Our 8 Favorite Florida Perennials

Kate Mitchell

June 20, 2024

Annuals and Perennials

If you're interested in gardening, you will certainly have come across the terms annual and perennial. You probably know that annual plants only last for one growing season, so they need to be planted again each year, while perennials live for multiple years once they are established.

But did you know that where you live can make a difference to which plants will bloom only once and which come back to give your garden color for a second or third year?

Perennials in Florida's Climate

Yellow, orange and pink lantana flower clusters

Here in Florida, the climate is much warmer than in the northern regions and that can change which plants will act as perennials. In South Florida, where even in winter the weather doesn't tend to get cold enough for a frost, some plants that would be annuals elsewhere can return to bloom again.

On the other hand, some perennial plants actually need those colder temperatures to go dormant over the winter, so that they can come back the following spring. So there are some plants which are evergreen perennials here in North Central Florida, but which never really come back for a second bloom down south.

All this can be very confusing, especially as plants are sometimes categorized differently depending on the company that grew them. Sometimes you'll see the same plant labeled as both annual and perennial by different companies.

It can help to know what plant hardiness zone you are in. This article has more information, and there's a simple map to show Florida's zones here.

Our Favorite Perennials

If you want some inspiration, an expert landscaping company such as LawnMore can offer you a range of options for a beautiful, low-maintenance yard of gorgeous perennial flowers. An experienced landscaper can help you to choose plants that are suited to the climate here in North Central Florida and that will have your outdoor space looking beautiful in every season, year after year.

In case you want to plant them yourself, or for some inspiration, here are our eight favorite perennial plants to keep your garden attractive and inviting for years.

Blue Daze

A tiny blue flower on a green background

With its effusion of violet-blue flowers peeking out from a green leafy background, evolvulus glomeratus, or blue daze, will brighten up any yard. This tropical plant is hardy in Zones 9a to 11, meaning it can grow in South, Central and North Florida.

Blue daze can tolerate full sun but grows best in partial shade, away from direct sunlight. It makes great ground cover, usually growing eight to ten inches tall. It can also be grown as an annual in containers or hanging baskets. Blue daze needs well-drained soil and has medium drought tolerance.

Bush Daisy

A profusion of bright yellow flowers against bright green leaves

Bush daisy, or euryop pectinatus, makes a cheery display with its large numbers of sunny yellow flowers blazing from the shiny green foliage. It grows in a wide range of soil types and tolerates acidic to slightly alkaline soils.

This border plant likes full sun. It blooms from spring into summer. Cold weather may cause it to die back, but it will grow again the following spring. Although it can grow two to three feet tall, bush daisy does best if trimmed to about two feet. It will spread as a border plant, or can be grown in containers.

Cat's Whiskers

Tall spikes of white flowers with whisker-like stamens

A great plant for attracting butterflies, Cat's whiskers features striking cones of feathery white or lavender blooms that will look wonderful in any backyard. Orthosiphon aristatus is usually planted in full sun. In very hot regions such as South Florida, though, this herbaceous perennial does better with some afternoon shade.

Cat's whiskers will grow up to two feet tall, blooming in late summer and fall. Take care of it by trimming off any dead blooms. Surround with mulch during hot weather to keep the soil moist enough for this gorgeous perennial.

Mexican Heather

A green, bushy plant with tiny, bright pink flowers

Cuphea hyssopifolia's dainty pink or purple flowers make an attractive addition to your yard - especially so because they will bloom repeatedly during summer and fall.

This fast-growing plant thrives in direct sunlight and needs watering only once a week. It can also be planted in a container, in which case it should be watered more often. Mexican heather grows between ten and eighteen inches tall.


A plant with big green leaves and little globe-shaped clusters of white and pink flower

Lantana, a genus with over 150 species, is also known as verbena. There is an impressive range of color between cultivars, with some varieties sporting a rainbow of colors within each globe of colorful blossoms.

Lower growing varieties look great along walkways or as ground cover, while the trailing cultivars work well in containers. These native plants are very attractive to birds, bees, and butterflies.

Lantana is a prolific grower and, in warm climates, its bloom time is almost year-round. It is a drought-tolerant shrub that likes full sunlight for some hours but does best with some afternoon shade. Lantana prefers well-drained soil. Be sure to choose a native variety!


A shrub with large, showy flowers in a range of pink colors

Bougainvillea is another vibrant yet low-maintenance plant that does well in full sun. Its soil preference is slightly acidic and well-draining.

Bougainvillea's flowers, which are often bright pink in color, are so profuse that they dominate the dark green leaves, making a striking addition to your outdoor space. Bougainvillea plants grow on walls and fences, in pots and containers, and can also grow as a shrub if trimmed frequently.


A small, blue-purple flower on a short stem

Periwinkle, aka vinca, is a European plant that grows very happily as a perennial in Zones 4-9. Its blue, purple or white flowers have five pretty, swirling petals and will often be the pale indigo color that is named for this plant.

Periwinkle is a creeping vine which looks beautiful trailing from a container or window box. It works well as ground cover, preferring well-draining, slightly acidic soils. Periwinkle will root wherever the stems touch soil, so it spreads quickly. It can bloom more than once in the same year, too, so you'll be sure to see lots of beautiful blossoms if you use periwinkle in your landscaping.

Scarlet Salvia

A tall stem of scarlet flowers

There is a wide variety of different Salvia plants to grow in your Central Florida garden. Some, such as blue salvia, are celebrated for the gorgeous display of beautiful flowers they bring to your landscape. Others, like variegated sage, bring additional color year-round with their stunning foliage. But one of the most popular Salvias for Florida is a native plant that attracts hummingbirds and other pollinators: Scarlet salvia.

Scarlet salvia's striking, tubular blossoms will add bright shades of red, white or pink to your plantings from spring through fall. This herbaceous plant grows three to four feet tall and can tolerate a range of conditions, from full sun to partial shade. Use as an accent plant, or grow alongside other Salvias for bursts of flowers in different colors.

Blooms all year

So, which perennial plants will you choose to bloom year after year in your backyard? Would you like to select and plant them by yourself? Or would you prefer to take all the hard work out of creating an enticing, colorful, long-lasting display in your yard?

If so, it would be a great idea to contact a landscaping specialist such as LawnMore Gainesville. Because we work with plants every day, we have expert knowledge of the qualities of each cultivar and can help you make a great choice for our North Central Florida climate.

Whether you're after a riot of color or a calming, verdant scene, we can help! Get in touch to request a quote and take all the hard work out of landscape planning. All you'll need to do is sit back and relax in your beautiful yard!

Get an easy, custom quote for your landscaping or maintenance project today.

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