Though the entire state of Florida is nicknamed the "sunshine state" thanks to its generally sunny climate, Northern Florida boasts a subtropical climate while Southern Florida is truly tropical. There are a number of lovely plants that prefer the slightly cooler temperatures of Northern Florida and will do better in this climate.
The soybean (Glycine max) is an annual plant native to China that is grown throughout the world for its protein-rich beans. The plant may be cultivated in Northern Florida and elsewhere in USDA hardiness zones 7 to 9. Soybean plants sport rich, bright green foliage and reach an average height of just under 3 feet. The foliage and pods of the lush plant are slightly hairy to the touch. Soybean pods may be harvested and used in a variety of dishes, or simply steamed and eaten with a sprinkle of salt. The plant grows best in full sunlight in a soil that is slightly acidic and enhanced with phosphorus and potassium based fertilizers. Water occasionally, but don't water the soil so much that it becomes soggy.
Impatiens are extremely popular garden plants that can be found growing around the globe. Impatiens will grow thrive in Northern Florida and USDA zones 8 to 11. The plant is low growing, and rarely exceeds a foot in height. Impatiens create a bushy mound dense with leaves and flowers. The flowers are broad and silky, and available in colors ranging from pale pastels to brilliant primary colors and even striped patterns. Partial shade or dappled sunlight is ideal for this plant, as is a slightly acidic to slightly alkaline soil. Impatiens are not drought tolerant and should be watered on a regular basis. Remove spent flowers to promote a longer bloom time.
Blue-eyed grass (Sisyrinchium angustifolium) is a fast growing perennial. It’s notable for its long green leaves and tiny blue flowers, which appear throughout the spring. The plant varies in height and may grow to be 5 inches to 1.5 feet tall. A native of the United States, including Florida, blue-eyed grass will grow throughout the state in USDA zones 8 to 11. The plant prefers full sunlight, although it will also tolerate a little afternoon shade. Blue-eyed grass isn't picky about soil and will grow in acidic to slightly alkaline soil so long as it is watered frequently. The plant doesn't have much salt tolerance and isn't suitable for gardens with salt spray.
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