Florida is no stranger to sun, boasting temperate, tropical and subtropical climates throughout the state. Nicknamed "the Sunshine State," Florida is a wonderful place to raise plants, and there are a number of exotic and native plants that will thrive in sunny and shady Florida gardens.
Delicate and exotic, the blackberry lily (Belamcanda chinensis) is a lovely perennial plant that produces small crimson and yellow spotted flowers that have an almost orchid-like appearance. Blackberry lilies are quite flexible, growing in slightly alkaline or slightly acidic soil. They prefer to be grown in full sun and are moderately drought-tolerant. They have some tolerance of salt, making them good plants for gardeners near the coast.
Similar in appearance to the common zinnia, Mexican zinnia (Zinnia haageana) also called narrow-leaved zinnia or orange zinnia, is an annual flower that thrives in the hot Florida climate. Native to Mexico, Mexican zinnia is extremely drought and heat tolerant, producing flowers throughout hot summers and well into the autumn. The plant boasts attractive long leaves and daisy-like white and orange flowers. Plant Mexican zinnia in a sunny location in well-drained soil.
For those seeking a more unusual plant, the voodoo lily (Amorphophallus spp.) is an exotic plant that produces spectacular blooms. Reaching a mature height of nearly 6 feet, the voodoo lily exhibits waxy flowers that have a deep purple spathe complemented by a purplish-black spadix. The flower has an unpleasant odor that it uses to attract flies, the plant's pollinator. Voodoo lilies are moderately drought-tolerant plants that grow well in Central Florida, preferring shade or filtered sunlight. Voodoo lilies will tolerate both slightly alkaline and slightly acidic soil.