Just because we’re all lucky enough to live in Florida doesn’t mean we can’t get into the holiday spirit! Now is the perfect time to get some plants for the season and bring a little color into your home.

We meet a lot of transplants throughout the year as they move to the Sunshine State. And while most are initially excited to trade in snow for sun, we notice that new Florida homeowners may sometimes feel a bit deprived during the holidays. 

“It just doesn’t feel the same,” they’ll say.

Well, don’t worry because we’re going to show you exactly how you can deck your halls with festive plants to rejuvenate that holiday cheer!


7 Plants For Christmas That’ll Bring Holiday Cheer To Florida Homeowners 

Florida weather is notoriously unpredictable. One year, it’ll be 55 degrees on December 25th, and the next, it’ll be 80 degrees. 

With such uncertainty, picking out plants for this time of year probably seems like unnecessary stress. Our trick for Florida homeowners is to pick out the plants that can survive and thrive year-round!

Believe it or not, all 7 of these plants can survive the Florida heat and rain. Pay special attention to the care instructions, and you’ll have spectacular plants for years to come.


7. Christmas Cactus 


This one is interesting because you have a few color options! Home Guides says, “The Christmas cactus is most often grown as a houseplant and blooms in a wide range of colors from the traditional red to purple, pink, orange, gold, and white.”

If you want to make a show of your plant, you can prune it throughout the year to encourage more buds to grow. You’ll need to do this before early Fall if you want your cactus to branch out by the end of the year. 

You can keep this festive plant around for decades if you treat it right!

Care Instructions:

6. Poinsettias


While these are definitely the most recognizable holiday plant, Floridians have a hard time hanging on to them year-round. Yet, they are considered tropical plants, and will thrive here. The biggest reason poinsettias won’t survive until the big day is because of overwatering. 

If you plan on keeping these beauties around until the holidays next year, make sure to only water them when the soil (or leaves) feel dry to the touch.

CAUTION: Poinsettias can be toxic to your pets. Keep them as far out of reach as possible, and keep an eye out for white sap.

Care Instructions:

5. Mistletoe


Here’s a fun bit of history about mistletoe you can use to impress your guests:

In America, the tradition of kissing under the mistletoe came around 1820 after the publication of The Sketch Book. The author, Washington Irving, recounted the Christmas Eve traditions he observed in England. One of which noted

“The mistletoe is still hung up in farm-houses and kitchens at Christmas, and the young men have the privilege of kissing the girls under it, plucking each time a berry from the bush. When the berries are all plucked the privilege ceases.”

This traditional plant is actually parasitic, so it has to latch onto other plants in order to grow. In Florida, you can find mistletoe on:

  • Laurel oaks
  • Elms
  • Hackberries
  • Sycamores
  • Wild cherry trees

CAUTION: Mistletoe is poisonous when ingested. Make sure you wash your hands thoroughly after handling.

Care Instructions:


4. Cyclamen Plants For Christmas


If you’ve planted new roots in Florida, you may find yourself dreaming of a white Christmas– just not the cold kind. 

To replicate those northern holiday scenes, place a few bouquets of Cyclamen around your house. These are the perfect plants for the holiday season because their petals are bright white and heart-shaped! Cyclamen also comes in crimson red, pink, and purple.

This tropical plant thrives in warm climates and requires little looking after. The only downside is that these can be toxic to your pets (are we seeing a theme here?), so make sure they’re installed out of reach. 

Care Instructions:

  • Plant during the Fall and keep covered if temperatures drop below 40 degrees Fahrenheit. Because Florida temperatures are typically above 70 degrees Fahrenheit, it’s best to keep the Cyclamen as a houseplant.
  • Only water when the soil is dry to the touch.
  • Additional care and planting instructions

3. Holly


How typical! But here’s why we think holly is an excellent option for Floridians:

  • Does great outdoors
  • Wind-resistant to hurricanes
  • American, yaupon, and dahoon hollies are native to Florida

Holly is one of the most traditional plants for the holidays. It has green foliage with red berries, making your home appear merry and bright (literally).

While Christmas wreaths are made from holly, it’s actually more of a landscape plant. It can spread 12 feet wide and up to 40 feet tall! This makes it great for hedging.

However, it’s also an easy plant to pot and trim for a simple holiday accent piece.

Here’s a great video on how to grow evergreen holly:

Care Instructions:

2. Amaryllis


Right Photo Credit: Holland Bulb Farms

There are a ton of plants that bloom in the Florida weather, and amaryllis is no different. In fact, this is a plant that you can grow year-round. 

You can find pre-potted amaryllis almost anywhere. This beautiful red plant often comes as a wax bulb and only takes 4-8 weeks to fully grow. That means you can get an Amaryllis bulb in November and have extravagant 6-inch wide flowers by December!

Care Instructions:

  • Amaryllis require little watering and will need access to direct sunlight
  • If purchased, you may not need to water your plant at all. Make sure you read the growing instructions that come with it.
  • Additional care and planting instructions

1. Candy Cane Sorrel


Is this not the coolest Christmas flower you’ve ever seen?

Aptly named, the Candy Cane Sorrel is a trumpet-shaped flower with white and red stripes. These are low-growing perennials that can be easily grown in full sun or partial shade, especially in well-drained clay soil, loamy soil, or sandy soil.

The Candy Cane Sorrel blooms in the Fall and may whither during the summer. You can choose to plant these underneath an outdoor window sill, or have an entire candy cane garden on your own. However, they don’t do great in humidity or extreme heat, so consider potting this flower if you want to keep it around. 

Another neat thing about this one? At night the petals will close up, making the flowers truly resemble a candy cane!

Care Instructions:


If you want more handy home tips from your favorite home inspection company, make sure to catch up on the Homeowners section of our website!

There are plenty of different types of sod for Florida homes, but that hurts more than it helps, doesn’t it? 

Contrary to popular belief, Central Florida landscapes can be challenging to maintain— especially if you don’t choose suitable materials. With the illustrious sunshine and ample rainfall, your front yard can end up looking like a swamp if you’re not careful!

That’s why you need to be up-to-date with Florida’s (er—irregular) weather patterns if you want to know how to select and take care of your grass. You’ll also need to consider which types of grass have shade/drought tolerances, their chemical needs, among other Florida-friendly landscaping nuances. 

So let’s dive into the different types of sod grass so that you can determine which one is your best bet for your new backyard. 


6 Types of Sod Grass For Florida Homeowners

Determining which sod is best for your Florida lawns starts with understanding Florida weather. 

We know… it’s not as easy as it sounds!

In Florida, grass growth tends to slow down around January when we get that “Florida winter” (e.g., the weather drops down to about 50 degrees— chilling!). 

Naturally, the rate that your sod grass grows also depends on your location in Florida. For example, coastal towns have to take salt content and hurricanes into consideration. And South Floridians have much more temperate and consistent weather conditions compared to North Florida homeowners. 

That’s why, on average, the best time to plant new grass is late Spring or early Fall. This is when there’s a decent amount of rain and sunshine. But not too much to where your lawn maintenance becomes a challenge.

Knowing these simple factors will better equip you to decide which of the following 6 types of sod grass is the best fit for your Florida landscape.


1. St. Augustine


If you ask anyone what the best grass to grow in Florida is, this one is probably the first answer you’ll get. 

You have your pick of the crop when it comes to St Augustine grass. From Floratam to Seville, each of these St. Augustine variations come with their advantages. Bitter Blue is cold-tolerant, while Seville has excellent salt and drought tolerance. 

Floratam is the only St. Augustine that doesn’t thrive in the shade, which is why it’s a top choice for Florida homeowners. Sapphire, Palmetto, and CitraBlue are also great options. However, CitraBlue might be preferable to Palmetto because it requires less fertilizer.

Pros: Tons of options, thrives in Florida’s climate, dense, great for suburban areas

Cons: high maintenance (weekly mowing), high turnover needs


  • Seville
  • Floratam
  • Sapphire
  • Palmetto
  • CitraBlue


2. Zoysia Grass 


Then there’s Zoysia, which is actually labeled on the “higher-end” when it comes to grass. 

This type of sod is excellent for Florida homes because it works just about anywhere. It’s shade resistant and puts up a fight against weeds— hence why you don’t need to worry so much about herbicides. 

However, Zoysia grass is a double-edged sword. On the one end, it’s exceptionally wear-resistant, which is terrific for homeowners with kids and/or pets. On the other end, this means that any damage it does acquire takes a long time to grow back. 

It also tends to track in some pests, which means you’ll have to use pesticides regularly. 

Pros: weed-resistant, shade tolerant, wear-resistant, less mowing required, fancy-looking

Cons: low cold tolerance, pest-attractor, requires chemical maintenance 


– Palisades

– Empire



3. Bermuda Grass


You’ll see this lush green carpet all over Central Florida, especially if you’re a golfer. Besides being wear-resistant, there’s also its high drought tolerance and strong root system. This makes Bermuda grass the prime choice for golf courses, football fields, and yes, even Central Florida lawns. 

But that’s where the good news ends. This type of sod in Florida is difficult to maintain. It grows fast. We’re talking mowing twice a week fast. You’ll also need to irrigate and fertilize it frequently. 

Pros: high traffic tolerance, drought-tolerant, deep roots, dense, thrives in warm climates

Cons: overgrows, high maintenance (pesticides, insecticides, herbicides)


  • Improved Bermudagrass such as Celebration Bermudagrass or Tifway 419 Bermudagrass
  • Common Bermuda grass 



4. Bahia Grass


More than likely, the grass you’re seeing on your neighbors’ lawn is Bahia. It requires the least amount of upkeep, meaning Florida’s hot and humid weather is its ideal climate. All it needs is some dry soil, lots of sunshine, and a little rain here and there. 

Sounds perfect, right? Here’s the catch:

Bahia wilts in the shade, disintegrates in any type of cold weather, and requires weekly mowing. It’s pretty prone to sprouting weeds. 

But ultimately, Bahia is the most Florida-friendly grass type.

Pros: easy to maintain, little irrigation needed, drought-resistant

Cons: turns yellow in colder weather, needs weekly maintenance 


  •  Pensacola Bahiagrass
  • Argentine Bahiagrasas


5. Centipede Grass


According to The University of Florida’s Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences (UF/IFAS),  “It [Centipede] is well adapted to the climate and soils of Central and Northern Florida and is the most common home lawn grass in the Florida Panhandle.”

This type of sod is probably the least high-matienence for Central Florida homeowners. It remains relatively undisturbed in warm and colder climates, and it grows pretty slow. You’ll probably only need to mow every 7–14 days.

If it sounds too good to be true, that’s because Centipede grass has some disadvantages. It tends to yellow, and it doesn’t do well in high-traffic areas or salty environments.

Pros: slow growth, low fertilizing requirements, thrives in hot and cold climates

Cons: turns yellow, short roots, poor wear and salt tolerance


  • Oaklawn
  • Common
  • Tennturf
  • Tifblair

6. Xeriscaping


This one is pretty interesting because it negates the idea of having a lawn altogether. This landscaping is minimalist and encourages homeowners to style their yard with native plants, much, and rocks. Unbeknownst to many people, the idea of lawns is actually not in the best interest of the planet and the environment. There is a push in some circles to ban them outright.

The appeal to this type of lawn is that it doesn’t need irrigation, is drought-tolerance, and conserves water. However, people see luscious properties and curbside appeal as modern luxurious, so this idea has been met with skepticism.

Pros: low maintenance, water-conserving, drought tolerance, no irrigation needs, promotes biodiversity

Cons: requires some knowledge on plants, not functional for sports or play, may be costly, not as pretty (may turn away buyers)

What’s the Best Grass To Grow in Central Florida?

Considering all these types of sod for Florida weather, you’re probably still wondering which one is the best sod for Florida lawns.

Let’s go over what you want from your grass. We’re guessing you want:

  • Low maintenance
  • Drought tolerant
  • Thrives in a warm climate

With all the pros and cons we listed, it’s safe to say that really any of these will work for your Florida lawn. However, if you want what’s popular, what looks the best, and checks those three boxes above, then St. Augustine and Bahiagrass should be your top contenders.


Ready for your Florida home inspection? Contact us for a quote!

Just because we’re home inspectors that do a bunch of grunt work (climbing in attics, going through crawl spaces, etc.) doesn’t mean we don’t appreciate the gardening in Florida. We live here too!

The bottom line is: Whether you’re buying or selling a home, the outside of the house can be just as important as the features we inspect on the inside. That’s a big reason why we decided to start our new “Gardening Series!”

Because we see so many houses, we’ve seen our fair share of homes with fabulous, smart landscaping and curb appeal, and others that definitely need some TLC. This isn’t always just cosmetic stuff either. No, we don’t inspect the landscape entirely, so we won’t tell you that a shrub is diseased or that the flowers need trimming or watering, as that’s beyond our scope.

But we do know that landscape, specifically site drainage or trees/vegetation too close to the home, can sometimes negatively affect the structure. This is pertinent to home inspections and if we observe an issue, we will tell you! On top of this, there are some downright bad practices used in Florida over the years that aren’t good for our environment, and we wanted to do our part and write about them. Maybe it will help influence others. After all, we’re in this together.

There are some tips and tricks to gardening here. We’re not landscape professionals, arborists or botanists, but we inspect houses all day and want to do our part. Plus, it’s interesting to us. 

With tremendous and seemingly endless human population growth in Florida, there have been legions of non-native plants introduced here over the years that have proliferated across our state. Some of these are downright invasive and can be harmful to native plants and animals. So above all, we always encourage what has become known as “Florida Friendly Landscaping,” and encourage you to read up on it and let it be a guide to your landscape decisions.

Today’s focus is actually going to be on the monarch butterfly and why we think that every homeowner in Florida should invite these bright, beneficial creatures into their yards. 



Gardening in Florida to Boost Curbside Appeal


In real estate, you always hear about having curbside appeal. Realtors® suggest it to their home sellers because improving the façade of your home can increase buyer interest.

In fact, Michigan State University did a study with 1,300 participants who all perceived that home value “increased from 5% to 11% for homes with a good landscape.”

Who said there’s no value in having a green thumb?

Now, curbside appeal isn’t all about landscaping. A few other ways you can boost buyer interest are:

  1. A fresh outside paint job
  2. Pressure washing driveways, sidewalks and pavers
  3. Paint the front door a different color
  4. Update your mailbox and front doorknob
  5. Upgrade exterior lighting

However, the most visually appealing draw to any home is a front garden. 

When it comes to gardening in Florida, you have plenty of options at your disposal. With a dependable rainy season and an abundance of sunshine, many beautiful plants will thrive in your garden!


Gardening in Florida: The Basics


Living in the subtropics does have its setbacks. Instead of protecting your garden from the harsh winters up north, you’re going to have to be overly cautious with your gardening during Florida’s hot summer months (primarily June-August). 

Picking a somewhat shady area for your garden is going to be imperative to its survival. Most Florida gardeners find that their plants thrive when they’re in sunlight for 6-8 hours only. 

You’ll notice that container gardens are preferred in some parts of Florida because, sometimes, the soil is too sandy and won’t contain enough nutrients to feed your plants. Because of this, it’s smart to stock up on fertilizer and compost.

After all, you want to make sure you don’t worsen your home’s aesthetic by having a bed of brown plants at your front door.

If your gardening in Florida for the sake of selling, look for the best flowers for Florida gardens. Make sure you pick the best ones that bloom during the season you plan on selling your home. 

Don’t forget to consider the solar tolerance and hardiness zones of the plant, as well. If they like partial shade, reconsider planting them in full sunlight or vice-versa. In most of Central Florida, we live somewhere between USDA Hardiness Zones 8-10, so a plant that thrives in zone 6 may not be the ideal choice. Just something to keep in mind.

If you plan to stay awhile, you’ll be happy to know that most vegetable gardens are easily manageable in Florida. Here’s a great guide to starting your own vegetable plot based on where you live in the Sunshine State.



How the Monarch Butterfly Can Help Your Garden


Gardening in Florida is all about knowing the tricks of the trade. And one that doesn’t get talked about much is the Monarch Chrysalis butterfly. 

They’re beautiful and majestic migratory creatures. Not to mention, they are very important pollinators. We saw a video recently about a precipitous drop in their numbers, and it broke our hearts. Monarch butterfly gardens are actually a thing all on their own that you can install in your own yard. If you want to be a part of helping to save monarch butterflies (and impressing your neighbors), then this might not be such a bad plan. 



Are monarch butterflies endangered?

No— not yet anyway. As of December 15, 2020, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service announced “listing the monarch as endangered or threatened under the Endangered Species Act is warranted, but precluded by higher priority listing actions.”

Instead, what they’re hoping to do is work with planters to help provide better environments to help the monarch butterfly remain abundant in our environment. It’s important to keep in mind that the process to list a species as endangered can be a slow-moving one, filled with bureaucracy. But that doesn’t mean there isn’t an issue and that we shouldn’t make changes today.

What can we do? As homeowners, we can help in saving monarch butterflies by merely adding certain resources to our gardens. More on that below.

How To Save Monarch Butterflies— And Keep Your Garden Looking Fresh


A butterfly garden on its own is going to set your home apart from the rest. Not only does it make your landscaping looking alive and healthy, but it gives the impression that the rest of your house is suitable for any living creature!

Plus, butterflies in your garden keep your plants vibrant since butterflies act as pollinators. Pollination is essential to our world’s ecosystem and is an indicator of a healthy environment. On top of that, having plentiful butterflies means less use of pesticides, which means less work for you.

If you’re ready to help protect the monarch butterflies and keep your curbside appeal going strong, here’s what you can do:

1. Plant Native Milkweed

This beautiful plant is to butterflies what candy is to kids. This is actually the only thing that their caterpillars eat, and it’s where the butterflies will lay their eggs. It’s critical for their life-cycle.

Milkweed has many varieties, many of which are native to Florida, which means it’s usually easier to grow. They are great for bright flower options that are sure to attract monarch butterflies— and your home buyers. Many do best with part or full sun exposure, although some can be adapted to shady locations.

Most will also do fine in our drier, sandy soils, although some prefer moist to wet soil conditions so be sure to read up on where you plant them. Varieties such as Swamp Milkweed (Asclepias incarnata) and Butterflyweed (Asclepias tuberosa) may be your best best, although other native varieties can also be found. If you have dogs or cats just be cautious, as eating milkweed (or the caterpillars who eat it) can be toxic to them. 

When shopping for milkweed locally, you will probably find plenty of Tropical Milkweed (Asclepias curassavica) with it’s showy red, yellow and orange flowers. It’s readily available at most big stores and nurseries because it’s pretty and easy to grow here. However, this variety is non-native to Florida and can be considered harmful due to parasites, insecticides and it’s potential to disrupt natural migration patterns of the Monarch since it blooms here year round, so it’s advised to avoid it.

Locate a native nursery or butterfly garden store for the best options in our area.

2. Plant a Variety of Flowers

Saving monarch butterflies means making sure you have plenty for them to eat. Sure, the eggs and caterpillars need the milkweed, but the butterflies themselves enjoy nectar-rich flowers such as Joe Pye weedlantana, liatrisechinacea, flowering sagesverbenabuddlejamonardarudbeckia, and yarrow.

3. Stay Away From Chemicals

This is actually why monarch butterflies are nearly endangered in the first place. 

When your gardening in Florida, it’s easy to want to grab insecticides and pesticides to take care of your garden passively. Please don’t. On top of hurting the monarch butterfly’s natural habitat, these chemicals can be dangerous to your kids and your pets. Native plants simply do a better job without them, and is another great reason to implement Florida Friendly landscaping into your plan. 




Thanks for taking a moment to read our article! Maybe next time you’re in your Florida garden and you see a monarch butterfly, you will think of us. It may also mean you’re doing something right!

Need a home inspection? Contact us for a quote!