Florida boasts a diverse and vibrant landscape that thrives in its warm climate. Home to a variety of native plants with stunning colors, it offers the perfect environment for creating picturesque landscaping and gardens.
Many of the plants that flourish in Florida are native to the area, adapted to grow in the heat and humidity.
What is the best flower to grow in Florida?
Numerous beautiful flowers can thrive in Florida’s climate, but determining the “best” flower to grow depends on personal preferences, growing conditions, and the specific needs of your garden.
Here are some popular and well-suited flower options for Florida:
- Hibiscus: Known for their vibrant, showy flowers, Hibiscus plants are well-adapted to Florida’s climate. They come in a variety of colors and sizes and can be grown as shrubs or small trees.
- Bougainvillea: Bougainvillea is a tropical vine that flourishes in Florida’s warm climate. It produces an abundance of colorful bracts that surround its small, inconspicuous flowers.
- Plumeria: Plumeria, also known as Frangipani, is a tropical tree with fragrant, waxy flowers in a range of colors. It thrives in the heat and can add a tropical touch to your garden.
- Gaillardia: Gaillardia, also called Blanket Flower, is a perennial with vibrant red and yellow daisy-like flowers. It is heat-tolerant and attracts pollinators like butterflies and bees.
- Pentas: Pentas is a popular choice for Florida gardens due to its ability to withstand the heat and humidity. It produces clusters of star-shaped flowers in various shades of red, pink, purple, and white.
- Coreopsis: Coreopsis is a native Florida wildflower known for its bright yellow or orange flowers. It is drought-tolerant and attracts pollinators, making it a great choice for low-maintenance gardens.
- Lantana: Lantana is a versatile and hardy plant that thrives in Florida’s heat and attracts butterflies with its clusters of colorful flowers. It comes in a variety of colors, including yellow, orange, pink, and purple.
- Zinnia: Zinnias are easy to grow annual flowers that provide a burst of color to Florida gardens. They come in a range of hues and attract butterflies, making them a popular choice for butterfly gardens.
- Salvia: Salvias are heat-tolerant perennials with spikes of tubular flowers in vibrant shades of red, purple, pink, or blue. They are loved by hummingbirds and are well-suited for Florida’s climate.
Popular Colorful Florida Plant Profiles
Lantanas are beautiful flowering plants that thrive in Florida’s sunny climate. They produce clusters of vibrant tubular flowers in various colors, such as red, yellow, orange, and pink.
Lantanas prefer full sun and can tolerate drought, making them a low-maintenance option for your garden. They may even produce small, colorful berries that attract Florida birds and other wildlife.
Lavender is a popular, fragrant plant with delicate purple flowers. Despite being a Mediterranean native, it can adapt to Florida’s climate with proper care.
It thrives in well-draining soil and full sun. Lavender’s evergreen foliage adds year-round interest to the garden, and its flowers attract pollinators like bees and butterflies.
Among these native plants, the Liatris (Blazing Star) plant stands out as both beautiful and resilient.
Also referred to as gayfeather, colic root, or blazing star, this perennial plant adds a touch of charm to any Florida landscape.
A tropical favorite, hibiscus is known for its large, showy blooms that come in a wide range of colors, including red, pink, yellow, and white.
This Florida perennial enjoys full sun and can reach heights of up to 15 feet. The stunning flowers attract hummingbirds and butterflies, making it a fantastic addition to any garden or landscape.
Bougainvillea is a fast-growing, evergreen shrub that produces vibrant, colorful bracts surrounding delicate white flowers.
This Florida plant thrives in full sun, tolerates humidity, drought, and salty air. It can grow between 8 and 40 feet tall and up to 30 feet wide, making it an excellent choice for adding a splash of color to fences, trellises, or arbors.
Another popular choice would be Coreopsis, collectively known as the state wildflower. These colorful plants may bloom year-round, primarily in May, June, and July, and are available in several unique species.
Coreopsis thrives in Florida’s warm and sunny climate. It prefers full sun exposure, which means it requires at least 6 to 8 hours of direct sunlight each day to bloom its best.
In hot regions of Florida, providing some afternoon shade can help protect the plant during intense heat.
7. Morning Glory
Morning glories are known for their trumpet-shaped flowers that open in the morning and close at night.
These climbing vines can brighten up your Florida garden with vivid shades of blue, pink, white, and purple.
Morning glories prefer full sun and well-draining soil. They grow quickly and can cover a trellis or fence in just one growing season.
Azaleas are popular flowering shrubs that display an abundance of attractive blooms in colors like pink, red, purple, and white.
This versatile plant can be grown in both sun and partial shade, making it adaptable to various locations in your Florida garden.
With its evergreen foliage and stunning flowers, Azaleas can be a beautiful focal point or complement other plants in your landscape.
Firebush (Hamelia patens) is a stunning native Florida plant known for its fast-growing nature and vibrant red-orange tubular flowers.
This sun-loving plant attracts butterflies and hummingbirds, making it an excellent addition to any Florida garden.
Firebush is adaptable to various soil types but prefers well-draining soil. It is also drought-tolerant once established, requiring minimal care while providing a colorful display.
10. Egyptian Star Flower
The Egyptian Star Flower, scientifically known as Penta lanceolata, is a tropical perennial that grows well in Florida’s warm climate. It is commonly referred to as the Egyptian Star Cluster, Egyptian Star Flower, or simply Penta.
Egyptian Star Flower is known for its abundant clusters of star-shaped flowers that attract butterflies and hummingbirds. It blooms from spring to fall, providing a continuous display of color in the garden.
With its heat tolerance and ability to attract pollinators, the Egyptian Star Flower is an excellent choice for Florida gardens.
Periwinkle, also known as Vinca, is a popular ground cover plant that grows well in Florida’s warm and subtropical climate. It is known for its glossy green leaves and delicate, star-shaped flowers.
Periwinkle thrives in Florida’s hot and humid climate. It prefers full sun to partial shade, meaning it requires at least 4 to 6 hours of direct sunlight each day to bloom its best.
In hotter regions of Florida, providing some afternoon shade can help protect the plant from intense heat.
12. Gerbera Daisies
Gerbera daisies are prized for their large, colorful blooms and make wonderful additions to Florida gardens. They can be enjoyed as long-lasting cut flowers and attract pollinators like bees and butterflies.
With proper care and attention to their specific needs, Gerbera daisies can thrive and provide a cheerful display of flowers in your Florida garden.
Salvia, also known as sage, encompasses a diverse group of plants that offer beautiful flowers, attractive foliage, and often aromatic leaves.
There is a wide variety of Salvia species and cultivars available, each with its unique characteristics. Some popular choices for Florida gardens include Salvia splendens (Scarlet Sage), Salvia coccinea (Tropical Sage), Salvia farinacea (Mealy Cup Sage), and Salvia leucantha (Mexican Bush Sage).
Salvia plants attract pollinators, including bees and butterflies, making them a valuable addition to Florida gardens.
With their vibrant flowers and aromatic foliage, Salvia adds color and interest to landscapes and can be used in borders, containers, or pollinator gardens.
14. Golden Dewdrop
Golden Dewdrop is a tropical shrub that offers attractive golden or variegated foliage, clusters of vibrant purple or blue flowers, and decorative berries.
It requires full sun to part shade, with at least 4 to 6 hours of direct sunlight daily for optimal growth and flowering. In hotter regions, providing some afternoon shade can help protect the plant from intense heat.
Zinnias are vibrant and easy-to-grow annual flowers. They offer a wide range of colors and are known for their long-lasting blooms.
Zinnias thrive in Florida’s warm and sunny climate. They require full sun exposure, which means they need at least 6 to 8 hours of direct sunlight each day.
With proper care, regular watering, and deadheading, Zinnias will reward you with an abundance of beautiful blooms throughout the growing season.
Top Colorful Plants for Florida Gardens
Florida’s tropical climate provides a diverse selection of native plants that thrive in the local environment. Here we will explore some of the top colorful plants perfect for Florida gardens, categorized by perennials, annuals, shrubs, trees and palms, and ground covers.
Florida gardeners have an array of vibrant perennial plants to choose from:
- Lantana: A stunning flower available in various colors, lantana grows best in hardiness zones 8-11, making it suitable for Florida’s climate.
- Autumn fern (Dryopteris erythrosora): This fern’s bronze-copper foliage reaches about 2 feet tall and wide, maturing into a dark green.
- Bulbine: A popular Florida plant, Bulbine thrives in zones 9-11 with a mature height of between 1 and 1.5 feet tall.
Florida’s climate supports a variety of colorful annual plants:
- Mexican Heather: A drought-tolerant option that provides continuous color with its dainty flowers.
- Blanket Flower: A Florida native known for its long-lasting blooms throughout the warm season.
Enhance your garden’s appearance with these vibrant shrubs:
- Hibiscus: Available in various colors, the hibiscus offers large, exotic blooms that thrive in Florida’s tropical climate.
- Ixora: A popular choice for its bright clusters of tiny flowers, ixora is perfect for creating a tropical aesthetic.
Trees and Palms
Incorporate color and texture into your Florida landscape with these selections:
- Royal Poinciana: Known for its vibrant red-orange flowers, this tree brings a burst of tropical color to any garden.
- Sabal Palm: As the official state tree of Florida, the Sabal Palm offers a native touch to your landscape.
The Florida maple is a beautiful native tree that provides both shade and visual interest. Displaying stunning fall foliage in shades of yellow and orange, this maple tree is perfect for adding a touch of color to any Florida landscape.
To thrive, the Florida maple needs well-draining soil, full sun, and partial shade. It’s a moderate grower and makes a great addition to any yard as a shade tree.
The Southern Magnolia (Magnolia grandiflora) is a magnificent native tree that is well-suited for growing in Florida. It is known for its large, glossy evergreen leaves and beautiful, fragrant flowers.
Lastly, the longleaf pine is a majestic native Florida tree that can reach impressive heights of up to 100 feet. Known for its long needles and large pine cones, this tree brings a sense of grandeur to any landscape.
Longleaf pines thrive in well-draining, sandy soils and full sun while providing excellent habitat for various birds and other wildlife.
Complement your garden’s design with these colorful ground cover options:
- Native Beach Sunflower: Well-suited for Florida’s environment, this drought-tolerant ground cover has bright yellow flowers.
- Perennial Peanut: This low-growing ground cover boasts attractive yellow blooms and is a great choice for a lush, vibrant ground cover in Florida gardens.
These are just a few of the many colorful plants that thrive in Florida’s tropical climate.
Incorporate these selections into your garden to create a beautiful, diverse landscape that will leave a lasting impression.
Understanding Florida’s Gardening Challenges
Climate and Hardiness Zones
Florida’s gardening challenges come in part due to its climate and hardiness zones. The state experiences four USDA Zones, ranging from 8a to 11b. These zones are broken down as follows:
- Zones 8a and 8b (10 to 20 °F) include much of the Panhandle, such as Destin, Tallahassee, and parts of Panama City.
- Zones 9a and 9b (20 to 30 °F) include the coastal regions around Orlando.
These zones determine the specific plants that can thrive in Florida’s unique climate.
Another challenge for gardeners in Florida is the soil conditions. Florida’s soil can vary greatly, from sandy and well-draining in some areas to more clay and nutrient-rich in others.
This variety makes it crucial for gardeners to understand what plants will thrive in their specific soil type and consider amendments to improve soil quality if necessary.
Sunlight and Water Requirements
Sunlight and water requirements are essential factors to consider when selecting colorful plants for a Florida garden. Many plants require full sun, while others thrive in partial shade.
Gardeners should assess the sunlight exposure in their garden and choose plants accordingly.
Similarly, the water requirements of plants should be considered, as some plants can tolerate Florida’s wet and humid conditions better than others.
Creating a Vibrant Florida Garden
Creating a colorful and vibrant garden in the Sunshine State is easy with low-maintenance plant options. Consider incorporating plants like caladiums, coleus, and sweet potato vine, which add vibrant hues and interesting foliage textures.
These plants are great for adding deep purple, pink, orange, and red shades to your garden. For a touch of striking blue, consider planting Golden Dewdrop (Duranta erecta), an evergreen shrub with lovely violet flowers.
A colorful and flourishing Florida garden wouldn’t be complete without pollinators. Some of the best plants to attract these important visitors are:
- Bulbine, a popular perennial was named Plant of the Year in 2006 by the Florida Nursery Growers and Landscape Association. This plant thrives in zones 9-11 and can grow up to 1.5 feet tall. It enjoys full sun or partial shade.
- Autumn fern (Dryopteris erythrosora), a perennial fern that grows well in Florida, reaching about 2 feet tall and wide. Its foliage is bronze-copper in color when young, then matures to a dark green. This fern can handle full sun to partial shade.
From native Florida flowers to popular imported plants, Florida is truly a colorful and lush paradise. The tremendous diversity of its flora makes it easy to find something that will stand out from the rest and add some vibrant beauty to any garden or landscape.
All of these factors, coupled with the Mediterranean climate of the state, make it an ideal environment for green thumbs everywhere!
With so many stunning blossoms in bloom, there are countless opportunities for you to explore—remember to check with local experts before adding any new plants or trees to your landscape.
Whether you’re an experienced gardener or just starting out, you’ll be sure to enjoy the bountiful foliage and creativity that can come from landscaping in Florida.