Having a productive garden in Florida is easy to accomplish so long as you have the right plan. Below we’ll walk you through which plants thrive in Florida, when to plant in Florida, and how to adapt your garden as the seasons change.
Hardiness zones, sometimes referred to as “growing zones” or “planting zones”, were created by the USDA to help gardeners determine which plants are best suited for a particular location.
Florida encompasses 4 hardiness zones. They are zones 8, 9, 10 and 11. Before we get started, determine which zone you live in by visiting this interactive USDA hardiness zone map.
At their core, hardiness zones only represent how cold a particular area gets in winter. This information, combined with the average frost dates for your area, is the key to planting the right herbs and vegetables in Florida.
Below, we’ll guide you through the best crops to grow in your zone in Florida and when to plant them.
If you’re living in Florida planting zones 10 and 11, congratulations! You’ve won the lottery in terms of spring weather for gardening. Zones 10 and 11 typically do not experience frost, which means most common produce will happily grow in your garden throughout March, April, and May.
Some of our favorites for spring planting in these zones are crops you can continue harvesting well into summer, such as banana peppers, patty pan squash, eggplants, yellow squash, and habanero peppers. The world is your oyster, so plant what you like!
During the spring in Florida zones 8 and 9, try planting short season produce in March that prefer cold weather, such as onions, cabbage, and radishes.
These crops will feel much more comfortable in the moderate temperatures of spring, as opposed to the intensity of a Florida summer. And their short growing period means once temperatures begin to rise, they’ll be ready to harvest and replaced with plants more adapt to the Florida heat.
Classic home garden produce, such as okra, green beans, cherry tomatoes, and bush beans are great options for mid-to-late spring planting.
For warm weather crops such as these, start seedlings indoors in March. In April and May, once temperatures at night are consistently above 50 degrees, transplant established plants to the garden.
Florida hardiness zones 10 and 11 have a pretty long growing season. Because of this, you can get away with harvesting the majority of crops through the end of fall to the beginning of winter.
Aim to plant your fall crop in August or September. If you’re looking for produce you can continue harvesting well into winter, try carrots, collard greens, and iceberg lettuce.
Feel free to experiment with other common produce that don’t fall in the cold hardy category, such as banana peppers, jalapenos, zucchini, and yellow squash. Again, try to aim for plating in late summer, such as August or September. Be sure to watch the forecast as winter approaches, and cover plants with a blanket of straw or plastic buckets if temperatures dip down to the 40s. You may be surprised to see how resilient your plants can be in zones 10 and 11.
Want to keep gardening in Florida zones 8 and 9 even as the weather cools? You might be surprised by your options!
Fall crops for Florida zones 8 and 9 are typically planted around July and August. This should give the plant enough time to establish itself before cold weather begins to set in. Think cold-loving crops such as broccoli, kale, and romaine lettuce. Hardy root vegetables and durable leafy greens are great options, especially if you’re looking for something to plant in September or early October.
See our full list of growing guides for cold weather vegetables and warm weather vegetables for more inspiration.