Depending on where you live in Florida, growing plants can be a real challenge because of the heat, humidity, and other environmental considerations. It can be especially true in areas of your yard that get full sun.
Some plants can easily handle being in Florida’s sun all the time. If you are looking for sun-loving plants in Florida, consider these 10 choices.
Crown of Thorns
The crown of thorns is a beautiful plant. It’s a cactus-like plant, that produces small red flowers. It grows to be about 3 ft tall. It thrives in full sun and requires very little watering.
The African Iris is another very pretty plant. It produces beautiful flowers in spring all through summer. It is low maintenance and thrives in full sun and can tolerate dry conditions. This plant will look great alongside a border or flower bed edge. It is also pest resistant.
Depending on the variety that you choose, this plant can be from several inches to more than 20-feet tall when mature. The ones that do best in Florida have gray-green, spikey leaves, but you can also find them with blue-green leaves. In most varieties, a bell-shaped and long-lasting white, yellow or green flower grows out of the plant’s center on a large spike. Once the flower fades, it produces a seedpod, and the plant dies, but it reproduces itself first. Most varieties bloom only once every 25 years.
African Bush Daisy
This small shrub-like daisy can grow up to 10-feet tall in ideal conditions. This plant has leaves that look very similar to oak leaves. It puts on canary yellow flowers that can be over 1.5-inches wide with each one consisting of up to 30 florets that sit well above the main plant on stalks that can be up to 6-inches tall.
This plant that can grow up to 3-feet tall has green or purple stems, and it will spread profusely if not controlled carefully. Each stem has lance-shaped, dark green leaves that can be up to 12-inches long and 0.75-inches wide. Trumpet-shaped flowers that can be up to 1-inch in diameter appear on the end of the stems from early spring to the fall. Once each flower fades, it produces a seed capsule that will eventually break open, and the wind will spread the seeds.
Often grown as a house plant, the areca palm can be grown in sunny outdoor locations in Florida, where it may reach a height of up to 8-feet tall. Multiple cane-like stems produce arching fonds that look very attractive. Be sure to plant this palm in soil that drains well because about the only thing it cannot stand is wet roots. Small yellow flowers appear under the leaves in late spring or early summer.
Bougainvillea can grow into a 30-foot tree, but you can find dwarf options that will stay less than 1-foot tall. About the only care that it needs to become a blooming machine is deep watering once a month. You can choose plants that bloom in a variety of colors, including white, yellow, gold, magenta and pink. Their colorful display comes from their bracts. This plant will drop its bracts and re-flower many times throughout the year.
Bottlebrush can be grown as a shrub or pruned into a small tree. Prune it in the early spring, or it will not put on as many colorful spikes filed with flowers the next year. It can reach heights up to 15-feet tall. The spikes on this tree can be up to 18 inches long and contain many smaller red flowers. If you are looking for a smaller option, consider the many dwarf varieties that stay under 3-feet tall.
While you may love the lemony fragrance of this plant that can grow up to 6-feet tall, mosquitoes do not. Therefore, they may leave your yard alone. The slender blades of this plant grow in clumps. Be sure that this grass does not dry out. This plant will put on spikey brown flowers that look similar to barbwire in the fall.
Most pentas grow to be between 2-and-3-feet tall. They produce tubular flowers with five lobes about the time that the weather really gets hot. You can find white, pink or red. Consider pinching back earlier growth to encourage bushier growth. These flowers are annuals, except in the very southern part of the state.
The willowy stems of this plant bear sky-blue flowers with white throats from late-spring to early-fall. The lance-shaped, yellow-green leaves make a beautiful contrast to these flowers. This plant that can grow up to 6-feet tall can also have a 6-foot spread, so be sure to leave enough room between them.
Brazilian Red Cloak
If you are looking for an unusual plant for your landscaping, then consider the Brazilian red cloak. This evergreen semi-woody perennial plant that can grow to be up to 8-feet tall puts on beautiful large green leaves and red bracts that are particularly lovely from late winter through early spring. It also puts on tiny white flowers.
This semi-evergreen shrub typically grows from 4-to-6-feet tall. Plant this shrub in full sunlight, and you will be amazed at the coppery colored leaves that appear on its oval shape. If you plant it where it gets less light, then the shrub’s leaves become more pastel in color. Make sure that wherever you plant it, the soil drains extremely quickly. See this guide on growing and caring for Copperleaf for more information.
This twining vine can grow up to 30-feet long in one growing season. Heart-shaped, alternating leaves on this vine often get to be over 12-inches long. While the flowers on this plant can be hard to see because of its green foliage, you will want to pay special attention to them because of their S or a dutchman’s pipe with a three-lobed flat ‘face’ shape. If you want a choice to put on an arbor, trellis or along a chain-link fence, then this may be the perfect choice.