Florida's warm, tropical climate allows gardeners to grow many tropical, flowering plants that will not survive in the cooler regions of the United Stated. This assures a landscape filled with lush flowering foliage year-round. Gardener's have many choices when it comes to tropical flowering vines, shrubs or trees. Most species are hardy, drought tolerant and require little maintenance other than an occasional pruning and feeding.
Gardeners will not be at a loss for finding tropical flowering shrubs to add to their gardens. Bird of Paradise (Strelitzia reginae) grows best outdoors in the central and southern regions of the state, reaching a height of four to five feet. Flowers are orange with a streak of blue, resembling a bird head. Hibiscus plants produce large, showy flowers in a wide range of colors, depending on the cultivar. Plants can reach a height of 6 to 10 feet tall and attract butterflies. Bush alamanda (Alamanda herifolia) grows quite fast, reaching a height of 15 feet if not pruned. The plant attracts both butterflies and birds, producing bright yellow, trumpet-like flowers throughout the year. Fiddlewood (Citharexylum spinosum) grows relatively slow, reaching a height of 15 feet at maturity. It produces year-round white, fragrant flowers that attract both butterflies and birds.
Floridians have many choices when selecting a tropical, flowering tree to add to their landscape. Frangipani (Plumeria), known for its fragrant flowers that come in a vast array of colors, is considered a small tree. The plant grows slowly, reaching a height of 25 feet at maturity. Silver trumpet tree (Tabebuia aurea) has a medium growth rate, reaching a height of 11 feet. Once the tree drops its flowers in fall, it fills with a mass of yellow, trumpet-like flowers from winter through springtime. Purple trumpet tree (Tabebuia impetiginosa) grows slow and reaches a height of 18 feet at maturity, producing purplish-pink, trumpet-like flowers in springtime. Jacaranda (Jacaranda mimosifolia) is fast growing, reaching a height of 40 feet at maturity. The tree produces masses of striking, purplish-pink flowers in springtime.
Quite a few tropical, flowering vines grow well throughout the region. In fact, some will grow out of control if not kept pruned. Bougainvillea (Bougainvillea) produces a mass of colorful flowers in summer and throughout winter. Flowers range in colors of orange, purple, maroon, white, pink and a mix of several colors. The plant grows fast, reaching a height of 15 to 40 feet, depending on the cultivar. Passion vine (Passiflora incarnata) grows rapidly, reaching heights of over 10 feet. Some cultivars produce edible fruits. The vine's unique flowers range in colors of purple and white, to a blazing red, attracting butterflies and birds. Queen's wreath (Petraea volvbilis) grows quite rapidly, reaching a height of 15 feet or more at maturity and produces purple flowers in springtime.