While there are many benefits to having a never-ending gardening season in sunny Southern Florida, we do need to be selective about which perennials we add to our gardens. Sometimes our weather is a bit too hot to handle for more delicate, tender perennials. To ensure your perennials will keep coming back each year without succumbing to the scorching heat, plant these tried-and-true favorites for Fort Lauderdale gardens.
Perennial Flowers for South Florida
For consistent blooms that bring a burst of color to the landscape year after year, opt for some of these sun-loving flowers that thrive in the Florida heat:
Lantana: Multicolored clusters of tiny blossoms adorn this popular perennial, like little bursts of fireworks in a sea of emerald green foliage. Some are adorably candy-colored with bubblegum pink and lemon yellow flowers, while others have warm sunset tones that bring a gorgeous golden glow to the landscape.
Lantana grows best in slightly acidic soil, and cutting the plants back by ⅓ every year will result in healthy, lush blooms. This is another one that can spread pretty vigorously, so to reduce the amount of required upkeep, you can try growing it in a container. Lantana’s bloom time is incredibly long, and it will usually keep producing flowers so long as it’s warm outside, but to encourage even more blooming, it’s a good idea to deadhead the spent blooms regularly.
Crossandra: This long-blooming evergreen perennial should provide you with stunning apricot blossoms from April until October, and can reach heights up to three feet tall. Plant it in a spot with partial shade, and before you know it, butterflies will be drawn like magnets! Deadheading your crossandra regularly will help promote more vigorous blooming, and frequent watering and well-drained soil are necessary to keep this plant happy.
If your yard is shaded by trees, crossandra is a great option, because it can tolerate partial shade and does best in indirect sunlight. Mix some compost into the soil before you plant them, and during the active growing season, apply liquid fertilizer every 2–3 weeks. Once winter rolls around, scale back and fertilize once every month or two.
Hibiscus: We can’t help but love this dramatic tropical flower, with massive blooms in vibrant shades of pink, yellow, red and orange. Adding hibiscus into the landscape instantly gives your yard that beachy, Hawaiian vacation vibe! It grows best in full sun, and it loves the humidity, so our hot, coastal climate is perfect for this absolute stunner.
When your hibiscus is actively blooming, it’s going to need a lot of water—you might even need to water it every day. Therefore, it’s super important to ensure that the soil is well draining, because if that water starts to collect at the root level and stays stagnant, you’ll have a recipe for root rot. In the winter, once your hibiscus has gone dormant, you can reduce the amount of watering and just give the soil a spray with the hose whenever it feels dry to the touch.
Ixora: Also known as West Indian Jasmine, this semi-evergreen tropical shrub has little clusters of florets that look a bit like lilacs, but instead of a pastel purple color, they come in electric shades of magenta, red, peach and gold. It’s quite low-maintenance, so you won’t need to do much upkeep aside from some light spring pruning and a little fertilizer before it begins blooming.
One thing to note about ixora is that it can’t tolerate alkaline soils, so it’s important to do a soil test just before planting to ensure that the soil is either pH balanced, or slightly acidic. To avoid any fungal growth or bacteria getting trapped in this plant’s dense foliage, try to avoid watering it overhead, and instead water the soil directly. This will deliver the moisture straight to the roots—exactly where it needs to be!
For a garden that’s never short on color and produces continual blooms throughout the year, pick up some of these fabulous perennials from Living Color Garden Center. We still have curbside pickup and delivery options available if need be—just give us a call at the shop if you’d like to make special arrangements!