The Best Flowering Shrubs for Florida Landscapes

Hannah Mitchell

November 30, 2021

Here in Florida, there are plenty of beautiful flowering shrubs: colorful, heat tolerant, and perfect as garden borders, hedges, or even stand-out accents in your Florida landscape. Here are a few options for shrubs to utilize in your yard. We've even alphabetized the list for your convenience!

Allamanda Bush

Allamanda bush attracts butterflies and other pollinators, and does best in tropical conditions such as moisture and warmth. The Florida humidity and heat are perfect for this shrub! Not only is allamanda bush easy to care for, it is also vivid in color and loves the light. Thriving in full sun, allamanda bush has distinctive, bright yellow blooms. These long-lasting flowers appear from early summer through November or December in our warm Florida climate.

Allamanda Bush

Angel's Trumpet

Known for its distinct blooms, saturated hues, and lovely fragrance, angel's trumpet is a unique perennial shrub. In our warm Florida weather, this plant grows quickly, and in full sun, it will bloom all summer long. Angel's trumpet prefers moist, well-draining soil, and if unkept, suckers sent out at the base of the plant help create a mass thicket of trumpet blooms. However, this shrub will maintain a more tidy appearance if you remove these suckers. There is a wide variety of colors for angel's trumpet, including yellow, pink, orange, and white. To increase this shrub's appeal even further, it has a wonderful scent that releases after sunset.

Angel's Trumpet

Anthurium

Anthurium is grown as a houseplant in cooler areas, but Florida's heat makes it the perfect landscaping plant. Though anthurium will grow slower in low light, it can only handle partial sun. In direct light, the leaves will burn, so bright, indirect light is best. This shrub prefers well drained soil that can still hold a little water. Though it's a little higher maintenance than some shrubs, care becomes simple once the plant is established.

Anthurium

Azalea

The Azalea is one of the best shrubs. This hardy North Florida classic is perfect for adding color to your yard, especially during times where other plants are dormant. Azaleas bloom early in the year, coloring your life with vibrant flowers even in the winter months.

Azalea bush in bloom

Bahama Cassia

Bahama cassia is a tall upright shrub, covered in tiny yellow flowers. This is a popular plant for any south Florida butterfly garden, as it attracts a variety of butterflies. This shrub's lifespan isn't very long, but seedlings will often appear nearby. This shrub needs lots of room to spread out: not only is it tall, but it can also expand to 6 to 10 feet wide! Bahama cassia will grow taller in partial shade than in full sun. Drought tolerant and hardy, this plant prefers well draining, sandy soil.

Bahama Cassia

Banana Shrub

With glossy dark green leaves and tiny white flowers that smell like ripe bananas, this shrub blooms abundantly in the spring. Buds and young leaves are covered in brown fuzz, and the banana shrub usually grows slowly. If unpruned, it grows up to fifteen feet tall, but pruning keeps the plant maintained at a shorter height. Versatile and fragrant, this durable shrub makes for a wonderful border, hedge, or beside a window or walkway, so all can enjoy its delightful scent.

Banana Shrub

Bay Laurel

Evergreen shrubs are striking, and bay laurel is no exception. Its large, pointed dark green leaves are used as a kitchen seasoning. Bay laurel remains a shrub with pruning, but if left on its own, it can transform into a multi-stemmed tree with dense green foliage. In the spring, this shrub produces yellow flowers, which turn into purple berries in the fall. Bay laurel grows slowly and does well under heavy pruning, so it is a common potted plant, displayed on patios or decks. But in hardy north and central Florida, bay laurel also thrives as an outdoor plant.

Bay Laurel

Beautyberry

This gorgeous Florida native shrub blossoms in the winter, producing jewel-like purple fruits. Cold hardy and creature-friendly, beautyberry attracts butterflies and other pollinators, and birds enjoy its fruits. This shrub is drought tolerant and sprawling, growing 3-8 feet tall and 4-8 feet wide. Its branches form beautiful arches that bend toward the ground. Beautyberry thrives in the sun, but can even grow well in partial shade or full shade.

Beautyberry

Blue Daze

Blue daze is unique, hardy, and beautiful. Heat-loving and low-spreading, this tropical plant produces flowers into late summer. Its dainty, funnel-shaped blue flowers bloom in the day, closing during rainfall, cloudy days, and nighttime. Blue daze requires well drained soil, but it's easy to care for. This shrub works as ground cover or bordering, as well as in containers or hanging baskets-- it's versatile and adaptable!

Bougainvillea

This vibrant, drought-resistant evergreen shrub has colorful flower bracts that bloom all summer! The bougainvillea's flowers bracts, or modified leaves, have a papery texture, but the plant also produces small white flowers, which peek out from inside the bracts. The bracts come in a variety of colors such as pink, orange, purple, red, and most notably, magenta. Bougainvillea can reach over 20 feet, and thrives in warm climates. Originally discovered in Brazil in the 1760s, this plant was named after the French admiral Loui-Antoine de Bougainville.

Buddleia

Also known as the butterfly bush, buddleia is a fast-growing shrub with masses of beautiful blossoms. These blossoms come in a variety of colors, such as pink, white, dark purple, mauve, and lavender flowers. This low maintenance shrub only requires dead-heading and very occasional pruning to encourage flowering.

Buddleia

Buttonbush

This durable, low maintenance plant spreads best in moist soil and full sun. Known to attract hummingbirds, butterflies, and bees, buttonbush is a wonderful shrub for pollinators. its glossy green leaves appear in late spring, and its fragrant white flowers bud in early to mid-summer. These spherical flowers are unique and bloom for a long time, so your beautiful lawn stays that way! Over time, these flowers become hard, ball-like fruits containing seeded nuts that change color-- turning red, pink, or green.

Buttonbush plant

Camellia

There are more than 3,00 types of camellias, thriving in the Southern heat and well suited to any Florida landscape. From the bright pink blooms of the Shi Shi Camellia, to the soft, lovely blush of the Camellia Apple Blossom, there's a camellia for everyone. They are vibrant, beautiful, and low maintenance.

Camellia bush in Florida

Cape Honeysuckle

Cape honeysuckle is a wonderful, fast-growing, heat-tolerant plant. Attracting hummingbirds and other wildlife, its beautiful orange blossoms are full of sweet nectar. While it thrives in full sun, honeysuckle still tolerates partial shade. This beautiful shrub proves that low maintenance plants are just as beautiful and unique as they are easy to care for.

A Cape Honeysuckle bush

Cocoplum

This particular shrub is common in Florida landscapes. Often seen on beaches, it thrives in sandy soils and along roadsides. Extremely tough and hardy, cocoplum is easy to care for and reasonably priced. It grows well on walls and can even cool your home, with its thick growth shading exterior walls to insulate the house.

Cocoplum in the sun

Crape Myrtle

Crape Myrtle provides year round color, from brilliant summer flowers, to vibrant fall foliage, to beautiful winter bark. From smaller shrubs to giant trees, crape myrtle grows in a variety of sizes, and offers a variety of colors. Crape myrtle requires a lot of careful pruning, so here are tips on how to avoid "crape murder", or incorrect pruning. With proper care, this plant is a wonderful addition to any landscape!

Crape Myrtle plant against a warm summer sky

Crown of Thorns

With beautiful blooms and succulent branches, this sprawling evergreen shrub is the perfect choice to add color to your landscape. Similarly to bougainvillea, crown of thorns' flowers are tiny and yellow, while the larger red "petals" are actually bracts. This shrub has a long growing season when it comes to flowering, and it is extremely resilient and low maintenance.

Crown of Thorns with red orange flowers

Firebush

Growing up to fifteen feet tall, firebush works well as a hedge, border plant, or even as a stand-alone accent piece. Its fierce color and lush foliage combine to create a firework of a plant. Firebush also has an extended blooming season, making it a top choice for Gainesville landscape designers!

The popular Firebush shrub

Jamaica Caper

Jamaica caper is the ideal plant for south Florida landscapes, but it works well all over the state due to its tropical and drought tolerant nature. This shrub provides year round color-- from evergreen and bronze leaves to orchid-like, brightly colored flowers. Well draining soil is best for Jamaica caper, and it has a unique blooming time: this shrub's flowers bloom April through June, only lasting for 24 hours. They open in the evening, releasing a delicious honey scent. Jamaica caper is known to attract butterflies, honey bees, and various birds. It's a lovely and distinct shrub!

Jamaica Caper with white flowers

Lantana

Though it may act like a vine, Lantana is a shrub, and a popular garden darling at that. A classic staple of Florida gardens, this beautiful shrub attracts butterflies and other pollinators. Lantana grows easily once established, with a wide variety of colors blooming even on one plant!

Lantana bush in North Central Florida

Louis Phillipe Rose

A cultivar of the China rose, Louis Philippe is a rarity: a rose that thrives in Florida's humid climate. This shrub loves full sun and well drained soil, and is very disease resistant, so no pesticides are needed. Occasional pruning, especially when this shrub is young, will help shape and maintain its size. It's a beautiful plant and easy to care for!

The Louis Phillipe Rose in rich red bloom

Plumbago

Many native plants to South Africa thrive in the heat, making them well suited for North and Central Florida. Plumbago is one such shrub! With deep green branches resembling vines, this plant blooms in clusters of soft and delicate blue flowers. Plumbago is drought tolerant and only needs water occasionally. Plumbago brings color to your beautiful lawn, and only requires minimal pruning.

A pale blue Plumbago in full sun

Ruellia 

Ruellia is a perennial shrub, native to Mexico. Also known as Mexican petunia or wild petunia, this shrub features pretty lavender flowers and spreading tendencies. This shrub attracts butterflies and other pollinators. Ruellia is very hardy and can be planted year round. it is commonly used in container gardening, mass plantings, or ground cover.

Ruellia in brilliant lavender purple

Seagrape

This Florida native gets its name from its home on the coast, and from the red berries it produces that resemble grapes. Indeed, seagrape is a delicious edible plant to add to your landscape! This shrub can be pruned into a hedge or screen if desired, or even grow into a tree. Its foliage is bright green with red veins, and its small white flowers bloom in clusters in the spring and summer. Its fruits, appearing in mid summer, turns from green to red or purple as they ripen. The easygoing seagrape thrives in sandy soils and is very low maintenance.

Seagrape fruiting bush

Snowbush

Snowbush is thus named because its white-and-pink speckled leaves make the plant looked snowed on. It is, however, a very tropical shrub that craves moisture and warmth. It loves bright light, thorough watering, and well draining soil. It not only thrives in, but needs, humidity, making it perfect for north central Florida landscapes.

White Florida Snowbush


Honorable Mentions

Not every plant made it into our roundup, but there are plenty of Florida shrubs to discover more about on you own!

  • Dombeya
  • Drift Rose
  • Elderberry
  • Firethorn
  • Gardenia Bush
  • Hibiscus
  • Inkberry Holly
  • Ixora
  • Japanese Boxwood
  • Japanese Plum Yew
  • Jasmine
  • Juniper
  • Loropetalum
  • Marlberry
  • Nandina
  • Oleander
  • Star Anise
  • Texas Sage
  • Torchwood
  • Viburnum
  • Vinca


The wonders of Florida shrubs

These are just a few beautiful shrubs to choose from for your Florida landscape!

For more tips on installing any of these shrubs or any other landscaping Gainesville, FL tips, talk to your friends at LawnMore.




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