The conquistadors named Florida "flowered land" and the modern nickname is "The Sunshine State." Both names describe this glorious, flowered portion of the tropical United States. Its year-round warm temperatures, in most regions of the state, set the stage for an annual display of flowering plants. Gardeners have many choices of plants to add to their gardens for a constant array of colors and blooms.
Whether small, medium or large, gardeners have many choices in flowering trees that will fill their landscapes with spectacular blooms. Nothing says the south like the camellia (Camellia japonica). Growing best in the north and central regions, this slow-growing small tree reaches heights of 10 to 20 feet at maturity. Its 6-inch flowers come in a variety of colors, depending on cultivar. Bottlebrush (Callistemon) does well in all sections of the state, reaching a height of six to 30 feet. The medium sized tree produce red flowers resembling a bottlebrush, spring through summer that attract butterflies and hummingbirds. Stunning when in bloom, the tropical frangipani (Plumeria) grows best in the warmer and southern regions, reaching a height of 20 feet. The fragrant flowers come in a vast array of colors depending of the cultivar.
Butterfly bush (Callicarpa mericana) does best in the north and central regions and is a great butterfly garden plant. This fast grower can reach a height of 10 feet, with stunning purplish/lavender blooms. Beauty berry (Callicarpa americana) is a striking addition to the garden with its masses of bright, purple berries and flowers from spring through fall. It grows best in the southern and central regions, reaching a height of 6 to 8 feet. Hibiscus (Hibiscus) is a staple in any Florida garden with its large, tropical flowers blooming in a multitude of colors, depending on the cultivar. Hibiscus is trainable as a small tree, growing to 10 feet in height and attracting butterflies.
Florida gardeners will not be at a loss for annual and perennial flowers to add splashes of color to their flower gardens. Blanket flower (Gaillardia) grows wild throughout the entire state. This fast growing perennial reaches heights of 2 to 3 feet, with striking yellow and reddish/orange flowers in late spring through late summer. Periwinkle (Catharanthus roseus) is another flower found growing wild throughout the entire state. It grows at a medium rate of speed, reaching a height of 1 to 2 feet. Flowers range in colors of white, pink and purple. Beach sunflower (Helianthus debiles) is another flower found growing throughout the entire state, especially in coastal areas. Reaching heights of 2 to 3 feet, it attracts both birds and butterflies. Salt and drought tolerant, the plant produces yellow and white, or purple, flowers year-round and makes an efficient ground cover.