Beautiful, dependable perennials come back in our gardens year after year. Choose plants that bloom at different times and combine them with bulbs, annuals, and flowering shrubs. With a little planning, you can have a flower show that’s nearly nonstop.
Use the list below to find plants that can take the heat and humidity in your South Florida garden. Selections and availability may vary by store.
Pentas: These pretty, semi-tropical plants stay in bloom for a long time and attract hummingbirds to their nectar-rich flowers. Available in pink, white or red, pentas make great container plants and hold their color even in the hot sun.
Mexican Petunia: Tough, easy-to-grow Mexican petunias are not true petunias. Also known as ruellias, these showy purple or blue flowers are favorites of hummingbirds and butterflies. Grow the plants in full to partial sun.
Lantana: Salt-tolerant lantanas are a great choice for gardeners who live near the shore. Depending on the variety, you can grow lantana as specimen plants, groundcovers, and border shrubs, or use them in window boxes and hanging baskets. Try lantana in a butterfly island bed to draw colorful winged visitors. You can find the flowers in white, pink, red, yellow, orange, purple, or multicolored.
Cuban gold duranta: This tropical Jamaican shrub with bright chartreuse foliage produces sprays of violet blue flowers from summer into fall. After the flowers fade, the plants form golden, non-edible berries. Give Duranta full sun to partial shade in your beds or containers.
Persian Shield: Like Cuban gold duranta, Persian shield is grown primarily for its stunning leaves, which are iridescent purple, silver, and green striped with dark green. In South Florida, the plants perform best when grown in partial to full shade. If rainfall is scarce, be sure to water them regularly.
Mexican Heather: Use this low-growing, tropical evergreen as a groundcover or accent plant. Mexican heather bears attractive green leaves and small purple, lavender, white, or pink flowers. Give the plants broken shade to help the foliage hold its color in hot weather. Otherwise, this butterfly-magnet is nearly carefree.
Purple Queen: Purple from its velvety leaves to its small, lavender flowers, this tender perennial works as a groundcover, a short shrub, or as a container plant. Once it becomes established, purple queen can survive periods of drought. It thrives in full sun to part shade.
Sedum: Also called stonecrop, drought-tolerant sedum is a sun-loving succulent that blooms from late summer into fall. The red, pink, gold, white, or yellow flowers are attractive to many butterflies.
Purslane: Purslane is another drought-tolerant succulent that thrives in almost any type of soil. These tender perennials spread easily and are practically carefree. (You may hear purslane referred to as portulaca; while they are related, the plants are not the same. Portulaca is a trailing annual also known as moss rose.)
Dianella Var Flax Lily: Grown for their handsome, variegated foliage, flax lilies have strappy, dark green leaves striped with cream. You may hear this plant called “blueberry flax lily” for the non-edible, berry-like fruit that appears after its small flowers fade. Try this low-growing, salt-tolerant plant as a groundcover or border grass; it thrives in sun to partial shade.