If you’re looking to add some color to your yard, attract butterflies and hummingbirds, or just improve the curb appeal of your house, Florida-Friendly & native flowers will provide you the most color for the least work.
The best perennials for your Florida garden are blanketflower, mexican heather, porter weed, lantana, salvia, and Milkweed. If you’re looking for vining plants that can be trained up a trellis or arbor, passionflower and bougainvillea are good choices.
Let’s take a look at some more native Florida flowers that are sure to do well in your garden.
This beautiful Florida native wildflower takes a bit of work and watering to establish, but once you’ve got it growing will reward you with multi-colored blooms that attract bees and butterflies for years.
Blanketflower will bloom almost year-round and will typically last a few years before you need to re-plant it. I’ve never had any issues with frost damage on my blanketflowers, so it should be hardy anywhere you want to plant it in Florida.
Mexican heather, while not native to Florida, is a Florida friendly flowering plant that produces a lot of small, pink flowers that are very popular with solitary bees (these generally don’t sting and help the local ecosystem).
They love full sun, don’t need a lot of water, will keep providing flowers year after year.
Echinacea – which has been traditionally used in teas and herbal supplements – is also a Florida native wildflower. This plant, which is also known as purple coneflower, is a rather unique flower that has a cone-shaped center pointing upwards with pink-purple petals pointing downwards like a skirt.
Purple Echinacea is also a popular choice among the local pollinators.
Vinca is a tough little mounding flower that is able to take a beating and keep producing hundreds of flowers year after year. They’re drought-proof, able to survive most Florida winters, and pack some very attractive little flowers in a number of colors.
While vinca doesn’t make the top of my pollinator list, I have seen butterflies frequenting the flowers from time to time.
Passionflower (Passiflora Incarnata)
Passionflower is a Florida native vine that produces some of the most beautiful and complex flowers that I’ve personally seen on a plant. Not only do they smell amazing, they’re sure to get some positive remarks from any guests you have over to your house.
The fruit on this plant is supposedly edible, but I’ve never personally gotten any off of the plant. On the bright side, this vine is the host plant for the zebra longwing and gulf fritillary butterflies, so you’re sure to have more around your yard if you plant these.
The other benefit of this plant is that – even though this can be expensive to purchase – you’ll only ever need to buy one, because once you have one, more will grow in your garden on their own.
Bougainvillea is an attractive, Florida-friendly flowering woody vine. If you have a tree or an arbor to train it up, this may be a good option for a huge amount of color. These plants produce pink or purple blooms that are visible from a long way away and will make the area look nice.
On the other hand, this plant has some brutal thorns, and if you don’t take proper precautions you will end up getting stabbed. I’ve had a thorn that fell off of the plant go straight through the sole of my shoe into my foot and break off in my foot. Not very fun.
The black-eyed Susan is perhaps the most widely known flower on this list. With its black centers and beautiful yellow petals, this flower is sure to increase the appeal of your garden. It being a Florida native is a plus.
Black-eyed Susans flower from late summer into the start of winter and the first frost and should be at home anywhere throughout Florida.
Pentas are a Florida-friendly flowering bush that produces clusters of star-shaped white, pink, lavender, or red flowers. It’s not hardy above zone 10, but it can still be grown throughout most of Florida, just suffering some leaf damage from the cold most winters and being killed off during the exceptionally cold winters.
In my experience, this isn’t one of the most pollinator friendly flowers, but it’s very easy to care for and the flower clusters are showy, so it’s a worthy tradeoff.
Blue-eyed grass is a small, showy groundcover that – as its name suggests – has a grass-like look with small, blue flowers. These Florida native flowers are happy either in full or part sun and will provide flowers throughout the spring season as long as you give them moist soil.
Salvia ‘Mystic Spires’
This is one of my favorite non-native Florida flowers on the list, just because of how easy it is to take care of and the pleasant look of all the blue/purple flower stalks it produces.
Salvia ‘Mystic Spires’ is a big hit among bumblebees and other pollinators but does need full sun to look its best.
Cardinal flower is a beautiful Florida native red flower that is known for its attractiveness to hummingbirds. This flower likes moist or wet soil in part or full shade and will start blooming in summer.
Lantana is a great Florida-friendly plant that produce clusters of red and yellow or pink and lavender flowers, depending on the variety you get. Lantana is a magnet for butterflies.
The downside is that it is slightly toxic to dogs, but they’d have to eat a large amount of leaves to get seriously ill. Green berries are slightly more toxic than the leaves and black berries.
The cut-leaf coneflower is a florida native relative of the black-eyed susan that looks similar but has a green or gold cone in the center instead of the characteristic black one of the black-eyed susan.
The cut-leaf coneflower blooms from summer into early fall and likes full/part sun and moist soil. These are excellent pollinator plants, attracting bees, butterflies, moths, skippers (moth-like bugs), and other pollinating insects.
Dwarf Morning Glory
Dwarf morning glory is a heat-tolerant Florida-friendly plant that gets 1-2′ wide and generally stays around 6″ tall, producing small blue flowers that attract bees. In my experience it is a good option if you need a mounding plant for a limited area.
Goldenrod is a yellow flowering plant that has a distinct look from any other flower on this list. These are tall plants with small, gold flowers growing off of a number of stems at the top of the plant, giving it a look similar to the pollen stalks on corn or flowers on amaranth.
It flowers summer through fall and is a great choice if you’re putting together a pollinator garden. Certain, but not all, varieties are also Florida native.
African Bush Daisy
African bush daisy is an excellent looking plant that produces a lot of yellow flowers that are great at attracting pollinators like bees and butterflies. It’s at home in full sun or part shade and is somewhat drought tolerant.
Milkweed is a classic butterfly plant, being the host to the monarch butterfly caterpillar and producing small yellow flowers that are quite popular among the local butterfly population.
One thing to keep in mind is that the tropical milkweed (which produces red and yellow flowers) is not the native variety of milkweed. If that matters to you, you should check with your local nursery to make sure you’re getting the native variety.
Golden Shrimp Plant
Golden shrimp plant is a 3-6′ tall, 3-4′ wide perennial that produces golden flower stalks with shrimp-like white offshoots. I’ve grown this myself, and it’s really a great-looking addition to a garden. It adds a nice bit of contrast to the more normal shaped flowers in your garden.
Red Sage (Salvia)
Salvia is one of the easiest plants to grow in florida, in my opinion, and the red variety is actually Florida native. This is another good pollinator plant (like most of the flowers on this list) that will attract butterflies to your garden.
If you’re looking for reliable blooms throughout most of the year, this is one of my top 2, next to blanketflower.
Porter Weed (Purple Variety)
Purple porter weed is a Florida native flowering bush that gets up to 4 or 5′ tall and produces large numbers of tiny purple flowers that attract bumblebees to your garden. (Bumble bees don’t sting and are an important part of the local ecosystem.) The flowers eventually fall off after they’re pollinated and are replaced by a new flower just above the old one on the stalk.
Porter weed will self-sow and will produce more of itself. In my experience, they seem to do best in part sun and aren’t particular about soil conditions. They are also extremely tolerant to being dug up and moved somewhere else.
Stoke’s Aster is a plant that gets up to 3′ tall and produces a lot of showy purple flowers for your garden. It prefers shade and wet soil, so it’s not something for everywhere, but if you have a place that fits the bill it is an excellent option.
It also forms clumps that can be divided, so once you get a few plants you’ll be able to propagate them yourself to fill out your garden.