Annuals

Notes:

  • -- indicates plants commonly available in nurseries and/or garden centers in south Florida

  • © indicates Florida native plants

  • water drop indicates plants that can tolerate wet soils or occasional flooding. 

    Click on linked scientific names for photos and/or more information.

Common name
Scientific name

Size

Light

Salt tolerance

Comments

water dropScarlet milkweed --

Asclepias curassavica

UF Fact Sheet (231KB pdf)

36-48

Full sun to partial shade

Low

Erect, evergreen, perennial with narrow, elliptical leaves and terminal clusters of scarlet and orange flowers—spring to fall. Attracts butterflies. Can tolerate wet soil.

Orach, French spinach

Atriplex hortensis

2-6’

Full sun

Unknown

Usually grown for its tender, spinach-like leaves. Leaves can be green, yellowish-green, red or purple. Sometimes grown as bedding plant.

Strawflower

Brachteantha bracteatum

36

Full sun

Low

Annual or short-lived perennial with erect habit. Weak, hollow stems. Thin green leaves bear golden yellow blooms up to 2” in diameter at branch tips—summer to early fall. Good groundcover or small shrub.

Calliopsis, tickseed --©

Coreopsis tinctoria

UF Fact Sheet (229KB pdf)

2-3’

Full sun

Moderate

Somewhat hairy leaves and stems form a loose mound. Bright, golden-yellow daisy blooms—June to September. Relative of the sunflower.

Coreopsis floridana

       


Coreopsis leavenworthii

       

Cosmos  --

Cosmos bipinnatus

UF Fact Sheet (236KB pdf)

5-6’

Full sun

Low

Feathery-leafed annual from Mexico and far southern USA. Showy, daisy-like flowerheads in summer and fall, in shades of pink, red, purple or white. May require staking. May not survive rainy season.

Dwarf crown-of-thorns --

Euphorbia milii

UF Fact Sheet (56KB pdf)

Crown-of-Thorns: A Popular Prickly Spurge Family Relative (271KB pdf)

1-3

Full sun

High

Small Thai dwarf varieties used as bedding plants and groundcovers. See full description in “Shrubs & Hedges” below.

Indian blanket --©

Gaillardia pulchella

UF Fact Sheet (46KB pdf)

12-24

Full sun

High

Colorful native annual or perennial. As easily grown as it is beautiful. Considerable variation in flower color; typical variety bears red flowers with yellow-tipped petals. Plant in open site with good drainage. Good for beach-front plantings.

Gazania --

Gazania rigens

UF Fact Sheet (64KB pdf)

6-24”

Full sun

Moderate

Mat-forming plant with crowded rosettes of mostly unlobed leaves that are green above and whitish beneath. Orange flowerheads with a black eye spot at petal bases.

Moss verbena

Glandularia puchella

12

Full sun to partial shade

Unknown

Freely branching, sprawling perennial with 3-lobed, finely dissected, aromatic leaves and clusters of pink, lilac, purple or white flowers. Requires well-drained soil. Attracts butterflies. Good bedding plant.

Tampa verbena --©

Glandularia tampensis

18-24

Full sun

Low

Native, sprawling, short-lived perennial. Sometimes treated as annual. Flowers purplish-pink. Also known as Verbena tampensis.

Globe amaranth --

Gomphrena globosa

UF Fact Sheet (226KB pdf)

1-2’

Full sun

Low

Small, branching annual with hairy leaves and bright purple, pink, or white, clover-like flowers. Benefits from mulching.

Sunflower --

Helianthus annuus

UF Fact Sheet (224KB pdf)

3-10’

Full sun

Low

Fast-growing, upright annual. Large, daisy-like, 12” wide yellow flowerheads with brown centers borne in summer. Coarse, leggy plants with heavily veined leaves.

Annual lion’s ear

Leonotis nepetifolia

8’

Full sun to light shade

Low

Course-textured, rather gangly, erect, loosely branching summer annual. Smooth leaves with toothed margins. Bright red, tubular, downward curving flowers encircle stem at intervals. Self-seeds easily, but not considered invasive. Attracts butterflies.

Butter daisy --

Melampodium divaricatum

6-24”

Full sun

Low

Small, summer annual with small, yellow flowers and bright green foliage. Prolific self-seeder. Great bedding and border plant. Also known as M. paludosum.

Moss rose --

Portulaca grandiflora

UF Fact Sheet (225KB pdf)

4-8”

Full sun

High

Small, annual, low-growing succulent with small, lance-shaped, fleshy, bright green leaves on reddish stems. Yellow, pink, red, or orange flowers in summer; close at night and on cloudy days. Suitable as groundcover, in rockery, or as border.

Black-eyed Susan --©

Rudbeckia hirta

UF Fact Sheet (226KB pdf)

3’

Full sun to light shade

Low

Typical daisy-like perennial or annual (depending on variety). Large, yellow-orange to reddish-orange flowers with darker centers. Attracts butterflies. Does not tolerate prolonged, wet, humid weather.

Ornamental sages --

Salvia spp.

UF Fact Sheet (115KB pdf)

1-5’

Full sun

Low

Semi-woody, mostly herbaceous shrubby annuals with fuzzy leaves and spikes of blue, red, pink, or white flowers. Wilt and lose leaves during drought, but recover when rain returns. Attract butterflies and hummingbirds. Will not tolerate prolonged wet, humid weather.

Dusty miller --

Senecio cineraria

UF Fact Sheet (214KB pdf)

8-12”

Full sun to partial shade

Low

Mound-forming, evergreen, shrubby. Daisy-like flowers range from pink, red, purple and crimson through to white, as well as traditional blue. Very tolerant of heat, salt air and poor soil, but does poorly in high humidity or excessive rain.

Dahlberg daisy

Thymnophylla tenuiloba

6-12”

Full sun

Low

Bushy, highly-branched annual with small, yellow, daisy flowers. Foliage has lemony scent. Good border plant. Also known as Dyssodia tenuiloba. Does not tolerate prolonged, wet, humid weather.

 

Mexican sunflower --

Tithonia rotundifolia

60-72

Full sun

Low

Warm-season annual or perennial. Leaves course, 3-lobed, and covered in soft, downy fuzz. Flowers orange to red-orange.

Purpletop verbena --

Verbena bonariensis

UF Fact Sheet (95KB pdf)

36-72

Full sun to light shade

Low

Erect, clump-forming perennial with stiff, widely branched stems. Small, purple flowers in clusters held high above foliage. Best when densely planted. Attracts butterflies.

Zinnia --

Zinnia elegans

UF Fact Sheet (224KB pdf)

30”

Full sun

Low

Course, upright, bushy annual with lance-shaped leaves and daisy-like flowers—available in a rainbow of colors. Requires well-drained soil and good air circulation. Powdery mildew occasional problem when humid; newer varieties resistant. Leaf spot during rainy season possible problem. Also known as Zinnia violacea.

Mexican zinnia --

Zinnia haageana

UF Fact Sheet (224KB pdf)

1-2’

Full sun

Low

Upright, bushy annual. Small, narrow leaves. Daisy-like flowers in white, orange, yellow, red, mahogany, or bicolor (gold, maroon, purple, brown, cream, and pink). Good annual groundcover.