The Florida sun is hot for sure, but there are plants and flowers that are used to even hotter temperatures and can handle the Florida sun with no problem. The plants are native to tropical and subtropical climates and grow bold-colored flowers that add a dramatic element to any Florida garden.
Shrub verbena (Lantana camara) is also known as lantana. It is an evergreen shrub whose native habitat is in the tropics. The plant grows to 6 feet tall and 8 feet wide. It produces leaves that grow from 2 to 5 inches long and 1 to 2 inches wide with small white, yellow, orange, red, pink or rose flowers that grow in 1- to 2-inch-long clusters. The plant likes full sun or partial shade and any type of soil, as long as it is well drained. It is hardy in zones 8 through 11. If the temperature goes down to 28F, the plant will die back to the ground and come back when it gets warmer. Shrub verbena goes well in mixed beds and borders and can stand up to salt, so it can be used as a beach plant. It is also a butterfly's favorite.
Plumbago (Plumbago auriculata) is also known as leadwort and skyflower. Plumbago is an evergreen shrub that grows from 3 to 10 feet tall and the same in width. It can be grown as a vine, a compact shrub or left to spread on the ground. The plant produces yellow-green leaves that grow to 2 inches in length, with 1-inch-long, tube-shaped blue flowers that grow in 6-inch round clusters. It is a tropical plant, native to South Africa, that grows best in light, sandy soils and full sun. The plant is hardy in zones 8B to 11. Plumbago goes in borders, mass plantings, in front of taller shrubs, as a ground cover and in containers and attracts butterflies.
Star flower (Pentas lanceolata) is also known as pentas and star cluster. The plant grows to 3 feet tall or can be low and mounding, depending on the variety. The plant produces red, white, lavender, purple, pink or two-toned flowers that grow in clusters and bloom all year long in the warmest zones. Star flower is a native of Africa and likes moist to wet soil. It can take both sun and shade but produces more flowers in the sun and is hardy in zones 8 to 11. The plant goes well in containers or in gardens with other annuals. All varieties will attract butterflies and the darker colors will bring in hummingbirds.