Who says Florida doesn’t enjoy fall colors? Our colors are just a bit different than those in the northern latitudes. If you’ve traveled through Southwest Florida lately, you’ve probably noticed a few trees covered with pink blooms. This is the display of the pink silk floss, Ceiba speciosa. In Fort Myers, there are three pink silk floss trees in bloom just south of Cortez Blvd on the west side of Cleveland Ave. Their petals are a deep pink. A silk floss tree at Alcazar Ave and McGregor Blvd in Ft. Myers has pale pink petals but hasn’t bloomed just yet. At the Edison and Ford Winter Estates, our pink silk floss and a newly-planted yellow silk floss are just starting to bloom. Both are between the Edison Guest Home and the Caloosahatchee River. We also have a “mystery” silk floss that was supposed to be pink but has an almost all white bloom with tiny pink streaks.
Like the related kapok, silk floss has numerous, sharp prickles on its trunk and branches. Silk floss typically drop their leaves in September to prepare for blooming in October. After blooming, the tree may produce seed pods that are full of a silky material that is similar to cotton in appearance. It tends to be leafless all winter until the temperatures warm a bit in the spring, when new leaves appear. If you see younger trees with green trunks, that is chlorophyll in the trunk, which allows the trees to produce energy even when leafless.
Native to South America, silk floss do very well in southern Florida but can tolerate temperatures down to 20°F. They are tolerant of south Florida’s winter droughts and one of the few flowering trees that put on a show this time of year, giving us fall color.
Stop by our Garden Shoppe, where we stock many varieties of flowering and fruiting trees (including the pink silk floss), plants, gingers, orchids, vegetables and herbs for your home.