GAINESVILLE — With home gardens in the “Land of Flowers” stretching from the Panhandle to the Keys, Florida gardeners have many choices for landscaping plants that it can be a dilemma to know what to plant where.
Planting decisions are now easier with the release of a mobile web application from the University of Florida’s Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences.
The app features more than 400 Florida-friendly plants that can be selected by their type, shape, and sun tolerance. Each plant is accompanied by a color photo.
Developed by UF/IFAS extension horticultural sciences experts and the Florida-Friendly Landscaping program, the app allows users to simply plug in their zip code to get specific gardening-zone recommendations for temperature tolerance and watering requirements, explained Tom Wichman, the state’s Master Gardener coordinator and part of the app development team.
Users can also search for specific plant types, such as short or tall trees, those with narrow or spreading crowns, or whether they are Florida natives, said Gail Hansen, faculty adviser to the Florida-Friendly Landscaping program and another app contributor.
The mobile web application works on any device with a web-enabled browser, such as an iPhone, Android or tablet. This app is believed to be the first to offer unbiased, science-based guidance about plants, according to the UF Environmental Horticulture Department’s Bart Schutzman, who conducted the groundwork for the underlying database that drives the application.
“The great thing about this mobile web app is that all the information has been scientifically vetted, so we’re not trying to sell anyone on a particular plant,” said Esen Momol, director of the Florida-Friendly Landscaping program. “And since it is mobile you can have the information with you just about anywhere you go.”
The Florida-Friendly Landscaping program is part of the UF Center for Landscape Conservation and Ecology, directed by Michael Dukes, and the Environmental Horticulture Department, chaired by Wayne Mackay.
The mobile web application costs $1.99 a year and is available at https://ffl.ifas.ufl.edu/plants.