Top 20 Full Sun Plants for Florida

Full Sun Plants for Florida Gardeners [Ultimate List]
Source: Wikimedia

Florida’s warm climate and abundant sunshine create the perfect setting for a vibrant garden. When choosing plants for your outdoor space, it’s essential to pick species that not only thrive in full sun but also manage well with the region’s unique environmental conditions.

If you’re like me, eager to see beautiful blooms adorning your pots, containers, or garden—whether in your yard, on your rooftop, or as part of your landscape—worry not, this article has got you covered. Let’s explore full-sun plants that are ideal for Florida gardens, offering not just beauty but resilience and low maintenance.

20 Full Sun Plants to Transform Your Outdoor Spaces in Florida:

1. Bougainvillea (Bougainvillea spp.)

Bougainvillea - Full Sun Plants for Florida
Source: Wikimedia/Parvathisri

Bougainvillea is a spectacular, fast-growing tropical vining shrub known for its colorful display of bracts, which are actually modified leaves. The plant can grow from 1 to 40 feet tall, depending on the variety. It commonly blooms in vibrant shades of pink, magenta, red, purple, orange, white, and yellow, adding a burst of color to any landscape.

I highly recommend Bougainvillea for your Florida garden due to its excellent heat and drought tolerance. Native to South America, it thrives in full sun and can handle the salty air, making it ideal for coastal locations. It’s particularly suited to USDA Zones 9-12, which includes most of Florida, so you can feel confident this plant will prosper in your garden.

Requirements and Care: Bougainvillea is well-suited to central Florida’s climate, performs best in well-draining soil, and requires moderate watering, being careful not to over-water. The plant benefits from regular pruning to shape it and encourage more colorful bracts.

It’s best to prune after each bloom cycle to promote new growth and flowers. For optimal flowering, ensure it gets more than 6 hours of direct sunlight daily.

Also Read: Fastest Growing Fruits and Vegetables

2. Coreopsis (Coreopsis spp.)

Coreopsis, also known as tickseed, is a cheerful native Florida perennial that boasts daisy-like flowers. It varies in color from bright yellow to pink and bicolor. This plant can grow up to 4 feet tall, forming clumps that look great in mass plantings or as border plants.

If you need a tall full sun plant for Florida, I strongly suggest adding Coreopsis to your garden. It’s renowned for its low maintenance and extended blooming period, making it a solid addition to any sunny spot. It becomes drought-resistant once it settles in, and its knack for attracting butterflies offers a delightful ecological bonus for your garden.

Requirements and Care: It thrives in sandy, well-drained soil and full sun, reflecting its native habitat conditions. Minimal maintenance is required; deadheading spent blooms can encourage more flowering. Coreopsis is generally disease-resistant but watch for occasional pests.

3. Lantana (Lantana camara)

Lantana is a robust, shrubby plant known for its clusters of small, vibrant flowers, which can be yellow, red, orange, blue, or white. This plant can grow up to 6 feet in both height and spread, forming dense clusters of foliage and flowers.

Lantana is a favorite in central Florida landscapes due to its exceptional heat and drought tolerance. It thrives in full sun, blooming almost year-round in Florida’s climate. Its colorful flowers attract butterflies and other pollinators, making it an excellent choice for wildlife gardens.

Requirements and Care: Lantana prefers well-draining soil and can tolerate a variety of soil types, including sandy and poor soils. Watering should be moderate; the plant is quite drought-tolerant once established. Pruning is not generally necessary, but it can be trimmed to maintain shape and encourage blooming.

Must Read: Best Plants for Shallow Pots

4. Blanket Flower (Gaillardia pulchella)

Blanket flower, or Gaillardia pulchella, is known for its vibrant, daisy-like flowers with bold colors, typically featuring a mix of red, orange, and yellow hues. The plant typically grows about 12-18 inches in height and can spread up to two feet wide, forming dense clumps that are striking in any sunny garden.

I believe Blanket flower is perfect for Florida gardens due to its high tolerance for heat, drought, and sandy soils. It blooms extensively from spring through fall in North Florida, and nearly year-round in more southern parts of the state, making it a constant source of color.

Requirements and Care: Blanket flower thrives in full sun and well-drained, not overly fertile soil. It’s relatively low-maintenance but benefits from occasional watering during dry spells.

Deadheading the spent blooms will encourage more flowers, and dividing the plants every few years can help maintain their vigor. It’s also known for being deer-resistant and attracting pollinators such as butterflies.

5. Mexican Petunia (Ruellia simplex)

Mexican Petunia (Ruellia simplex) - Full Sun Plants for Florida
Source: Wikimedia/Abwdvm

Mexican petunia features lush green foliage and vibrant trumpet-shaped flowers that come in shades of purple, pink, or white. It can grow up to three feet tall and spreads readily, making it ideal for filling in spaces quickly in a garden.

This plant is perfect for your central Florida landscapes as it’s highly adaptable to a range of local conditions, thriving in both wet and dry soils. It’s especially great for tricky spots that might challenge other plants, such as areas under trees or in rocky landscapes.

Requirements and Care: Mexican petunia does best in full sun but can tolerate partial shade. It requires minimal care once established, though it can be invasive, so it’s wise to manage its spread through regular pruning or by planting in contained areas.

6. Pentas (Pentas lanceolata)

Known for their star-shaped flowers, Pentas come in a variety of colors including pink, red, white, and lavender. These plants can reach up to three feet in height and are popular for their bushy appearance and dense clusters of blooms.

I recommend Pentas for your Florida garden because they thrive in hot, sunny environments. Once established, they are drought-tolerant and bloom almost year-round, providing continuous color. Plus, they attract butterflies and hummingbirds, adding both beauty and ecological value to your outdoor space.

Requirements and Care: Pentas prefer well-drained soil and full sun, though they can tolerate a bit of shade. Regular watering and occasional feeding with a general-purpose fertilizer will help keep them healthy and blooming.

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7. Butterfly Bush (Buddleja davidii)

Butterfly bush is known for its long, cone-shaped flower clusters that can be purple, white, pink, or blue. It typically grows between 6 to 12 feet tall, depending on the variety.

It is a perfect tall plant for your Florida garden if you want to attract butterflies and other pollinators, making it an excellent choice for promoting local wildlife. We love it because it’s heat and drought-resistant, thriving beautifully in Florida’s intense sun.

Requirements and Care: Butterfly bush thrives in full sun and well-drained soil. It requires minimal watering once established and benefits from regular pruning to encourage new growth and more prolific blooming.

8. African Iris (Dietes vegeta)

African Iris, also known as butterfly iris, showcases elegant, fan-shaped foliage with stiff leaves radiating outward. It produces charming, 3-inch white flowers marked with yellow and blue, blooming sporadically throughout the year, particularly in spring and early summer. This perennial can grow up to 2-6 feet tall and 1-2 feet wide, making it a striking addition to any garden space.

I recommend African Iris for your Florida garden because it thrives in both sun and partial shade, adapting well to various lighting conditions. Its drought tolerance makes it a versatile choice for different garden settings, ensuring that it will flourish beautifully in your outdoor space.

Requirements and Care: This plant prefers well-draining soil and can tolerate a range of soil types, from sandy to slightly alkaline. It’s drought-tolerant once established but performs best with regular watering and frequent irrigation, especially when planted in full sun or sandy soil.

Minimal maintenance is required, though occasional trimming of browned leaves in the spring can help keep it tidy. It is generally pest-resistant, contributing to its low-maintenance profile​.

9. Salvia (Salvia nemorosa)

Salvia, particularly the species Salvia nemorosa, is known for its vibrant and showy flower spikes, which come in shades of blue, purple, pink, and white. This hardy perennial can reach up to 2 feet in height and is popular for its extended blooming period throughout the summer.

Salvia is highly valued in Florida for its ability to withstand hot and dry conditions. It’s also a favorite among pollinators, attracting bees, butterflies, and hummingbirds, which adds life and beauty to the garden. Therefore, you should definitely consider growing it in your outdoor space.

Requirements and Care: Thriving in full sun, Salvia requires well-drained soil and moderate watering, particularly during hot weather. It benefits from deadheading to encourage continued blooming throughout the season and may require occasional division every few years to maintain its vigor and flowering capabilities.

Must See: Vines with Purple Flowers

10. Blue Daze (Evolvulus glomeratus)

Blue Daze (Evolvulus glomeratus) - Full Sun Plants for Florida
Source: Wikimedia/Dinesh Valke

Blue Daze is admired for its silver-green foliage and sky-blue flowers, which bloom profusely from spring to fall. This low-growing plant typically reaches about 12 inches in height and spreads up to 2 feet, making it excellent for ground covers, hanging baskets, and borders in central Florida gardens.

I recommend this plant because of its ability to thrive in the intense Florida sun and heat, along with its drought tolerance, which makes Blue Daze a perfect plant for sunny, dry areas. It’s also noted for its continuous flowering and ease of care.

Requirements and Care: Blue Daze performs best in full sun with well-draining soil. It requires regular watering but is relatively drought-tolerant once established. Pruning is minimal but can be done to maintain shape and encourage denser growth.

11. Allamanda Bush (Allamanda schottii)

Allamanda Bush, often noted for its vibrant yellow trumpet-shaped flowers and glossy green leaves, can grow up to 5 feet tall and wide. It blooms prolifically from early summer to late autumn in Florida, adding a splash of color to the landscape for an extended period.

This tall plant is ideal for Florida location due to its love for full sun and its ability to tolerate the state’s humid conditions. It’s especially suited for creating visual impact as a hedge, accent plant, or even a privacy screen around pool cages due to its dense growth.

Requirements and Care: Allamanda Bush thrives in full sun but can tolerate partial shade. It prefers well-draining, fertile soil and requires regular watering, especially during the warm growing season, but less so in the winter.

It benefits from pruning to maintain shape and promote bushier growth and should be fertilized three times a year to support its vigorous flowering​.

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12. Beach Sunflower (Helianthus debilis)

Beach Sunflower is a hardy ground cover that spreads quickly and offers vibrant yellow, daisy-like flowers. It grows about a foot tall and can spread several feet wide, making it an excellent choice for covering large sunny areas in central Florida.

This plant is particularly well-suited to Florida’s sandy soils and coastal conditions, being both salt and drought-tolerant. It blooms year-round in southern regions, providing continuous color and ground coverage.

Requirements and Care: It thrives in full sun and well-drained soil, needing very little maintenance once established. Occasional watering during extremely dry periods will keep it looking its best. Deadheading is not necessary but can be done to keep the planting looking tidy.

13. Firebush (Hamelia patens)

Firebush is a vibrant shrub that can grow up to 10 feet tall, known for its lush green foliage and clusters of orange-red tubular flowers that attract hummingbirds and butterflies.

The tall plant Firebush is perfect for gardeners in Florida due to its high tolerance for heat, drought, and various soil types, including sandy and clay soils. It’s particularly valued for its year-round flowering and the wildlife it attracts.

Requirements and Care: Firebush prefers full sun to partial shade and thrives in well-draining soil. It is drought-tolerant once established but performs best with regular watering.

Pruning can be done to maintain the desired shape and size, and although it’s generally pest-free, occasional checks for common garden pests are recommended​.

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14. Crown of Thorns (Euphorbia milii)

Crown of Thorns is a succulent plant with densely spined stems and vibrant flowers that can bloom year-round in the right conditions. It typically grows up to 6 feet outdoors and about a third of that size indoors, showcasing small, round flowers primarily in shades of red, pink, and yellow.

Euphorbia milii is well-suited to Florida’s climate, particularly in the southern regions, due to its exceptional drought tolerance and love for full sun. It’s an excellent choice for xeriscaping and rock gardens where other plants might struggle.

Requirements and Care: Crown of Thorns thrives in full sun to partial shade, preferring well-drained soil and minimal watering, which aligns with Florida’s environment.

It requires little maintenance, apart from occasional pruning of leafless stems to maintain aesthetics. Despite its tough nature, it’s sensitive to cold and should be protected from frost​.

15. Ixora (Ixora coccinea)

Ixora coccinea - Full Sun Plants for Florida
Source: Wikimedia/Vinayaraj

Ixora, also known as West Indian Jasmine, is a tropical evergreen shrub with clusters of small, star-shaped flowers in vibrant colors like red, orange, yellow, pink, and white. It typically grows 4 to 6 feet tall but can reach up to 10 feet.

Ideal for Florida’s climate, Ixora is a tall plant that thrives in full sun and humid conditions. Its continuous blooming provides year-round color, making it perfect for hedges, borders, and containers. It is also moderately drought-tolerant and resistant to pests and diseases.

Requirements and Care: Ixora thrives in full sun with well-drained, slightly acidic soil. Water regularly, allowing the soil to dry out slightly between waterings to prevent root rot. Fertilize three times a year with a balanced granular fertilizer.

Prune after flowering to maintain shape and encourage bushier growth. Watch for pests like aphids, scale insects, and spider mites, treating infestations with insecticidal soap or neem oil if needed

Also Read: Tomatoes Flowering But Not Fruiting?

16. Cape Jasmine (Gardenia jasminoides)

Cape Jasmine is celebrated for its lush, dark green leaves and intensely fragrant white flowers that bloom throughout the spring and summer. This shrub can grow up to 6 feet tall and wide, making it a substantial addition to any garden.

Its ability to produce fragrant flowers and thrive in Florida’s humidity makes it a popular choice for the region’s gardens. It’s particularly effective as a hedge or an ornamental focal point.

Requirements and Care: Cape Jasmine requires a bit more care, thriving in rich, acidic, well-drained soil and part to full sun. It needs regular watering, especially when establishing, and benefits from being shielded from the hottest midday sun.

Regular feeding with an acid-formulating fertilizer and mulching are recommended to maintain healthy growth and bloom production​.

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17. Copperleaf (Acalypha wilkesiana)

Copperleaf is notable for its striking, colorful foliage with shades ranging from copper to red, pink, and green. It can grow up to 10 feet tall, providing a vibrant display of color.

If you’re looking to add a splash of color and a tall plant to your garden, I recommend Copperleaf for its vibrant foliage alone. It thrives beautifully in central Florida’s warm climate, making it perfect for adding contrast and color to your landscape.

Requirements and Care: Copperleaf does best in full sun to partial shade. It prefers moist, well-drained soil and regular fertilization to maintain its vivid leaf coloration. Pruning can be used to control its size and encourage bushier growth.

18. Milkweed (Asclepias spp.)

Milkweed species vary, but they generally feature clusters of intricate flowers that can range in color from pink to orange, depending on the variety. This plant is crucial for the survival of monarch butterflies as it serves as the sole food source for their larvae.

Milkweed is recommended for Florida primarily because of its role in the life cycle of the monarch butterfly. It’s also quite adaptable, and able to thrive in both dry and moist soils, making it suitable for various garden settings in Florida.

Requirements and Care: Milkweed prefers full sun but can tolerate light shade. It’s best planted in well-drained soil and, once established, is drought-tolerant, requiring minimal watering.

It’s important to avoid overwatering milkweed, as this can lead to root rot. Swamp milkweed is an exception, as it thrives in moist environments and can handle more water​.

19. Dutchman’s Pipe (Aristolochia spp.)

Dutchman’s Pipe is named for its distinctive, pipe-shaped flowers, which are often hidden beneath its large, heart-shaped leaves. The plant can grow very quickly, making it an excellent choice for covering trellises or fences.

I recommend this vine for your Florida garden because of its fast growth and the dense shade it provides. We particularly love it as it’s a host plant for the pipevine swallowtail butterfly, adding an excellent ecological benefit to your landscape.

Requirements and Care: Dutchman’s Pipe thrives in full sun to partial shade and prefers well-drained soil. It requires regular watering, especially during dry periods, to support its rapid growth. Pruning can help control its size and spread, as it can become quite large​.

Also Read: China Doll Plant Care Tips, Propagation, Benefits, Problems

20. Plumbago (Plumbago auriculata)

Plumbago auriculata - Full Sun Plants for Florida
Source: Wikimedia/Kim

Plumbago, also known as Cape plumbago or skyflower, is an evergreen shrub native to South Africa. It is admired for its clusters of sky-blue or white, phlox-like flowers that bloom almost year-round in warmer climates. The plant can grow up to 10 feet tall and spread equally wide, with a sprawling, vine-like habit that makes it suitable for cascading over walls or used as ground cover.

Plumbago is perfect for your Florida garden due to its robust nature and low maintenance needs. Thriving in full sun, this tall plant tolerates drought once established and blooms almost year-round, adding continuous color. It’s moderately resistant to pests and attracts butterflies, making it an excellent choice for a vibrant, wildlife-friendly garden.

Requirements and Care: Plumbago thrives in full sun but can tolerate partial shade, although flowering may be reduced. It prefers well-drained soil and benefits from regular watering until established. Once mature, it is quite drought-tolerant.

Fertilize plumbago three times a year—spring, summer, and fall—with a balanced granular fertilizer to support blooming.

Pruning is essential to maintain its shape and size; trim the plant back in late winter or early spring to encourage new growth. Plumbago can also handle hard pruning if necessary.

Related: Plants That Like Full Sun and Heat


As we wrap up our exploration of full-sun plants ideal for Florida’s unique climate, we hope you feel inspired and better equipped to beautify your outdoor spaces. Whether you choose to cultivate vibrant bougainvillea, resilient salvia, or any other sun-loving plant, each offers the potential to transform your garden into a stunning retreat.

We’d love to hear from you! If you have experiences or tips on growing these or other plants in Florida, please share your story in the comments. Your insights could help fellow readers cultivate their own flourishing Florida gardens.

Other Helpful Resources:

1. FFL Plant Guide by University of Florida
2. Florida-Friendly Plants List by The Villages Community Development Districts

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