Best Florida Landscape Plants
We don’t know about you, but we here at Tommy Williams Homes in Gainesville are itching to begin our spring planting. Since the last-frost date for our area was March 6th, we’re good to go!
In addition, in the midst of the coronavirus emergency with so much shut down and everyone so stressed, remember that any type of contact with the outdoors has been shown to have numerous benefits.
According the American Heart Association (AHA), “Spending time in nature can help relieve stress and anxiety, improve your mood, and boost feelings of happiness and wellbeing.” So pick up that trowel and get gardening!
Our fortunate location
There are literally thousands of plants that will grow well in our subtropical climate, which features brief winters, beautiful springs and falls, and long, hot, humid summers. And because we’re well inland, away from the coast, we’re able to grow plants that would never survive the constant harsh blasts of salty air.
We can also enjoy some species more suited to a northern climate, such as deciduous trees and some evergreens, as well as some tropical specimens that our neighbors in the mid-Atlantic and northern climate zones can only dream of.
Here are just a few that we think will enhance the overall enjoyment and curb appeal of a beautifully designed Tommy Williams home. Check our many local garden centers as well as online sources for other ideas and suggestions.
Trees and shrubs
Hibiscus—This beautiful shrub is prized for its showy flowers, which can be found in an array of colors from shy pink to brilliant yellow to bright red. It is often used as a hedge in warmer climates, and can reach a height of 15 feet.
Magnolia—What says “southern” like magnolia Grandiflora? This tree, with its glossy leaves and large, fragrant white flowers, offers a year-round display of beauty. When its leaves drop in the fall, the dark, twisting branches provide winter interest. Or try its cousin, the sweet bay magnolia (M. virginiana), which can often remain evergreen in our climate.
Gardenia—This fragrant shrub is also closely associated with the south; you may remember that the unforgettable jazz singer Billie Holiday always wore a gardenia blossom in her hair. Intensely fragrant, these hardy shrubs will survive to about 10 degrees with little damage, and make lovely displays on decks or near entryways.
Other good possibilities include pineapple guava, firebush, crape myrtle, and saw palmetto.
Lavender—This fragrant perennial herb is not only drought-tolerant, but actually prefers a drier, well-drained soil. Native to the Mediterranean, it’s prized for its fragrant lavender or purple flowers that bloom from summer through fall, attracting bees and butterflies. Other good drought-tolerant herbs are sage, chives, rosemary, and most types of mint.
Bougainvillea—This shrubby vine features brilliant colorful bracts that, depending on the cultivar, can change colors depending on their exposure to sunlight: brighter in full sun, more pale in shade.
Coreopsis—Another drought-tolerant plant, coreopsis is Florida’s official state flower. It provides a bright display in beds and borders and features a long blooming season. Available in a wide variety of single or double blooms and colors, its blossoms attract bees and butterflies, while its seeds are a bird magnet.
Other good possibilities include geranium, iris, coneflower, yucca, and aloe.
Annuals and perennials
Pentas—This is a popular perennial in our area, providing nearly year-round color in semi-shade. A low-maintenance plant, it blooms all season in shades of pink, lavender, red, or white, and is renowned for attracting bees, butterflies, and hummingbirds.
Other possibilities for annuals and perennials in our climate are almost endless. These include cosmos, marigold, stock, snapdragon, coleus, impatiens, petunias, zinnia . . . Scroll around online and try not to go wild!
Elephant’s ear—This plant was aptly named, producing one- to three-foot leaves on thick stems that offer a lush backdrop for any tropical garden. Most popular in green, it’s also available in variegated colors.
Canna—Another tropical-looking plant that is easy to grow are the cannas. Their long spikes of flowers rise from thick, three- to six-foot leaves, and last throughout the season. Flower colors come in a range from nearly white and ivory through the yellows and oranges to deep red.
Other good bulb possibilities include caladium, dahlia, kaffir lily, and peacock iris.
Once you settle into your carefully crafted, energy-efficient Tommy Williams home, we predict you won’t be able to resist brightening up your yard with any of these attractive plants.
And be sure to contact us today to view our wide selection of affordable, net-zero homes.