Finding the right flowering shrubs for any garden can be a challenge, but getting the right plant in the right spot is a triumph for any home gardener. There are lots of hybrid flowering shrubs developed specifically to endure Florida's humid summers. When planting shrubs in Florida, it is important to review water and light requirements, as the humid summers may mean that plants that usually like full sun will do better in partial sun, or may need additional water.
Among the most fragrant plants in the south, the gardenia (Gardenia augusta) is a medium-size shrub with glossy, leathery leaves and white flowers that bloom in spring. Gardenias are compact, but they spread, so they should be planted with room to expand. These plants do well in partial shade, with moderate water and in slightly acidic soil. The Gardenia jasminoides x Gardenia thunbergia is resistant to nematode damage. and the Gardenia nitida hybrid thrives in humid climates where temperatures do not drop below 60 degrees F.
Kurume Hybrid Azalea
The Kurume Hybrid Azalea (rhododendrum) are hardy, small, colorful azaleas that flourish in Florida's hot climate. These plants are twiggy with dense foliage, and blooms are a profusion of small flowers in spring. They thrive in partial shade with regular water, and should be planted in slightly acidic soil. Among the most well-known varieties are the pink coral Bells, white snow and deep red Ward's Ruby.
Hibiscuses are found throughout Florida and thrive in the tropical climate. Known for large, colorful blooms and rich green foliage, hibiscuses may be planted or grown in pots, and some varieties may grow to 30 feet. They bloom most prolifically in cool weather, particularly in early spring and fall. Bloom buds may drop in humid weather. The Chinese hibiscus (Hibiscus rosa x sinensis), which is popular in Florida gardens, is the national flower of Malaysia and is known for its large bloom. The bloom may be single- or double-petaled. The Nightfire cultivar has stunning purple blooms with red blotches, and the Kinchen's Yellow cultivar has a 10-inch bright yellow bloom with a white center. Hibiscuses generally thrive in full sun with moderate water.