Summer Color in Tropic Florida

The snowbirds are home cool and safe in their beds while visions of winter gardening in Florida dance in their heads. (not quite an original poem)

The rest of us are basking in the steamy weather post Summer Solstice in South Florida. Summer can be wonderful here, traffic slows as does time. Days are long and comfortable time spent outdoors occurs early in the morning or early in the evening.

Our plant life puts on a spectacular show during the summer. The show is a must see for any gardener.

Poincianas are in full flower and the Mango trees are filled with cascading boughs of fruit.

Many shrubs here flower year round, but once the rainy season kicks in the flowers go into overdrive. Especially on the Hibiscus, Ixora and Allamanda.

Our native Firebush (Hamelia patens var patens) and Beautyberry (Calliocarpa americana) are flourishing:

On the tropical side, Heliconias and Bromeliads are budding and blooming, I associate these with later in the season but some are going already. Yes, I cut most of my Parrot’ Flower (Heliconia psittacorum).


Orchids are starting their summer season. My neighbors Ground Orchids (Epidendrum radicans) yes, groundcover Orchids! have been spectacular thus far, these are called Fire Orchids and there is a pink version



Of course,  one of the real pleasures of the tropics in Summer is the scent of Frangipani in the garden. This white one has started flowering with the onset of Summer and I have a new one from a gardening friend on the verge of flowering- rose pink on the outside opening to pale yellow. I sited it near my screened porch for maximum smellability.


I love the term ‘Tropic Florida’. To the best of my knowledge, it was coined by Frederick Stresau, in his book Florida, My Eden. This book, while titled like a romance novel is actually a really good manual of landscape plants for Florida. The tropic part supersedes the ubiquitous and perhaps American zone phobia. I think I live in Zone 10A, I am not sure anyone else would agree, but we can agree it is tropic. We have seen freezing temperatures here 4 times since 1980. That is pretty tropic.


10 comments on “Summer Color in Tropic Florida

  1. Chloris says:

    Gorgeous Amy. What brilliant colours. Your photos make me want to get on a plane and fly straight over there. I am most jealous of that Frangipani. I hope one day, mine might bloom like that.
    I am always baffled by your American zones. But tropic, I can understand. To have plenty of sun and non- stop blooming must be heaven.


    • Thanks, I would advise you to wait a few months, you would probably wilt outside right now although the really tropical bromeliads are starting to flower and I am certain you would enjoy those. Well, Zone 1 is the Arctic Circle and Zone 11 is the Florida Keys and your plants are supposed to match your zone according to the US Department of Agriculture? It is a bit oversimplified.


      • Chloris says:

        Well, it will probably remain a dream although I woudn’ t mind a bit of wilting, we are growing fins and gills here with constant biblical deluges.
        Now I get the zone thing, thanks.


      • It is always something with the weather!? Sounds like you are mildewing the humidity just kicked in here. We’re molding.


  2. All I can say is wow! Our plants tend to “go to sleep” during the hot months. It is so hard to look at all the blogs of northern flowers I can’t grow here because it is too hot and tropicals which won’t make it through our winters as we get freezes.


  3. You have a wealth of beauty, Amy. Tell me, please: are those your mangoes?


    • The Ponciana and Mangoes are on my daily walk. I have a 3 foot Nam Doc Mai Mango with two mangoes on it, one is nearly an inch long. I have a feeling there will be some neighbors Mangoes in my future. I am craving a Mango Rum Cake.


  4. George Rogers says:

    You remind us why we like it here, or should. Sometimes between taking out the trash, running to the dry cleaner, trimming the hedge, standing in line at home Depot…and relentless work, I forget thise lovely allamandas and beautyberries. Gotta stop and smell the poincianas.

    Liked by 1 person

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