be why none of my native suppliers grow it. But the fact that it takes nitrogen out of the air to use is really cool.
Are you looking for native plants to add to your garden? I have access to many different varieties, so let me know which ones you’re looking for! Or if you need help figuring out which natives would work in your garden, email me, firstname.lastname@example.org, or text/call, 386-310-9969, to set up a free consultation.
“Sky-Blue Lupine (Lupinus diffusus) is native to Florida and is commonly found in sandy habitats because they actually prefer nutrient poor soils. Starting in mid-winter through early Spring it displays beautiful violet flowers Lupines are unique because they are able to take nitrogen from the atmosphere and bring it into the soil. Nitrogen-fixing bacteria live on the roots of sky-blue lupine and absorb nitrogen out of the air. This nitrogen then becomes available for the plant to use.” ~Marion County Master Gardeners~
I get lots of questions about Spanish moss from my clients, so here’s some good information for you:
“Did You Know…contrary to popular belief, Spanish moss (Tillandsia usneoides) is not a parasite? It’s actually an epiphyte, meaning it gets all of its nutrients from the air and rainwater. It can sometimes damage the host tree by over-shading the leaves, thus reducing photosynthesis, or by weighing down and breaking the branches. This is usually in host trees that are stressed for some other reason, thereby having a more open canopy (less leaves). Spanish moss actually has an important role in Florida’s ecology. Many animals use it for protection, taking cover in the thick masses. Insects love to hide out in the moss, too. Spanish moss is also a significant component of the nests of several species of birds, including the parula warbler and the Baltimore oriole.” Click link for additional info: Spanish Moss Info
One more interesting tidbit: Did you know that Spanish moss is related to pineapples?? Yep, they’re in the same family.