The panhandle of Florida offers mild winters and warm summers. The mild climate makes the area a haven for gardeners of all experience levels. Shrubs found in the area range from miniature to tree size and come in a myriad of bloom and foliage colors. Create hedges by planting evergreen shrubs or one of the many other species that thrive in USDA zone 8 to create a beautiful hedge in the home landscape.
Camellia (Camellia japonica)
Camellias provide the quintessential flower of southern winters. Depending on the variety, blooms burst open in fall when other flowers are fading while others put on their blooms in the dead of winter. Blooms present in varying shades of red, pink and white on evergreen shrubs. Grow camellias where the plant receives partial shade in the afternoon. Soil should be loose, well draining and lean toward acidic at 5.0 to 5.5 although a pH level to 6.5 will suffice. Feed camellias often for optimal blooms and healthy foliage. Water deeply during dry spells and keep an eye out for aphids, cutworms, scale and spider mites. Camellia is best suited to USDA zones 7 and 8 with some newer varieties withstanding the colder temperatures of zone 6.
Gardenia (Gardenia angusta)
Gardenia is another shrub customarily used as hedge plants in the Deep South. An added bonus in using gardenias is the sweet scent from their white to buttery-white spring and summer blooms. Gardenias are evergreen shrubs that grow to 15 feet tall. Gardenias thrive in well-composted soil with a pH between 5.0 and 6.5 that receives regular moisture. Gardenia shrubs can grow to 6 feet tall in sun to partial shade. Pests to watch out for are aphids, mealybugs, scale and whiteflies.
Hydrangea (Hydrangea paniculata)
Hydrangea paniculata is a large variety with fluffy cluster-like blooms rather than the well-known blue mophead blooms. H. paniculata has white blooms that change to varying shades of green and pink as they age. Blooms appear from mid through late summer and early fall. Hydrangea thrives in most soils but prefers well-drained garden soil in full sun to partial shade where it can reach 10 feet tall and wide. Give H. paniculata plenty of room to spread when using it as a hedge.
Rose of Sharon (Hibiscus syriacus)
Rose of Sharon is an old favorite for hedge plantings. It provides a colorful display from early to mid summer right through until early fall. Blooms of these shrubs are blue-purple, pinks, lavender and white. As a bonus, their blooms give a tropical appearance to the hedge. Hibiscus syriacus grows best in well-drained garden soil where it receives full sun. H. syriacus grows to 10 feet tall.