Small bushes in Florida have a tropical feel with flowers that are both showy and fragrant. Gardeners in Florida need to be mindful of the fact that not all of the bushes are salt-tolerant and to be sure any that are planted near the ocean or gulf can take a dose of salty spray.
Buttonbush (Cephalanthus occidentalis) is also known as honey bells and button willow and is a member of the madder family. The bush is deciduous and grows from 6 to 8 feet tall and about the same in width with oval leaves that grow from 3 to 6 inches long and 2 to 4 inches wide. The small, white flowers grow in ball-shaped heads that measure about 1 inch in diameter. The balls grow in clusters at the ends of 2-inch tall stalks. Red-brown nutlets appear when the flowers are done and give way to fruit balls that stay on the tree through the winter.
Plant buttonbush in full sun and a soil that is moist to wet. The plant is not drought tolerant, is hardy in all of Florida and is a favorite food source for bees, butterflies and hummingbirds.
Night Blooming Jasmine
Night blooming jasmine (Cestrum nocturnum) is also known as night jessamine and night-blooming cestrum and is a member of the nightshade family. The bush grows up to 4 feet high and 12 feet wide producing glossy leaves that grow from 4 to 8 inches long and small, green-white, tube-shaped, night-blooming flowers with a strong fragrance.
Plant night blooming jasmine in full sun and a soil that is slightly moist. The plant is not salt-tolerant and should not be planted near the shore. The bush is hardy in all of Florida and the Florida Keys and is a favorite of butterflies.
Woody goldenrod (Chrysoma pauciflosculosa) is also known as shrub goldenrod and is a member of the aster family. The bush grows from 2 to 3 feet tall and 3 to 4 feet wide with thick, grey-green, thin leaves that grow up to 2 inches long.
The plant produces bright-yellow flowers in late summer growing on branches above the leaves.
Plant woody goldenrod in full sun and in a dry to slightly moist soil. The plant is hardy in North and Central Florida and is attractive to bees.
Pagoda flower (Clerodendrum paniculatum) is a member of the verbena family, and grows from 3 to 5 feet tall and 2 to 3 feet wide. The heart-shaped leaves grow up to 12 inches across and the small funnel-shaped flowers grow in round clusters that grow up to 1 foot tall and are larger at the bottom, getting smaller as they go to the top in a shape resembling a pagoda.
Plant pagoda flower in full sun or partial shade and a rich, slightly moist soil. The plant is hardy in all of Florida and the Florida Keys.