Master Container Gardening In Florida | Plant Guide & FAQ

No matter where you live or how much space you have on your property, container plants are one of the best ways to level up your landscape.

Pots have a ton of benefits to offer you and your plants. Many Florida gardeners prefer container gardens because they save time and energy on maintenance. Containers also limit weeds and pests, which are rampant in the intense summer heat. This means a longer, healthier life for your plants.

Even if you are a novice gardener, there are a plethora of container plants and flowers to fill your favorite pots. From beautiful flowering plants to edible leafy greens, your Florida container garden is sure to catch the eye of anyone who visits your home.

Need some help starting your garden? Here is our beginner guide to container gardening!

Can you grow a garden in Florida year-round?

Fountain the in garden
Garden

There is a good reason why Florida is named the Sunshine State.

Long summers and short, mild winters allow for garden displays all season long. However, the timing of the seasons – and therefore your planting schedule – will depend on the region where your garden is located.

For example, in the Northern region, the last frost which marks the start of the spring season is more likely to occur much later in the year, in March or April.

Whereas, in the Central and Southern regions, the last frost can occur as early as January.

In general, you want to choose plants that can tolerate full sun and high heat. There is a wide variety to choose from, so whether you want to decorate your garden with beautiful flowers or grow your own vegetables to level up your cooking, you can find a plant that works perfectly in your Florida container garden.

Gardening in California? We have you covered.

Is there a desert in Florida?

Florida landscape // photo by Mia2you

Florida does not have a desert due to its geography as a peninsula, although it is at the same latitude as many of the greatest deserts in the northern hemisphere.

Northern towns around Lake Okeechobee are flat and open and even dusty at times, demonstrating desert-like conditions. However, frequent rain and high humidity keep it from being a real one.

A little trivia: Every summer, dust from the Sahara Desert actually manages to get blown all the way to Florida, showering Florida with a taste of the African desert. Though this won’t affect your plants!

Related article: Desert landscaping ideas and tips

What kind of flowers do well in containers?

1. Bush daisy

yellow daisy flowers // photo by LifeCollectionPhotography

With their striking yellow flowers, bush daisies are ideal for adding a touch of color and beauty to your Florida landscape. These beautiful flowers will even attract butterflies to your container garden!

Their favorite environment is full sun, and as long as they are planted in well-drained soil, they will grow well in your favorite pots and containers. They can even tolerate some drought, although they should be kept moist during dry times in order to promote year-round blooms.

2. Butterfly bush

Empire blue butterfly bush // photo by meunierd

As its name suggests, this plant naturally attracts butterflies and hummingbirds due to its beautiful purple flowers that bloom throughout summer and fall. This fast-growing plant does well in the North and Central regions and will look lovely in your container garden.

However, according to the University of Florida Institute of Food and Agriculture Sciences (UF/IFAS), the butterfly bush is prone to pests such as mites and nematodes. If you want your flowers to bloom for more than a few seasons, it should be planted in a large container.

Got pests? Here are the best plants that eat those pesky bugs!

3. Calibrachoa

Calibrachoa // photo by Zanete

Also known as ‘million bells’, this relative of petunias grows brilliantly in container gardens. It especially looks lovely in hanging baskets due to its abundant trails of red, orange, purple, and white flowers that spill over the edge of the container.

Although Million bells likes full sun, it also grows well in partial shade. While it is a heat loving plant, it is not frost-hardy so if you are planting in Northern Florida, remember to bring your containers inside during the cold season.

Related article: How to decor with plants with red leaves

4. Mandevilla

Mandevilla // photo by Wut_Moppie

This vine is a South Florida garden staple that boasts many different colors of trumpet-shaped flowers. It blooms throughout the spring and thrives well in containers or on the ground. In order to produce flowers all summer long, it will need full sun and well-drained soil. Since is it a vine, it will also need a trellis or some other support to allow for upward growth.

5. Trailing lantana

Lantana flower
Lantana flower

Lantana produces clusters of purple flowers and dark green leaves that will look great in your favorite planters and pots.

This plant is quite popular in Florida gardens because of its hardiness. Not only is it resistant to heat, drought, and salt, but it also thrives in full sun. So even in the dog days of summer, it will add beauty and color to your container garden.

One disadvantage of trailing lantana is that it is classified as invasive by the UF/IFAS. This means pollinators can easily spread their seeds and pollen to disturbed sites where they can grow wild. The leaves are poisonous to animals, so Florida gardeners should take precautions when adding them to any landscape. One solution – keep them contained in a container!

6. Tropical milkweed

tropical milkweed // photo by Doikanoy

Known for its milky sap, this group of plants has many different species, but scarlet or tropical milkweed is one of the most popular when it comes to Florida container gardening. It produces red, yellow, and orange flowers that attract pollinators, especially beautiful Monarch butterflies.

The sap of these tropical plants can irritate the skin, so Florida gardeners should take care when handling them. But once they are planted, they will add a bold touch of color to your garden all summer long.

7. Summer snapdragon

Red snapdragon // photo by bancha_photo

Also known as Angelonia, these flowers enjoy full sun, but they grow best when planted in October after the summer heat subsides. North Florida gardeners will want to bring their containers inside during the coldest months of the winter.

This low-maintenance annual comes in a variety of gorgeous colors, so you are sure to find one that fits perfectly with your landscape.

8. Zinnias

Zinnia flowers // photo by unverdorben jr

These annual flowering plants boast a variety of colors. From red and yellow, to pink and purple flowers, these plants will compliment your container garden very nicely.

Depending on the size of your container, Zinnias will grow from six inches to three feet tall. These flowers are heat tolerant plants and thrive in full sun and well-drained soil, so they will thrive even throughout the dog days of summer.

If it’s the indoor decor you are after, check out our guide to interior decorating with plants!

What trees grow well in pots in Florida?

Braided Money Tree

Trees are the perfect plants for adding texture and dimension to your container garden, and luckily there are a few species that grow well in Florida. One of them is the Lady Palm, which will thrive in a shady spot in your garden where it can grow from six to ten feet tall.

If you’d like to grow your own lemon or lime tree, dwarf varieties make good container plants as they are smaller and more manageable than the imposing trees you might find in a typical Florida citrus orchard.

If you like the idea of fruit trees, you may even consider a Cavendish banana tree, which also grows well in containers.

Want something to transform your backyard? Try these landscaping ideas for fenceline line perfection!

What vegetables can you grow in pots in Florida?

Best vegetables for your apartment garden
Best vegetables for your apartment garden

Yes, you can even grow your own vegetables in containers!

In Florida, winter is the best season for growing leafy herbs and vegetables. Leafy greens, such as lettuces and kales, love sunshine. They look great when incorporated in a container garden… and the best part? You can make a salad with them later!

Other vegetables that grow well in Florida container gardens include tomatoes, acorn squash, eggplant, radishes, and parsley. Pole beans and cucumbers are also good plants for such gardens, but these plants will need a bit more room as their long vines will quickly fill a small container.

For the tastiest yields, remember to keep vegetables moist and fertilized. Check with your local gardening center or agriculture association for more specific details about growing vegetables in Florida.

Need help planting and harvesting? You need to learn the 3 most basic plant growth stages.

FAQ: Florida container gardening

How deep does a container garden need to be?

several pots together
several pots together

Containers should be at least 10 inches long and 12 inches deep. Trees should be planted in even larger, deeper containers as they will need more room to develop a strong root system. This will allow plenty of room for the optimal growth of your flowers and container plants.

But don’t be afraid to think beyond the usual round flower pot! Rectangular planters, wall-mounted containers, or window boxes also work very effectively.

As long as your plant has enough room to grow and is placed in a spot where it gets enough sun, it doesn’t matter what you use for your container.

Though we do recommend you buy high-quality fiberglass planters. Not only do they look stunning and will impress the whole neighborhood, but they will also last for much much longer than your normal plastic garden pot.

Whatsmore, fiberglass planter materials are healthier for your plants and will help them grow large leaves, luscious foliage, and bigger blooms.

When it comes to container gardening, the possibilities are endless for creating a lush sanctuary, both indoors and out.

Image by Pinomim Tangosol: https://www.gardeningknowhow.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/07/bottle-planter-400×266.jpg

What are some disadvantages of container gardening?

While there are plenty of benefits to planting in pots, there are a few disadvantages to gardening in containers.

Containers can dry out quickly, so your moisture-loving plants will need more frequent watering, especially in the hot Florida sun. Windowsill plants also need some extra attention, especially if they function as decor.

Container plants are also more vulnerable to cold weather, as they are not protected by the insulation of ground soil. This won’t be a huge problem in Florida due to the high heat, but North Florida gardeners should take care to bring their containers inside during the coldest winter months.

Generally, containers will only hold a minimal amount of vegetables. Be mindful to match the crop to the size of its pot so growth doesn’t become restricted; otherwise, you may wind up with a plant that doesn’t yield any fruit at all.

What Landscaping Social Media Groups Are There For Florida Gardeners?

UF Florida-Friendly Landscaping Program

The University of Florida’s Institute of Food and Agriculture Science (UF/IFAS) is a great resource for finding information about different plants and growing conditions throughout the state. Visit their page to discover more ways to beautify your landscape while saving time, money, and energy and protecting the natural environment.

Gardening in the Panhandle

If you are a gardener in Northern Florida, this group is the perfect place to find tips for navigating the colder winter months. They also use research gathered by the UF/IFAS to publish location-specific information about container plants and gardening.

Final thoughts

Selenge Planter
Planters Etc Fiberglass containers such as the Selenge Planter are perfect for any landscaping project

Containers are excellent for gardening in Florida. Not only are they portable and easy to care for, but they may also offer your plants a longer, healthier life by warding off weeds and pests that usually plague in-ground plants.

Container gardening gives Floridians, who have limited spaces, the opportunity to fill their porches and patios with plenty of foliage.

For those with larger estates and lakehouses, here are a few ideas to transform your property!

There are countless flowers, trees, and vegetable plants that will grow nicely in your Florida container garden. Whether you’re looking to liven up your porch with a few brightly colored flowers or grow your own food, you will easily find a plant to fill your favorite container.

How Can Planters Etcetera Help Me?

fiberglass planters

If you don’t have a pot yet, we have the perfect fiberglass planters!

With a passion for both high-quality landscaping and customer service, here at Planter Etc, we strive to deliver the best planter products on the market.

In fact, our containers are perfect for blazing Florida summers because they are incredibly heat tolerant and will not crack, even in North Florida where the winters are colder.

As both a commercial and residential product, our fiberglass planters perform above expectations every time. No wonder our planters are used by landscaping industry professionals across North America.

Begin your container gardening adventure today. Start by shopping our wide range of sizes, shapes, and colors to find one that fits perfectly in your garden!

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