What you should be planting and when
The holidays are over and the planet is beyond its celestial point of the winter solstice. In other words, it’s time for South Florida homeowners to get outside and get into their gardens. No matter if your garden is a 300-foot border, a patch of earth in the corner of your yard, or a collection of pots on your terrace, South Florida winter is the perfect time to get dirty and go green.
January in the South Florida garden
After a long, hot summer, the “cooler” and drier South Florida climate is ideal for adding splashes of color in the garden and for prepping other areas for future blooming.
Before getting started though, take a look at your site and determine if it’s full sun, partial sun, or shade – and select plants that are ideal for that location. Plant labels will list the light and water requirements for each plant. Also, be sure to amend the soil with organic matter. If you’re planting in pots, freshen up that dirt or begin fresh with a potting mix.
- Annuals and bedding plants: The nurseries are filling up quickly with a wide assortment of colors and plants. Among the choices: begonias, dianthus, dusty miller, geraniums, marigolds, nicotiana, and petunias. Most annuals will last until June and then peter out with South Florida’s heat and humidity. It’s really no different than annuals that fade away in northern climates with the onset of colder weather.
- Bulbs: Now is the time to get spring-blooming bulbs in the ground. Clivia lily, crinum, and agapanthus are smart choices since they can handle all of South Florida’s seasons. Tulips and daffodils, on the other hand, are best treated as annuals, since they need cold weather in order to rejuvenate for future blooming.
- Herbs: A garden – no matter how large or small – is not complete without some herbs, and there is a huge variety available. It’s great to stay with the usual favorites, like parsley and thyme, but how about expanding your cooking repertoire with other flavors, like lemon basil and an assortment of mints? Rosemary, by the way, thrives in South Florida all year long!
- Vegetables: January is the last month to plant out beets, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower, collards, kale, mustard, and turnips. Tomatoes, though, are still going strong.
Woody shrubs: Water these frequently until well established – and try to select some plants that are native to South Florida, such as cocoplum and coontie. Native wildlife will thank you. This is also a good time to prune non-spring-flowering shrubs and trees.
- January Tasks: When it comes to watering, it’s important to adjust your schedule according to the weather. If it’s hotter than usual, increase watering; wetter than usual, cut back. It isn’t enough that this is South Florida’s dry season and the calendar says winter.
February in the South Florida garden
Even though we’re a month into a new year, we’re still far enough away from summer that our temperatures are cool enough to work outside. Remember, tourists and snowbirds flock to South Florida for our February weather.
- Annuals and bedding plants: The annuals planted last month are still going strong, but you can still consider other types, such as impatiens and verbena. Now is also a good time to consider vinca and pentas – flowers that are more like perennials in the South Florida garden.
- Bulbs: Continue planting bulbs and if you have some established areas, now would be a good time to divide clumps for replanting or sharing.
- Groundcovers: Have you ever considered replacing lawn areas with a drought-tolerant groundcover? This is a good time to start researching options.
- Roses: This is the month to examine your roses and prune any dead and damaged canes. After pruning, remember to fertilize and apply fresh mulch. Your TLC will be rewarded with fresh blooms in 8 – 9 weeks after pruning.
- Vegetables: Cantaloupes, cucumbers, eggplant, lettuce, peppers, and tomatoes should all be planted by now.
February Tasks: By now, mulch needs to be freshened up and it’s time to fertilize lawns, shrubs, palms, and citrus.
Platinum Mosquito Protection in the South Florida garden
Platinum Mosquito Protection wants South Floridians to enjoy their yards and gardens. That’s why we’re especially thankful to the University of Florida IFAS Extension has provided an extensive month-by-month list of garden plants and tasks.
While mosquito populations may be lower during the winter months, it’s only a matter of time before they return to chase us inside. Now is an excellent time of year to consider how you would like to enjoy the fruits and flowers of your labor during the mosquito season. An automated misting system may be your answer. For more information or a free onsite consultation, contact us through our online form to start living a life without mosquitos in your garden.