The year-round growing season in Florida, with 65 to 73 percent of days of sunlight and abundant rainfall during the summer months, creates a paradise for plants.
These conditions set the stage for a home landscape full of lush vegetation, but it can also mean a significant amount of maintenance that needs to be done on a regular basis. Base on that condition, we do some research to choose low maintenance outdoor plants for Florida.
“Choosing the right plants can help you spend less time and money on landscape maintenance.”
Eventually, here are a few low maintenance outdoor plants we’ve found that will provide a beautiful setting for your Florida home, without constant maintenance tasks.
Table of Contents
- What’s The Criteria for A “Low Maintenance” Plant?
- Best Low-Maintenance Palms and Palm-like Plants
- Best Low-Maintenance Flowering Trees and Shade Trees
- Best Low-Maintenance Groundcovers
- Best Low-Maintenance Perennial Plants
- Best Low Maintenance Ornamental Grasses
- Final Thought
What’s The Criteria for A “Low Maintenance” Plant?
If you prefer to do other things, rather than tend to your home’s landscaping, having low maintenance outdoor plants in Florida (when you live in this state) is clearly advantageous. You can avoid constant watering, which can lead to an expensive water bill.
And you don’t have to prune the plant frequently. Importantly, you can forget a scheduled fertilizer application without jeopardizing the health of the plant, nor do you have to worry about plant pests and diseases causing expensive losses in your landscaping. Low maintenance plants allow you to enjoy attractive foliage on your property, without paying a cost in time and trouble.
Plants that are native to the area are often the best choice, because they have adapted to conditions such as intense sunlight, high humidity, salt in coastal areas and drought that often occurs during Florida’s winter months. As a result, these plants generally need little additional care.
Best Low-Maintenance Palms and Palm-like Plants
Palm trees are an iconic landscape plant for the state of Florida, and many homeowners choose to have them on their property. However, some palm trees require extensive maintenance, with dried fronds, dropped fruits and vulnerability to a variety of plant diseases.
In addition, some palm species require frequent fertilizing to keep them healthy. These species of palm avoid many of these issues and provide attractive greenery for home landscaping, and make it the best low maintenance outdoor plants for Florida.
1. Sabal Palms
This variety of palm tree has a wide range of uses. We have one planted at the front of my home near a window, which allows me to look out and enjoy its lush foliage whenever we feel the need.
You can also plant it in defined “islands” in the expanse of your lawn. Sabal palms also offer a nice bit of shade for backyard areas. Maintenance is easy.
Simply trim back dead fronds twice yearly and provide some watering during drought conditions. Sabal palms are able to maximize nutrients in soil, so additional fertilizing is rarely needed. These palms offer the lushness of the classic Florida landscape, along with the least burdensome maintenance.
2. Zamia Floridana
Although it may be confused with a palm variety, this plant is actually a cycad, which is a different species. The plant can vary in appearance, with short, wide leaflets or long, narrow ones.
Even the height can vary depending on its location in the state. Zamia floridana is both drought-tolerant and cold tolerant and requires only occasional fertilizing. The plant can be used as a shrub, in groupings along structures or as ground cover to stabilize soil in lawn areas.
With its blueish coloring, Brahea, often called the Mexican Fan Palm, makes an attractive addition to Florida home landscaping. Both salt-tolerant and drought-tolerant, it can thrive in any location, but does best with a bit of regular watering.
The wide, fan-like leaves provide shade for more vulnerable plants. Use this plant at entrance ways, along bases and as screening plants.
Best Low-Maintenance Flowering Trees and Shade Trees
Florida weather provides sunlight throughout the year, so planting shade trees is a good idea. These trees not only allow you to enjoy the outdoors more comfortably, but also can help keep energy costs down by helping to keep indoor spaces cooler.
Flowering trees add color to home landscaping and attract wildlife to your property. Here are a few low-maintenance choices for your home landscaping:
This is a popular tree that will produce blooms throughout the year. It flowers in a number of different colors. Plant this species in an area where it will receive plenty of sun.
Crapemyrtle is both drought-tolerant and heat-tolerant. Only minimal fertilizing is required to keep it thriving. Crapemytrle is available in a number of sizes to suit any property area.
5. Live Oak
One of the iconic trees of the southern U.S., the live oak is a native species to Florida and adapts well to its unique climate. Live oak is a fast-growing tree that grows into an attractive shape and provides welcome shade during hot summers.
It needs well-draining soil to thrive and may require pruning to prevent breakage in hurricane weather.
6. Lignum Vitae
This tree species is slow growing and easy to maintain. It is a native evergreen plant of the state of Florida and an attractive choice for home landscapes.
With its black-tinted bark and leathery green leaves perched on multiple branches, it offers both shade and beauty, its with blue-purple flowers, followed by yellow berries. The plant is salt-tolerant, drought-tolerant and thrives even in wet soil. It only requires periodic pruning.
Best Low-Maintenance Groundcovers
You may have areas on your property where lawn grass is unable to grow. A groundcover plant can often provide good coverage for soil to cover bare areas and prevent soil erosion.
Native groundcovers are often the best choice, particularly in salty coastal areas or where heavy rains cause flooding. Each of the following has its own advantage for your landscaping needs.
7. Dwarf Lantana
This plant is a Florida native species that has adapted well to the state’s climate and can be used as a groundcover in areas where lawn turf fails to thrive.
Dwarf lantana need watering when first planted, but once established, it is drought-tolerant. Small flowers bloom in spring and summer in a variety of colors. To keep from being invasive, try one of the varieties that produce few seeds.
8. Wild Pennyroyal
This Florida native plant is not a true pennyroyal, but is a member of the mint family. It grows low and is drought-tolerant. Small flowers bloom in fall and winter on short stems.
Wild pennyroyal was used as a medicinal by Native American tribes and is known to repel fleas. Once established, it requires little care.
9. Moss Verbena
This low-growing perennial plant produces beautiful, lavender flowers and can tolerate salt well when planted on beachfront properties. Leaves are dark and fern-like. Moss verbena can be planted in sun or shade and may need trimming back to avoid becoming invasive. It attracts bees and butterflies.
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Best Low-Maintenance Perennial Plants
Perennial plants are by their nature easy to maintain. Once established, they provide color and texture in landscape areas, year after year. Some need a bit of watering to maintain their foliage.
Others may need “deadheading,” that is, removing dead blooms to allow the plant to keep producing more flowers. But these simple actions can keep your Florida perennials looking fresh and healthy, and make it the best low maintenance outdoor plants for Florida.
This pentas flower laugh at hot Florida summers. They produce white, red or pink blooms and attract butterflies and hummingbirds. Water the plant regularly until established.
After that, it only needs additional moisture during very dry weather. Fertilize every few months for better blooming. Pinch back stems if you prefer fuller plants.
11. Gerbera Daisy
These cheerful flowers will grace your garden throughout the year in the warmest parts of the state. In colder regions, they should be treated as an annual. They like a location that is in the sun for half the day and in the shade for the other half.
These plants do best with regular watering. You can carefully mulch the top of the soil to maintain good moisture levels. Fertilize regularly for best flowering.
This plant can be used at the back of planting beds or as a shrub or along the base of homes. It produces bright, blue-purple flowers year-round and needs no additional watering or fertilizing.
Plumbago plants seed themselves year after year. May require trimming back to prevent it from overgrowing.
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Best Low Maintenance Ornamental Grasses
Ornamental grasses offer dramatic visual interest for home landscaping. They add differences in texture, color and size than your other landscape plants, with a minimum of care. Creeping or clumping varieties can be used in many ways. Some varieties are deciduous, while others are evergreen.
Although a native of India, lemongrass does well in the Florida landscape. Clumps can grow to 6 feet wide, with foliage that turns orange and red in autumn. Add additional water during dry periods.
This plant is easy to grow and less to maintain, so that’s the reason why we choose lemongrass as low maintenance outdoor plants for Florida. Plants are fragrant with light lemon scent and can repel mosquitoes. Cut the stalks and remove outer leaves to get to the juicy stems used for flavoring in recipes.
14. Blue Muhly Grass
With its high salt tolerance, this ornamental grass can be used for beachfront properties. Plant muhly grass in a sunny location. The leaves have a blue tinge, and flowers are purplish.
It will tolerate wet soil, but prefers dry. Mulhly grass grows to 2-feet tall and can be cut back to the ground. It will regrow quickly.
15. Fakahatchee Grass
Tall, green and grass-like, this plant is both attractive and easy to grow. A native of the Florida environment, Fakahatchee grass grows in 4 to 6-foot wide clumps.
The plant produces white, pink or rust-colored flowers in spring. It can be planted in sun or shade. You can trim back the grass, but it is not required for the plant to thrive. Fakahatchee grass provides larval food for certain type of butterfly.
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In conclusion, low maintenance outdoor plants offer a fantastic solution for busy gardeners in Florida who want to enjoy beautiful landscapes without the constant upkeep. By choosing the right low maintenance plants, incorporating smart landscaping techniques, and following the helpful tips provided in this article, you can create a stunning and effortless outdoor oasis.
Embrace the beauty of resilient plants that thrive in Florida’s climate, and spend more time relaxing and enjoying your outdoor space. So, go ahead and give these low maintenance plants a try, and let nature’s beauty enhance your Florida landscape with minimal effort. Happy gardening!