Full sun in Florida can mean hot, humid days during the summer, and these conditions are perfect for a variety of colorful plants ranging from shrubs to flowers. Defined by the USDA Plant Hardiness Zone Map as zones 8-11, most of Florida rarely experiences freezes. But north Florida, including the Jacksonville area, experiences below-freezing temperatures for short periods every winter and plants should be protected. While many plants thrive in Florida's hot sun, they should get ample water to promote strong roots and good growth.
A tropical plant with large, colorful leaves and showy blooms in reds, oranges, yellows and whites, cannas (Canna) are tall perennials with tuberous roots. These striking plants grow on individual stalks up to 6 feet tall with blooms from spring to fall. Canna leaves resemble banana tree leaves and unfurl in the same manner. Leaves are a deep green with red veins. Cannas propagate by broadcasting seeds when flowers bloom and can become invasive. Spent blooms should be removed and plants can be cut to the ground after all clusters have bloomed.
Lantana (Lantana) is an evergreen shrub with tiny flowers in round clusters that blooms all year in frost-free areas. This shrub can grow to 6 feet and has a spread of up to 4 feet. Used as a short hedge or border shrub, lantana requires little care to thrive--full sun, moderate water and just about any soil. Blooms are in a rainbow of colors, including golden yellow, magenta and orange. The Confetti series is particularly colorful--its blooms are a mix of yellow, purple and pink.
Plumbago (Plumbago auriculata) is a sprawling, mounding bush with clusters of 1-inch flowers that range in color from white to blue. The clusters of blooms may be nearly round or oblong and are long-lasting. Plumbago, which blooms from spring to fall in most areas, can grow to 6 feet tall and spread to 10 feet if left unchecked. The plant will bloom all year in frost-free areas, is often used as a hedge and can withstand salt air.
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