Other than in the extreme northern regions of the state, Florida’s mild winters and tropical temperatures allow for a year-round growing season. Many of the same plants grown outdoors in the landscape will survive and flourish quite well growing inside of pots. This allows Florida gardeners with limited space a chance to fill their porches and patios with an abundance of foliage. Even novice gardeners will find trees, shrubs, fruit-bearing species and flowers to fill their containers.
Florida has many trees that will do well in pots. As with most container-grown trees, select a pot that is at least two to three times larger than the plant’s root ball, for best growth. The dwarf sugar palm (Arenga engleri) and majesty (Ravenea rivularis) grow well in containers, reaching a height of approximately 10 feet and having medium growth habits. Citrus trees such as the smaller limes, lemons and dwarf varieties will do well grown in a pot. Bananas (Musca) have several dwarf varieties such as the cavendish, growing to a height of 6 to 7 feet tall and will do well in a container. The frangipani (Plumeria) blooms in an array of colorful flowers, is drought tolerant and will do well planted in a large container.
There are many shrubs growing throughout the state that will do well growing inside of pots. The giant yellow shrimp plant (Barleria micans) is a fast-grower and does well in the southern regions of the state, with yellow shrimp-like flowers. The butterfly bush (Buddleia lindleyana) does well in the north and central regions of the state and is a fast grower. It has purplish flowers and attracts hummingbirds and butterflies. Beautyberry (Callicarpa Americana) is a native and grows wild throughout the state. It produces purple flowers and berries, which attract birds and wildlife. Hibiscus, known for its colorful tropical flowers, will grow well inside of pots and can be pruned into tree form or left as a shrub. Ti plants (Cordyline), known for their colorful foliage, will do well grown in pots in the central and southern regions of the state.
Florida gardeners have many choices in flowering plants to grow in pots for year-round blooms. Bush daisy (Gamolepis) tolerates growing in containers quite well, giving year-round yellow blooms and growing to a height of approximately 2 feet. The plant attracts butterflies. Trailing lantana (Lantana montevidensis) grows wild along the roadsides of the state. The plant has small bouquets of yellow, pink, purple or white flowers, is drought tolerant and attracts butterflies and birds. Periwinkle (Vinca major) is another flower one can find growing wild throughout the state and does well grown in pots. The purplish flowers attract butterflies and the plant is drought tolerant. Milkweed (Asclepias) grows fast, reaching a height of 2 feet in no time. The plant attracts butterflies and hummingbirds, being a host plant for the monarch butterfly. In colder regions of the state, milkweed will become dormant until the warmer months of spring.