Florida's nickname is "The Sunshine State." It goes without saying that Florida gets a lot of sun. Although you can grow plants in the shade under larger trees and plants, Florida has many native plant species that thrive in the state's full, direct, hot sun.
The geiger tree is an evergreen tree native to Florida. The geiger can grow to 25 feet tall and wide and can develop a trunk that is 12 inches thick. The tree's leaves are stiff, 7 inches long and rough, with a feel like sandpaper. Although the tree can flower at any time of the year, it often grows 2-inch-wide, dark orange flowers at the tips of the branches in spring and summer. The flowers give way to a pear shaped fruit that is edible, but not particularly desirable for consumption. This tree thrives in full sun.
Another native Florida tree that thrives in full sun is the sea grape. Sea grape can grow to 25 feet tall either as a tree or as a large bush. When this tree first starts to put out leaves, they are red. As they grow, the turn a shiny green. This tree produces fruit in clusters, if grown in adequate sun. Although birds eat the fruit, it can also make a good home-canned jelly if you pick the fruit in early summer just as it ripens. Sea grape is salt tolerant and can grow close to the ocean if protected from high winds.
Southern Crab Apple
Southern crab apple is another Florida plant that loves full sun. Southern crab apple produces showy, fragrant blossoms in the spring. Once the tree has bloomed, it produces small crab apples. Crab apple trees are related to the rose, and can have problems with insects and diseases that affect roses. The southern crab apple grows to nearly 30 feet tall and has leaves that can be 2 inches long. This tree prefers a mildly acidic soil.