Fall Color in Florida

In celebration of the first official day of fall on September 22, we are sharing some of the top fall-colored plants and flowers found blooming in Florida during the autumn season.

Most people do not think of fall color — or even fall weather in Florida, but parts of the state thought only to have endless summers, do have autumn! The star of the fall show is the blazing star! This Liatris species, also called gay feathers, make a spectacular display in the fall. These purple beauties are members of the plant family known as Asteraceae or Compositae. Many of Florida fall blooming wildflowers are in the same family.

A group of blazing stars lighting up the sandhill landscape.
A group of blazing stars lighting up the sandhill landscape.
Blazing star
Blazing star up close
Blazing star up close

Goldenrods, also in the Asteraceae family, brighten fall landscapes with golden yellow flowers. The flowers provide welcomed pollen as a reward for insects. Many people think they have allergies to goldenrods, but pollen is sticky and cannot fly up your nose.

Solidago - goldenrod
Solidago – goldenrod

Another member of the plant family responsible for making Florida’s fall season so colorful is called silk grass. Before the flowers appear, the leaves of the plant are close to the soil surface and are silvery green in color — like a grass made of silk.

Pityopsis graminifolia - silk grass
Pityopsis graminifolia – silk grass

The aster family is just one of several fall plants growing in Florida for the season. Many other plants come into their own during the Florida fall. One beauty in the mint family is called blue curls, because the flower’s stamens curl around to place pollen in the perfect spot to attach to pollinators taking off from its perfect landing pad — white outlined in purple.

Trichostema dichotomum - forked blue curls
Trichostema dichotomum – forked blue curls

However, flowers are not the only source of fall color here in Florida. Berries can be dramatically beautiful, too. In fact, one native plant is called the “beauty berry” for this reason. Birds also seem to find the berries attractive and use them for food after other fruits are no longer in season.

Calliarpa Americana - American beauty berry
Callicarpa Americana – American beauty berry

Not all fall beauties are native to Florida, but interestingly, many fall-blooming ornamental plants are also in the Asteraceae family. When decorating for a Thanksgiving feast, many Floridians use post of chrysanthemums, thus inviting the aster family to the celebration.

Another Asteraceae seen in the fall is the Mexican sunflower. This tall plant produces dozens of flowers and prompts many people to call our helpline asking for help with identification. Our helpline is always available to the public for assistance regarding the Florida plant industry at 1-888-397-1517. Take time to step outdoors to see the amazing colors of fall in Florida this season.

Tithonia diversifolia - Mexican sunflower
Tithonia diversifolia – Mexican sunflower

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