Perennials

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. 

Select underlined scientific names for photos and/or more information.

Common name
Scientific name
Size
(inch)
Light Salt tolerance Comments

Aglaonema --water drop
Aglaonema commutatum

UF Fact Sheet
(89KB pdf)

18 Partial to full shade Low Small, herbaceous perennial with fleshy stems, branching from the base, and slender-stalked leaves up to about 12 in long. Flowering stems have narrow, pale green spathe enclosing small white spadix. Other Aglaonema also drought tolerant.

Scarlet milkweed --water drop
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.

Butterfly weed --©
Asclepias tuberosa

UF Fact Sheet
(88KB pdf)

18-36 Full sun to partial shade Low Native perennial with orange, summertime flowers. Essential component of a butterfly garden. Attracts butterflies and hummingbirds.

Cast iron plant --
Aspidistra elatior

UF Fact Sheet (124KB pdf)

36 Partial to full shade Moderate Grown for its deep green foliage. Named for its ability to tolerate harsh, adverse conditions. Spreads to form clumps. Excellent for shady areas.

Star begonia,
winter begonia --water drop

Begonia heracleifolia

And Not a Drop -
Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden -
Virtual Herbarium

24-36 Partial to full shade None Rhizomatous (spreads by rhizomes) begonia with large, hairy, deeply lobed, toothed, bronzy green leaves and fragrant, white to pink flowers on long, reddish stalks. Caution: Begonia cucullata is FLEPPC Category II invasive.

White begonia --water drop
Begonia popenoei

And Not a Drop -
Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden - Virtual Herbarium

24-48 Partial to full shade None Rhizomatous begonia with huge, round, dark glossy green leaves to 2’ wide and large white, fragrant flowers held in large panicles well above foliage.

Castor bean begonia --water drop
Begonia ricinifolia

24-36 Partial to full shade None Rhizomatous begonia with apple green leaves shaped like stars and with rings of red hairs around leaf petioles. Winter blooms are deep pink.

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.

Spiral ginger water drop
Costus scaber
(Link is to related species)

72 Partial shade Low Tall spiral ginger with attractive roundish jade green leaves with fuzzy underside, and long, hard, waxy 8" to 12" red bracts with small, yellow flowers that peek out as bracts open from bottom up. Long lasting flower; excellent cut flower.

Crossandra --
Crossandra infundibuliformis

Crossandra information

More Crossandra information

12-36 Partial to full shade Low Simple leaves arranged in opposite pairs and bearing erect spikes of showy yellow to red flowers, with petals opened flat into a hand-like shape.

African iris,
fortnight lily water drop

Dietes vegeta

UF Fact Sheet
(71KB pdf)

24-36 Full sun Low Drought tolerant perennial, though extra water needed when in bloom. Easy to grow. Attractive white flowers with blue and brown shading appear in spring. Forms spreading clumps. Also available with yellow flowers. Also known as D. iridioides.

Twinflower ©
Dyschoriste oblongifolia

UF Fact Sheet
(71KB pdf)

6-18 Full sun Low Native perennial. Likes pinelands. Grows best in dry sand. Plant close together for best cover.

Euphorbia milii

       

Indian blanket --©
Gaillardia pulchella

UF Fact Sheet
(216KB 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.

Whirling butterflies
Gaura lindheimeri

UF Fact Sheet (152KB pdf))

24-48 Full sun to partial shade Low Herbaceous perennial that grows in loose, bushy clump. Stems slender, wiry, and covered with tiny hairs. Leaves spoon-shaped with toothed margins. Flowers above foliage on long spikes; open white at dawn, fading to rose-pink by day’s end. Requires well-drained soil.

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.

Rain lilies ©
Habranthus spp.

24-48 Full sun Moderate Flowers yellow, pink, red or white—produced spring/summer after rain. Goes dormant in cool season, requiring very little water. Flowers best when crowded.

Beach sunflower ©
Helianthus debilis

UF Fact Sheet
(65KB pdf)

36-48 Full sun High Erect or prostrate, spreading plant with sand paper-like leaves and 2.5-3” yellow “sun” flowers. Suitable for beach-front plantings. Good for attracting butterflies.

Daylily --
Hemerocallis spp.

UF Fact Sheet
(227KB pdf)

12-24 Full sun or partial shade Moderate Clump-forming perennial with grass-like leaves and lily-like flowers from late spring to fall, depending on variety. Available in yellow, orange, red, pink, purple, and near-white. Only certain varieties succeed in south Florida (Evergreen, Semis).

Amaryllis --
Hippeastrum spp.

UF Fact Sheet
(85KB pdf)

24 Full sun to partial shade Moderate Spectacular trumpet-shaped, tropical lilies. Many species and varieties. Moderately drought tolerant.

Beach elder
Iva imbricata

24-36 Full sun High Scraggly, course, shrubby perennial. Good for beach-front plantings.

Shrimp plant --
Justicia brandegeana

3-5 Full sun to full shade None Perennial or shrub with stems topped with 6” spikes of red, rusty brown, yellow, or green brachts containing small, white, shrimp-like flowers. Unique, adaptable, easily grown plant. Also known as Beloperone guttata.

Kalanchoe --
Kalanchoe blossfeldiana

UF Fact Sheet (49KB pdf)

12 Partial shade Moderate Small, shrubby African species. Multiple, upstretched branches covered with round to rectangular, deep green leaves with red margins and notched tips. Thick racemes of small, deep red, cylindrical flowers appear from winter to early summer; may also be pink, yellow, or orange. Can be weedy.

Dwarf lantana ©
Lantana depressa

6-12 Full sun to partial shade Moderate Native low-growing perennial or groundcover, spreading to form a mat. Yellow to orange flowers. Also known as Lantana ovatifolia var. reclinata. Caution: L. camara, is a FLEPPC Category I invasive.

Statice
Limonium sinuatum
(Link is to related species)

UF Fact Sheet (214KB pdf)

18 Full sun Low Bushy, upright perennial. Dense rosettes of oblong, deeply waved, dark green leaves and masses of tiny, papery flowers on winged stems—summer/early fall. Fairly slow growing. Available in golden, lemon-yellow, white, cream, salmon-pink, purple or blue spikelets.

Sweet basil --
Ocimum basilicum

12 Full sun None Mounding, perennial herb with densely branching, light green foliage and typical peppery-clove basil scent. Used as border plant. ‘Spicy Globe’ cultivar is best known ornamental basil. Continues to grow in summer if blossoms cut before setting seed.

Pennyroyal ©
Piloblephis rigida

6-24 Full sun Low Low-growing perennial. Not picky about soil, but likes it dry. Small, shrimp-like flowers emerge from green, scale-like brachts. Attractive to butterflies. Also known as Pycnothymus rigidus and Satureja rigida.

Plumbago --
Plumbago auriculata

UF Fact Sheet
(62KB pdf)

3-10’ Full sun Low Attractive light blue flowers in terminal spikes. Drought tolerant once well established. Prone to root and stem rots. Freely draining soil and good air circulation.

Florida mountainmint ©
Pycnanthemum floridanum

48 Full sun to partial shade None Erect, loosely-branched, shrublike perennial. Leaves smell like spearmint or camphor. Tiny, lavender flowers in dense terminal clusters. Attracts butterflies.

Firecracker plant --
Russelia equisetiformis

UF Fact Sheet
(46KB pdf)

24-48 Full sun High Grown for weeping habit, masses of small, red tubular flowers, and scale-like leaves. Often used in planters. Requires freely draining soil. Susceptible to nematodes.

Stonecrop
Sedum spectabile

24 Full sun to partial shade Moderate Hardy plant, well adapted for rockeries, with showy fall flowers. Many cultivars (white, pink or red); at least one with variegated leaves.  

Blue porterweed --©
Stachytarpheta jamaicensis

UF Fact Sheet (31KB pdf)

12-36 Full sun to partial shade Moderate Native, small, shrubby perennial with somewhat weedy habit. Flowers highly attractive to butterflies—a ‘must’ for any butterfly garden. Name derived from traditional foamy, porter-like beverage brewed from the plant.

Pink porterweed --
Stachytarpheta speciosa

12-36 Full sun to partial shade Moderate Small, shrubby perennial with somewhat weedy habit. Flowers highly attractive to butterflies.

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.

Tithonia deversifolia

       

Society garlic --
Tulbaghia violacea

24-36 Full sun to partial shade None Clump-forming, herbaceous perennial with narrow, grayish leaves and large clusters of lavender flowers. Related to garlic.

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.
Verbena --
Verbena x hybrida
36-72 Full sun Low Erect, clump-forming perennial or annual with stiff, widely branching stems. Flowers purple and borne in rounded clusters. Treat as annual. Powdery mildew and whiteflies may be occasional problems. Good bedding plant.

Rain lily --
Zephyranthes spp.

UF Fact Sheet

6-15 Full sun to partial shade Moderate Charming, clump-forming, flowering bulbs. Most species have open flowers like small Asiatic lilies and are deciduous. Can be yellow or various shades of warm pink. All bear one flower to a stem, and most close their petals at night.