A great yard is as easy as…Planting by numbers!

Creating a yard filled with biodiversity is easy! You just need to add as many varieties of plants as possible. Choose at least 3 species of plants for your hedges, mix them up and create a work of art.

Keep in mind that it’s better for your environment to stick with as many plants native to your area as you can. We all love the showy exotics from across the globe but many of them are invasive to our landscape and kill off native pollinators, wildlife, and suppress the growth of native plants- which do support our native wildlife and pollinators.

BFF has come up with a simple plant by numbers format to make it even easier. If you attended one of our plant giveaways, where we gave you 18 free native trees, just follow this format exactly.

Tree numbers 1-17 are planted as a border hedge that you can trim and shape to your desired size around the house, fence or in your yard. Tree #18 is your showcase tree that will be allowed to grow to it’s full size in all it’s glory. Tree #18 will provide shade and cool your house and yard.

Planting seeds or seedlings gives you stronger plants.

Plant tree #18 in the center of the yard at least 15-20 feet from your home. Let this beautiful tree grow healthy and strong by putting a little fence or reminder not to run it over with the mower. Scrap wire or wood stakes with a bright ribbon are very helpful.

Mix your hedge plants to create biodiversity.

Steps to follow for a healthy garden:

1) Water all of your plants everyday for 3 weeks, give it a nice soak so the roots chase the water deep into the ground, approximately 15-20 minutes. Deep roots are what we want for stability and strength. Shallow watering, creates shallow roots which can be damaged by the sun and animals.

Shallow water = shallow roots. Deep water = deep roots.

Water everyday for the first 3 weeks, a deep soak.

2) Then, water 3 times a week for the next two weeks, 2 times a week for the next two weeks after that, and then once a week for the rest of the year.

After year 1 your trees will have established themselves and can normally find water or deal with droughts. If it’s really dry water once a week to keep them healthy and happy.

Here are some of the names of the plants we give away -it does vary event to event so please check the paper you received with your plants.

Firebush, Simpson stopper, Cocoplum and Green buttonwood for hedges.
Cedar, Satinleaf, and Green buttonwood for #18 trees.

You can allow any of these to grow full height to create lots of shade, average height is 15-20 feet. Or you can trim them into a dense, lush hedge that provides food, shelter and a place to raise young for wildlife and pollinators.

Check out Floridayards.org for many other options on creating a healthy yard in South Florida. For other areas of the country contact your local Master Gardener office for local information.

Enjoy your beautiful yard, filled with food, shelter, a place to raise young and lots of biodiversity!


Create a beautiful, easy to care for yard with your free native plants.

Photo from Floridayards.org



The future is in your hands. Plant.


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