Central Florida and up the coast to the Georgia border are located in USDA Hardiness Zone 9. The average nighttime winter temperature in Zone 9 ranges from 20 to 30 degrees and this is the figure that determines which plants will grow well in the zone. Gardeners in Zone 9 have their choice of some of the same flowers as the gardeners to the south and to the north, giving them the opportunity to create a varied and colorful landscape.
Cross vine (Bignonia capreolata) is also known as trumpet-flower. The perennial is a fast-growing vine that produces trumpet-shaped orange, red or red-orange flowers in the early spring. After the flowers fade, the cross vine bears fruits that are flat, inedible seed pods that grow from 5 to 9 inches long.
Plant cross vine in full sun, partial sun or shade and in a soil that is dry to moist. The flowers are one of the first trumpet-shaped flowers to appear in the spring, and are a favorite food for hummingbirds.
False plumbago (Ceratostigma plumbaginoides) is also known as dwarf plumbago, leadwort and Chinese plumbago. The leaves appear early in the spring and the flowers bloom right behind them since the flowers grow on young stems. The perennial forms a mat and spreads along the ground and produces red stems that grow from 12 to 18 inches tall and deciduous leaves that change to an orange-red color in the fall. The blue flowers grow in clusters at the top of the stems.
Plant false plumbago in full sun, partial shade or full shade as long as it gets the shade in the afternoon and in a soil that is moist and well drained.
Showy sedum (Sedum spectabile) is also known as showy stonecrop, balloon plant and everlasting. The plant grows up to 2 feet tall and wide.The blue-green leaves are succulent and egg-shaped. The half-inch pink flowers bloom in the spring and grow in flat-topped clusters that measure about 6 inches in diameter. The flowers produce clusters of brown-maroon seeds. The plant will die to the ground in winter and come back again in the spring. Plant showy sedum in full sun for the best results. The best soil for showy sedum is one that is sandy and well drained.
Large periwinkle (Vinca major) is also known as big periwinkle. The plant produces stems that reach 12 inches long that lie on the ground. The dark-green, evergreen leaves grow along the stems and are oval or heart-shaped. The blue-violet flowers appear from spring through summer and measure about 2 inches across.
Plant large periwinkle in full sun to partial shade and in a rich, moist soil. Full sun will produce more flowers while shade will produce more leaves.