Successful landscape design in Miami-Dade County has a lot to do with the plants you select for your yard, impacting maintenance and long term sustainability. There are a wide variety of native or low maintenance flowers, trees, and shrubs that thrive in South Florida’s unique climate.
Low Maintenance & Native Plants For Miami-Dade Landscaping
According to the University of Florida, there are over 350 low-maintenance plants suitable to South Florida’s unique climate. Native plants typically require the least amount of maintenance because they naturally thrive in your area without human interference. The plants included on the University of Florida’s list require less maintenance and can survive in poor alkaline sand or limestone-based soils.
There are certain restrictions in Miami-Dade regarding which plants can be planted within 500 feet of native habitats they are known to invade. None of the recommended plants are considered invasive species by the Florida Exotic Pest Plant Council, and are not restricted by any federal, state, or local laws.
The Best Perennial Flowers For Landscaping In South Florida
The University of Florida lists a total of 37 perennials that are either native or low maintenance and well-suited to South Florida’s climate. For the most part, perennials can live 3+ years. Many varieties sprout pretty flowers and make great groundcovers.
Types of Perennials Suitable To South Florida:
–Aglaonema is a small herbaceous perennial that can tolerate wet soils and occasional flooding. It prefers partial to full shade and has low salt tolerance.
–Butterfly Weed is a native perennial with beautiful orange flowers that bloom in the summertime. Hence the name, this plant is known to attract butterflies and hummingbirds. It prefers full sun to partial shade. It has low salt tolerance.
-Scarlet Milkweed is an evergreen perennial with narrow leaves and clusters of deep red or orange flowers that bloom in the spring and fall. This plant can tolerate moist soil, attracts butterflies, and prefers full sun to partial shade.
The Best Shrubs & Hedges For Landscaping In South Florida
Shrubs are generally woody plants with several stems, although a variety of plants can stand in as shrubs. A hedge is an accumulation of closely planted shrubs that serve as some type of border or boundary.
–Strawflower makes a great option for shrubs in our local climate. It’s an annual perennial with weak and hollow steams. In summer and early fall, it sprouts beautiful golden yellow blooms. This type of plant makes a great groundcover or small shrub. It prefers full sun and has low salinity tolerance.
–Beach Elder is another excellent option, especially for Florida’s coastal landscapes. It is a course shrubby perennial that has high salinity tolerance (key for coastal landscaping). It prefers full sun to partial shade.
–Shrimp Plant is a perennial or shrub with an assortment of red, rust-brown, yellow, or green branches with small, white, shrimp-like flowers. This easy to grow plant is very adaptable and can thrive in a combination of full sun and full shade.
The Best Flowering & Shade Trees For Landscaping In South Florida
Flowering trees are grown for their beautiful flowers, while shade trees lack showy flowers but offer superior shade thanks to their large outspread canopies. According to the University of Florida, there are 59 varieties of flower and shade trees listed as ideal for Miami-Dade’s climate, including:
–Sweet Acacia is a 15-foot tree that produces sweetly scented yellow flowers that resemble pom-poms. This type of tree has high salt tolerance and prefers full sun.
–Marlberry trees can grow anywhere from 5 to 20 feet tall. They sprout pretty foliage and berries and can be used as a smaller shrub or tree. This tree prefers partial shade and does not thrive in full sun; it has moderate tolerance to salt.
Other flowering & shade trees include:
See the complete list of trees suited to South Florida’s climate on page 5 and 6 of this guide: http://miami-dade.ifas.ufl.edu/pdfs/fyn/native-plant-list.PDF
More Plants & Trees For South Florida Landscaping
There are countless other species of plants that thrive in South Florida, including varieties of epiphytes, fruit trees, vines, groundcovers, ornamental grasses and palm trees, or palm-like plants.
Check out the University of Florida’s full list of plants and trees suitable to Florida’s climate here: http://miami-dade.ifas.ufl.edu/fyn-publications/perennials.shtml
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