There are several ways to achieve winter color in Florida:
Seasonal plants that reflect the season also provide splashes of color. Beautiful Poinsettias left from Christmas add color-just keep them protected and plant in the spring. Christmas Cactus and Kalanchoe are both blooming right now.
As our landscapes start to go dormant this time of year- camellias provide such a bright burst of color in our otherwise colorless gardens.
Camellias are dark green, evergreen, cold hardy shrubs that perform beautifully here. They do best in dappled sun or shifting shade- protected from the harsh middle of the day sun. They are acid loving plants- under pines or oak trees are an idea location however they are only slightly salt tolerant so keep them out of the sea breezes or put them in a pretty container.
There are two major groups of camellias: Camellia Sasquana and Camellia Japonica. The Sasanquas generally bloom from late fall with smaller, simpler flowers. Camellia Japonicas, on the other hand, have large showy flowers and bloom typically from January to March.
Many varieties of azaleas are repeat bloomers and bloom either in the fall and the spring or in some cases, if the winter is mild enough- throughout the winter. Encore Azaleas bloom three times per year; Fashion Azaleas bloom fall and spring (this year throughout the winter!) and the “showy” Formosa Azaleas (Lavender, Red, George Taber, Gerbing White) put their show on in late winter or early spring.