10 Best Shrubs, Perennials & Tropical Plants for Shaded Florida Landscapes

Posted by Joe Mouad on Feb 8, 2024 10:45:00 AM

Sure, Florida is known for its bright golden sun, and it’s why so many tropical plants thrive here.

But everybody needs a break from the blazing rays once in a while — even plants.

Chances are, your yard has a shady spot here or there. Maybe you’re sitting there right now, thinking, “Man, this space could really use some great plants.” Sounds like you got here just in time.

What are some great Florida plants for shade?

Let’s take a look:

1. Schefflera ‘Trinette’

This showy shrub is a great choice for landscaping for shade, brightening up darker areas with its cheerful leaves.

CC-Schefflera Arboricola

Those leaves! Variegated green and yellow, they’re stunning.

This versatile, easy-care shrub thrives in sun or shade, looks great just about anywhere, and requires little care.

Also, they’re happy anywhere. Use them as  accents, as a small hedge or border. Try them under your windows as foundation plantings. How about inside your pool cage? Pop one in a planter! Line your front walkway!

Hmmm, you might want more than one. Maybe nine. Or 37.

2. Cordyline

This sounds like a great name for somebody’s southern aunt, but they’re actually among the most colorful Florida plants for shade.

CC- Cordyline

Brightly colored, strap-like leaves look fantastic all year long in shades of green, red, yellow, white, purple, and purplish-red. They can grow up to three feet tall. Use them in large pots or urns to flank an entry or in a bed as a colorful focal point.

3. Variegated Shell Ginger

CC-Variegated Shell Ginger

This beauty has boldly, irregularly striped foliage in shades of green streaked with creamy yellow or gold. Another candidate for the “Best Leaves” award.

Not picky, it will grow in full sun or partial shade.

4. Ti Plants

Ti plant is a tropical woody evergreen with colorful palm-like leaves that make a colorful statement in your Central Florida shade landscaping.


Loved for its colorful, fast-growing, and long-lasting foliage, choose a ti plant in your favorite color — pink, green, purple, red, and stunning variegated varieties.

The smooth, flexible sword-shaped leaves are an impressive 1 to 2 feet long and about 4 inches wide on most varieties.

5. Crotons

If you’re in Florida, you’ll see crotons. There’s a reason for that. They’re awesome.


Spectacular tropical plants, they thrive in the heat, add stunning tropical color, and grow an impressive six feet tall.

They can handle some shade, as they’re naturally a rainforest plant.

6. Liriope

Landscaping for shade in Central Florida? Need a ground cover? Bingo.


This plant tries to fool you by looking like grass. But it’s a tough, drought-tolerant ground cover that’s surprisingly in the asparagus family. (File this fun fact away in case you ever make it onto “Jeopardy.”)

It’s multi-talented. Use it as a ground cover to prevent erosion. Try it as a tough but pretty edging plant. Fill your beds with it to help with weed control.

It spreads quickly, will thrive in sandy or clay soil, likes full sun or part shade.

7. Asiatic Jasmine

asiatic jasmine

One of the prettiest shade plants for Florida, Asiatic jasmine is a beautiful ground cover plant that thrives in the shade or sun.

The variegated variety is especially stunning, with new leaves that emerge pink then turn variegated white and emerald green. As if that’s not enough, very fragrant, tubular, creamy yellow flowers bloom prolifically in the Florida heat.

It grows best in partial shade but can also tolerate some deeper shade.

8. Mondo Grass

CC mondo grass

It’s not actually grass, but its grass-like strappy foliage forms dense tufts that slowly spread over time.

Small lavender or white flowers appear in summer.

This low grower does best in partial shade but can also tolerate full shade.

Bonus: you can easily divide it to create a larger patch. Or it’s great for creating borders and edging pathways.

9. Split Leaf Philodendron

Philodendron Xanadu

Magnificent and massive with huge leaves, this is a tropical beauty. Too much sun will scorch their impressive leaves, so they’re perfect Florida plants for shade.

They add a great tropical vibe to your landscaping. Xanadu philodendron is another good choice.

10. Foxtail Fern

This fluffy plant isn’t technically a fern, but it does look like a fox tail. Who can resist that?

Fern Planting, Mulch Bed

The fern-like plant has arching symmetrical plumes of tightly packed, needle-like leaves that look soft and delicate. It might make you head to Google to see if it’s legal to have a fox as a pet.

They look tender and fragile, but don’t be fooled. They’re hardy, tough, and need little care. Once established, they need little water.

Bonus: they bloom with white flowers and produce red berries.

This isn’t technically a fern, but it’s a good reminder that any actual ferns that handle heat are also good Florida plants for shade.

Need Florida Plants for Shade? Trust Ground Source

On a hot Florida afternoon, everybody seeks out shade.

Boost your landscaping’s shady spots with lush, impressive plants that offer color, texture, and interest — and love hanging out in the shade as much as you do.

Let us help you choose the perfect shade plants for Florida.

We’re landscape experts, but our skills don’t stop there. We’re with you every step of the way as you plan your perfect outdoor space.

Sod, irrigation, landscape design: Let us transform your yard from an embarrassing eyesore to a place you spend every spare minute.

Are you ready to enjoy the vibrant, impressive yard you've always wanted? Request a quote today! We’ll help you review your options and then transform your property.

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Image Sources | Mondo Grass, Asiatic Jasmine, Schefflera, Liriope, Croton, Ti Plant, Shell Ginger, Cordyline, Philodendron

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Grab your sunglasses and let’s take a look.