In 1513, Juan Ponce de Leon described Florida as the “flowered land,” thus its name. The state’s modern nickname is “the sunshine state.” Combine the two and you have an environment ripe for growing plants with constant, flowery blooms. The most common of Florida’s flowers grow throughout the entire state. Plants either are natives or prefer the growing conditions offered by Florida’s year-round, warm, humid subtropical and tropical climates.
Florida has many flowering trees that are common sights in landscapes statewide. Frangipani (Plumeria) grows in all regions of the state and makes a good, flowering specimen tree. Trees are drought and salt tolerant, reaching heights of up to 25 feet. The color of the fragrant flowers depends on the cultivar, as there are many. Trees start producing clusters of blooms in springtime. Nothing is quite as striking as the royal Poinciana (Delonix regia) in bloom. Trees produce a massive canopy of red/orange flowers in springtime through summer. Hardy in the central and southern regions of Florida, trees can obtain a height of 40 feet. When the golden shower (Cassia fistula) blooms, the tree fills with a mass of bright yellow flowers, which also attract butterflies.
A wide variety of flowering shrubs are common sights to the Floridian. Bougainvillea’s (Bougainvillea) flowers are quite striking when in bloom, as they have a tendency to fill the entire shrub. Plants are trainable as shrubs, vines or smallish trees. The flower’s color depends on the cultivar, as there are quite a few. Plants start blooming in winter and continue throughout spring. Nothing quite represents Florida as the tropical hibiscus (Hibiscus) bloom. Plants flourish statewide, with native species having a tendency to be pink or purplish in color. There are many hybrid species with a large variety of different colored blooms, as well as double and single flowers. Bird of paradise (Strelitzia reginae) has a very recognizable bloom, as the flower resembles the head of a bird. Plants can grow to 5 feet in height, with the orange/blue flowers blooming year round.
Flowering Annuals & Perennials
Many of the most common Florida flowering annuals and perennials grow wild throughout the entire state. It is as common to see them growing along the roadside as it is in the garden. Tickseed (Coreopsis) blooms in orange or yellow flowers starting in late spring. The state flower, plants grow wild statewide and act as either a perennial or annual, depending upon the particular cultivar and region. Blanket flower (Gaillardia pulchella) is another flower that is a common sight in both the wild and in flower gardens statewide. It attracts butterflies with its yellow, orange and red flowers that bloom year round. The plant grows quickly, reaching heights of up to 3 feet. Common along the coastlines is the beach sunflower (Helianthus debiles) with its yellow or purple flowers. The Florida native is quite drought and salt tolerant, grows fast and makes a good ground cover. It blooms starting in spring with a mass of small, sunflower-like flowers.