The Florida Panhandle is in the hardiness zone eight, where the winter temperatures get to between 10 and 20 F. The best flowers for the Florida Panhandle are native to Florida or parts of the tropics. The mild winter temperatures make the list of best flowers large and varied with enough choices to make the garden come alive with many colors, sizes and shapes.
Scarlet sage (Salvia coccinea) is also known as Texas sage and salvia. The plant grows to from 2 to 3 feet tall and produces 1 to 2 inch long triangular shaped leaves and bright red flowers that grow to 1 inch in length. It will bloom from early summer up to the time of first frost. Scarlet sage is native to Florida and grows best in full sun and moist soils. In the Florida panhandle, it grows as an annual with new plants starting from seeds the next year. The plant is used in flower beds and as border plants. It is a favorite of hummingbirds and butterflies.
Four O' Clock
Four o' clock (Mirabilis jalapa) is also known as marvel-of-Peru and beauty-of-the-night. The plant grows from 2 to 3 feet tall and the same in width. It produces evergreen leaves that grow from 2 to 4 inches long and fragrant red, magenta, pink, yellow or white, 2 inch long, flowers that can grow singly or in clusters. It is possible to have flowers of different colors on the same plant. Four o'clocks, a native of South America, do best in full sun and moist soil.
Orange coneflower (Rudbeckia fulgida var. sullivantii) is also known as the black eyed Susan. The plant grows up to 3 feet tall and produces hairy lance-shaped leaves that grow to 5 inches long and about half as much wide. The flowers are 3 inches in diameter with orange-yellow petals and a purple-brown center. Orange coneflower is native to the eastern United States and does best in full sun and moist soil. The soil should never be allowed to go dry.
Pinecone ginger (Zingiber zerumbet) is also known as shampoo ginger and Awapuhi kuahiwi in Hawaii. The plant grows to 7 feet tall and produces long thin leaves, and bracts that look like pinecones that start out green then turn to red. When this happens, small yellow flowers grow from the cones. The plant is native to southeast Asia, likes full sun to partial shade and moist to wet soil. The flowers are used for both fresh and dried arrangements.