Colorful Florida Fall foliage

Colorful Fall Foliage in Florida: You Can Have It!


Florida homeowners, discover how you can incorporate stunning fall colors into your garden. This guide offers expert tips for creating a picturesque autumn landscape, even in the Sunshine State, with vibrant flowers like mums and zinnias plus native shrubs and striking tees.

For many Americans, the mention of fall elicits images of fiery red maples and golden oaks, plus warm scarves, steaming lattes, and cool, crisp air. Many Florida homeowners, however, write off the possibility of enjoying much of that autumnal charm, including in their landscaping. 

It may come as a surprise, however, that even in the Sunshine State, you can bring fall colors to your property by carefully selecting the right flowers, shrubs, and trees.  

Plant These Flowers for Florida Fall Hues

  • Chrysanthemums (Mums): Mums are versatile and come in rich fall colors. Plant them in well-draining soil with adequate sunlight, and they’re sure to brighten your garden with striking red, orange, and yellow blooms.
  • Celosia: These vibrant, flame-like flowers come in shades of red, orange, and gold. They thrive in Florida’s warm climate and can be grown as annuals or perennials.
  • Zinnias: Zinnias are available in warm colors like yellow, orange, and red. These hardy flowers are easy to grow from seed and provide a long-lasting display of autumn shades.

Shrubs to Add Texture and Color

  • Firebush (Hamelia patens): Firebush is a native Florida shrub that boasts stunning red-orange tubular flowers throughout the fall season. It also attracts butterflies and hummingbirds.
  • Beautyberry (Callicarpa americana): Beautyberry is known for its brilliant purple berries that grow in clusters along its branches during autumn. These berries add a unique pop of color and are a favorite among birds.
  • Nandina (Heavenly Bamboo): Nandina is a low-maintenance shrub that can thrive in various soil types in Florida. Its foliage changes from green to shades of red and orange during the fall and winter.

Trees that Make a Statement

  • Crape Myrtle (Lagerstroemia): Crape Myrtles are renowned for their stunning fall foliage, displaying vibrant red, orange, and purple leaves. They’re drought-tolerant once established, making them an excellent choice for Florida’s climate.
  • Sweetgum (Liquidambar styraciflua): Sweetgum trees offer a brilliant display of colors, including deep reds and purples. Be mindful of the spiky seed pods they produce, which can be a bit of a nuisance, especially if planted too close to driveways and walkways.
  • Dogwood (Cornus florida): While the dogwood tree is more common in other regions of the country, certain varieties, like the Florida Dogwood, can flourish here. Their vibrant red leaves in the fall are a sight to behold.

Tips for a Colorful Autumn Landscape in Florida

Approaching this season with care and commitment makes quite the difference in promoting a thriving landscape. Follow these tips to ensure your property is bursting with robust and colorful plants.

Plan Ahead

Planting time and site preparation are critical. Plan ahead and choose early-blooming varieties when selecting your plants in order to ensure a long-lasting display of fall colors. Assess your planting site; ensure your soil has good drainage and amend it with organic matter to promote healthy growth.

Put in the Maintenance Work

Mulch, prune, and water to promote healthy plants. Apply mulch around the base of your plants to retain moisture and control weeds, and re-mulch when necessary. Regularly prune and shape your shrubs and trees to maintain their health, encourage growth, and keep their visual appeal. Be mindful of watering requirements, as Florida’s climate can be quite humid. Overwatering can lead to root rot, so water deeply but less frequently.