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Top Perennials for Floridians

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If you live in Florida, you’ve likely experienced the unexpected difficulty of trying to start a perennial garden. While it may seem like everything should grow in abundance in such a lush environment, the humidity and heat actually create a unique tropical climate unlike that of any other state, making it a challenge to find the perfect plants for your home garden. We’ve rounded up a few of our favorite perennials that are specifically suited for the sunshine state that will help your garden flourish.

Pentas

If you’re looking for a flower that will bloom all year and help attract gorgeous hummingbirds and butterflies to your yard, pentas deserves a spot in your garden. Small clustered blooms come in shade of red, white, purple, and pink and fill the space with an array of color. Grow in full sun or part shade and be sure to fertilize to help sustain the blooms and make up for nutrient-deficient sandy soil. 

Gerbera Daisy

These cheery flowers come in a rainbow of colors and work well to add interest to your containers on your patio or fill in spots in the garden. These perennials will bloom continuously from spring until fall in most of Florida and may even bloom all year long in South Florida where the weather stays warmer. Plant a variety of colors to create beautiful cut-flower bouquets to decorate your kitchen table or windowsill. 

Mexican heather

Finding a sturdy groundcover that won’t get washed away by heavy Florida rains can be incredibly difficult. Thankfully, Mexican Heather is up to the challenge. Once mature, this pretty green foliage spreads and produces lovely purple flowers that attract all sorts of pollinators. It requires little to no care or attention, making it a perfect addition to those forgotten spots in your garden that are usually left bare. 

Lavender

Though it will develop root rot if you plant it in an area that often has standing water, lavender can be an excellent addition to the drier parts of your garden. It loves sandy soil and doesn’t need a ton of nutrients to Flourish and will stay green all year in the sunshine state, allowing you to harvest its intoxicatingly scented leaves for years to come. Trim off lavender sprigs and use them in crafts, sachets, or to create tinctures and teas for relaxation and to help ease insomnia. Be sure to do your research when picking which variety to grow as specific cultivars will stand up to the climate better than others. 

Lantana 

Another pollinator favorite, lantana, is known for its pretty foliage and colorful cluster blooms, making it a prime stop for native butterflies and bees. Be sure to give it lots of water and fertilize regularly to provide adequate nutrients. Another way to help lengthen the bloom time is to deadhead the spent flowers to encourage new blooms.

Blue Daze 

One of the struggles of gardening in Florida is the constant humidity, as many plants don’t like moist soil and will wilt under such wet conditions. Blue daze is not one of those plants. In fact, it does better in humid climates and will thrive as a perennial in the heat and moisture of the Florida air. Plant it somewhere sunny and enjoy its bright blue flowers. 

Firebush

This flowering shrub will quickly grow from four to six feet tall, producing vibrant orange flowers and intriguing fruit from summer to fall. Plant it in full sun and enjoy watching the leaves change to a red color in the fall, making “firebush” and suitable name for this red and orange-hued beauty. 

Anise hyssop

Though it’s not native to Florida, this scented herb will do well in your southern herb garden and bring in loads of bees to help pollinate your plants. We’re not kidding about the bees, though! If you have an allergy or an aversion to bees, plant this away from your frequently visited garden areas or avoid growing it altogether. If you don’t mind a few bees, you’ll love the mint-and-licorice-scented, edible leaves and the spikes of lavender-colored flowers that stick around from summer to fall. 

Hibiscus

This list wouldn’t be complete without the beautiful blooms of the hibiscus plant. Enjoy planting many different colors and varieties in your garden for the optimal tropical oasis effect. Remember, in north Florida, this plant will usually die back for the winter (depending on the temperature) and will come back equally as vibrant during the next growing season. 

Are you a Florida gardener? What perennials do you love to grow?

-Taylor Ramsey

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