Must Have Florida Plants – Best Plants For Florida Gardening

Yellow Flowered Florida Plant
(Image credit: passion4nature)

Florida gardeners are lucky enough to live in a subtropical climate, which means they can enjoy their landscaping efforts practically year-round. Plus, they can grow a lot of exotic plants that northerners can only dream about (or overwinter). 

The University of Florida is a great resource for ideal plants for Florida, as is the program called Florida Select. Both entities make recommendations each year for gardening success. 

Best Florida Garden Plants: What to Grow in a Florida Garden

Ideal plants can include low maintenance as well as native plants. With year-round gardening chores, it’s nice to grow plants that aren’t too demanding. 

Here are low maintenance plants recommended for Florida gardening, including natives and must-have Florida plants. Low maintenance means they do not require frequent watering, spraying or pruning to stay healthy. Epiphytes listed below are plants that live on the trunks of trees or other living hosts but do not derive nutrients or water from the host. 


  • Scarlet milkweed (Asclepias curassavica)
  • Butter daisy (Melampodium divaricatum)
  • Indian blanket (Gaillardia pulchella)
  • Ornamental sages (Salvia spp.)
  • Mexican sunflower (Tithonia rotundifolia)


  • Night blooming cereus (Hylocereus undatus)
  • Mistletoe cactus (Rhipsalis baccifera)
  • Resurrection fern (Polypodium polypodioides)

Fruit Trees:

  • American persimmon (Diospyros virginiana)
  • Jackfruit (Artocarpus heterophyllus)
  • Loquat, Japanese plum (Eriobotrya japonica)
  • Sugar apple (Annona squamosa)

Palms, Cycads:

  • Chestnut cycad (Dioon edule)
  • Bismarck palm (Bismarckia nobilis)


  • Amaryllis (Hippeastrum spp.)
  • Bougainvillea (Bougainvillea spp.)
  • Coreopsis (Coreopsis spp.)
  • Crossandra (Crossandra infundibuliformis)
  • Heuchera (Heuchera spp.)
  • Japanese holly fern (Cyrtomium falcatum)
  • Liatris (Liatris spp.)
  • Pentas (Pentas lanceolata)
  • Pink muhly grass (Muhlenbergia capillaris)
  • Spiral ginger (Costus scaber)
  • Woodland phlox (Phlox divaricata)

Shrubs and Trees:

  • American beautyberry shrub (Callicarpa americana)
  • Bald cypress tree (Taxodium distichum)
  • Fiddlewood (Citharexylum spinosum)
  • Firebush shrub (Hamelia patens)
  • Flame of the forest tree (Butea monosperma)
  • Magnolia tree (Magnolia grandiflora 'Little Gem')
  • Loblolly pine tree (Pinus taeda)
  • Oakleaf hydrangea shrub (Hydrangea quercifolia)
  • Pigeon plum shrub (Coccoloba diversifolia)


  • Glory bower vine, bleeding heart (Clerodendrum thomsoniae)
  • Evergreen tropical wisteria (Millettia reticulata)
  • Trumpet honeysuckle (Lonicera sempervirens)
Susan Albert

After graduating from Oklahoma State University with a degree in English, Susan pursued a career in communications. In addition, she wrote garden articles for magazines and authored a newspaper gardening column for many years. She contributed South-Central regional gardening columns for four years to While living in Oklahoma, she served as a master gardener for 17 years.