Table of Contents
- Easy to Grow Container Plants
- Container Plants for Heat and Humidity
If you live in Florida, then you’re familiar with our unusual weather. Summers can be blistering hot, while winters can have several days of below freezing weather. Finding plants that can do well outside throughout the year can be a challenge.
Fortunately, there are a lot of options for people who are interested in container gardens. These gardens are perfect for back patios and porches. For many people, their container gardens bloom year-round, since they have some control over the type of light and temperature that the plants receive.
Container gardens in Florida are usually kept in areas that are exposed to the extreme temperatures of our state, but they can be placed in shade or moved to full sun. Containers can be brought inside or given some shelter when temperatures get to be too hot or too cold.
Nonetheless, it’s a good idea to pick flowers that are heat-resistant, since most container gardens will be left outside. Choose a variety that look beautiful together, but also consider adding plants that attract and help natural pollinators such as bees and butterflies or plants that have nutritional or medicinal uses.
Easy to Grow Container Plants
If you’re just starting out with container gardening, these plants tend to be easy and quick to grow.
Use good potting soil and make sure that your pots have adequate drainage.
If you live in the northern parts of the state, be sure to bring your containers inside when it freezes. Residents of South Florida should try to remember to move their containers into some shade or air conditioning at the height of summer. Fortunately, these plants are all resilient enough that they will likely survive if you forget, although it may take a few months for them to come back.
1. Lavender (Lavandula)
This Florida native is one of my favorite plants to grow in containers and share with my friends. While you’ll find it growing wild all over Florida, there are a lot of uses for this plant. Lavender does best in dry soil with relatively little water, making it ideal for forgetful gardeners.
Many people who keep their container gardens outside simply rely on natural rainfall to keep their plants healthy. Once it has bloomed, pick the flowers and dry them out. Use the flowers and leaves in potpourri or steep it in a tea that can relieve headaches.
2. Mexican Heather (Cuphea hyssopifolia)
This relatively easy to grow plant is an ideal ground cover, but it can also be used to fill in empty places in a container garden. It will usually grow to be between a foot to eighteen inches tall with dark green leaves and pink and white blooms.
Make sure that this is planted in a container with good drainage. Once it’s established, it requires virtually no care other than occasional watering. People with outdoor container gardens tend to rely on natural rainfall to keep the plant healthy, since it can withstand long periods of drought.
3. Marigolds (Tagetes)
This plant comes in a variety of colors and is one of the easiest types of flowers to grow from seeds. Once they spout, they grow very quickly, making them a good choice if you wish to get your garden going quickly, or if you’re working with impatient children.
Marigolds act as a natural insect repellent, which can make them a good choice for indoor gardens with other plants that tend to attract pests. If you remove the blooms, you can harvest them for seeds, or place multiple blooms in a spray bottle with a small amount of warm water and use it as a natural insecticide on your other plants or around your house.
Removing the blooms will cause the plant to spread out and produce more flowers. Because easy to grow in any media include in the pot, making marigolds one of the best flowers for pots in Florida.
This is a heat loving plant that tends to do well once it gets going. Consider starting it from a plant at a nursery or a transplant if you are new to gardening. Geraniums are very heat tolerant, but they do need to be watered regularly. Also, be sure to bring your containers indoors in the event of a freeze.
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5. Purslane (Portulaca oleracea)
This flower, also known as Portulaca oleracea is drought and heat tolerant, making it a good choice for the beginner gardener, or anyone who frequently forgets to bring their containers indoors when it gets hot.
Because it needs relatively little water, the plant does pretty well in hanging baskets. Blooms are pink, white, orange, and yellow, and many plant breeders love to combine their flowers to create bi-color and even striped varieties.
6. Mint (Mentha)
Mint or Mentha, doesn’t really flower, but it’s an herb that does really well in containers. Once planted it will spread very quickly, making this plant a great choice for anyone who just needs to fill a container.
The plants grow to be about six to nine inches tall and have a wonderful but not overpowering scent, which can make it a good choice for a small container garden in a kitchen. Many people use this plant as a natural insect repellent in container gardens that are outside.
Container Plants for Heat and Humidity
These flowers are some of the best flowers for pots in South Florida, or for anyone who wants to keep their container garden outdoors most of the time. These plants all tend to thrive off of high heat and humidity, and most of them do well with high amounts of water.
7. Blue Salvia (Salvia azurea)
This plant is native to the Southwest, but it adapts very well to a hot Florida climate. Typically, this plant features purple or white flowers.
It’s one of the top picks for newcomers to Florida container gardens because it is both drought and heat resistant, relatively easy to grow, resistant to both deer and rabbits and extremely hardy.
The plant is known to attract butterflies, bees, and hummingbirds, and it has a wonderful scent that is not too heavy.
Be aware that the plant does best in well-drained soil. If your containers are outside, it tends to behave as a perennial in the northern part of the state, and as a perennial in the central and southern parts.
8. Tropical Milkweed (Asclepias curassavica)
The yellow, orange, and red flowers on this plant will attract Monarch butterflies, which will leave their eggs on the leaves. The caterpillars that hatch will be on the leaves, so don’t worry if you see a few holes.
This variety of milkweed thrives in tropical climates, making it ideal for container gardens in South Florida. Take plants outside during butterfly season if you want to attract the insects, otherwise, leave it inside if you just want to enjoy the blooms.
If the plant starts to leak sap, be sure to wear gloves while handling it. The milky sap of this flower can irritate skin and cause a rash.
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This plant doesn’t bloom, but it’s a great addition to a South Florida container garden. This plant compliments many flowering varieties of plants, and is extremely heat tolerant.
Because of the sharp leaf tips, some people plant it around the outside of their containers to discourage pets from interfering with the more delicate flowers inside.
10. Firespike (Odontonema cuspidatum)
This is actually a booming evergreen shrub, but it’s extremely drought and salt tolerant, making it a great choice for anyone with a container garden near one of Florida’s many beaches or brackish rivers.
The plant can grow up to six feet high, although this rarely happens in container gardens. It showcases bright red tubular flowers.
Firespike will die if it is left outside during a freeze, so be careful if you live in the northern part of the state. If you do accidentally freeze it, though, just remove the dead leaves and stems and wait for warmer temperatures. The plant will usually start to regrow again in the spring.
11. Banana (Musa spp.)
Technically, the bananas on this tree are seed pods, but this plant is a really unique and special addition to a Florida container garden. Many people throughout Florida grow bananas in containers because it tends to die when temperatures drop.
In South Florida, however, there are many gardeners who are able to leave their banana trees outside for the entire year. A typical tree can grow to about 15 feet in a large enough container.
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This tropical flower is one of the best flowers for pots in Florida. It has native varieties on several different continents, giving you a wide range of options to choose from.
This plant is a staple in many tropical gardens, making it a great choice for people living in the southern part of Florida where it rarely freezes.
It’s important to note that most people who grow hibiscus in containers tend to leave the containers outside because the plant needs to be in a high humidity environment.
If you want to move your containers inside, you may want to move them to an area of your home with a lot of moisture such as a bathroom or kitchen. This plant is also a great choice for greenhouse gardeners.