This list of low-maintenance plants for Florida gardens will help you make the most of your garden space. Are you new to Florida gardening? Gardening in itself is a lot of hard work, and when you add in the unpredictable weather of Florida you have a whole new ballgame. Gardening in Florida has a lot of challenges that you may not be used to. The extreme heat, humidity, and punishing rain can be difficult to navigate. Choosing easy plants to grow will help reduce your workload so you have more time and energy to put into the rest of your life.
Here are some of the best plants to grow when you are looking for low-maintenance plants for Florida gardens and landscaping.
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One of the easiest things to grow in Florida is bananas. If you give them plenty of room these plants will grow and produce more plants. The new plants will take over when the older ones die out for a recurring harvest year after year. Plant your bananas in moist soil and in a spot with partial shade as they do not like direct sunlight. To make caring for bananas even easier you can place them in a circle around a large hole filled with compost. Leave just enough room to dump your food scraps in and watch your bananas thrive.
Though bananas are native plants to southeast Asia they thrive in warmer climates. This makes them an excellent choice for your Florida landscape. Be careful, if you are in the Northern region of Florida banana plants do not tolerate frost very well. Any night when the temps drop below freezing could devastate your banana trees. In this situation be sure to cover them with a large blanket or other frost protection measure.
Low Maintenance Tomatoes to Grow in Florida
Believe it or not, tomatoes do great in Florida. Different varieties of tomatoes tend to do better in different areas of the state.
If you are looking for a tomato variety that will thrive in your garden, Everglade cherry tomatoes fit the bill. These grow wild in the Everglades with no maintenance at all. They will thrive in your Florida garden even if you tend to neglect it in the hot summer months. Add a large cage around them rather than staking or caging each individual plant and let them grow wild for the best results.
Martino’s Roma tomatoes are also a good choice. They are a determinate variety, meaning they will set all of their fruit at once. These tomatoes tend to do great in North Florida. You will need to start them indoors no later than early February and have them in the ground by March so that they have a chance to fruit in early spring. The growing season for these tomatoes ends around early summer because of the heat and humidity. These tomato plants do best with regular watering, well-drained soil, and morning sun exposure.
Growing your own luffas can be a lot of fun and a great way to be more self-sustainable. These tropical vines thrive in the heat of Florida’s climate. Luffas can also make a great fast-growing privacy screen for your yard. Grow these in the summer and save money year-round while reducing plastic waste. Luffas require very little care and create a beautiful landscape design.
Passionfruit grows well in Florida and also thrives in the summer heat. The birds will often steal your edible fruit before you can harvest them so use bird netting to protect them. Birds will often leave these seeds around creating nearby volunteer plants when one neighbor is growing them.
These purple berries often grow wild and are foraged for making beautyberry jelly. Because these grow so well without any intervention from humans they make a great low-maintenance plant for your Florida gardens. These work well as low maintenance shrubs in your garden while providing berries for your family to use. The bright color of these berries is beautiful and makes a great addition to your landscaping or perennial garden.
This flower is coveted in northern areas because of its beauty but needs to be replanted year after year. Lantana is a wild-growing fast spreading flowering plant that makes for great ground cover. Its red flowers attract needs, butterflies, and other beneficial insects to your garden while needing little to no maintenance in the Florida sun.
This clumping perennial will grow 6 to 10 inches off the ground and will reseed itself year after year. Helianthus debilis is its scientific name. It’s a great low-maintenance option for your perennial garden. They can handle the heat of Florida’s hot summers and tend to thrive with neglect. These pretty flowers do best in full sun exposure and sandy soil making them the perfect option for those in coastal areas.
Native milkweed is a Florida native and not a weed at all. These orange and yellow flowers of this native Florida plant are essential for monarch butterflies and can make a great addition to your garden. These are commonly referred to as weeds and are pulled from yards.
Milkweed makes a great addition to a wildflower garden or hidden as a filler in your landscaping garden beds. They help attract butterflies to your garden where the butterflies will pollinate your garden and increase the fertility of your vegetables. This allows you to spend less time hand-pollinating or plucking out fruits that have grown deformed. Read more about attracting butterflies to your garden here: How to Attract Butterflies to your Garden.
Hibiscus is a great plant that thrives in the heat of Florida summers. This can be harvested for tea, can make a great addition to your landscaping, and is a wonderful edible flower with many great health benefits. If you enjoy this flower plant a large batch of them to enjoy and harvest for your use. While you are at it, take the time to add plenty of mulch to reduce the maintenance needed for this already easy-to-care-for tropical flower.
Citrus Plants to Grow in Florida
Whether growing in a pot or planted in the ground, Florida is one of the few climates that are particularly suited for citrus fruits. These fruit trees are easy to grow and take very little overall maintenance to enjoy a wonderful harvest year after year. If you have a little patience you can start your citrus trees from seeds or you can look for an older grafted tree with strong rootstock to enjoy your harvest without waiting for many years. There are a variety of options if you are interested in growing a citrus plant, here are a few:
One thing to keep in mind is that your fruits, like lemons, and oranges will start off green before they change to yellow or orange. This is an example of an orange plant in June in Northeast Florida (zone 9B).
When you want something for your landscaping to provide privacy to your yard consider viburnum. This plant is a non-invasive, sun loving and fast growing bush or shrub like plant. These are a popular choice for adding privacy without using an actual fence. Of course, you can also plant viburnum along your fence line if you’d like. Viburnum do need to be trimmed as they can grow up to be 30 feet tall if not pruned.
Best Low Maintenance Outdoor Plants for Florida
From flowering plants that attract pollinators to easy-to-grow fruits and vegetables, you will be surprised just how many things grow easily with little work in the moist hot climate of the sunshine state. Once you get the hang of the unique growing season you’ll find yourself and your garden resting during the peak of summer rather than the dead of winter. With some good compost, some shade cloth, and a little time, you can have a beautiful thriving garden this year. Start with a small container garden or spruce up your landscaping with a pop of color.
Many of these low maintenance plants for Florida can be found at your local nursery or started from seed. The best option will come down to your own preference, what you are comfortable with, and the size of your property.
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