A blog dealing with Sarasota County and the City of Sarasota.

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Beyond Hollies and Poinsettias: Alternative Christmas Color

Red and green symbolize the Christmas season, but there are ways to get those living colors without resorting to the ever-popular (and sometimes overused) poinsettias and hollies.

Bougainvillea var. "tomato"
Bougainvilleas are an option, although many fall into the pink,magenta, or salmon end of the spectrum. An intense red is the variety "Tomato", but, as the name suggests, this heads off in the red-orange direction. There's also a variegated Bougainvillea (sorry, I don't have name for it -- use link to see options) with green and white leaves that offset the red bracts.
Variegated Bougainvillea
 An intense red bromeliad that is blooming right now is the spikey Aechmea orlandiana. There are a number of cultivars out there so look around.
Aechmea orlandiana
An old fashioned Florida plant is the Turks Cap Hibiscus, which is so easy to grow from cuttings that it is hard to find in Nurseries. The flowers, which never fully open, are bright red and may well be the basis for Red Zinger Tea.
Turks cap Hibiscus