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Low-maintenance landscape plants for south Florida

Shrubs & Hedges (Cl-Ha)

Notes

indicates plants commonly available in nurseries and/or garden centers in south Florida
indicates Florida native plants
 indicates plants that can tolerate wet soils or occasional flooding. 

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

Common name
Scientific name

Size
(feet)

Light

Salt tolerance

Comments

Pitch apple

Clusia rosea

(Click here for UF Fact Sheet )

30

Full sun

High

Thick, dark green leaves and attractive pink and white flowers make this a good all-around choice for beach-front properties. Vigorous root system.

Pigeon plum

Coccoloba diversifolia

(Click here for UF Fact Sheet )

5-30

Full sun to partial shade

High

Native evergreen large shrub to small tree with dense, narrowly rounded crown and attractive, peeling bark. Small, dark purple berries on female trees attractive to birds.

Sea grape

Coccoloba uvifera

(Click here for UF Fact Sheet )

5-50

Full sun

High

Native large shrub to large tree with large, thick, saucer-like leaves bearing attractive venation. Also has edible fruit. On occasion, can be susceptible to a number of pests. Leaves can be messy. Good for beach-front properties.

Croton

Codiaeum variegatum

(Click here for UF Fact Sheet )

5-10

Full sun

Moderate

Grown for the colorful, variegated foliage in greens, yellows, reds and pinks.  Scales can be a problem. Can be leggy, especially if grown in shade.

Coffee colubrina

Colubrina arborescens

(Click here for UF Fact Sheet )

20

Full sun to light shade

High

Native, large, course-leaved shrub or small tree with open crown of large, tri-lobed leaves with inconspicuous green flowers and 3-seeded capsules. Attractive to butterflies and many other beneficial insects.

Buttonwood

Conocarpus eretus

(Click here for UF Fact Sheet )

5-50

Full sun to partial shade

High

Native shrub or tree. Both green and silver leaved forms available; the latter is more attractive. Insignificant flowers followed by small, button-like seed pods. Scales can be a problem and foliage can be attacked by chewing insects. Can be used as a hedge but bottom is prone to thin out.

Ti plant

Cordyline terminalis

(Click here for UF Fact Sheet )

3-10

Full sun

None

Palm-like, slender plant with unique, long, narrow leaves in red, pink, white, or purple. Also known as ‘red sister’.

Spiral ginger

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.

Christmas berry, ground holly

Crossopetalum ilicifolium

1

Full sun to partial shade

Low

Native, prostrate, evergreen shrub with small, holly-like, spiny leaves and attractive red berries.

Desert spoon

Dasylirion wheeleri

3-30

Full sun

High

Linear, grey-green leaves with toothed edges. Spectacular inflorescence bearing many creamy-white flowers may reach 30’, after which the plant dies. Takes extreme drought, but must have excellent drainage and air circulation.

Varnish leaf

Dodanaea viscosa

(Click here for UF Fact Sheet )

18

Full sun to partial shade

High

Grown for attractive, stiff, shiny green leaves. Showy, yellowish 3-winged capsules produced in terminal clusters; brown, pink or purple at maturity. Dense and fast growing. Used as free-standing specimen or hedge. Excellent for beach-front.

Dracaena

Dracaena marginata

(Click here for UF Fact Sheet )

15

Partial to full shade

None

Narrow, sword-like leaves with red margins. ‘Tricolor’ cultivar has a cream stripe and red edge. Commonly grown as a house plant.

Golden dewdrop

Duranta erecta

(Click here for UF Fact Sheet )

5-18

Full sun to partial shade

Moderate

Ssprawling and sometimes vine-like, evergreen shrub or small tree. Beautiful purple flowers and yellow, grape-like, poisonous fruit. Can self-seed and become weedy. Also known as D. repens.

Lingaro

Elaeagnus philippensis
(Link is to related species)

3-15

Full sun

High

Shrubby, evergreen vine with attractive light green foliage, the underside a reddish brown. Small, fragrant, white flowers followed by edible fruit. Grows well on poor/calcareous soils. Caution: E. pungens, is FLEPPC Category II invasive.

Beach creeper, golden creeper

Ernodea littoralis

(Click here for UF Fact Sheet )

1-3

Full sun

High

Intolerant of over watering, but excellent as ground cover for beach front. Flowers insignificant.

Coral bean tree

Erythrina herbacea

(Click here for UF Fact Sheet )

3-15

Full sun

Low

Native perennial shrub to small tree. Deciduous, 3-lobed compound leaves. Showy scarlet blossoms on tall stalks in spring, followed by large beans that split to reveal bright red seeds. May grow into small tree in south Florida. Extremely poisonous.

White stopper

Eugenia axillaris

(Click here for UF Fact Sheet )

5-20

Full sun to dense shade

High

Native large shrub or small tree with pale, whitish bark and aromatic foliage that can be overpowering. Small, white flowers in midsummer followed by small, purplish berries. Attractive to birds.

Redberry stopper

Eugenia confusa

(Click here for UF Fact Sheet )

6-18

Full sun to partial shade

High

Slow-growing native plant with attractive glossy leaves and red berries. Used as specimen plant or hedge. Upright growth suitable for restricted site.

Spanish stopper

Eugenia foetida

(Click here for UF Fact Sheet )

18-36

Full sun to shade

High

Native large shrub or small tree. Densely clothed with small, rounded leaves. Smallest flowers and fruits of all stoppers, but still attractive to wildlife. Excellent foundation or specimen plant.

Red stopper

Eugenia rhombea

(Click here for UF Fact Sheet )

9

Full sun to shade

High

Native large shrub or small tree with reddish brown bark and elegant growth habit. Branches produced in flat sprays perpendicular to main trunk. Slow-growing and does not flower or fruit as a young plant.

Scarlet plume

Euphorbia fulgens

5

Full sun to partial shade

High

Evergreen, arching shrub. Very showy red flowers all year. Needs excellent drainage. Ideal for a rock garden.

Crown-of-thorns

Euphorbia milii

(Click here for UF Fact Sheet )

1-3

Full sun

High

Slow-growing, thorny, semi-succulent shrub with bright green, obovate leaves and small to medium yellow, orange, or red flowers. Excellent in rock gardens. Often used as low hedge in coastal areas. Small Thai dwarf varieties used as bedding plants and groundcovers.

Florida privet

Forestiera segregata

(Click here for UF Fact Sheet )

10

Full sun

High

Native shrub with insignificant flowers. Wildlife attracted to black fruit. Very tolerant of alkaline soils.  Can be used as hedge plant in place of ligustrum.

Green aloe

Furcraea foetida

3-8

Full sun

High

Large rosette of thin narrow leaves up to 8' long. Requires freely draining soil.  Inflorescence borne on 15-30" stem; flowers pungent. Rosette dies after flowering. New plants arise from bulbils. Variegated form available.

Thryallis

Galphimia glauca

(Click here for UF Fact Sheet )

3-5

Full sun to partial shade

Low

Versatile, evergreen, tropical shrub. Non-stop yellow flowers bloom year-round. Excellent for low hedges. Wood brittle. Requires sheltered position.

Star flower

Grewia occidentalis

10

Full sun

Moderate

Adaptable evergreen shrub with deep green, oval, toothed, leathery leaves. Bears star-shaped, mauve-pink flowers about 1.5” across during spring and summer, followed by brownish, 4-lobed berries. Excellent plant for espaliers. Scale insects sometimes a problem.

Lignum vitae

Guaiacum sanctum
(Link is to related species)

(Click here for UF Fact Sheet )

6-25

Full sun

High

Attractive, native, slow-growing large shrub to small tree, with blue flowers year round—but best in spring. Flowers followed by yellow seed pods which pop open to reveal shiny, bright red seeds. Extremely dense, prized wood.

Firebush

Hamelia patens

(Click here for UF Fact Sheet )

5-15

Shady to dappled sun

Low

Produces attractive orange/red flowers at any time. Indifferent to soil, providing drainage is good. In shade, less shrubby and more tree-like. Can be used as hedge, but pruning interferes with flowering. Highly attractive to butterflies.

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  .
Perennials Palms, Cycads & Palm-like Plants (A-E)
Annuals Palms, Cycads & Palm-like Plants (G-Z)
Shrubs & Hedges (A-Ci) Ornamental Grasses
Shrubs & Hedges (Cl-Ha) Groundcovers (A-I)
Shrubs & Hedges (He-P) Groundcovers (J-Z)
Shrubs & Hedges (R-Z) Vines
Flowering & Shade Trees (A-E) Epiphytes
Flowering & Shade Trees (F-Z) Herbs & Vegetables
Fruit Trees  

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Scientific Name / Common Name Cross-Reference

Common Name / Scientific Name Cross-Reference

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