As with all planting zones in Florida, the Panhandle is able to grown many species of plants unable to live in cooler regions of the United States. Its cooler climate also allows gardeners the ability to grow some species of flowering plants for longer periods of time that would not thrive in the warmer, southern regions of the state. Panhandle gardeners will be surprised at all the varieties of flowering plants they have to choose from to add to their gardens and keep it colorful year-round.
When spring arrives, gardeners have a wealth of choices in annual flowering plants for their Panhandle gardens. Many of the same flowering plants grown elsewhere will thrive in this area of the country. Species such as zinnias (Zinnia) have many different cultivars producing various colors of flowers in a vast array of sizes. These plants grow fast, up to 3 feet tall and attract butterflies and birds. Black-eyed Susan (Rudbeckia hirta) has medium fast growth and obtains a height of 1 to 3 feet. Flowers are yellow-orange to red-orange and attract butterflies and birds. Sweet alyssum (Lobularia maritima), grows from a half foot to a foot tall, has purple, white or pink flowers and will tolerate a light frost. Pentas (Pentas lanceolata) have a fast growth rate, forming a small bush 1 to 3 feet tall. The plant produces red, purple, pink or white flowers that attract butterflies.
Panhandle gardeners have many choices when it comes to flowering perennials. Plants such as porterweed (Stachytarpheta) grow fast and reach heights of 2 to 4 feet, forming a small bush. Flowers range in colors of purple, pink or red and attract butterflies. Tickseed (Coreopsis) is Florida’s state flower. It's a fast grower, reaching a height of 1 to 3 feet, grows wild throughout the state and produces orange/yellow flowers in summer. It attracts butterflies and birds. Blue phlox (Phlox divaricata) is a fast grower reaching a height of 1 to 3 feet tall. It grows wild along the roadsides of the Panhandle, and the flowers are purple. Blanket flower (Gaillardia pulchella) grows wild throughout the state. It has a fast growth rate reaching a height of 1 to 3 feet, producing yellow/orange to reddish/orange flowers.
Panhandle gardeners can grow many varieties of flowering vines that will produce flowers year-round. Coral honeysuckle (Lonicera sempervirens) grows quickly, reaching a height of 10 to 15 feet, and produces red flowers that attract butterflies and birds. Trumpet creeper (Campsis radicans) is a fast grower, reaching a height of 40 feet and produces orange/red flowers attracting hummingbirds and butterflies. Climbing hydrangea (Decumaria barbara) grows to a height of 60 feet. The vine produces white flowers that attract butterflies. Carolina jasmine (Gelsemium sempervirens) grows quite rapidly, reaching a height of 40 feet in no time. The vine produces yellow flowers spring through winter, attracting butterflies and birds.