The Best Shrubs to Grow in Florida and Handle Their Challenging Conditions

Anyone who has ever tried growing something in Florida knows that there is a lot to consider. Are you in central Florida? Are you closer to the Gulf Coast? Florida has a wide variety of landscapes, making this dirt particularly challenging. To help you out with these issues, we’ve looked over a few options to find the best shrubs to grow in a Florida landscape. So, what is the best shrubs to grow in Florida and handle their challenging conditions. 

The Five Best Shrubs for Florida Conditions

  1. Louis Philippe Rose – The Most Beautiful Option
  2. Proven Winners – Weigela Florida Sonic Bloom Pearl – Amazing Small White Flowers
  3. Winter Gem Boxwood – Hardy in Tough Conditions 
  4. Dwarf Burford Holly Ilex – Grows up to Six Feet Tall 
  5. Green Mountain Boxwood – For that Green and Healthy Look

Louis Philippe Rose – The Most Beautiful Option

The Louis Philippe Rose is for gardeners that want to add a bit of color to their life. They come in varieties of one to five plants. They also come in six-inch pots, which provides you a bit of time to decide where you want to place these roses.

Make sure they sit out in the sun while you make your decision. Their love of the sun makes them pretty suitable for south Florida. They blend well with beautiful tropical environments (those that may not include a palm tree).

The pink colorization with a touch of blue in the center makes these roses a beautiful addition to most households. Wekiva Foliage, the company behind them, is also known for producing healthy-looking plants from across the spectrum. 

Louis Philippe is known to be working plants at any point in the state. The Florida Cracker Rose, another name for the Louis Philippe, is pretty heat and disease-resistant. As a result, this rose could be a beautiful addition to your garden. 

ProsCons
If you are looking for a hardy rose to add color to your lifeThey are not suitable for people who aren't looking for roses
If you have a good deal of room to allow these roses to grow to their total of eight feetProvide plenty of room for the roots to grow
Warm glow of the heater.
Best Shrubs to Grow in Florida Reviews

Proven Winners – Weigela Florida Sonic Bloom Pearl – Amazing Small White Flowers

Proven Winners is a brand for the Green Promise Farm Store. They are known for producing high-quality foliage. One such example, the Sonic Bloom Pearl, is a fantastic offering. The Weigela Florida are native plants to North China, but it is considered a Florida plant.

The white and pink colorization of these begins to shine with proper care. Given that these plants have an included planter, it’s pretty easy to find a place to put them. However, it might be heavier for some gardeners. 

It is a big shrub; you might want to consider getting a couple to act as a border to entryways. Like other flowering shrubs, make sure you give it enough room to grow. As a plant made to go between USDA zones four through eight, this is a perfect addition that survives all year-round in Florida.

ProsCons
If you are looking for an entire flowering shrub for your gardenThe 12-pound pot makes it difficult to lift for some gardeners 
They support a white/pink combination that looks beautiful once grownNot suitable for people who do not want flowering plants
It's easy to plant given that it is in one pot
Best Shrubs to Grow in Florida Reviews

Winter Gem Boxwood – Hardy in Tough Conditions 

Buxus Microphylla Japonica is the ideal plant for creating that “boxy look.” As a natural form of hedging, it’s a great addition to most households. Florida Foliage, the brand behind this Winter Gem Boxwood, sells them in plant varieties toat go from three to 60. These beautiful green leaves are an excellent low hedge.

As a result of the bulk purchasing, the cost-effectiveness of this plant is pretty solid. Unless you are buying over 30, the cost quickly spikes up. Regardless, these are ideal for Florida conditions, as they include USDA zones five through nine. 

The only real annoying concern behind these is how slow they grow. These box-like plants require a bit of patience to see them hit full fruition. If you are looking for instant results, this plant isn’t the one for you. However, the focus on providing you an easy-to-manage quality experience is still evident. 

ProsCons
If you are looking for the ideal shrubs for property divisionThey aren't for people who expect instant results 
For Florida residents who want to support a local companyNot everyone likes the "regular green" look 
One of the hardiest plants available on this listYou will need to trim them to receive the ideal box shape 
Best Shrubs to Grow in Florida Reviews

Dwarf Burford Holly Ilex – Grows up to Six Feet Tall 

The word “dwarf” is a bit misleading here. While this particular item comes with ten plants that take up a small amount of space, their height makes them ideal for natural fencing. Florida, being one of the significant places you can take advantage of year-round natural fencing, supports this plant well. 

The bonus of the Ilex Cornuta or Dwarf Burford, is that they are easily moved, grow rapidly, and are typically low on pests. Through regular watering schedules, you can easily handle this low-maintenance plant. The drawback? It’s not as visually pleasing as similar shrubs, part of why they don’t attract bugs. 

These plants can even act as a partial shade, given their six-foot height potential. However, they are not as good as some other shade trees you can put in the middle. It may also serve the function of “tree shrubs” to provide you with a natural privacy fence. 

There’s also a chance of some berries that grow from this. If you receive those berries, they typically maintain throughout the winter. You won’t be able to eat them, but they give them a lovely shade. As another plant from Florida Foliage, this allows you to support a high-quality local retailer. 

ProsCons
Florida Foliage is a local company.
It isn't as beautiful as some of the other options on this list.
If you want to get some foliage that is relatively low maintenance.Not as firm as boxwood plants.
If you're going to have a naturally formed six-foot fence.
Best Shrubs to Grow in Florida Reviews

Green Mountain Boxwood – For that Green and Healthy Look

Green Mountain Boxwood returns to the Buxus form of plants that are popular for most yards. As natural low fencing, this plant is pretty solid to handle. However, it is lower on this list for a few reasons:

  • Their response to harsher winters sometimes causes an ugly yellow color to develop
  • They attract boxwood pests (mites, leafminers, etc.)

The good news is that Winter isn’t much of a concern in Florida. Granted, those in the northern part of the state may find themselves to be surprised based on some of the more unusual weather patterns. 

Overall, both boxwoods on this list can be hit by that, but this one loses due to coloration issues. With enough care, these boxwoods can be excellent when considering excellent landscape design. As great ground cover plants, its up to you on how you want them to enhance your home’s appearance. 

ProsCons
If you are looking for a low-set divider fenceThe leaves turn bronze during cold weather environments
If you want to support a local company (Florida Foliage)The solid green color isn't always appealing
For bushes that have the option of a more-defined point
Best Shrubs to Grow in Florida Reviews

What You Need To Know Before Buying Florida Shrubs 

Before purchasing any shrubbery, it’s essential to know what plants work. Below, we will delve into what you need to look for to find plant success in your Florida gardens.

Plants that Work in Florida

The southern states happen to be great spots where plants can live year-round. This factor is unlike the northern states or the western parts of the US. Still, picking out good plants to work in Florida’s unique mix of climates can be tricky. 

We’ve mentioned a few brands, but here are some names to keep your eyes out for:

 Louis Philippe

Otherwise known as the Florida Rose, the Purple Triumphant, or (my personal favorite) the King of France, the Louis Philippe rose is one of the few crimson flowers that work in Florida. Look for these names if you want the color to stand out.

Weigela Florida

Commonly just called the Weigela, these rose-pink flowers grow well in “average climates.” The name reminds us that the plant is now widespread in Florida, but they were initially native in China, Korea, and Japan

Buxus Microphylla Japonica

Better known as the Japanese Boxwood, these are ideal for people who have the time and energy to grow low-height fences. Boxwoods tend to become damaged in extreme temperatures, making them suitable in moist, cool soils

Ilex Cortuna

The Burford Holly is dense, fast-growing, and known to attract some pests. The term “fast-growing” is only in comparison with other plants. The red berries attract bugs, and the yellow-green stems allow you to identify this plant quickly. 

Green Mountain Boxwood

The last plant on this list is a crossover between English (Buxus Semipervirens) and Korean (Buxus Microphylla) plants. They are known to need to be wrapped in burlap during the winter, as a salt spray can affect them. Also, they turn bronze in the late fall in some climates, but they will turn back. 

Swamp Sunflower

The swamp sunflower (Helianthus agusttifolius) is a branching plant that makes a beautiful yellow addition to your home. You won’t find them often because they are common in Florida and grow wild. But their yellow shade is very identifiable with that five- to seven-foot height. 

There are a few other native plants in Florida we can mention. Whether they be bright orange, drought tolerant, or salt-tolerant, make sure you look for the science behind them to know your plant will survive in your zone. 

What to Know About USDA Zones and Hardiness 

To make things easy, the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) has a map divided by zones. These zones allow you to determine plant hardiness and how your foliage will thrive in your location. They do this by deciding average temperatures vs. extremes from 1976 to 2005.

Because Florida is far south and surrounded by ocean, they are an end that includes USDA zones from eight to eleven. Eleven is the warmest zone, which is Miami and Fort Lauderdale. Eight is the most temperate zone, which covers Tallahassee. You will find that most Floridians fall within nine and ten. 

What is Frost Dates?

Frost dates are the dates you are most likely going to receive frosty conditions. Depending on where you live in Florida, you are less likely to receive frost. They determine this likelihood by dividing states into different zones. This zone division is very similar to the USDA plant hardiness scale.

Below is some more information on zones and what you need to be aware of:

  • Zone One: Frost is rare in these zones, as they include southernmost regions like Miami.
  • Zone Two: Still mostly coastal and far south, they include Cape Coral and Fort Lauderdale. Freezing occurs from January 21 to the 31st. 
  • Zone Three: Includes Palm Beach, Bradenton, and North Port. Freezing occurs from February 1st to the 10th. 
  • Zone Four & Five: Includes most of February (the 11th to the 29th) and includes Orlando and some of Cocoa.  
  • Zones Six Through Eight: These zones take up all of March and include Gainesville, Palmo Cost, and Deltona. They also have areas of northern Florida,  like Jacksonville.
  • Zones Nine and Ten:  Includes freezing into mid-April at areas like Tallahassee.

Florida’s freezing includes periods from January to April. Some places receive little to no freezing, while others receive more. The long growing season means you won’t have to do much winter-proofing in these areas. 

How To Handle Florida’s Sandy Soil

Myakka, another name for Florida’s fine, sandy soil, is the official soil of Florida. The majority of the state is covered in this soil. Other areas of the state have different types of soil. 

Sandy soils don’t always hold nutrients well, but some of the central Florida locations have clay soil which is better at maintaining moisture and nutrients. 

Regardless of what type of soil you have, here are some things to keep in mind:

  • Construction companies typically place “packed soil” underneath your home to ensure it has a solid foundation. In this case, you have to till the soil with a pitchfork.
  • With some exceptions, this packed soil isn’t usually nutritious. You can address this issue by mixing healthy compost or manure with the ground. 
  • You can test your soil’s pH levels to determine its acidic contents. Take it down to your local extension office for a test

Florida may have a long growing season, but the soil can be tricky. Once you get over this hump, you will be able to have a thriving garden.

Best Florida Shrub Brands 

There are some companies known for producing excellent plants. In this article, we only mentioned three of them:

  • Wekiwa Gardens Inc.: Wekiwa Gardens is a second-generation business founded in 1965. Its owners at the time, Paul and Marianne, emigrated from Germany in 1956. In 1998, Paul was inducted into the Nursery Hall of Fame. Their children continue to operate the business. 
  • Green Promise Farms: Green Promise Farms is an Amazon-specific company. They’ve been around for a couple of years, and since then, they have a wide variety of plants. They are behind the “Proven Winners,” which is one of their favorites. 
  • Florida Foliage: As another Florida-based company, they are primarily an Amazon Store with over 18 pages worth of various plants. 

Some of these brands don’t like to talk about themselves too much. Regardless, all of them have plants that are suited for Florida. 

Florida Shrubs FAQs

When Should you Prune Shrubs in Florida?

The Buxus plants here will require regular pruning. For the rest of them, it will depend on how the plant behaves. Typically, it would be best if you pruned flowering plants around January. 

This early-winter pruning gets them ready to grow again during the best times. When the soil is damp and the weather is about to turn warmer, that should be your ultimate goal with flowering plants and shrubs. 

Can I Put Shrubs Near My House?

Shrubs and trees grown nearby the house have a chance to contact the siding. As a result, the surface moisture of these plants can begin to rub off on the siding. The humidity will deteriorate your home over time and may potentially attract pests. 

If your shrub is closer to the house, you will need to trim it regularly to ensure a gap. 

Can Shrub Roots Damage Your Home’s Foundation?

Tree roots are more likely to cause damage to a home’s foundation and plumbing system. However, some of the larger shrubs can have roots that run deep and dig into the ground. This digging may cause complications, but the roots are rarely big enough to cause damage. 

Nothing is impossible, so be sure that you take advantage of that gap. 

How To Plant Shrubs

Before you begin, be sure that you call any local utility companies. Digging too deep may cause you to sever wires, smack pipes, and cause other problems. After this, follow the following steps: 

  1. If your soil is firm, break it up using a pitchfork 
  2. Dig a hole twice as wide and deep as any container you have. 
  3. Carefully remove the shrub from the container. You can do this by working on loosening it. Do not try and yank the shrub out, as that may cause damage. 
  4. Place the shrub in the hole. Ensure that the root will be entirely covered by dirt before burying it
  5. Rotate the plant until you are happy with the direction it is facing. 
  6. Break up the dirt covering the roots to ensure your plant can quickly grow outside its previously compacted space. 
  7. Place the shrub back into the hole, do not add anything to the dirt until after you have firmly placed your shrub. 

Don’t forget to water it and apply a layer of mulch or compost after completion. 

How To Attract Butterflies to Your Garden

By having a wide variety of plants in your garden, you will naturally do this. It would be best to focus mainly on the flowering plants (our number one and two slots), containing the nectar they mostly need. They also are attracted to a wide variety of other flowers, so check out some other Florida native options. 

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Wrap Up

To recap, our favorite plant is the Louis Philippe Rose. It won due to the beautiful and unique nature of this shrub-based rose. If you want your house to stick out, this is an excellent choice. 

If you are looking for more like fencing plants, two of the Buxus plants may be more suited for your needs. For a natural privacy fence, look a bit closer at the Dwarf Burford to ensure it’s good enough. Whatever choice you make, we’ve got the plant for you. 

We hope this provided you with some ideas of what may be a good fit for your house. If you are considering any of these plants, scroll back up and take a closer look. With your support, you allow us to provide planting advice to those who need it. Thanks for reading. 

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