Thickleaf Petunias, Orange Blossoms and Powderpuff flowers are just a few of the many different flowers in Miami that thrive off its tropical like weather and soil. Located at the southernmost tip of the beautiful Sunshine state, Miami has a climate conducive to growing flowers often found in rainforest. With an abundance of rain and sun Miami is ideal for many native and non-native beautiful flowers to grow and thrive.
Thickleaf wild petunia is not in fact a true petunia, but with it has bluish-pink flowers that resemble petunias. This plant can grow as tall as 12 to 18 inches, and enjoys lighting from partial shade to full sun. Thickleaf wild petunia blooms all year and prefers sandy soil that drains easily making Miami a perfect home for them.
In 1909 the Florida Legislature declared the Orange Blossom, the fragrant Citrus sinensis, the official state flower of Florida. The orange trees bearing these white blossoms are indigenous to Southeast Asia and grow in abundance in central and southern Florida. Miami’s climate which is subtropical mirrors Citrus sinensis’ native growing conditions.
Powerpuff is named form the pink, bubble-like shape of its inflorescence. Other names for the flowering plant Mimosa strigillosa include mimosa, sunshine mimosa and the sensitive plant. Powerpuff’s grows in all areas of the Sunshine State. It grows best with well-drained sandy soil and full sunlight. . Powerpuff is a small but resistant plant capable of enduring heavy foot traffic and lawn maintenance. This mat-forming groundcover frequently germinates along the edge of forests, and along hiking trails and roadsides.
Hibiscus tiliaceus or Mahoe is a flowering tree from the tropical seashores Africa and Polynesia. The subtropical and tropical regions in central and southern Florida as well as the Florida Keys provide perfect conditions for this aggressive tree. Mahoe are large, bright-yellow, trumpet-shaped flowers with a garnet center which have the tendency to grow sideways or point downwards. Like other plants in the mallow family, the flowers change different hues as they age. They have large, ivy-colored leaves which steal sunlight from its competitors. Miami-Dade County includes Mahoe on the list of invasive plant species.
Florida is famous for its Hibiscus rosa-sinensis, otherwise known as hibiscus shrubs. They commonly grow in landscapes all over Miami and southern Florida. Their huge flowers and protruding yellow stamens give a tropical look to gardens and landscapes. Hibiscus comes in a vast variety of colors, including white, red, lavender, orange and pink. Flowers are commonly used for cut flower arrangements and displayed inside and outside homes, hotel and businesses.
In some places, Dietes iridioides is often referred to as the fortnight lily. But in Florida, it is the famed African iris. Its iris like, milky-white flowers bloom throughout the spring and summer to add elegance and draw attention to Florida gardens. While a beautiful sight the flowers only last a day. Growing in upright clumps, the leaves spread out like a fan. Florida gardeners know not to cut back the leaves of the African Iris because it grows as a perennial.
Florida comes in a close second to Hawaii for creating beautiful leis with Plumeria. South Florida area is especially well-known for growing plumeria trees. Even hybrid plumeria colors are grouped as “Florida colors,” with names like Key West Red, University Cherry Pink, Miami Rose, and Pompano Pink. Plumeria rubra trees grow as tall as 40 feet in flower and tolerate salt because of their native tropical land of Thailand.
The Miami-Dade County places day blooming jasmine on its prohibited plant species list, and blames the heavily-fragrant flower for the respiratory problems of Florida residents. Day blooming jasmine is of the Solanaceae or nightshade genus of tropical, flowering plants. With clusters of slender white flowers, Cestrum diurnum exudes its most pungent odor during the day. The solanine glyco alkaloids and atropine-like toxins in the fruit of this plant are very poisonous to children and animals.
Downy jasmine is an evergreen vine which is often trained as a shrub in Miami landscapes. Jasminum multiflorum’s stems and leaves are covered in fine hairs, which make them look like they are covered with gray, soft velvet. Not as fragrant as other species with its star-shaped, white flowers, but blooms all year in Miami whether grown in partial shade or full sun. To cover a wall, Downy jasmine is used as a vine. As a shrub, it makes an attractive landscape accent, or let it grow to a height of 5 to 6 feet for use as a hedge.
When you think of Miami and Sothern Florida remember the botanical beauties that can be found at every twist and turn. Whether it is in the breath-taking landscape of Miami’s most popular hotel or in a native Floridian’s yard, the tropical climate produces amazing flowers. Next time you visit Miami look around to see if you can recognize some of the native and non-native flowers that call that region home.