Shade Tolerant Florida Plants

Here in Florida, we’re known for our sub-tropical weather and hot sun. But if your landscape includes large trees or if your house creates significant shade, you may notice that many of our native Florida plants don’t thrive in your yard. Areas that receive less than 3-6 hours of direct sunlight will need to be planted with plants that tolerate part sun to partial shade. Don’t know where to start? Try some of these popular shade-loving garden additions.

florida plants

Florida Plants for Your Shady Areas

Pinwheel jasmine: As the name implies, the flower petals on this shrub grow in a delightful arrangement that mimics pinwheels. They bloom year-round, and their white coloring adds bright light to shady areas of your landscape while contrasting well with its dark green leaves. Pinwheel jasmine is easy to maintain–you can trim the branches as you like, but pruning isn’t necessary for its health like it is for other plants. Seasonal fertilizing (except in winter) will help keep it blooming to its fullest potential.

Areca palm: The dense fronds of these palms make them a great privacy barrier when planted close together. Their leaves can become discolored in too much direct sunlight, so make sure to plant your areca palm in a spot that receives consistent shade. Like most palms, they thrive in our sandy, well-drained, acidic soils.

Butterfly iris: This is an evergreen plant with beautiful flowers in shades of blue and white. While butterfly iris doesn’t require frequent watering, make sure to completely soak the ground when you do water them, then allow the soil to dry fully before watering again. This plant grows best in part sun, so plant in an area that receives 3-6 hours of direct sunlight, but not during the hottest part of the day.

Variegated ginger: Also commonly referred to as shell ginger, this is a great filler for your shady garden beds because of its sprawling growth. The leaves have bold yellow and green striped patterns that will draw attention despite not being in the sun’s spotlight. Variegated ginger can handle a couple hours of sunlight, but too much causes the leaves to burn and shrivel. This plant is relatively low-maintenance in our area and likely only needs an occasional watering in addition to our natural rainfall.

Caladium: These are popular plants throughout the country because of its striking combinations of white, green, and pink on its leaves. They are quite hardy in our South Florida climate; the bulbs will go dormant in winter and leaves will re-emerge in the spring. If cold weather is predicted, you may want to use frost blankets to cover the soil where the bulbs are planted, as the bulbs tend to rot in soil that falls below 50-55 degrees. Besides the occasional small application of fertilizer, this is another easily-maintained shade garden plant.

Mahonia: If you’re looking for even more bright color in your shade garden, mahonias make a great option. They have showy yellow flowers that bloom in winter and contrast beautifully with their evergreen, holly-like leaves. The flowers and berries produced will attract many birds and pollinators to your yard. These shrubs grow in a variety of soil types and pH levels, so they can work well in any yard with shade.

Big Earth Landscape Supply is your friendly neighborhood one-stop shop for all your landscaping needs. Stop into one of our 4 area stores, or shop online today.