Miami is located on the southeastern coast of Florida. The city’s tropical climate with almost year-round heat and humidity makes it a desired location for growing many tropical plants. The city is located in USDA planting zone 10, making it suitable for growing a wide variety of tropical trees, fruits, shrubs and flowers. The Miami gardener will not have a problem keeping year-round blooms in the garden.
Many tropical trees grown in Miami will not tolerate the cooler regions of the state. The royal Poinciana (Pelonix regia) grows relatively fast, reaching heights of up to 40 feet with a spreading crown of 60 feet. The orange/red flowers are a massive display in summer. The tree is drought tolerant and suitable for large areas due to its spreading habit. Jacaranda (Jacaranda mimosifolia) grows to 40 feet tall with a spread of 60 feet quickly. It has a low wind resistance. The tree produces masses of lavender/blue blooms in summer. Frangipani (Plumeria) is a slow grower, reaching heights of up to 25 feet with the same width. There are varieties of cultivars producing blooms in a vast array of colors. Plants are salt and drought tolerant.
Miami gardeners have many selections when it comes to fruiting plants. There are fruiting vines, trees and shrubs that will grow well in the region. Mango (Mangifera indica) is fast growing reaching heights of up to 45 feet with the same spread. There are many different cultivars producing many different sized fruits. Trees produce white flowers in wintertime that attract various butterflies. Cocoplum (Chysobalanus icaco) is a small tree or large shrub reaching heights of three to 30 feet with a spread of 10 to 20 feet. It is a native and is salt and drought tolerant. White flowers bloom year-round and the plant produces purple plum-like fruits. It makes a good screening plant. Pigeonplum (Coccoloba diversifolia) is a fast growing tree reaching heights of 40 feet with a spread of 20 feet. It is a native that is salt and drought tolerant. The plant produces white blossoms year-round with purple/red edible fruits.
Many varieties of tropical vines grow well in Miami. Bougainvillea (Bougainvillea) is trainable as a vine, shrub or small tree. This quick grower’s height is variable, depending on pruning habits and cultivar and spreads up to 40 feet. It is salt and drought tolerant, producing masses of flowers in spring through winter. Cultivar determines flower color. Black-eyed Susan vine (Thunbergia alata) grows quickly to a height of 10 feet with the same spread. The plant has a low drought tolerance and produces yellow flowers through summer. Queen’s wreath (Petraea volubils) reaches heights of over 10 feet quickly. The vine has a low salt and drought tolerance. Showy spikes of purple flowers bloom through spring.
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