Florida, the Sunshine State, has hot, humid summers and temperate winters, making it a great spot to grow tropical plants. According to the USDA Plant Hardiness Zone Map, zones 8 to 11 are represented in the state, and temperatures in the coolest northern region may reach 10 degrees F during the coldest winters. In the tropical southern part of the state, temperatures rarely dip below 40 degrees F. Plants that require full sun and plenty of water thrive throughout the state.
Banana trees (Ensete ventricosum) are lush, tropical trees with oblong leaves that can reach 20 feet long and 4 feet wide. The leaves grow out of a thick, succulent center stem and may be shredded by high winds. Banana trees grow well throughout Florida and may produce fruit in any part of the state. These trees will die back in the frost-prone northern parts of the state and may be cut back to the trunk. Trees are fast growing and will produce blooms two to five years after planting. Banana trees should be planted in wind-sheltered areas. These trees thrive in full sun to partial shade and require ample water.
Hibiscus (Hibiscus) is a showy addition to any garden and grows well throughout Florida. This perennial shrub has broad leaves and round flowers that may be up to 8 inches across. Blooms are available in a rainbow of colors, including orange, pink, red, yellow or white, as well as some bi-color varieties. The Chinese or tropical hibiscus (Hibiscus rose-sinensis) is the most popular variety grown in Florida. This species can reach 30 feet in perfect conditions but usually tops out at 15 feet. Hibiscus, which also make good potted plants, should be planted in well-draining soil and thrive in full sun with regular water.
Plumbago (Plumbago auriculata) is an evergreen or semievergreen shrub that produces a ball of periwinkle or white flowers and is used throughout Florida as a hedge. These plants may die back in the winter in the northern part of the state, where frost is possible. Plumbago sprawls and mounds and, if supported, can grow to 12 feet. The leaves are bright green. Plumbago flowers year-round in the southern part of Florida and from spring to fall in north Florida. Plumbago should be planted in well-draining soil and requires full sun and moderate to little water.