40 Florida Shrubs (Flowering, Evergreen, Vines) With Pictures – Identification Guide

Florida Shrubs Identification

Shrubs, flowering bushes, evergreen plants, and trailing vines add beauty to gardens in Florida. Many shrubs for the sun or shade are ideally suited to Florida’s hot and humid climate.

Popular Florida shrubs that bloom include viburnum, bougainvillea, ixora, pinwheel jasmine, hibiscus, Bolivian sunset, and cape honeysuckle. Evergreen Florida shrubs with colorful leaves or berries include croton, copperleaf plant, American beautyberry, and nandina.

Growing shrubs in Florida’s climatic conditions can be challenging as the Sunshine State has a diverse climate. The north of Florida experiences colder winters and coastal breezes. But in Central and South Florida, the constant sunshine and humidity can create demanding conditions for growing shrubs in a garden landscape. The good news is that there are plenty of native Florida shrubs and non-native plants that thrive in southeastern states.

This article is a comprehensive guide to the best shrubs and bushes for growing in Florida. Descriptions and pictures of flowering shrubs and evergreen bushes will help you know which garden plants are best for your sunny garden.

Growing Zones in Florida

Florida covers a large area in the southeastern United States and can be divided into three main growing zones – North Florida, Central Florida, and South Florida.

North Florida is USDA 8 and 9. This region covers the Panhandle region of Florida. It has a climate like that of the southern states like Alabama, Georgia, Mississippi, and Louisiana. Cities in zones 8 and 9 include Tallahassee, Pensacola, and Jacksonville. The climate is subtropical, with short, mild winters and long warm summers.

Central Florida’s USDA growing zones are 9a to 10a. This region of the Sunshine State includes Orlando, Daytona Beach, and Tampa Bay. This part of the state has a subtropical climate all year round, with lots of rain during the wet season in May and June.

South Florida is USDA zones 10 and 11. This tropical climate includes Miami, Fort Lauderdale, the Florida Keys, and other areas around the Gulf Coast. The climate is tropical, with temperatures averaging around 80°F (26°C).

Flowering Shrubs In Florida

Shrubs are a great way to enhance your Florida landscape. You can plant shrubs as an evergreen hedge or a border, use them to add color and beauty in your yard or plant as foundation plantings for your home’s aesthetics.

Texas Sage (Leucophyllum frutescens)

Texas Sage (Leucophyllum frutescens)

Texas sage is a decorative flowering shrub for landscaping north and central Florida gardens

Texas sage is a compact, evergreen, ornamental Florida shrub with silvery-gray fuzzy leaves and dainty purple flowers. The rounded mounding shrub has small funnel- or bell-shaped flowers that bloom at various times throughout the year in Florida, especially after rainfall. Texas sage is a suitable shrub for growing in north or central Florida.

Texas sage thrives in full sun and grows 5 to 8 ft. (1.5 – 2.4 m) tall and 4 to 6 ft. (1.2 – 1.8 m) wide. The best places in Florida to grow Texas sage shrub are low humidity and well-drained soils. This mounding Florida shrub has excellent heat and drought tolerance.

Texas sage also goes by the names Texas Silverleaf, wild lilac, Texas rain sage, and Texas barometer bush.

Hardiness zones: 8 to 10

Sun exposure: Full sun

Bougainvillea

Bougainvillea

Bougainvilleas are climbing shrubs that come in various colors and are suitable for growing in south Florida

Bougainvillea is a stunning flowering tropical shrub suitable for garden landscapes in southern Florida. This ornamental shrub is known for its vibrantly colored pink, purple, orange, or gorgeous red flowers that cover the plant. Landscape uses for bougainvillea in Florida include growing as a creeping vine to cover walls, as a foundation bed, or over an arbor.

Bougainvillea grows 3 to 40 ft. (1 to 12 m) tall with a similar spread. With the correct pruning, bougainvillea is a flowering evergreen shrub. Or you can leave the vining shrub to spread out. The shrub’s tolerance for full sun and high humidity makes it ideal for Florida landscapes.

Hardiness zones: 10 – 12

Sun exposure: Full sun

Hibiscus

Hibiscus rosa-sinensis ‘Brilliant’

Hibiscus rosa-sinensis ‘Brilliant’ (in the picture) is a tropical hibiscus shrub that grows well in central and south Florida

Hibiscus is a native Florida shrub, often called rosemallows. The flowering evergreen shrubs are famous for their vast pastel-colored flowers, some of which can be as large as 10” (25 cm) across. Hibiscus flowers can be trumpet-shaped or showy double flowers with ruffled petals.

Hardy hibiscus shrubs with large, colorful funnel flowers are ideal for growing in North Florida. The beautiful, lush shrubs thrive as perennials, growing as compact, mounding shrubs. These hardy shrubs thrive in USDA zones 5 to 9.

Native tropical hibiscus shrubs are best growing in Central or South Florida. The sun-loving mounding plants can grow 4 to 6 ft. (1.2 – 1.8 m) tall and up to 3 ft. (1 m) wide. Tropical hibiscus plants are suitable for growing zones 8 to 10.

Hardiness zones: 5 to 10, depending on the species

Sun exposure: Full sun

Ixora (Ixora coccinea)

Ixora (Ixora coccinea)

Ixora bushes can be used for hedges or foundation plants in central and south Florida

Ixora is a tropical year-round flowering Florida shrub with large cymes of colorful star-shaped flowers. Flowers on Ixora shrubs can be white, pink, yellow, red, and orange. Ixora shrubs have leathery lance-shaped leaves, flowers 5” (13 cm) wide, and the shrub can grow 10 to 15 ft. (3 – 4.5 m) tall and up to 10 ft. (3 m) wide.

Ixora is ideal for planting in Florida gardens as a border, evergreen screen, hedge, or specimen shrub. The long-blooming star-shaped flowers appear on the end of long woody stems. The shrub is tolerant of drought and salt and thrives in Central and South Florida. In North Florida and the Panhandle, grow Ixora shrubs in a container.

Hardiness zones: 10 and 11

Sun exposure: Full sun to partial shade

Oakleaf Hydrangea (Hydrangea quercifolia)

Oakleaf Hydrangea (Hydrangea quercifolia)

Oakleaf hydrangea is a native north Florida flowering shrub with attractive white blooms

Oakleaf hydrangea is a deciduous flowering shrub for gardens in North Florida. The spectacular feature of these hydrangea shrubs is their pyramidal clusters of white flowers measuring 4” to 12” (10 to 30 cm) long. An identifying feature of the hydrangeas is their large lobed, dark-green leaves, reminiscent of oak leaves.

Native to Florida, oakleaf hydrangea perennial shrubs bloom from late spring to midsummer. The multi-stemmed shrub has a dense, rounded habit and lush green foliage. You can plant oakleaf hydrangeas as a hedge, foundation planting, backdrop, or accent bush.

Hardiness zones: 5 to 9

Sun exposure: Full sun to partial sun

Mountain Laurel (Kalmia latifolia)

Mountain Laurel (Kalmia latifolia)

Mountain laurel bushes can tolerate some shade in northern Florida gardens

Mountain laurel is a multi-stemmed, bushy shrub that blooms in late spring with abundant pale pink flowers. The showy, bell-shaped blooms are light pink with dark rose spots. The flowering deciduous shrubs have leather, glossy green oval leaves. Mountain laurel grows 5 to 15 ft. (1.5 – 4.5 m) tall.

Mountain laurel is native to the eastern United States. And the winter-hardy flowering bush is suitable for all regions of Florida north of Orlando. You can grow this shade-loving shrub as a specimen plant, shrub border, or in a cottage garden.

Hardiness zones: 4 to 9

Sun exposure: Partial sun

Camellias

Camellia

Camellias are evergreen shrubs with colorful flowers that are suitable for partial shaded north Florida gardens

Camellia is a group of evergreen shrubs with glossy, leathery leaves, giant double flowers, and a bushy habit. Camellia shrubs are known for their lush foliage and colorful winter blooms. The tough shrubs grow 6 to 10 ft. (1.8 – 3 m) tall and are ideal for shaded Florida gardens.

Camellia flowering shrubs are ideal in North Florida landscapes as an evergreen hedgerow, accent plant, foundation plant, or screen. The long-lived plants are popular landscape shrubs due to their interesting shapes and evergreen foliage. Additionally, camellias require little care.

Hardiness zones: 7 to 9

Sun exposure: Partial shade

Firespike (Odontonema cuspidatum)

Firespike (Odontonema cuspidatum)

Firespike is a flowering bush in Florida that will bloom best in full sun

The firespike shrub blooms throughout the year in South Florida gardens and as a perennial shrub in Central and North Florida. The bright crimson red flowers grow as flowering spikes with tubular flowers. The flower spikes are 12” (30 cm) tall, and the shrub grows up to 6 ft. (1.8 m) tall.

Firespike performs best in full sun, although it will grow in partial shade. The clumping herbaceous perennial shrub is ideal as an anchor shrub at the rear of a garden bed. It is relatively resistant to drought and grows in all Florida climates.

Hardiness zones: 9 to 11

Sun exposure: Full sun to partial shade

Viburnum 

Viburnum Snowball Bush (Viburnum opulus ‘Roseum’ or ‘Sterile’)

Viburnum Snowball Bush has showy round white flowers and grows between 10 and 12 ft. (3 – 3.6 m) tall

Viburnum is a large shrub or small tree, ideal for Florida landscapes to attract pollinators, birds, and wildlife. This low-maintenance, drought-resistant plant has clusters of small white, five-petalled flowers, glossy, dark green lanceolate leaves, and a height of 20 feet (6 m).

Viburnum shrubs are perfect for growing winter flowers in a subtropical Florida garden. The large flower clusters can be spherical, domed, or conical shapes. The blooms are also in a range of pink, green, white, and rose colors.

Dwarf viburnum shrubs are ideal for growing in a compact garden where space is limited. The rounded leafy shrubs grow 1 to 5 ft. (0.3 – 1.5 m) tall and have showy flower clusters, attractive fall foliage, and berry-like fruits.

Hardiness zones: 7 to 9, but some shrubs are also cold-hardy in zones 8 to 10

Sun exposure: Full sun or partial sun

Bolivian Sunset (Gloxinia sylvatica)

Bolivian Sunset (Gloxinia sylvatica)

Bolivian sunset is a small flowering shrub that grows well in filtered sun or dappled shade

Bolivian sunset is an attractive small, low-growing shrub for growing in frost-free regions of Florida. The flowering shrub is identified by its glossy, dark-green foliage and sprays of red-orange tubular flowers. The small plant grows up to 3 ft. (1 m) tall. Bolivian sunset is an ideal plant for a container garden in colder regions.

In subtropical climates, Bolivian sunset thrives in sunny or shaded beds and borders. You can also plant the spreading shrub as ground cover for full sun or shade.

Hardiness zones:  9 to 11

Sun exposure: Sun to partial shade

Elderberry (Sambucus nigra ssp. canadensis)

Elderberry

Elderberry is a native Florida flowering shrub that can remain evergreen in south Florida

Elderberry is a large suckering shrub or bush native to Florida and the eastern coast of the US. Elderberry is known for its clusters of brilliant white flowers that bloom in mid to late summer. After the flowers fade, purple and black berries appear on the tree. In South Florida, elderberry often remains evergreen throughout the year.

Elderberry shrubs can grow over 10 ft. (3 m) tall and have excellent ornamental value in garden landscapes. The deciduous or evergreen shrub tolerates a variety of soils and conditions. You can grow elderflower as a small flowering tree, hedge plant, barrier, or bush for naturalized areas.

Hardiness zones: 4 to 10

Sun exposure: Full sun to partial shade

Allamanda Bush (Allamanda schottii)

Allamanda Bush (Allamanda schottii)

Allamanda bushes are tropical flowering shrubs that add bright color to south Florida landscapes

The allamanda bush is a vigorous, evergreen tropical shrub with clusters of golden yellow funnel-shaped flowers. This long-blooming Florida shrub blooms from late spring through fall. The bright yellow flower clusters contrast with the lance-shaped, dark green leaves. Allamanda bush is an ornamental shrub growing 4 to 5 ft. (1.2 – 1.5 m) tall.

The outstanding features of the allamanda bush are leather green pointed leaves 2” to 4” (5 – 10 cm) long, abundant yellow flowers, and all-season color. Allamanda bush grows well as a privacy hedge, corner accent, anchor for a garden bed, or specimen shrub.

Hardiness zones: 10 and 11

Sun exposure: Full sun to light shade

Angel’s Trumpet (Brugmansia)

Angel’s Trumpet (Brugmansia)

Angel’s trumpet is a large ornamental Florida shrub suitable for sunny or partly shaded areas

Angel’s trumpet is a large shrub with long, trumpet-like yellow and orange-red flowers that dangle on long pendulous stems. Angel’s trumpet shrubs are identified by their long leaves 4” – 12” (10 – 30 cm) long and huge aromatic flowers up to 20” (50 cm long). The tall shrub grows 10 to 36 ft. (3 – 11 m) tall.

Angel’s trumpet is a member of the nightshade family, and all parts of the plant are poisonous. The heat-loving and humidity-tolerant shrub thrives in South Florida and is ideal as a large-leafed specimen plant. However, it would be best to plant it away from children’s play areas or edible crops to minimize the risks of poisoning.

Hardiness zones: 9 to 11

Sun exposure: Full sun to part shade

Azalea

azalea honeysuckle

Azalea honeysuckle (Rhododendron luteum), in the picture, has fragrant flowers and grows 10-13 ft. (3-4 m) tall

Most varieties of azalea shrubs perform best in Central and North Florida, filling gardens with spectacular floral shows in spring. Azaleas bloom with large, showy trumpet flowers in colors ranging from red to pink to white. Azalea flowers can be as small as 0.25” (6 mm) across or as large as 5” (12 cm).

Native azalea shrubs in Florida are originally from Asia. The best native azalea for Florida is the bush honeysuckle with small, fragrant flowers and pointed lance-shaped leaves. Typically, azaleas grow around 8 to 10 ft. (2.4 – 3 m) tall and thrive in some shade.

Another native azalea shrub is the evergreen Chapman’s Azalea (Rhododendron chapmanii). This native Florida shrub grows 3 to 6 ft. (1 – 2 m) tall and has small leaves and pink spring flowers measuring 0.5” to 1” (1.2 – 2.5 cm).

Hardiness zones: 8 and 9

Sun exposure: Partial shade to partial sun

Related reading: How to care for azalea bushes.

Butterfly Bush (Buddleia davidii)

butterfly bush (Buddleia davidii)

Butterfly bushes grow best in full sun and well-draining slightly acidic soil

The butterfly bush is identified by its conical clusters of fragrant purple flowers and semi-evergreen foliage. The identifying feature of this ornamental plant is its arching stems with large terminal flower clusters. The cone-like flowers measure 8” (20 cm) long, and the lanceolate leaves are 3” to 5” (7 – 13 cm).

As the name implies, butterfly bush shrubs are ideal for attracting pollinators to Florida landscapes. Other names for Buddleia include summer lilac and orange eye.

Although the flowering shrubs grow well in Florida, the high humidity can mean the plant is susceptible to various foliar diseases. Landscape uses for Buddleia are as an informal hedge, growing along a fence, or lining a driveway or sidewalk.

Hardiness zones: 5 to 8

Sun exposure: Full sun

Pinwheel Jasmine (Tabernaemontana divaricata)

Pinwheel Jasmine (Tabernaemontana divaricata)

The white flowering pinwheel jasmine (crepe jasmine) is an attractive Florida shrub for full sun or partial shade

Pinwheel Jasmine is a heat-loving flowering plant with lush green foliage and abundant star-shaped white flowers. This white-flowering Florida shrub is suited to growing in partial shade or part sun. The attractive shrub, with its glossy leaves, grows up to 5 ft. (1.5 m) tall and wide.

The easily identifiable feature of the evergreen Pinwheel Jasmine shrub is its distinctive white flowers in a pinwheel shape. In addition, some ornamental shrub cultivars have showy double flowers growing in small clusters. Although this is a spring-blooming shrub, it will bloom throughout the year in Central and South Florida.

The pinwheel jasmine shrub also goes by the names crepe jasmine, Nero’s crown, and East India rosebay. Despite its common name, this plant isn’t related to jasmine plants in the genus Jasminum.

Hardiness zones: 9 to 11

Sun exposure: Full sun to partial shade

Cape Honeysuckle (Tecoma capensis)

Cape Honeysuckle (Tecoma capensis)

The evergreen flowering cape honeysuckle shrub can be grown as a living fence in Florida gardens

Cape honeysuckle is an evergreen shrub for Florida climates. The scrambling shrub produces orange or orange-red tubular flowers 3” (7.5 cm) long and dark green pinnately compound leaves, 6” (15 cm) long with serrated margins. Cape honeysuckle grows 7 to 10 ft. (2 – 3 m) high and wide.

Although this Cape honeysuckle isn’t a vining plant, it can spread up to 25 ft. (7.5 m) wide. Its scrambling habit means it can climb trellises, arbors, pergolas, walls, and fences. You can also grow the drought-tolerant shrub as a flowering evergreen hedge or privacy screen.

Hardiness zones: 9 to 11

Sun exposure: Full sun to partial shade

Cape Jasmine (Gardenia jasminoides)

Cape Jasmine (Gardenia jasminoides)

The white flowers of cape jasmine bush add beauty and fragrance to Florida landscapes

Simply called gardenia, cape jasmine is a Florida shrub with dense foliage consisting of leathery green leaves and brilliant white waxy flowers. Cape jasmine leaves are lanceolate to oblong and measure 1.2” to 10” (7.6 – 25 cm). The snow-white funnel flowers are large, measuring up to 4” (10 cm), and bloom in summer and fall.

In warm subtropical climates, cape jasmine thrives in full sun or dappled sunlight. The mounding shrub requires fertile, moist soil. Grow as an evergreen hedge, border plant, or privacy screen.

Hardiness zones: 7 to 11

Sun exposure: Full sun to partial shade

Oleander (Nerium oleander)

Oleander Tree (Nerium oleander)

Oleanders are flowering shrubs with a variety of flower colors that can be grown in all Florida zones

Oleander shrubs are prized in Central and Southern Florida gardens because of their stunning pink, red, white, or yellow flowers. In addition, the fast-growing, multi-stemmed shrub creates a beautiful upward, spreading shape. The sizable flowering shrub grows 10 to 18 ft. (3 – 5.5 m) tall and up to 10 ft. (3 m).

The oleander shrub is identified by its five-petalled, trumpet-shaped flowers that bloom all summer. The evergreen foliage is described as slender, lanceolate, leathery leaves with upward growth on erect stems.

A consideration when planting oleander shrubs in a southern garden is that all parts of the plant are toxic if ingested. Therefore, it’s a good idea to keep the plants away from children’s play areas or where pets could nibble the leaves.

Hardiness zones: 7 to 12

Sun exposure: Full sun

Firebush (Hamelia patens)

Firebush (Hamelia patens)

Firebush is a small Florida flowering shrub that can reach 3 ft. tall (0.9 m) by 2 ft. (0.6 m) wide

Firebush is a small shrub native to Central and South Florida. The attractive ornamental bush has identifiable orangey-red tubular flowers growing in small forking clusters at the ends of stems. Firebush foliage consists of evergreen oval leaves with prominent pinkish veins.

The individual flowers measure 1 – 1.5” (2 – 5 cm) long, and the lance-shaped leaves are 6” (15 cm) long.

This fast-growing, sun-loving perennial thrives in warm winter areas. If you live in Florida, you can plant firebush as an evergreen hedge, border plant, or in a container garden.

Hardiness zones: 9 to 11

Sun exposure: Full sun or partial sun

Thunbergia

Thunbergia alata

Thunbergia alata is a vining shrub with delightful yellow or orange flowers with a black center

Thunbergia is a group of flowering shrubs that thrive in subtropical and tropical climates. The leafy shrubs produce large, showy flowers in pastel shades of purple, blue, pink, white, and orange. The large funnel flowers measure 3” (7.5 cm) across and grow abundantly among heart-shaped, bright green leaves on long, drooping branches.

When growing as a shrub, thunbergias grow between 6 and 26 ft. (1.8 – 8 m) tall.

The tropical plant genus Thunbergia also includes some spectacular vining plants for the subtropics. If you are looking for a beautiful vine for a Florida garden, choose the black-eyed Susann vine (Thunbergia alata).

Hardiness zones: 10 and 11

Sun exposure: Full sun to dappled shade

Coral Honeysuckle (Lonicera sempervirens)

Coral Honeysuckle Vine (Lonicera sempervirens)

The native Florida coral honeysuckle is a vigorous climbing shrub with red flowers that grows best in full sun but can tolerate part shade

Coral honeysuckle is a native vine that you can use as a shrub in Florida landscapes. Also called scarlet honeysuckle or trumpet honeysuckle, the attractive features of the shrubby vine are red tubular flowers growing in whorls, evergreen pointed leaves, and red berries growing from summer until fall.

The deciduous twining coral honeysuckle vine is ideal for growing over trellises, fences, or arbors. You can also leave the vine to spread unsupported to grow as a plant for full sun ground cover.

Coral honeysuckle flowers measure 2” (5 cm) long, the lanceolate leaves are also 2” (5 cm) long, and the bushy vine grows up to 20 ft. (6 m) or more.

Hardiness zones: 4 to 9

Sun exposure: Full sun

Jamaica Caper (Capparis cynophallophora)

Jamaica Caper (Capparis cynophallophora)

Jamaica caper shrubs grow well in south Florida in partial sun to partial shade

Jamaica caper is a native Florida shrub or small tree. Jamaica caper is identified by its glossy green, oval leaves, spectacular purple, pink or white flowers with long, spindly white stamens, and long cylindrical pods containing edible capers. The eye-catching flowering shrub measures 6 to 15 ft. (1.8 – 4.5 m) tall and 8 to 12 ft. (2.4 – 3.6 m) wide.

Identifying features of Jamaica caper shrubs are oval leaves with notched tips, small showy flowers with 2” (5 cm) long stamens, and long bean-like seed pods that measure 3” to 8” (7.5 – 20 cm) long.

Hardiness zones: 10 and 11

Sun exposure: Partial sun to partial shade

Evergreen Florida Shrubs

Croton (Codiaeum variegatum)

croton plant

Croton plants include many cultivars with beautiful colorful foliage

The croton plant is a striking tropical flowering plant known for its leathery green, red, pink, purple, and yellow leaves. Croton shrubs are ideal for adding color to subtropical Central and South Florida landscapes. The sun-loving shrubs grow up to 10 ft. (3 m) tall; however, you can also plant dwarf shrub varieties in a compact yard.

The eye-catching features of croton shrubs are spectacular colorful patterns on the leaves. The leathery leaves can be dark green, red, or yellow with contrasting bright veins. Other varieties of croton have lance-shaped green leaves with yellow splashing.

Hardiness zones: 10 and 11

Sun exposure: Full sun to partial shade

Clusia (Clusia guttifera)

Clusia Hedge (Clusia guttifera)

Clusia guttifera (small leaf clusia) is a popular hedge plant in many parts of Florida

Clusia is an evergreen shrub for growing in most regions of Florida. The Clusia shrub is identified by its leathery paddle-shaped leaves, dense foliage, and informal habit. Due to its evergreen leaves, low-branching pattern, compact growth, and heat tolerance, clusia shrubs are popular hedge plants. In addition, they are ideal for creating privacy screens or natural living fences.

The small-leaf clusia shrubs grow up to 25 ft. (7.5 m) tall. However, with regular pruning, it’s easy to maintain an evergreen hedge around 3 to 5 ft. (1 – 1.5 m) tall.

Another popular hedge plant for Florida is the Clusia rosea also goes by the name “Pitch Apple.”

Hardiness zones: 10 and 11

Sun exposure: Full sun

Bay Laurel (Laurus nobilis)

Bay Laurel (Laurus nobilis)

Bay laurel shrubs can be used as topiary or evergreen hedges in Florida gardens

Also called sweet bay laurel, the bay laurel is a medium to large shrub with dense evergreen foliage, aromatic leathery oval-shaped leaves, and clusters of small, white flowers. Although the large shrub can reach 25 ft. (7.6 m) in the wild, regular trimming can keep it around 2 to 8 ft. (0.6 – 2.4 m).

Bay laurel shrubs are ideal for Florida’s humid environment. The ornamental plant thrives in oceanic climates and can be used in topiary, grown as an evergreen hedge, or planted in a container. In addition, you can harvest and dry bay laurel leaves to use as an aromatic spice in stews and soups.

The bay laurel plant shouldn’t be confused with the unrelated cherry laurel plant.

Hardiness zones: 8 to 10 

Sun exposure: Full to partial sun

Coralbean (Erythrina herbacea)

Coralbean (Erythrina herbacea)

Coralbean flowering shrub remains evergreen in south Florida

Coralbean is a thorny flowering bush that is cold-hardy throughout Florida’s growing zones. The evergreen or deciduous Coralbean shrub has brilliant red tubular flowers growing on upright spikes. In addition, the trifoliate, ivy-like leaves, dangling seed pods, and crescent-shaped flowers give the Coralbean shrub year-long ornamental interest.

Coralbean shrub grows 6 to 12 ft. (1.8 – 3.6 m) tall and 3 – 6 ft. (1 – 1.8 m) wide. The red flowers on tall spikes grow 12” to 24” (30 – 60 cm) tall.

In temperate climates, Coralbean grows as a deciduous perennial that dies back in winter before reemerging in spring. In Florida, coralbean is an evergreen flowering shrub.

Hardiness zones: 8 to 11

Sun exposure: Full sun or partial sun

Privet Senna (Senna ligustrina)

Privet Senna (Senna ligustrina)

The native Florida privet senna shrub adds beautiful bright color to any landscape

Privet senna is a heat-loving evergreen perennial shrub with bright yellow flowers, pinnately compound leaves, and thin bean pods. The identifying features of privet senna are five-petalled yellow flowers and large leaves with slender lanceolate leaflets. The native Florida shrub grows 4 to 8 ft. (1.2 – 2.4 m) tall and up to 6 ft. (1.8 m) wide.

Growing privet senna shrubs in your Florida garden is ideal for adding bright yellow colors from fall through early summer. In addition, you can grow the flowering shrub as a flower bed backdrop or a specimen shrub to attract butterflies.

Hardiness zones: 9 – 11

Sun exposure: Full sun

Southern Wax Myrtle (Morella cerifera)

Southern Wax Myrtle (Morella cerifera)

The southern wax myrtle is a low maintenance evergreen shrub that grows best in full sun

Also called the southern bayberry, the native wax myrtle shrub is ideal for growing in Florida’s coastal regions. The large multi-stemmed shrub grows 10 to 15 ft. (3 – 5 m) tall and up to 10 ft. (3 m) wide. The evergreen shrub has clusters of fragrant spring flowers, olive-green lanceolate leaves, and pale-blue berries.

Southern wax myrtle shrubs are full sun plants for Florida landscaping. They are ideal for growing as privacy screens, shrub borders, or evergreen hedgerows. In addition, because of its tolerance to drought and flooding, Southern wax myrtle shrub is perfect for growing in Florida near streams or wetlands.

Hardiness zones: 7 to 11

Sun exposure: Full sun to partial sun

Banana Shrub (Michelia figo)

Michelia figo 'Purple Queen'

Michelia figo ‘Purple Queen’ has purple flowers and is a drought tolerant shrub

The banana shrub is a robust, vigorous bushy plant with thick, leathery leaves and creamy-yellow flowers with crimson tips. The name banana shrub comes from the plant’s magnolia-like flowers that emit aromas reminiscent of bananas. Banana shrubs are tolerant of drought and perform well in Florida’s humid climate.

The banana shrub grows 10 to 13 ft. (3 – 4 m) tall. It has dark glossy green leaves (3 cm) long and fragrant flowers with open petals that can be creamy white, purple, or lilac colors.

Hardiness zones: 8 to 10

Sun exposure: Full sun or partial shade

Other Types of Florida Shrubs

Philodendron Xanadu

Philodendron Xanadu Plant

Philodendron Xanadu is an evergreen tropical plant with shrub-like growth

Philodendron Xanadu is a foliage plant with large tropical waxy leaves, characterized by ten deep lateral lobes on each side. The large leaves grow between 12” and 40” (30 – 100 cm) long. In addition, the clumping shrub-like plant grows up to 5 ft. (1.5 m) tall and 7 ft. (2.1 m) wide.

Hardiness zones: 10 and 11

Sun exposure: Full sun to full shade

Nandina (Nandina domestica)

nandina domestica heavenly banboo

Nandina domestica (heavenly bamboo) shrub has red berries and summer green foliage before turning red in autumn

Nandina shrub is an ornamental landscape shrub, famed in Florida for its clusters of red berries, pointed red leaves, and masses of tiny white flowers. Also called heavenly bamboo, the heat-tolerant shrub grows 4 to 8 ft. (1.2 – 2.4 m) tall and up to 4 ft. (1.2 m) wide.

Hardiness zones: 6 to 9

Sun exposure: Full sun to partial sun

Florida Arrowroot or Coontie (Zamia pumila)

Florida Arrowroot or Coontie (Zamia pumila)

Florida arrowroot can be grown as a low shrub-like plant for full to partial sun

Coontie is a small, clumping plant with shrub-like growth and a spreading habit. Even though it’s not a shrub, the showy evergreen plant grows as a shrub-sized cycad. The plant has characteristic fern-like pinnate leaves, reddish-brown ovoid cones, and bright orange seeds. The shrubby plant grows up to 3 ft. tall (0.9 m) and 4 ft. (1.2 m) wide.

Hardiness zones: 8 to 11

Sun exposure: Full sun or partial sun

American Beautyberry (Callicarpa americana)

American Beautyberry (Callicarpa americana)

American beautyberry is a small ornamental Florida shrub with attractive purple berries

American beautyberry is an eye-catching ornamental shrub with spectacular vibrantly colored purple or magenta berries. Suitable for all regions of Florida, the American beautyberry has a loose, open habit with arching stems. The bright berries stay on the branches through fall and most of the winter.

American beautyberry shrubs grow 3 to 6 ft. (1 – 1.8 m) tall and wide.

Hardiness zones: 6 to 11

Sun exposure: Full sun to partial sun

Saw Palmetto (Serenoa repens)

saw palmetto (Serenoa repens)

Saw palmetto is a small palm tree native to Florida with clumping growth

Saw palmetto is a shrub-like palm tree for growing in subtropical climates. The palm is identified by its clumping growth and huge fan-shaped evergreen spiky-looking leaves 3 ft. (1 m) in diameter. Native to Florida, saw palmetto is a popular ornamental plant for growing along sidewalks, as a foundation plant, or textural accent.

The multi-trunked shrub-like tree grows 5 to 10 ft. (1.5 – 3 m) tall and wide.

Hardiness zones: 8 to 11

Sun exposure: Full sun to full shade

Related reading: The best palm trees that grow in Florida.

Crown of Thorns (Euphorbia milii)

Crown of Thorns (Euphorbia milii)

Crown of thorns is a small flowering shrub for Florida gardens with thorns on its thick stems

The crown of thorns is a type of perennial thorny bush with spiny stems, bright green leaves, and greenish flowers encircled by bright red, pink, or yellow bracts. The small, jagged shrub grows 3 to 6 ft. (1 – 1.8 m) tall and blooms throughout the year in southern climates.

Hardiness zones: 9 – 11

Sun exposure: Full sun

Florida Boxwood (Schaefferia frutescens)

Florida Boxwood (Schaefferia frutescens)

Florida boxwood is a fast growing evergreen shrub that can be pruned as a hedge

Florida boxwood is a tropical evergreen shrub with small, leathery yellowish-green leaves and tiny pale-green flowers. This fast-growing native Florida shrub typically grows up to 20 ft. (6 m) tall. However, regular pruning allows you to grow the shrub as a heat-tolerant evergreen privacy screen or hedge for a formal landscape.

Hardiness zones: 10 and 11

Sun exposure: Full sun to partial shade

Chinese Fringe Flower (Loropetalum chinense)

Chinese Fringe Flower (Loropetalum chinense)

The compact Chinese fringe flower shrub has colorful foliage and deep pink flowers

The Chinese fringe flower is an evergreen shrub for Florida gardens, noted for its eye-catching deep pink flowers with spindly petals. This red-leafed shrub is tolerant of heat and humidity and thrives in Florida’s landscapes. For vibrant red leaves and fuchsia pink blossoms, grow the shrub in full sun and water regularly.

The compact mounding shrub with dark red leaves grows 4 ft. (1.2 m) tall and wide.

Suppose you need an easy-care shrub for a Florida garden with red or dark purples leaves and striking neon-pink, spidery flowers. In that case, the Chinese fringe flower is an excellent choice.

Hardiness zones: 7 to 10

Sun exposure: Full sun to partial shade

Umbrella Plant (Schefflera arboricola)

umbrella plant care

The Schefflera arboricola (dwarf umbrella tree) includes several cultivars, some with variegated leaves

The umbrella plant is an erect evergreen shrub-like plant with palmately compound glossy green leaves, clusters of red or burgundy flowers, and tiny orange or black berries. Also called the dwarf Hawaiian Schefflera, the mounding, broad-leaved shrubby plant grows around 5 ft. (1.5 m) tall and up to 3 ft. (1 m) wide.

The interesting leaves of the umbrella plant are palm-like leaves with obovate shiny green leaflets. The evergreen leaves grow up to 4” (10 cm) wide and 8” (20 cm) long.

Hardiness zones: 10 to 12

Sun exposure: Full sun with some shade protection in the afternoon

Copperleaf Plant (Acalypha wilkesiana)

Copperleaf Plant (Acalypha wilkesiana)

The copperleaf plant is an evergreen shrub that can reach 10 ft. (3 m) tall and 6.5 ft. (2 m) wide

The copperleaf plant is a spectacular leafy shrub with red leaves for Florida gardens. The broad, heart-shaped red leaves measure 8” (20 cm) across and have serrated margins. In some cultivars, the nettle-like leaves are copper green with various colors, creating year-long color in a southern garden.

To grow this red-leaved shrub in South Florida, it’s vital to provide the plant with plenty of water, grow in full sun, and protect from strong winds.

Also called lance copperleaf or Jacob’s coat, the colorful shrub is ideal as in a shrub border, planted in the front of house, or grown in a mixed hedge.

Hardiness zones: 10 and 11

Sun exposure: Full sun to partial shade

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