15 Flowers That Grow in Florida Year-Round

One of the significant advantages of living in a place like Florida is that the gardening season never truly ends! You might need to adjust what you plant throughout the year, but there’s rarely a time when nothing will grow.

Despite the year-round appeal of Florida’s climate, many flowering plants are surprisingly short-lived. This can result in ugly gaps in the landscape if you don’t carefully plan your garden to bloom continuously.

In this article, I’ll share some of the best flowers that grow in Florida year-round to help you design a colorful, long-lasting garden for all seasons.

Florida’s Hardiness Zones

Florida’s biomes are incredibly diverse. You can quickly encounter lush mangrove swamps, sandy dunes, grassy prairies, and hardwood forests in one day.

The type of environment you’re growing in can play a significant role in overall success. For example, some plants are better suited to salty ocean air than others. As far as home gardening is concerned, though, your local hardiness zone is also incredibly important.

There are four main USDA Hardiness Zones within Florida: 8, 9, 10, and 11. Zone 8 covers most of the Panhandle while Zone 11 is reserved for the Florida Keys. Zones 9 and 10 make up the bulk of the state.

It’s not just about whether or not a particular plant will survive in your hardiness zone. Many long-lived flowers will stop blooming if the temperatures get too cold (or too hot). 

How Do Plants Know When to Flower?

A lot goes into how and when a plant decides to flower. Seasonal bloomers largely rely on photoreceptors to track the amount of available sunlight, only blooming when the days are the perfect length. This helps protect the flower buds from environmental dangers like spring frost.

Some plants likely evolved to flower at times when pollinators are most active. After all, the whole point of flowering is to create offspring, and many plants rely on insects and other pollinators to transfer pollen (genetic material). 

Plants growing in temperate climates may be more apt to bloom for longer periods. Year-round blooming is still relatively rare. This is in part because flower production takes a lot of energy! Some plants are physically incapable of sustaining flower production for more than a few months or weeks.

Yet another reason why year-round blooming isn’t always possible is that certain plants need cold weather to induce bud development. Tulips are a common example — soil temperatures below 55°F trigger chemical reactions that cause the flowers to form.

15 Plants That Can Flower Year-Round in Florida

I can think of many reasons you’d want to add ever-blooming plants to your Florida garden. First and foremost, they’re a great way to add year-long colour to the landscape. These plants can also provide a reliable food source for insects, hummingbirds, and other pollinators that may visit your backyard throughout the year.

As you go through this list, take note of the key traits I’ve highlighted for each plant. These include the plant type, hardiness, and whether or not it’s native to Florida. You can use these facts to help you make informed decisions about the best plants for your garden.

Lantana

1) Lantana

Lantana spp.

  • Type: Shrub
  • Hardiness: 9 to 11
  • Status: Native and introduced

Lantana shrubs are incredibly popular throughout Florida, largely because they’re drought-tolerant, heat-tolerant, and extremely attractive. The clustered flowers are easy to identify — usually blooming from the outside in — and come in a wide range of colour combinations.

According to the University of Florida, L. camara is the most common species of lantana grown in the state. Unfortunately, it’s also very invasive. I highly recommend investing in sterile varieties of lantana, which do not produce live seed and therefore won’t spread outside your garden.

There are also a couple of native species of lantana worth considering: L. depressa and L. involucrata. Though these plants are rare in the wild, some nurseries have cultivated versions available.

Bougainvillea

2) Bougainvillea

Bougainvillea spp.

  • Type: Vine or shrub
  • Hardiness: 9 to 11
  • Status: Introduced

Commonly grown in tropical and subtropical climates, bougainvillaea is a vibrant shrub with flowers of purple, pink red, white and orange that can bloom intermittently throughout the whole year. It is hardy in Zones 9 to 11 but unlikely to flower year-round in Zone 9 due to the colder winters.

There are three main species of bougainvillaea cultivated for home gardens, as well as countless hybrids available. The most stunning varieties feature bright pink, red, or magenta bracts (modified leaves) that replace showy petals. A few varieties also have uniquely variegated foliage.

Bougainvillea shrubs are generally thorny and easy to care for. Plant in full sun to ensure long-lasting blooms, as shrubs in partial shade tend to flower less vigorously.

Hibiscus

3) Hibiscus

Hibiscus rosa-sinensis

  • Type: Shrub
  • Hardiness: 9 to 12
  • Status: Introduced

Gardeners in nearly all climates grow tropical hibiscus in containers or, if the conditions are warm enough, in the landscape. Hibiscus shrubs and trees are incredibly commonplace throughout most of Florida.

As a general rule, hibiscus plants flower in warm weather. As long as your climate is mild year-round, you can expect new buds to emerge through spring, summer, fall, and even winter.

Hibiscus is hardy to all of Florida except for the upper part of the Panhandle. In Zones 8 and 9, you’ll likely see better results growing tropical hibiscus in a container that can be moved to a sunny indoor space during the colder months.

Blue Plumbago

4) Blue Plumbago

Plumbago auriculata

  • Type: Shrub
  • Hardiness: 9 to 11
  • Status: Introduced

Blue Plumbago is a South African native that loves heat and a bit of humidity. This shrub is relatively problem-free — pest and disease issues are rare — with a low-maintenance nature. Its charming blue flowers are reminiscent of garden phlox.

Despite its non-native status, blue plumbago is deemed okay to plant in Florida landscapes. It poses little danger to native habitats and plant species, so home gardeners can incorporate this attractive shrub without worrying about its ecological impact.

White Plumbago

5) White Plumbago

Plumbago zeylanica

  • Type: Shrub
  • Hardiness: 9B to 11
  • Status: Native

An even better alternative to blue plumbago is white plumbago, which is native to Florida. Of course, no one is stopping you from growing both in your garden!

Though white plumbago is not as showy as its blue cousin, it is just as drought-tolerant and easy to care for. The flowers look nearly identical, aside from the apparent colour difference.

A big reason to consider planting white plumbago is that it hosts a number of native butterfly species and their caterpillars. The Cassius blue butterfly (Leptotes Cassius) is most notable. Adding white plumbago to your garden could provide valuable habitat for this and other native pollinators.

Daylily

6) Daylily

Hemerocallis spp.

  • Type: Herbaceous perennial
  • Hardiness: 3 to 9
  • Status: Introduced

Daylilies are remarkably adaptable, thriving in gardens from Florida to Minnesota. The grass-like foliage contrasts nicely against many popular perennials and shrubs. There’s also an incredible variety of colours and bloom habits available.

Year-long blooms aren’t guaranteed from every daylily. For Florida gardeners in Zone 9, however, good site selection and routine maintenance will create the right conditions for flowers that last most (if not all) of the year. 

Certain daylily varieties have differing bloom periods. Use these to extend and diversify your garden’s floral display.

Blanketflower

7) Blanketflower

Gaillardia pulchella

  • Type: Herbaceous perennial
  • Hardiness: 3 to 10
  • Status: Introduced

Blanket flowers are herbaceous perennials with bright red, yellow, and orange flowers that resemble daisies. The most popular varieties have multi-coloured petals. 

Until recently, the blanket flower was thought to be native to Florida. According to the Florida Wildflower Foundation, recent research indicates it has likely naturalized from surrounding areas. Another species in the genus, G. aestivalis, is native to the region.

Though not native to the American Southeast, the blanket flower isn’t considered invasive or particularly problematic. It makes an attractive groundcover and can tolerate various growing conditions, including extreme heat, drought, and salinity.

Blue Morning Glory

8) Blue Morning Glory

Ipomoea indica

  • Type: Perennial vine
  • Hardiness: 9 to 11
  • Status: Native

Also known as ocean-blue morning glory, this scrambling vine is likely native to the southeastern United States but is found in similar climates worldwide. It prefers wetland habitats, such as those found along streams and riverbeds, and will flower year-round even in the wild.

You can grow blue morning glory as a landscape ornamental or allow it to naturalize a suitable habitat on your property. While this vine will climb if given the chance, you can also let it crawl along the ground as erosion control.

Blue morning glory is a key nectar source for numerous butterfly species, including the native mangrove skipper (Phocides pygmalion). 

Blue Daze

9) Blue Daze

Evolvulus glomeratus

  • Type: Perennial vine
  • Hardiness: 8 to 11
  • Status: Introduced

Blue Daze is indeed a member of the morning glory family, however, it doesn’t have a vining growth habit often expected of the family. Its other common name is dwarf morning glory. 

This plant typically forms compact mounds that look beautiful in baskets or as a sprawling groundcover. It’s frequently grown along the tops of retaining walls and similar types of landscaping.

Blue daze has a very long bloom season and is apt to flower year-round in warmer parts of Florida. In Zone 8 (and possibly even Zone 9), it is likely to go dormant in the colder months.

Garden Geranium

10) Garden Geranium

Pelargonium × hortorum

  • Type: Annual or tender perennial
  • Hardiness: 9 to 12
  • Status: Introduced

Not to be confused with hardy geranium or cranesbill (Geranium spp.), garden geraniums are the frilly, colourful flowers typically grown annually in most climates. In the southern parts of Florida, however, it’s very possible to grow garden geraniums year-round.

Garden geraniums are excellent container candidates. This also gives you maximum control of the plants’ environment, in case temperatures drop unexpectedly or the weather turns sour. Many gardeners keep them as houseplants.

One of my favourite things about garden geraniums is the sheer variety available. They’re also relatively affordable compared to some of the other plants on this list (most greenhouses sell them for just a couple of dollars apiece). 

Note that when grown as perennials, it’s normal for the main stalk of the plant to go slightly woody.

Coreopsis

11) Coreopsis

Coreopsis spp.

  • Type: Herbaceous perennial
  • Hardiness: 2 to 11 (species vary)
  • Status: Native

Florida contains several native species of coreopsis. It’s so ingrained in the local flora that coreopsis is even Florida’s official state flower.

These charming daisy-like plants are also commonly called tickseed. This odd name comes from the fact that the seeds look a lot like ticks. In my opinion, though, the name is a bit of a turn-off for what is otherwise a very attractive garden plant!

Coreopsis blooms are typically yellow or light orange with dark centres. The flowering season usually lasts from spring to summer but can be year-long in southern Florida.

 Fashion Azalea

12) Fashion Azalea

Rhododendron x ‘Fashion’

  • Type: Shrub
  • Hardiness: 7 to 10
  • Status: Introduced

You can grow all kinds of azaleas in Florida but the Fashion azalea is a top candidate if you’re striving for year-round color. The shockingly bright flowers are most prolific in spring, fall, and winter but may also last through summer if the plant is protected from heat and drought.

Fashion is an evergreen cultivar, which means the shrub retains its structure (and much of its visual appeal) even when not in bloom. 

Mature plants are about 4 to 5 feet tall on average so this azalea will look best in the background or mid-ground of your garden. I personally love the idea of using Fashion azaleas to form a genuinely unique hedge.

Ixora

13) Ixora

Ixora spp.

  • Type: Shrub
  • Hardiness: 9B to 11
  • Status: Introduced

Ixora is a relative of the gardenia (among others) that happily flowers year-round in most of Central and South Florida. It’s an evergreen shrub with clusters of vibrant flowers, almost like a tropical rendition of a hydrangea.

In addition to flowering intermittently throughout the year, most individual flower clusters last for up to two months. So an ixora shrub is a great, low-effort way to make a significant impact on your garden regardless of season!

Some varieties can get quite large but are easy to prune and keep under control. Ixora shrubs make excellent ornamental hedges and privacy screens when planted in tight rows.

Petunia

14) Petunia

Petunia x hybrida

  • Type: Annual or tender perennial
  • Hardiness: 9 to 11
  • Status: Introduced

In Florida, petunias are usually grown as winter annuals. They offer long-lasting colour in garden beds and outdoor containers during the region’s cooler months. However, with a bit of babying, you can also keep the show going through much of the summer.

Petunias do not like dry soil and will naturally need more water during the summer months, especially if you expect them to keep flowering. I highly recommend relocating the petunias to an area that receives afternoon shade — this will prevent the plants from ‘baking’ in the hot sun which can also lead to leaves turning yellow. They prefer full sun in the wintertime.

The nice thing about petunias is that they’re low-maintenance and easy to replace. If a few plants happen to succumb to the summer heat, you can always try again with a new batch.

Mexican Heather

16) Mexican Heather

Cuphea hyssopifolia

  • Type: Shrub
  • Hardiness: 8 to 11
  • Status: Introduced

Also known as false heather, this small shrub features dainty, trumpet-shaped flowers that attract hummingbirds and a range of bees and butterflies. It is both heat- and salt-tolerant, making it well-suited to the unique conditions of southern Florida.

Mexican heather is evergreen in Zones 9B to 11 and produces flowers yearly if it doesn’t experience cool temperatures. Never-ending blooms are more likely the closer you live to the tip of Florida.

You can plant a low hedge of Mexican Heather to line the front of your garden. Its compact habit is also suitable for containers, which is the option I recommend for gardeners in the upper part of its hardiness range.

If you have enjoyed this article, here’s a link to our article about varieties of Florida Palms.

FAQs Growing Flowers in Florida

Can you grow flowers all year in Florida?

Florida’s mild climate means that flowering plants will grow practically year-round. Though not all plants will thrive in every season, you can rest assured that there are several flowers worth growing during any particular part of the year.

Citations

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Ben's horticultural interest grew when graduating from Hertfordshire University in 1997. Having contributed to numerous publications including Better Homes & Gardens, Garden Design Magazine, and The English Garden. He is also the author of Propagating Houseplants Made Easy.