21 Perennial Plants For Florida Garden Spaces

Finding the perfect balance of perennials in Florida can be a challenge due to the high heat and humidity that the state is well known for. Even with the heat and humidity, there are plenty of perennials that love a more tropical environment! In this article, we look at our favorite perennial plants that can survive in the hot, humid, Florida climate.

florida perennials

Lucky you! You live in sunny Florida, and you have a garden that needs to be filled with beautiful flowers and foliage. But what should you grow? After all, no matter how lovely a plant is, it won’t do well if you don’t plant it in the right region.

Fortunately, the hot and humid climate makes it an excellent place for a wide range of well-known Florida perennials, with both flowers and foliage making an appearance. This means you’ll have a wide assortment of choices, compared to gardeners that live in colder climates.

So, ready to get some ideas about which perennials to plant this season? We’ve assembled a list of our favorite Florida perennials to grow in the Sunshine State!
*Note: We have a full section of dedicated content on native plants for Florida gardens. The following list of perennials includes plants that are non-native to the state.

Anise Hyssop

Agastache foeniculum
Anise Hyssop is a beautiful flower with medicinal and aromatic properties.
Scientific Name: Agastache foeniculum
  • Plant Type: Perennial
  • Geographic Origin: North America
  • Plant Size: Between 2 and 4 feet in height
  • Sun Exposure: Partial shade or full sun
  • Plant Zone: Zones 3 through 8

If you enjoy having mint in your garden, check out anise hyssop. This plant is in the same family, called Lamiaceae.

You can use anise hyssop in many dishes, but even more importantly, it looks lovely in your garden. The blossoms are lavender in color, making them striking and attractive. The foliage grows upwards, so anise hyssop is a noticeable and worthwhile addition.

You can grow anise hyssop from seed via division or stem cuttings. If you go the seed route, make sure the soil is well-moistened before planting. They are well known for their longer bloom times, and are one of the few flowers that can bloom all year in Florida.

Black and Blue Salvia

Salvia guaranitica
Black and Blue Salvia is an attractive perennial with cobalt blue flowers, native to southern South America.
Scientific Name: Salvia guaranitica
  • Plant Type: Perennial
  • Geographic Origin: Brazil
  • Plant Size: Between 30 and 40 inches in height
  • Sun Exposure: Partial to full sun
  • Plant Zone: Zones 7 through 10

When it comes to striking Florida perennials, black and blue salvia is undoubtedly among the top choices. While the stems are black during the summer, this plant also boasts flowers in a bright shade of blue.

Deep green foliage also grows on the black and blue salvia. This combination makes for an eye-catching addition to your property. Black and blue salvia may develop a spread of up to 24 inches.

It would help if you regularly deadheaded your black and blue salvia. This will make it easier for new blooms to appear.

The black and blue salvia plant tends to bloom early to late summer.

Blue Daze

Evolvulus glomeratus
Blue Daze is a low growing, herbaceous perennial with small downy heart-shaped leaves and true blue flowers.
Scientific Name: Evolvulus glomeratus
  • Plant Type: Perennial shrub
  • Geographic Origin: Brazil
  • Plant Size: Mature size ranges between 9 and 18 inches; width may reach 36 inches
  • Sun Exposure: Full sun
  • Plant Zone: Zones 9 through 11

You may hear others refer to blue daze as dwarf morning glory. This blue flowering shrub is used for groundcover, as gardeners appreciate this plant’s combination of foliage with silver-green tints and blue flowers.

You should consider blue daze as a perennial for your Florida garden because of its ability to tolerate drought. As long as you’re getting regular rainfall, you won’t need to water it very often.

If you have a blue daze plant in your garden, you’ll probably enjoy it most in the morning. That’s when the flowers bloom. Later in the day, they will close up.

To plant blue daze, make sure the soil is well-drained. It’s best to fertilize first, too.

Bougainvillea

Bougainvillea glabra
Bougainvillea grown at home blooms from May to November, in the natural environment in open ground it blooms for 8-9 months a year.
Scientific Name: Bougainvillea glabra
  • Plant Type: Perennial
  • Geographic Origin: Brazil
  • Plant Size: Between 20 and 30 feet in height (depends on the variety)
  • Sun Exposure: Partial to full sun
  • Plant Zone: Zones 9 through 11

Do you live in Florida’s northeastern region? If so, bougainvillea will behave as a perennial in your garden. They can even survive into hardiness zone 10 as a perennial in full sun.

This is a colorful and distinctly tropical, with white flowers adorned with bright pink trim. Sometimes the flowers are entirely bright, even hot pink. It makes any property feel more like a tropical oasis.

The best weather for bougainvillea is dry and warm or hot, with lots of sunlight. You can find different varieties of bougainvillea, including the vine, tree, and flowering bush varieties.

One of this plant’s many advantages is its several blooming cycles at different times.

Bulbine

Bulbine frutescens
Bulbine is a exotic perennial with golden yellow flowers that bloom from spring to autumn.
Scientific Name: Bulbine frutescens
  • Plant Type: Perennial
  • Geographic Origin: Southern Africa (including Swaziland, Lesotho, and South Africa)
  • Plant Size: Up to between 1 and 1.5 feet tall when mature
  • Sun Exposure: Partial shade or full sun
  • Plant Zone: Zones 9 through 11

Bulbine is such a popular perennial plant for Florida gardens that the Florida Nursery Growers and Landscape Association named it Plant of the Year in 2006.

Well-drained soil is essential for bulbine, and you should strive to give it full sun as well. In other words, as long as your bulbine gets enough direct sun for a substantial part of the day, it should grow well.

Don’t worry if you have low-nutrition soil. Bulbine will often thrive in even lower-quality soils. One of the best features of this plant is its orange or yellow flowers. These grow atop foliage that looks similar to long grass.

Buttercup

Ranunculus repens
Buttercup is a compact perennial native to Eurasia and occasionally found in North Africa.
Scientific Name: Ranunculus repens
  • Plant Type: Perennial
  • Geographic Origin: Asia, northwestern Africa, and Europe
  • Plant Size: Up to one and a half feet in height
  • Sun Exposure: Partial or full sun
  • Plant Zone: Zones 8 through 11

Buttercup is a bush-type plant that grows charming tiny yellow perennial flowers. Each flower has five petals. You may sometimes hear people call buttercup yellow alder or Cuban buttercup. You can plant buttercup as a small shrub or spreading groundcover.

This plant is remarkably resilient and isn’t picky when it comes to soil. We often see buttercup bushes quickly growing on beaches after severe storms.

A downside of buttercup is how it tends to attract pests like aphids and whiteflies. Buttercup is also considered a weed in some areas of the world.

Cuban Gold Duranta

Duranta repens
Cuban Gold Duranta is very fond of moisture, however, the frequency of watering will depend on the time of year.
Scientific Name: Duranta repens
  • Plant Type: Perennial
  • Geographic Origin: The Caribbean, South America, and Mexico
  • Plant Size: Between 18 and 24 inches in height
  • Sun Exposure: Full sun
  • Plant Zone: Zones 9 through 11

Cuban gold duranta, sometimes called “gold mound,” is a shrub plant, and it’s great for the Florida climate. The foliage you see on this plant is more colorful than you might expect, with tints of both yellow and green. In many cases, the yellow is delightfully bright.

Keep in mind, though, that you shouldn’t plant Cuban gold duranta as a hedge. Instead, use it as an accent plant in other parts of your garden. You should plant Cuban gold duranta in well-drained soil, and you should give this plant as much sun as possible. This helps enhance the color of the foliage.

Dianella Var Flax Lily

Dianella tasmanica Variegata
Dianella Var Flax Lily is characterized by beautiful shiny green foliage that can be a great accent in your garden.
Scientific Name: Dianella tasmanica Variegata
  • Plant Type: Perennial
  • Geographic Origin: Australia
  • Plant Size: Height and width may reach between 1 and 3 feet
  • Sun Exposure: Partial shade or full shade
  • Plant Zone: Zones 7 through 11

For beautiful foliage in your garden, try Dianella Var Flax Lily. The leaves are wonderfully glossy and green. You can use flax lily as a border plant, as well. In some cases, it may work as an accent for your flowerbeds.

The growth pattern of this plant is in clumps, so keep this in mind when making your plans. Flax lily does best in well-drained soil, and you can put it in spots with either partial shade or full sun. If you want to spread flax lily throughout your garden, divide it during the spring months.

Echinacea Purpurea

Echinacea purpurea
A suitable garden site for Echinacea Purpurea planting should be sunny and have a nutritious, deeply cultivated or neutral soil.
Scientific Name: Echinacea purpurea
  • Plant Type: Perennial
  • Geographic Origin: North America
  • Plant Size: Between 3 and 4 feet in height
  • Sun Exposure: Full sun is best
  • Plant Zone: Zones 4 through 9

Also called Eastern Purple Cornflower, Echinacea Purpurea is another popular choice amongst Florida perennials. You should choose a spot with partial sun for this plant.

Always plant Eastern purple cornflower in well-drained soil. Ensure your echinacea purpurea won’t be exposed to excessive salt, as this plant doesn’t have good salt tolerance.

Other than that, Echinacea purpurea is flexible in terms of the soil it does well in, such as sand, loam, and clay. It’s colorful perennial blooms make a great addition to any garden.

Lantana

Lantana camara
Lantana loves warmth so that it feels great in regions with hot summers, but requires more abundant watering.
Scientific Name: Lantana camara
  • Plant Type: Perennial
  • Geographic Origin: Tropical regions
  • Plant Size: Between 8 and 36 inches in height
  • Sun Exposure: Full sun
  • Plant Zone: Zones 7 and higher

Lantana grows numerous small bright red flowers with light to medium green foliage. Be aware that lantana is a groundcover or shrub-type plant. To maintain lantana, you should only do moderate cutting back while it’s growing. However, once you know that the growing season is over, you should cut it thoroughly, nearly to the ground.

One of the essential tips for growing lantana is to plant it in well-drained soil. You should give some fertilizer to the lantana, but make sure to do so lightly. It’s best to use controlled release or slow-release types of fertilizer.

While lantana can tolerate drought, it will thrive more visibly if you do regular watering. As a popular plant for Florida gardens, lantana is excellent at dealing with hot temperatures.

Lavender

Lavandula angustifolia
Lavender grows well in sandy, dry soil, but it also grows quite well in well-drained loamy soil.
Scientific Name: Lavandula angustifolia
  • Plant Type: Perennial
  • Geographic Origin: India, the Middle East, and the Mediterranean
  • Plant Size: Varieties range from lower than 12 inches to 3 feet
  • Sun Exposure: Partial to full sun
  • Plant Zone: Zones 5 through 8

The best kind of soil for lavender tends to be sandy and dry. Lavender is a beautiful addition to any garden, including those on Florida properties. However, make sure you get the correct type of lavender. Certain kinds of lavender will wilt in the humidity and heat of Florida summers.

When it comes to Florida, the optimum types of lavender include Lavandula canariensis and Phenomenal Lavender. Remember, well-drained soil is essential for lavender. This is why growing lavender in raised beds is best. You could also consider containers.

Of course, the perks of having lavender in your garden are its colorful beauty and glorious scent. It’s a great way of fragrancing your space.

Mexican Heather

Cuphea hyssopifolia
The flowering period of Mexican Heather lasts long enough, for several months, but at the same time, each bud does not bloom for long.
Scientific Name: Cuphea hyssopifolia
  • Plant Type: Perennial
  • Geographic Origin: Guatemala and Mexico
  • Plant Size: Between 12 and 24 inches in height
  • Sun Exposure: Partial or full sun
  • Plant Zone: Zones 9 through 11

Mexican heather is sometimes also called false heather or elfin heather. Mexican heather grows as a thick shrublet with many tiny flowers that you’ll enjoy for a large part of each year. The flowers may be pink, white, or purple.

This perennial plant is quite flexible when it comes to soil type. For example, it can grow in sand, clay, and loam soils. Concerning pH, Mexican heather can do well in both acidic and alkaline soils.

However, one weakness of Mexican heather is its low tolerance to salt. However, it will do well in drought.

Mexican Petunia

Ruellia simplex
Mexican Petunia is a heat-loving plant with beautiful velvet flowers.
Scientific Name: Ruellia simplex
  • Plant Type: Perennial
  • Geographic Origin: Mexico and the Southwestern United States
  • Plant Size: Up to between 1 and 4 feet in height, between 1 and 3 feet in width, and between 1 and 3 feet in length
  • Sun Exposure: Partial or full sun, or shade
  • Plant Zone: Zones 8 through 11

This is a sunshine-loving plant, putting it at the top of the list for Florida perennials. It will do best if you have a place in your garden that gets full sun. Otherwise, it will probably stay alive, but it won’t grow as many flowers.

A Mexican petunia that develops in full sun offers all of its most popular features. These include purple stems. Plant your Mexican petunias in well-drained, fertilized, and nutritious soil. When it comes to the pH level, it’s best to go with something between neutral and acidic.

When Mexican petunia is still growing, you should ensure the soil stays moist. However, wait until you see the top part of the soil dried out before each watering session. Mexican petunia withstands challenging conditions like flooding and drought.

Ox-Eye Sunflower

Heliopsis helianthoides
Ox-Eye Sunflower comes from the central and southern regions of the North American continent.
Scientific Name: Heliopsis helianthoides
  • Plant Type: Perennial
  • Geographic Origin: North America
  • Plant Size: Between 2 and 4 feet in height
  • Sun Exposure: Full sun
  • Plant Zone: Zones 3 through 9

If you’re a Florida homeowner on the hunt for a brightly colorful and cheerful shrub, you should consider adding an ox-eye sunflower to your property. It’s adorned with large yellow and orange flowers, with a diameter of about two or three inches each.

While this plant is a perennial, its blooming and growing seasons are short. In that time, you can expect this shrub to grow to between two and four feet in width.

Ox-eye sunflower effectively tolerates drought, giving you extra peace of mind.

Pentas

Pentas lanceolata
For Pentas, a bright location is preferable with use from direct sunlight.
Scientific Name: Pentas lanceolata
  • Plant Type: Perennial
  • Geographic Origin: Yemen and Africa
  • Plant Size: Up to between 2 and 3 feet in height
  • Sun Exposure: Partial or full sun
  • Plant Zone: Zones 9 through 11

If you want pentas in your Florida garden, you should plant them later in the spring. Ensure the soil is well-drained and that the plant will get full sun. If you’re planting more than one pentas plant, you should keep ample space between them. That is because of how tall and wide they grow when they mature.

When you want your pentas to be as bushy as possible, do some pinching back during the early growth stages. One of the loveliest features of pentas is how it grows white, red, and pink flowers. This blooming happens during warm weather.

Pentas are also enjoyable because they bring butterflies and hummingbirds onto your property.

Persian Shield

Strobilanthes dyerianus
Persian Shield needs regular and abundant watering.
Scientific Name: Strobilanthes dyerianus
  • Plant Type: Perennial
  • Geographic Origin: Myanmar
  • Plant Size: Width up to 2 to 3 feet, height up to 3 to 4 feet
  • Sun Exposure: Partial to full shade
  • Plant Zone: Zones 8 through 11

Persian shield is among the best selections when it comes to Florida summers. It’s a perennial, so you can count on it coming back for the next season. If you want to include a Persian shield in your garden, ensure your soil is well-drained and well-fertilized.

You’ll notice your Persian shield’s flowers appearing during the winter months. These aren’t one of the plant’s selling points, though. It’s hard to see them. The foliage of the Persian shield is colorful, however, with shades of vibrant pink accenting dark green.

Cover it to keep this perennial plant alive in cold temperatures. Your Persian shield will act as an annual if you don’t do this.

Purple Queen

Tradescantia pallida
Purple Queen needs a lot of light and does not withstand shady and too humid places.
Scientific Name: Tradescantia pallida
  • Plant Type: Perennial
  • Geographic Origin: Canary Islands
  • Plant Size: Between one and one and a half feet in height
  • Sun Exposure: Full sun is ideal but will survive in shady areas
  • Plant Zone: Zone 9B, Zone 10 are best

Purple queen is a plant with a groundcover growth pattern. One of the unique features of this plant are the purple stems. All the other components are purple shades, such as the leaves, which are purple with a velvet texture, and pale lavender flowers.

When deciding where to plant purple queen on your property, look for a spot with either partial or (even better) full sun. If you give this plant full sun, it’s more likely to develop a more vibrant color.

When trimming purple queen, you should do so on the bed edge. When you plant your purple queen, also use some organic peat moss or a different kind of topsoil. This is especially important if you’re growing purple queen in a drier spot of your space.

While you shouldn’t excessively water this plant, it certainly does need regular watering. Purple queen tends to be a bit vulnerable to drought when it’s still growing, but once it’s mature, it should be able to stand up to dry conditions.

Purslane

Portulaca oleracea 
Gardeners recommend Portulaca oleracea to less professional people because this plant is easy to grow and does not require professional care.
Scientific Name: Portulaca oleracea 
  • Plant Type: Perennial
  • Geographic Origin: India, the Middle East, and North Africa
  • Plant Size: Between 4 and 8 inches in height and up to 15 inches in width
  • Sun Exposure: Full sun is best
  • Plant Zone: Zones 2 through 12

Some people call purslane “little hogweed,” and it’s quite a common perennial plant in Florida.

Florida homeowners who do like purslane tend to grow it amongst the plants in their vegetable gardens. It’s trendy for pairing with tomato plants. Purslane is part of the family of succulent plants. As such, its stems and leaves are pretty thick.

You’ll find tiny yellow flowers on this plant, but they’re short-lived, only lasting around 24 hours. This plant brings in additional color with its reddish stems.

Sedum

Sedum
Sedum is a very heat-loving flower prefers to be in constant sun in the garden.
Scientific Name: Sedum
  • Plant Type: Perennial
  • Geographic Origin: North America
  • Plant Size: Between 6 and 24 inches in height
  • Sun Exposure: Full sun or partial shade
  • Plant Zone: Zones 3 through 11

If your soil tends to be sandy and low-nutrition, sedum may be a great choice. It’s low-maintenance and doesn’t need much watering.

One of the reasons sedum does so well in Florida is its love of the sun. If you can find a place with consistent full sun in your garden, it’s probably perfect for planting sedum. However, if you live in southern Florida, your sedum may do better with a little bit of shade each day.

There are different kinds of sedum available, so choose the one that best fits your style and needs.

Shooting Star

Pseuderanthemum laxiflorum
Shooting Star is a perennial, fast growing plant, does well in partial shade, prefers well-drained soil.
Scientific Name: Pseuderanthemum laxiflorum
  • Plant Type: Perennial
  • Geographic Origin: Fiji Islands
  • Plant Size: Up to 4 feet in height and width
  • Sun Exposure: Partial shade to full sun
  • Plant Zone: Zones 4 through 8

A shrub plant well-known among Florida homeowners, a shooting star is another perennial for you to consider. Once it gets going, it’s fast-growing, so be prepared for regular pruning. Otherwise, it can get rather unruly.

You don’t have to worry if your shooting star doesn’t get full sun, as this plant will still do well in partial shade. Shooting stars need to be watered every week. They also require monthly fertilization to keep your plant healthy, and they prefer well-drained soil.

Be aware that shooting stars are quite fragile when it comes to cold weather. Temperatures that plunge below freezing will damage shooting stars.

Shrimp Plant

Shrimp Plant grows in the form of a bush, which, with proper care, reaches 2 m in height.
Scientific Name: Pachystachys lutea
  • Geographic Origin: West Indies and Central America
  • Plant Size: Between two and six feet in height
  • Sun Exposure: Partial shade or partial sun
  • Plant Zone: Zones 9 through 11

The Shrimp Plant is an excellent choice amongst Florida perennials if you want something striking. The flowers grow in a unique shape and configuration, featuring a lovely golden color. You can grow this perennial in either partial shade or partial sun.

One feature of the Shrimp Plant is how it blooms throughout the year as long as you live somewhere warm (Florida definitely qualifies). If you want your Shrimp Plants to thrive, give them high-nutrition organic soil.

If frost ever happens in your part of Florida, you can expect your Shrimp Plant to die back. However, it should come back once spring rolls around.

Final Thoughts

Now you know which Florida perennials will do well in your garden, which ones will you choose? Remember to consider your lifestyle and preferences when making your selections.

Florida, especially the southern part of the state, is famous for its hot and humid weather. Whatever plants you include in your flower beds and property, ensure they can deal with whatever your region’s weather can throw at them.

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