Gardeners living in Florida have a vast array of choices when it comes to adding hardy plants to their landscapes. Many varieties of shrubs, flowering plants, palms and trees prefer the state's warm, tropical climate. When adding new plants to your landscapes or gardens, be sure to select plants that prefer the growing conditions you offer. This will ensure a problem -free, low-maintenance garden that will thrive for years to come.
Most Florida landscapes have some type of palm growing in it. Gardeners have many varieties to choose from that will grow well in all regions of the state. Cabbage palm (Sabal palmetto) holds the honor of being the state tree and grows well statewide. Trees are salt and drought tolerant, as well as very wind resistant. The cabbage palm can reach 60 feet tall with a canopy of 15 feet. The palm produces white flowers in summer and then produces dark fruits, which are an important food source to wildlife.
Foxtail palm (Wodyetia bifurcate) grows well in the central and southern regions. Its fronds resemble a foxtail, thus the name. Trees grow to 30 feet in height, with a spread of 20 feet. The palm produces white springtime flowers and the orange/red fruits are a food source for wildlife.
Areca Palm (Dypsis lutescens), also known as bamboo palm, is a good screening palm growing up to 25 feet tall, with a spread of 10 feet. The palm is highly drought tolerant, with a medium salt tolerance and produces yellow/orange fruits in summer.
Floridians have many choices in evergreen and flowering shrubs they can add to their landscapes. Croton (Codiaeum variegatum) does well in the central and southern regions, growing up to eight feet tall, depending on cultivar. Primarily used for their colorful foliage, as the yellow/white flowers produced in summer are insignificant. Gardenia (Gardenia jasminoides), do well statewide with a variety of cultivars. Plants grow to eight feet in height, and are medium-drought-tolerant with a low salt tolerance.
Depending on cultivar, white, fragrant flowers are produced springtime throughout summer. Hibiscus (Hibiscus) is one of the most popular landscape plants used statewide due to their many varieties of colorful flowers produced spring throughout fall. Depending on variety, shrubs can grow up to 12 feet tall and will require protection in the event of freezes in North Florida.
Annuals & Perennials
Florida gardeners can have year-round blooms in their flower gardens due to their many selections in flowering annuals and perennials. Lily of the Nile (Agapanthus africanus) grows statewide and has a medium tolerance to salt and drought. The plant is deciduous in cooler regions of the state. Depending on the cultivar, purple/white flowers are produced in summer or red flowers in spring.
Wax begonia (Begonia semperflorens) grows statewide but acts as an annual in central and northern regions. Plants grow up to one-foot tall producing white, pink or red flowers springtime through fall. Spider lily (Hymen ocallis) grows in the central and southern regions, making a good border plant. Growing up to three feet tall, white or yellow fragrant flowers are produced spring through fall.