Gardeners in Florida get to choose from perennial plants that are available and hardy in only a small area of the south and in California --USDA hardiness zones eight, nine and 10 on the main land and zone 11 in the Florida Keys. Perennials that are native to tropical areas of the world are right at home in Florida's climate.
Cape aloe (Aloe ferox), also known as bitter aloe and tap aloe, is a member of the lily family. The plant is a succulent that strongly resembles a palm and grows one 6 to 10-feet tall stem that produces 50 to 60 3-foot-long, dull green, succulent leaves that grow in a rosette pattern at the top of the stem. As the leaves mature, they dry out, turn brown and stay on the plant under the new growth.
The orange-red, tube-shaped flowers are 1-inch long and grow in clusters from 2 to 4 feet above the leaves. Plant cape aloe in full sun and a soil that is un-fertilized and well drained. Allow the soil to go completely dry between waterings. Cape aloe is hardy in Central and South Florida and the Florida Keys.
Powis Castle Artemisia
Powis Castle artemisia (Artemisia x 'Powis Castle') is a member of the aster family. The plant is an evergreen with silver-gray, lacy foliage that grows from 2 to 3 feet tall and 3 to 6 feet in diameter. The plant rarely produces any flowers, but when they do, the silver-yellow flowers are 6 inches long and grow in loose clusters. Plant powis castle artemisia in full sun or partial shade and a very well-drained, moist soil. The plant is hardy in Northern Florida.
Aztec lily (Sprekelia formosissima)--also known as Jacobean lily, St. James lily and orchid lily-- is a member of the amaryllis family. The plant produces leaves that grow up to 20 inches long and a single scarlet or crimson flower that grows up to 5 inches across on a stem that grows to about 12 inches tall. The flower, which resembles an orchid, blooms in the spring at the same time as the leaves. Plant Aztec lilies in full sun. Keep the soil moist when the flower is in bloom and dry with it is dormant. The plant is hardy in all of Florida including the Florida Keys.