In Florida’s warm spring and hot and humid summers, it is important to know which flowers don’t just survive, but thrive under the conditions here. Looking for beautiful flowers to plant in your garden or put on your patio? Look at the list of flowers below that are perfect to grow in Florida’s weather.
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It is important to make sure these flowers receive the proper watering to reach their potential beauty. Talk to an irrigation and sprinkler expert to determine the best watering schedule and the expert can set up sprinkler heads strategically placed in landscaping beds or pointed in the correct direction for ample watering.
Bird of Paradise
University of Florida IFAS states that the “bird of paradise (Strelitzia reginae) is a striking tropical plant known for its eye-catching orange and blue flowers. The uniquely shaped flowers are said to look like a bird in flight, and make long-lasting cut flowers. The banana-like, evergreen leaves create a lush backdrop. Look for a sunny or partly sunny location where you can grow your bird of paradise. It will need regular watering and fertilizing to grow and flower at its best. Over time, the plant can form a three- to five-foot tall clump. This tropical beauty doesn’t like cold weather, so cover it during hard freezes or grow it in a pot that can be moved when cold weather strikes. A white-flowering form is also available, though it can reach 15 to 30 feet tall”.
“Begonias are some of the most versatile plants around — there’s a variety for practically everyone, whether you garden indoors or out or have sun or shade. But it’s important to pick the right kind of begonia for success. Here’s what to look for in begonias — including tips to selecting the best plants at your local garden center. Make sure you match the lighting conditions with the type of begonia you have. In most areas, for example, tuberous begonias will suffer sunburn and look bad in full-sun areas. Also pay attention to the soil or potting mix — they like a well-draining medium and hate to have their roots stay wet for extended periods. It’s much easier to kill a begonia by watering it too much than not enough. Most begonias grow just as well in containers as they do garden beds and borders. They are particularly effective plants for creating a unified look in your yard because you can grow many varieties in both sun and shade. Repeating beautiful begonias in containers and garden beds also creates a consistent landscaping look,” explains Costa Farms.
Crossandra “Florida Sunset”
“This heat-loving tropical plant will bring color to your garden or home during warm months. Crossandra (Crossandra infundibuliformis), sometimes called firecracker flower, can be used as a houseplant or in the landscape. This tropical flower is easy to grow and will bring attention in any setting. Crossandra is native to India and Sri Lanka, where its blossoms are often combined with jasmine to adorn women’s hair. It is related to the Mexican petunia and the yellow shrimp plant.
This tropical perennial will grow up to 3 feet tall, with glossy, textured leaves that are oval-shaped and can grow up to 5 inches long. Crossandra has clusters of tubular flowers that are usually salmon, but can also be shades of red, yellow, and pink. There are several new varieties out now with orange flowers, such as ‘Florida Sunset’ and ‘Orange Marmalade.’ Pollinators such as butterflies and dragonflies are attracted to the colorful blossoms. Crossandra thrives in warm, humid environments and cannot tolerate cold weather. They perform as perennials in Central and South Florida, according to Gardening Solutions.
Egyptian Star Flowers – Pentas
“Pentas plants are semi-tropical shrubs grown as annuals that seem to be tailor-made for butterflies. The nectar-rich flowers grow in clusters over a long blooming season in the vibrant red, pink, and purple shades that act as a butterfly beacon. Clusters of many shallow blooms provide an easy access for the butterfly proboscis, allowing the insects to dip into many flowers in a short period. Bees like them too, so consider adding this plant to a landscape space you want buzzing with activity.
The genus Pentas, species lanceolata, belongs to the Rubiaceae family, which includes other beloved ornamentals like gardenias, as well as plants with economic importance like coffee. You may see pentas described on plant tags by the common names star flower, Egyptian star flower, or star cluster. You can grow pentas anywhere as an annual; in growing zones 9 and warmer the plants may even perennialize.
Pentas are a tropical import, and grow wild in East Africa. Plants are just the right size for the middle of the summer border: The average height of pentas is 24-36 inches, but plants that perennialize in frost free zones may reach four feet tall or greater. The dark green foliage of pentas plants is slightly fuzzy, and the five-petaled blossoms grow in 3-inch clusters similar to other butterfly favorites like sedum, lantana, and Queen Anne’s lace. Blossom colors include pink, purple, white, and red,” describes the Spruce.com.
The Canna Lily (Canna)
The Old Farmer’s Almanac comments that “Cannas are among the most colorful summer bulbs—as flamboyant as their tropical American ancestry—with ruffled spikes tapering to refined buds. These perennials come in a vast variety of color and boast immense, often-veined, paddle-shaped leaves and sheathing leafstalks in shades of green or bronze.
With their great reedy canes and palmy foliage, canna lilies would be magnificent even if they never bloomed. However, they keep blossoming from late spring or early summer to frost. Exotic, tropical creatures, cannas need lots of sunshine and fertile, moist soil—but you don’t have to pamper them”.
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Former U.S. Coast Guard and Tampa-native Joseph Swett is the owner of Sunrise Irrigation, a Palm Harbor-based company that has been providing sprinkler and irrigation services in the Tampa Bay Area, Florida, for more than 20 years. A RainBird-trained landscape specialist, Mr. Swett is dedicated to helping Florida homes and businesses implement effective irrigation technologies and transition towards smart water conservation. In his spare time, Joe sponsors and plays in two men’s softball leagues, but also enjoys surfing and going fishing with his family.