The expression “to everything there is a season” is never more applicable than when one is gardening. Florida gardeners are fortunate because the winter season brings mild, dry weather that allows our gardens and landscapes to continue to flourish and bloom. The delight of the winter garden is that there are many beautiful plants that are “winter bloomers”. These plants tend to go unnoticed during the summer growing season; however, they prove their worthiness during the winter with displays of stunning, colorful blooms.
The cape honeysuckle with its pretty red-orange or yellow flowers is a popular winter bloomer that is also cold tolerant, performing well in the areas of east Lee County that are vulnerable to an occasional frost.
One of our favorite winter blooming shrubs is the dombeya ‘Seminole’ which is often called the Florida hydrangea because of its large, pink flowers. The dombeya ‘Seminole’ does well in light shade to full sun. It is a very large shrub that will require a space of about 8 feet wide and it is usually maintained at a height of 6 to 8 feet.
The brunfelsia ‘yesterday, today, tomorrow” attracts interest with its winter blooms that change daily from purple to lavender to white, hence its common name.
Additional favorite winter blooming plants are: lion’s tail, drift rose, bulbine, society garlic, Carolina Jessamine, Florida flame vine, baby sunrose, African iris, Panama rose, bush daisy, bleeding heart vine, Chinese hat vine, bottlebrush, Bahama cassia, Hawaiian sunset vine and of course the stunning assortment of bougainvilleas.
Winter blooming trees include the Hong Kong orchid, sweet acacia, bottlebrush and desert cassia. The East Palatka holly and dahoon holly trees are favored for their bright red berries in the winter.