The Cayman Islands boasts some of the most verdant and lush native flora in the Caribbean. Our warm tropical climate and balmy salt breezes give us an exciting mix of delicate flowers, complex bushes like the Rosemary Bush and robust, visually interesting trees like the Sea Grape. Yet, many times we hear that Cayman’s natural flora is boring, that our terrain has no character. This is not true. The problem is that we are simply not planting and preserving our indigenous and endemic flora and, worse, for years we have been replacing them with generic, non-native plants.
There are numerous benefits to choosing native plants which are by design made for life in this climate: they require less water, fertilizer and care than many exotic species; they are suited to challenging habitats; they are stress-adapted, making them resistant to disease; but most importantly, they provide critical natural barriers in coastal areas and help to prevent beach erosion.
When planted and pruned well, local ‘bush’ can rival the most exotic import, enabling you to create a natural and low-maintenance landscaping solution that is bespoke to its habitat.
KNOW YOUR NATIVE PLANTS
The Cayman Islands Department of Environment has an online resource of native trees (www.DOE.ky) or to see indigenous flora in their glory visit Sustainable.Cayman on facebook.
GROW YOUR OWN
Once you understand how these native trees, bushes and plants flourish best, purchase seeds or opt for cuttings and seedlings. Every planting is a small but critical step in keeping our island’s special flora widespread for generations to come.
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