19 Perfect Florida Perennials

florida perennials

Florida has a unique climate that is unlike any other in the country. The levels of humidity and heat can provide challenges to gardeners that are seeking to find the best flowers and plants for their gardens.

If you have attempted to plant specific plants and haven’t seen success or have faced challenges due to Florida’s climate, we’ve put together a list containing some of the very best plants and flowers to plant that will thrive in Florida gardens.

These plants are naturally designed to do well in Florida! All the plants listed below are designed to grow best in hardiness zones 8-11, the growing zones specific to Florida.

1. Lantana

Lantana

This is an absolutely stunning flower that is available in many colors. Lantana can be planted as an annual or a perennial. This flower is similar to verbena and has small, delicate blossoms that appear in a cluster. Each bloom contains a unique colored center eye. They are also known for their ability to attract bees, butterflies, and hummingbirds to the garden. They require a good amount of watering after planted and will benefit from some light mulching or fertilizer. You can also deadhead the ends of the flower to extend the blooming time.

2. Buttercup

Buttercup

Buttercups are one of the most cheerful flowers. These bright yellow dazzlers have tiny blooms and waxy petals. As you likely heard, the old myth is that if you hold a buttercup up to your chin and there is a yellow shade it means you like butter. However, Buttercup is actually poisonous to humans and animals unless it is dry. Their genus name means “little frog.”

3. Mexican Heather

Mexican Heather

This plant consists of a profuse blooming of dainty purple flowers that grow on a shrub. This is an excellent choice for a border plant due to the fact that it is constantly re-blooming throughout the summer and fall season. It will grow about 2 feet in height and has a bushel of green foliage beneath the flowers. It is a fast-growing plant that thrives in zones 8-11.

4. Blue Daze

Blue Daze

This bright blue flower consists of ruffled petals with a small, white center eye. The flowers reach about an inch in size. Blue daze thrives in heat and humidity, making it the perfect plant for Floridians to grow. It is an annual plant that blooms from summer into fall. Blue daze grows best in zones 9-11 and prefers full sun.

5. Bougainvillea

Bougainvillea

If you want an explosion of gorgeous color, bougainvillea is stunning flowering machines. They bloom almost all year long and look gorgeous against a fence or up against the side of the home. They require upwards of six hours of direct sunlight every day in order to gain maximum blooms and color. This plant prefers zones 9-11 and absolutely loves sun and humidity.

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Read more about Growing Bougainvillea here

6. Periwinkle

Periwinkle

This darling blue flowering plant makes an excellent creeping vine and is often seen running down hillsides. It is also referred to as creeping vinca. Periwinkle makes an excellent ground cover and is known as a major spreader. Periwinkle is often used to choke out weeds and will bloom best in an area that gets partial shade.

7. Pentas

Pentas

Planting pentas is an excellent way to ensure you have blooms and color that lasts close to the entire year. They are a tropical plant with five pointy petals on each bloom. Pentas come in a wide variety of colors and are excellent for any gardener wishing to attract butterflies and hummingbirds. The plant can grow up to six feet in height and will grow quite slowly. They will not thrive in zones lower than hardiness zone 10.

8. Bulbine

Bulbine

Bulbine is a highly unique-looking flower that makes for the perfect accent plant in a flower bed. The flower has star-shaped blooms that generally bloom most of the year in Florida. They typically come in yellow or shades of light orange. Bulbines are exceptionally easy to take care and will thrive in a multitude of various soil types. These plants look nice in rock gardens and will grow well in zones 9-11.

9. Black and Blue Salvia

Black and Blue Salvia

These gorgeous blue-flowered blooms contain spikes of flowers that emerge from a bush of rich green foliage. It does well in even the most extreme heat, but it does require heavy watering. It will grow into a wide cluster that will reach about three feet in height. It is known for its showy flowers that bloom in the early summer through fall.

10. Persian Shield

Persian shield plant

Persian shield is an exceptionally hardy plant that will grow well with little to no care. It is a tropical shrub that has rich, deep purple foliage. It looks excellent next to shades of pink or white flowers that make the purple foliage stand out. It will also grow well in either sun or shade. However, it needs a good deal of watering or the foliage will begin to wither in the sun. It also benefits from a thin layer of mulch that will help keep the moisture in the soil. It is a great landscape shrub that does well in zones 9-10.

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Read more about growing Persian Shield here.

11. Anise Hyssop

Anise Hyssop

Anise hyssop (Agastache foeniculum) is a short-lived perennial that thrives in full sun and average soil. Its lovely blue or purple spires attract bees, butterflies, and hummingbirds to the garden from mid-summer until frost. This delightful plant grows to heights of 2 to 4 feet with a spread of 1 to 3 feet. It self-seeds well and provides seeds for goldfinches and other small songbirds. It is hardy in USDA plant hardiness zones 3 through 9.

12. Sedum

purple sedum

Sedum, also known as stonecrop, is a succulent that produces fleshy stems and leaves topped with masses of tiny flowers that form a flat or conical head. They range in size from  low-growing groundcovers to plants that reach a height of 1 to 3 feet.

Sedum prefers full sun but may benefit from some afternoon shade in southern climates. Sedum adds bright color with its white, yellow, purple, pink, orange, or red blooms from midsummer well into the fall. It does well in nearly any soil as long as it is well drained. Sedum is hardy in USDA zones 3 through 10 making them perfect for Florida gardens.

13. Shooting Star

Shooting Star

Another fantastic Florida perennial is Shooting Star (Dodecatheon meadia), which brings the flowerbed to life in early spring with its delicate nodding purple, white, or pink flowers.

These flowers bloom in clusters, with each bloom measuring about an inch. It prefers sandy loam or rocky soil and grows to heights of 20 inches with a spread of nearly a foot. It is hardy in USDA zones 4 through 8.

14. Shrimp Plant (Justicia brandegeeana)

Shrimp Plant

The shrimp plant, also known as the Mexican Shrimp Plant, is an attractive, evergreen shrub that adds interest to the flowerbed all year. It prefers loamy well, drained soil. It can be grown in full sun but prefers some shade and does best with bright morning light.

The flowers appear in early to mid-summer, covering the bush with brightly colored bracts in pink, red, yellow, or green, depending on the cultivar. It grows to 3 to 4 feet with an equal spread and is hardy in USDA zones 8 through 10.

15. Bush Daisy (Euryop pectinatus)

bush daisy

Also known as the Golden Shrub daisy, this plant puts on a show nearly all year with its yellow daisy-like blooms contrasted against its grey-green foliage. It prefers full sun to partial shade and isn’t fussy about the soil as long as it drains well. It grows to heights of 4 to 6 feet with a spread to match. It is hardy in USDA zones 9 through 11.

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16. Cat’s Whiskers (Orthosiphon aristatus)

Cat's Whiskers

Cat’s Whiskers is a member of the mint family and is often used as a medicinal herb. This plant grows to 3 to 4 feet and spreads to 3 feet. Blooms appear midsummer and produce blue or white flowers with distinct stamens resembling a cat’s whiskers. It does well in full sun but will tolerate partial shade. It is hardy in USDA zones 9 through 11.

17. Society Garlic (Tulbaghia violacea)

Society Garlic

Society garlic produces fragrant, showy blooms in shades of pink and lilac that resemble a chive blossom. They grow to heights of 1 to 2 feet and bloom from July through September. It likes rich, organic soil that remains moist and thrives in full sun. It is hardy in USDA zones 7 through 10 and is ideal for rock gardens, borders, and edgings.

18. Cuban Gold Duranta

Cuban Gold Duranta

Also known as pigeon berry, this broad-leaf evergreen shrub is prized for its attractive green-gold foliage and showy lavender or blue blooms, although the blooming season is short-lived. It grows to heights of 2 feet with a spread of 3 feet. It prefers full sun and moist soil. It is hardy in USDA zones 9 through 11.

19. Scarlet bush (Hamelia patens)

Hamelia patens

Also known as a scarlet bush, this plant puts on quite a show from June to September. It is sometimes called a Mexican firecracker plant as its fiery red-orange flowers resemble bright firecrackers.

It can reach heights of 10 to 12 feet and maintains evergreen foliage. It thrives in full sun or partial shade and isn’t fussy about its soil as long as it drains well. It is hardy in USDA zones 9 through 10.

Conclusion

Florida perennials are the mainstay of flowerbeds as they return every year and require relatively little care. However, they don’t typically bloom all summer as annuals do. By choosing perennials that bloom at different times, you can keep your flower garden alive with color from spring until fall.

For more Florida plants, here’s a list of 20 Florida Native Plants!