Clusia lends both an exotic and classy look to our Florida tropical landscape. The leaves are thick with a leathery texture, are rather large at 4-6” and teardrop-shaped. Clusia, once established, are both drought and salt tolerant making them a natural choice for our island environment.
While this plant is low-maintenance and trouble-free, they do branch out close to the ground and can get very wide. They make excellent privacy hedges as well as large accent plants for the landscape. The Rosea is the native variety and has pinkish-white flowers that appear in the summer, usually at night, that might last through the morning on cloudy days.
Clusia are evergreen shrubs that will grow in full sun to partial shade. They are moderately fast growers. For a classic yet exotic hedge or specimen tree, the Clusia is a very good choice.
Handsome and hardy, podocarpus is the ultimate in a low-maintenance shrub for sun or shade. The soft, fine-textured foliage is great-looking when sheared as a formal hedge or left to grow more naturally as a large accent with minimal trimming required. Because of its moderate growth rate it won't work as a hedge-in-a-hurry. But given enough time these shrubs become thick, luxurious, full to the ground - and large enough to work as hedge bushes, privacy screens, or plants to camouflage unsightly things around the house. You can grow this shrub as a tree, if you wish - it will form a large oval shape and lower branches can be trimmed up or left on.
You can keep this shrub clipped without taking it down to the bare minimum of foliage...especially if you've planned ahead for the size of a mature plant. Because it takes shaping so well, this plant will fit in a narrow-depth area and can even be trained as a topiary specimen.
This is a moderate grower you can keep 5 to 7 feet or let it get larger - quite a bit, in fact, since the plant can grow as much as 40 feet tall. It's evergreen, salt-tolerant, and cold tolerant, so it does well in any area of South Florida. Sun or shade is just fine, though in shade these plants will grow more slowly. However, the color will look deeper and richer in a shadier spot than in a sunny one.
Areca Palm areka
The areca palm, also known as the butterfly and golden cane palm is the most popular grown indoors from the dypsis genus, and easy to grow. Multiple cane like stems grow from the root system and produce attractive arching fronds, with quite narrow leaflets. The areca is known as a cane type palm because of the bamboo cane looking stems once it's matured. They're also very similar to the feather types (especially the kentia palm) that display similar leaflets (leaves) and grows up to about the same height indoors.
Most people find growing and maintaining this undemanding plant easy enough. One of the worst things a grower can do is overwater and allow water to stagnate near the root system, otherwise they're a real pleasure to grow. All plants clean air borne toxins for us to breath in healthier oxygen, but palms (including the dypsis lutescens) was named as one of the best air purifying plants, after a scientific clean air study was completed by Wolverton and Nasa.
Looking like a cross between an ornamental grass and a flowering shrub, this hardy plant flowers every day when placed in a sunny location. The petunia-like blooms each last only a day - but are replaced the next with more blossoms. A popular favorite in South Florida landscapes, this pretty shrub spreads and can be invasive. Plant where solid edging contains the plant or regular maintenance controls the spread. Avoid placing near areas like wetlands or preserves. The showy purple color of the blooms works with almost all other landscape colors, and the plant's upright stems spilling over with long, thin leaves create an informal and even naturalized look.
This plant is a fast grower that can quickly reach 3 feet tall. It needs full to partial sun to flower profusely. If planted in more shade, the plant will travel to get more sun. These evergreen shrubs are salt-tolerant and cold hardy. Water is this plant's only issue. It likes it...a lot. This is not a drought-tolerant shrub, so be prepared to provide regular irrigation. These shrubs can even handle "wet feet," growing in areas that are slow to drain.
To mix a moisture-loving plant like this with other shrubs that like it dryer, using water-retention crystals for certain plants will keep everybody happy. Plant 3 feet apart. Come out from any structure 2 to 3 feet. These shrubs will outgrow any container in no time, so planting in the ground is your best option.
The unusual texture of sea grape, with its big rounded leaves on upright branches, makes it an interesting and handsome large shrub for a South Florida landscape. The leathery leaves grow 8 to 10 inches in diameter, with a hint of red. They have red veining, new growth has a bronzy-red tint, and some leaves will turn completely red in winter before they fall off. In late summer female shrubs produce clusters of fruit that resemble grapes (hence the plant's name) that start out green and ripen to purple. This plant tolerates windy conditions and can act as a windbreak. It can also stabilize sand dunes, and provide habitat for wildlife - including protection for nesting sea turtles from artificial light (street lamps, car headlights, outdoor house lighting).
These are salt-tolerant native plants. Florida beach homes are the perfect setting for these plants - provided you have the space needed. These shrubs can grow really big, but they grow at a moderate rate so you can control their size. They spread very wide with outstretched branch "arms" - you can keep a mature shrub about 6 to 8 feet tall and wide. Or it can be pruned to tree-form - multi-trunk or, with some effort, single trunk - and left to grow to 20 or 25 feet.
The adonidia palm - often called "Christmas Palm" - is a showy, highly ornamental palm that works beautifully in small landscape areas. The adonidia is easy care...it's self-cleaning, meaning the spent fronds just fall off by themselves, a big low-maintenance plus. And adonidias are pretty much pest-free.
It looks like a miniature royal palm, with its green crown shaft, gray trunk and long full fronds. Single trunk specimens work almost anywhere since they won't grow too large or too fast to overwhelm most locations.Christmas palms make good focal points in small tropical gardens and, when taller and more mature, they can become an elegant statement palm.
Growing slowly to an average height of 12 to 15 feet, this palm is moderately salt-tolerant - it usually won't be affected by salt spray. Performing best in full sun, a Christmas palm tree can tolerate partial shade. But too much shade causes the trunks to grow skinny and the fronds thin.
Green arboricola - or "dwarf schefflera," as it's often called - has a lush tropical look, yet this hardy shrub only requires a minimum amount of care.
If you're looking for a pretty, easy-to-grow, mid-size shrub, this is it. Plant it anywhere - full sun to full shade - and it will thrive. Forget to water it - it will forgive you. One of the benefits of using this plant is that if you trim back any branches, the plant doesn't have to grow out of the trim to look good. The umbrella-like leaflets generally cover up any cut points so the plant always looks good.
White Copper Leaf
One of the prettiest South Florida shrubs is copper plant - or "copperleaf" - with its striking, brightly-colored leaves. Copperleaf plants like part sun to part shade. These shrubs do flower but with narrow, dangling, fuzzy blooms (called "catkins") similar in color to the foliage so the blossoms are all but invisible. These plants are tropical by nature and do best in Zone 10. They're not strong, robust shrubs, so plant in an area sheltered from wind. Evergreen (though they can thin in winter) and moderately salt-tolerant, they're fast growers you can keep 3 to 5 feet.
Keep a regular watering schedule for these shrubs. If they stay too dry for too long they won't look their best and the resulting stress can invite pests. Plant 3 feet apart. Come out from the house 2-1/2 to 3 feet. If you're planting along a driveway or walk, come in about 3 or 4 feet. Copperleaf plants will work fine in a container.