Here Are 5 Plants Perfect for Your Orlando Landscape

When picking plants for your Orlando, Florida landscape project it is important to make smart choices. The climate and soil types in Orlando can be harsh to many of the readily available plant choices found at most of the big box stores’ garden centers. It is wise to choose plants based on their tolerance to the hot, humid climate and that can grow and thrive without the need for excessive amounts of water and fertilizers. Picking plants that are generally self-sufficient given the naturally copious amounts of bright sunlight and fresh rainwater will be better for you, your landscape, and the environment.

The following 5 landscape plants were chosen as ‘Perfect for Orlando’ because they are either native to the Central Florida region, or they are easily established and noninvasive in the Orlando landscape, and are easy to care for in residential and commercial settings.

1.  Saw Palmetto

Photo: Medical News Today

This member of the palm family is slow-growing yet a very long-lived plant (some have been found to be 500-700 years old!) and is an iconic Floridian choice for any area in your yard you want to make feel breezy and tropical. Its clumping form helps make a few plants look like a full, dense planting. It likes to grow under trees with some sunlight. The color of its palm-like leaves can vary from yellow-green, green, dark green and silvery green when grown near the coast. The Saw Palmetto’s flowers are a perfect food source for sought after pollinators and provide habitat for desirable pollinators such as native bees and moths.

2.  American Beautyberry

Photo: Wikipedia

This shrub is a rarity in Florida in that it’s deciduous, meaning it loses its leaves in winter.

Attractive to wildlife and easy to care for, American beautyberry is known for its bright fuschia-purple berry clusters during the cooler months of the year. Though this shrub is a Florida native plant (and grows naturally throughout the southern United States), it’s not always on hand at garden centers so be sure to ask your favorite garden supplier to order you what you will need.

Beautyberry attracts birds and butterflies and has a casual rambling look that works well in as a backdrop to home foundations or along walls. Just be sure to give it lots of space to grow as it could crowd its plant neighbors. Since it takes almost any kind of light, this is one plant that can be used in light shade areas that receive mainly dappled sun (though deer may be more tempted to munch on it there).

3.  Auntie Lou Cordyline

Photo: Flickr // pawightm (Patricia)

The beautiful deep burgundy foliage of the Auntie Lou Cordyline (Cordyline futocosa) is perfect for any area needing a bit of accent and interest. Commonly used in semi-to-tropical areas as an accent landscape plant it also works excellent in mixed plantings or individual containers and is great for inside an office or home. Its huge foliage makes this a great novelty for the partial sun gardens or for growing in a container.

Cordyline, also called Ti Plants, don’t like to stay wet, so give them regular irrigation with time to dry out a bit between watering. Partial sun to shade is best. They can grow to 3’ to 6’ tall and 2’ to 3’ wide, the perfect choice when selecting a plant to stand as a backdrop in a mixed planting bed.

4.  Crotons

Photo: The Spruce

Crotons are possibly the most popular of Orlando’s colorful foliage plants, with brilliantly-colored leaves streaked with gold, red, orange, green and even pink. They are easy to care for shrubs that provide an instant infusion of color and low-maintenance needs for any size yard. They feature varieties with many leaf types and sizes from swirly, narrow ribbons to wide, flat leaves. Some have fun names like Dreadlocks, Curly Boy, or Sloppy Painter.

No matter which you choose, consider planting different varieties together for a riot of color and a mix of textures, or place several of the same variety to grow together in a “drift.” These gorgeous shrubs can jazz up an all-green landscape or work well with flowering shrubs or other plants prized for their bright foliage like the Cordyline ‘Red Sister’ variety. A benefit of mixing crotons with flowering shrubs is the consistency of color in the landscape, even while other plants are not in bloom.

5.  Robellini Palm

Photo: Pinterest

When you think of typical Florida palm trees, an image of tall tree trunks stretching toward the sky often comes to mind. However, the robellini palm (Phoenix roebelenii) offers a miniature palm choice growing to a maximum of 12 feet. When selecting your specific tree, look for plants with 3 trunks (or ask your garden supplier for this specifically) as the odd number grouping provides a more aesthetic appearance. Although robellini palms enjoy the sun, they do prefer some shade during the hotter afternoon hours. If your palm will be planted in a container or pot, move the plant to an east-facing area that is sheltered from the sun’s rays for part of the day. Keep in mind the proximity of your new robellini palm to sidewalks and entryways. The tips of the fronds are often very pokey and can cause painful pricks if one gets too close.

Taking the time to research which plants are best for the natural conditions in Orlando will help save you time and money when it comes to landscape longevity and the amount of maintenance you must perform over the lifetime of the garden. These are just a few examples of the wide variety available to those living in the lush, humid subtropical climate of sunny Orlando, Florida!

Still have questions about landscaping or lawn care? Visit our Orlando page for more details!

Top Photo: Orlando Plants and Trees

About Wikilawn

Wikilawn’s mission is to provide the best resources and information to help you enjoy your outdoor spaces the way you want. Whether you are a DIY, lawn-loving, gardening guru, or someone who wants help in picking a local lawn care professional, we can smooth your path to a beautiful backyard!

About Wikilawn

Wikilawn’s mission is to provide the best resources and information to help you enjoy your outdoor spaces the way you want. Whether you are a DIY, lawn-loving, gardening guru, or someone who wants help in picking a local lawn care professional, we can smooth your path to a beautiful backyard!