In Florida, there is a great deal of biodiversity, and property owners enjoy the beautiful variety of landscape plants found within the Sunshine State. Florida’s weather conditions are ideal for growing palm trees and ornamental shrubs. At Tropical Gardens Landscape, we have created a list of our favorite plants that thrive in our environment. Our favorite palm trees are royal palms and pygmy date palms, while our favorite ornamental shrubs include philodendron-monstera, bougainvillea, and liriope. Learn more about our favorite plants, what they look like, what conditions they thrive in, and more.

1. Royal Palm

Royal palm trees in Sarasota, Florida.

Royal palm trees tower high, reaching heights of up to 80 feet. They have a smooth, light gray trunk and then transition to a sleek green crown shaft that unfurls long, lush fronds. The fronds come down in one piece and can be heavy. Royal palms self-clean, which means their leaves fall about once per month.

Royal palms can withstand salt spray, drought, and strong winds, making them perfect for our environment. These tall palm trees grow quickly, especially if there is adequate fertilizer and water. Young royal palms can thrive with partial shade, but they need full direct sunlight once they mature. They are ideal for larger landscapes to accommodate their towering stature.

2. Philodendron - Monstera

Philodendron Monstera plant growing at a home in Longboat Key, FL.

Philodendron-monstera is also known as the split-leaf philodendron (other names include Swiss Cheese plant or window leaf). This tree-like shrub comes from a tropical jungle climate and produces large floppy, glossy leaves with many slits on each side of the rib. This plant can grow up to 15 feet tall and its leaves can reach 12 to 18 in length and width (thus the name “monstera”)! Despite being called a split-leaf philodendron, it is not part of the genus Philodendron, although the leaves look pretty similar.

Monstera is a climbing and trailing vine planted in gardens, planters, and used indoors. It thrives in full, direct sun and needs regular fertilizing from spring to fall.

3. Pigmy Date

Pigmy date trees near Siesta Key, Florida.

The pigmy date palm is a tropical plant that can handle part shade and full sun. Its height reaches around 6 to 12 feet tall, which is small for a palm. It comes with a spiny trunk from the cutting of the fronds and, if short enough, can resemble a pineapple from a distance. Pigmy dates sometimes grow as a double or triple trunk and fill in areas quite nicely. It can be used for shade and/or to occupy a space such as the side of your home. These palms produce soft, arching gray/silver or green leaves with linear leaf shapes but grow sharp spines along the bottom of the fronds.

4. Bougainvillea

Purple bougainvillea flowers in bloom near Lido Key, FL.

Bougainvillea is a tropical vine-like shrub that comes in many varieties. Some of the smaller ones are Helen Johnson and Sunvillea. Bougainvillea flowers have various shades in pink, red, orange, yellow, white, or purple. The petals resemble fragile leaves with a tiny cream-colored button flower in the middle.

This shrub not only blooms all year but is also drought-tolerant. To take care of it, make sure that it has access to full sun exposure. Additionally, it is important to keep them trimmed, as they are vigorous growers.

Bougainvillea has many uses; it can serve as a colorful ground cover, wall covering, trail on trellises, and houseplant to grow on hanging baskets. However, under all of the gorgeous foliage, Bougainvillea has a thorny nature. Smaller varieties have smaller thorns and, therefore, are a little more friendly for home landscapes.

Bougainvillea shrubs come in handy as a natural hedge or fence for security and privacy.

5. Liriope

Liriope flowers planted at a home on Anna Maria Island in Florida.

Liriope, or lilyturf, is a grass-like flowering plant that grows in bunches. It can reach up to 24 inches tall and has flower stems that shoot up with clusters of tiny purple flowers. Liriope produces strap-like leaves during spring, followed by spiky lavender, pink, or white flowers in summer. Finally, the faded, nectar-rich flowers develop into clusters of bluish-black berries.

Liriope plants can be used as drought-tolerant ground covers to help prevent soil erosion and weed growth. This plant is low-maintenance but needs well-drained soil for it to thrive.

Let us install and care for your plants! Call us today.

Plants like palm trees and ornamental shrubs provide visual appeal to any property and create a healthier, greener environment for all. However, these plants also need some healthy nourishment for them to grow and flourish. At Tropical Gardens Landscape, we can install and care for your new plant additions. Our experts will help you choose the best trees or shrubs that look best on your property and set you up for long-term success through fertilization, disease control, and insect infestation prevention.

We offer our services to the Sarasota, Siesta Key, and Longboat Key, FL areas. Contact us at (941) 993-2442 to schedule a consultation.