25 Perfect Florida Shade Plants

Florida shade plants

When you live in the state of Florida, the heat and the humidity can be brutal. Because of this, the plants that you will be able to grow in this area of the country may be limited. With that being said, the shade is an excellent option for plants that do not need direct sunlight, but they can handle a bit of indirect heat.

In this guide, I am going to talk about the different flowers that I helped my friend who lives in Tampa, Florida, plant under her trees. They made the yard look amazingly colorful and bright, and most of these plants do not require a lot of care.

1. Pinwheel Jasmine

Pinwheel Jasmine

The pinwheel jasmine is a lovely plant that has dark green foliage and white blooms that will look great in any space. They can grow to be between three and five feet tall as well as across. This plant prefers partial shade, which is why it works well in this state.

2. Butterfly Iris

Butterfly Iris

If you are looking for a plant that attracts butterflies, then the butterfly iris is going to be an ideal option. This is a plant that does not require a lot of water, and it will grow in full sun to partial shade. This plant will grow to be about two feet tall.

3. Indian Hawthorne

Indian Hawthorne

As a plant that does well in zones eight through 11, it’s ideal for growing in Florida. It will grow well in full sun as well as afternoon shade. These plants prefer moist soil that’s relatively porous. They are also drought-tolerant plants that can grow to be five feet tall.

4. Areca Palm

Areca Palm

A mature areca palm can grow to be up to 30 feet tall. It prefers to grow in slightly acidic soil and indirect sunlight. It produces pale yellow flowers, and it does not need a lot of water to grow. This plant also likes high humidity, so it is a great choice to grow in Florida. If you would like to learn more about growing Areca, see the growing guide I wrote here. 

5. Tibouchina (urvilleana)

Tibouchina (urvilleana)

Also known as the princess flower, this is a tropical plant that produces purple flowers. With full sun, acidic soil, and regular watering, this plant can grow to be 20 feet tall. It can also grow in partial shade and high humidity, which makes it perfect for growing in Florida.

6. Variegated Ginger

Variegated Ginger

This plant does not like to grow in colder climates. It can grow to be 10 feet tall in the right environment, which makes it ideal for Florida. It requires a good amount of water during the growing season; it will also grow in full sun or partial shade.

7. Pentas

Pentas

This is a plant that is known for its brightly colored blooms and for attracting pollinators. It grows best in full sun and well-drained soil, but overall the plant requires very little to maintain. In fact, it will even bloom during the hottest time of the year in zones 10 and 11.

8. Croton

Croton

This is a plant that grows well in rich soil and direct sunlight for a few hours a day. Because of this, a shady location in Florida is going to be ideal, but it will need frequent watering during the growing season. It prefers temperatures above 70 degrees Fahrenheit, and it will do well with a bit of humidity. If you want to learn more about growing Crotons, check out the growing guide that I wrote.

9. Caladium

Caladium

This plant will thrive in high humidity areas; in fact, humidity and temperatures above 65 degrees Fahrenheit is necessary for it to grow. It will need a lot of light, but not direct sunlight, so growing it in the shade or indoors is recommended, especially during the hot summer months in Florida. Here is a growing guide we wrote about Caladiums.

10. Foxtail Fern

Foxtail Fern

Grown in zones nine to 11, this is a plant that can grow to be two feet in height. It is a drought-tolerant plant that will do well in high heat areas that is very low maintenance. Too much water could cause the plant to have issues with rot and fungus.

11. Jacobinia Pink

Jacobinia Pink

This shrub, which can grow to be five feet tall, has white and pink flowers. It likes to grow in tropical areas, which makes Florida, especially southern Florida ideal. It will do well in partial shade, which means that you should plant it where it avoids the scorching afternoon sun.

12. Persian Shield

Persian Shield

The Persian shield is a plant that likes to grow in high humidity, so it is often only found outdoors in zone 10. It can handle full sun, but it tends to grow the best in partial shade that avoids the afternoon sun. It will require a lot of water to help keep the humidity around the plant up. If you want to learn more about growing Persian Shield, check out the growing guide that I wrote.

13. Bromeliads

Bromeliads

Bromeliads are a plant that will grow best in humid, moist conditions. Make sure that the plant has enough drainage, and that it is not getting direct sunlight for the majority of the day. They prefer at least 60% humidity, which is why Florida is ideal for growing them.

14. Saw Palmetto

Saw Palmetto

This is a drought-tolerant plant that will grow in any type of lighting from full sun to full shade. It does well in wet areas of the country because it needs a lot of moisture to grow. It does well in high humidity, like what you find in Florida, as well.

15. Peace lily

Peace lily

This bright white lily is one example of a lily that is capable of growing in the shade, though they will bloom less in complete shade. Peace lily are drought-tolerant plants, so they will not require a lot of water. In fact, overwatering peace lily can cause the plant to die.

16. Cordyline

Cordyline

Cordyline’s are super easy to grow, they have leathery leaves that look fantastic all summer long. You can find Cordyline in red and pink. They are drought-tolerant, but don’t let them dry out too much. Grow them in well-drained soil in light shade or full sun.

17. Peperomia

Peperomia

Peperomia plants are often called radiator plants or rubber plants. They can be grown inside as a houseplant or out in the garden. They can provide beautiful green foliage. Peperomia plants are a perfect Florida shade plant as they thrive in full shade. If you would like more information on this plant, see the guide I wrote about growing Peperomia here.

18. Alocasia Odora

Alocasia Odora

Alocasia Odora often called elephant ears for their dramatic green foliage. They grow to be around 4-8 feet tall. Plant them in your shade garden. They thrive in moist to wet soil.

19. Aztec Grass

aztec grass

The Aztec grass plant looks similar to a Spider plant. Aztec grass can grow to be 12″ to 18″ tall. In Florida, it can thrive in part shade. Aztec grass looks stunning when planted along a path or walkway.

20. Firespike

Firespike

Firespike grows to be 4 to 6 feet tall. They grow beautiful red tubular flowers. Firespike can grow in shade in Florida year-round, but for maximum blooms, you may want to plant these in full Sun. Firespike is drought-tolerant.

21. Cat Palm

cat palm

A Cat palm is very similar to an Areca Palm. Planting them in the shade is best, which will require less watering. This palm grow to be 6-8 feet tall.

22. Dwarf Azalea

Dwarf Azalea

Dwarf Azalea can bloom at different times throughout the year. It’s a small shrub that can grow in shade. When planting Azalea make sure your soil has the proper PH level (preferably a pH of 5.5 or less).

23. Chenille Plant

Chenille Plant

The Chenille Plant can be grown outdoors in the garden or in a container.  In Florida, it blooms on and off all year. This plant prefers part sun to part shade.

24. Heliconia Plant

Heliconia Plant

This exotic plant looks amazing in Florida gardens.  They blossom in the Spring, Summer, and Fall. They thrive in zone 10b as these plants prefer warm weather.

25. Oyster Plant

Oyster Plant

The oyster plant is an excellent choice for a groundcover. They have beautiful green leaves and the back of the leaves are purple. The oyster plant can thrive in different light conditions but does best in part shade to partial sun.