Southern Florida Plants for Rain Gardens

Acrostichum danaefolium has got to be the largest fern I've ever seen, growing up to 15 feet tall (5 M). Acrostichum danaefolium is known among the regulars as the Giant Leather Fern. It grows naturally in canals and ditches and prefers full sun for part of the day, another peculiarity to this species. Leather Fern gets it's name from the stiff, rubbery feel of its leaves. The spores of this south Florida plant cover the underside of its leaves like a rust.

The second member of our Florida plants has already been mentioned before in the Northeast Section. You may know it as Royal Fern, however the one recommended for Florida Plants is of a different variety: spectabilis, or American Royal Fern. American Royal is a little smaller than its European sister, growing 2 to 5 feet tall. Spectabilis prefers swamp life.

Saccharum giganteum is a tall grass common throughout much of Florida as well as further north. Sugercane Plumegrass blooms late in the fall and prefers swampy areas. Plumgrass can grow three to ten feet tall depending on conditions and can be used by smaller songbirds as perches or nesting material.

Thelypteris palustris is better known as Marsh Fern. Marsh Fern is a little smaller than American Royal, just two feet tall. This Florida plant grows naturally in marshes. Marsh Fern grows through much of Eurasia and the Southeastern United States.

Woodwardia virginica is a beautiful Fern, better known as Virginia Chain Fern. Woodwardia virginica grows up to 4 feet tall, and prefers Sphagnum Bogs and swamps. Chain Fern is a very old species. The fossils of this southeast and Florida plant can be found in Central Washington State.

Finally, the last Florida plant recommended for your Rain Gardens is one we've visited in the Southeast. Muhlenbergia capillaris or Gulf Muhly Grass is a beautiful ornamental grass, growing to about five feet tall. It's encredible waving stems boast misty heads of purple from the late summer to the early fall.