From palms to plants and ground covers, Florida landscape plants are easy to care for but must be selected with your zone in mind. Let’s see what is out there.
Are you frustrated with the current feeding, care, and maintenance of your Florida landscape plants? Do you long to have a luscious garden with only a part-time effort? This guide may be just what you have been looking for.
Protect the Environment with Less Effort by Choosing the Right Florida Landscape Plants
If you are new to Southwest Florida, a native, snowbird, or long-time resident, it is useful to gain knowledge regarding the types of low-maintenance Florida landscape plants that answer the unique qualities of the area.
You can achieve a Florida-friendly landscape garden while protecting natural resources through water conservation, preventing erosion, and creating a wildlife habitat. What follows is just a small example of the trees, shrubs, plants, vines, palms, and ground covers suitable to zone 10a:
Flowering and Shade Trees
Acacia farnesiana – Sweet Acacia
Grows to 15 feet in full sun with high tolerance to salt. This native has sweet-smelling, yellow flowers that look like pom-poms. It needs good drainage.
Jacaranda mimosifolia – Jacaranda
Grows between 30 to 50 feet tall and takes full sun. These extraordinary lavender-blue trees are a showpiece. They get trumpet-shaped flowers late in the spring, which is followed by lacy, fern-like foliage. The roots are problematic, susceptible to root rot, capable of lifting sidewalks and wood, and liable to break in storms.
Ardisia escallonioides – Marlberry, Marbleberry
This one grows from 5 to 20 feet tall in partial shade. It has a high salt tolerance. Another native with attractive foliage and berries. This one can also be used as a barrier tree or kept as a specimen tree. Obviously, this one attracts birds.
Citharexylum spinosum – Fiddlewood
Grows to 50 feet tall in full sun and has high salt tolerance. This large tropical has glossy, bright green elliptical leaves, elongated arching panicles – up to 1-foot long – of small, fragrant white leaves, and a pyramidal crown. The leaves bronze in cool weather. It bears fruit of dark purple berries attractive to birds.
Shrubs and Hedges
Eugenia azillaris – White stopper
Grows from 5 to 20 feet tall in everything from full sun to dense shade and high salt tolerance. It has a pale, whitish bark with aromatic foliage that can be strong. The midsummer flowers are small and white, followed by purplish berries that attract birds.
Forestiera segregate – Florida Privet
Grows to 10 feet in full sun with high salt tolerance. A native shrub, the flowers are insignificant, but wildlife is attracted by the black fruit that follows. This is a good candidate for alkaline soils and makes a good hedge plant.
Galphimia glauca – Thryallis, Rain-of-Gold
Grows from 3 to 5 feet tall in full to partial shade and has low salt tolerance. This versatile evergreen is a tropical shrub. The yellow flowers bloom year-round. It requires a sheltered position since it is wood brittle but makes an excellent low hedge.
Jasminum multiflorum – Downy Jasmine
This fast-growing vine likes full to partial shade with low salt tolerance. An evergreen, branching vine, it can be trained as a shrub. The downy pubescence covering the leaves and stems lends a grayish-green appearance with small, star-shaped white flowers growing year-round.
Millettia reticulata – Tropical Wisteria
Another fast grower that enjoys full sun and has moderate salt tolerance. During summer, this one has attractive, rose-pink to blue, pea-like flowers in terminal panicles. It prefers a freely draining soil. Watch out for mites and whiteflies, though.
Palms and Palm-Like Plants
Bismarckia nobilis – Bismarck Palm
Grows from 20 to 30 feet tall in full sun and has no salt tolerance. A native of Madagascar, this enormous palm has huge, bluish, or green leaves. It is an extraordinarily durable and adaptable palm. Be sure to give it ample room as it is not suited to a small yard.
Ceratozamia hildae – Bamboo Cycad
Grows from 4 to 5 feet tall in full to partial shade and has low salt tolerance. This shrubby cycad is trunkless with brown emergent leaves. It is one of the few cycads that is completely spineless, making it a good choice for walkways. It requires well-drained soil.
Livistona chinensis – Fountain Palm
Grows from 15 to 40 feet in full sun to partial shade and has no salt tolerance. This is a medium-sized palm tree with large, light-green, palmate leaves splitting at the tips. It grows fast, producing an abundance of olive-shaped blue seed.
Dyschoriste oblongifolia – Twin Flower, Oblongleaf Snakeherb
Grows from 6 to 18 inches in full sun with low salt tolerance. A native perennial, it likes pinelands and grows best in dry sand. Plant these close together for best cover.
Ernodea littoralis – Golden creeper, Beach creeper
Growing from 1 to 3 feet in full sun, this one has a high salt tolerance. Excellent for beachfront ground cover, but it hates to be over watered. The flowers are insignificant.
Ipomoea pes-caprae – Railroad Vine
Grows from 3 to 8 inches tall in full sun with high salt tolerance. A native, sprawling vine, it has fleshy leaves and blooms large, rosy pink flowers.
For advice about your yard and the specific conditions you face, contact CWG Landscape for knowledgeable advice and professional landscaping services.