Early spring in Florida… I would argue that there is not a more beautiful time to live here. There is plenty of sunshine and light breezes to go around and it seems like every plant is in full bloom. Lots of people are eager to spend time out of doors this time of year and gardening becomes a popular hobby again as winter weather wanes. However, we see a lot of mistakes being made in the garden in springtime so we wanted to give you a heads up on the five biggest mistakes we see central Floridians making this time of year.
- Right Plant, Right Place. It’s time to replace some older or dying plants in the garden. Maybe there are a few plants that didn’t make it through the winter. The most important thing to pay attention to when you are picking plants is that little card that comes in the pot. It will tell you exactly where to put the plant in your garden: what light it needs, how much water, how big it’s going to get. This will save you so much time later when you are trying to maintain these new plants. If you put a shrub that gets to be 12′ in a 4′ space, you will be battling to keep that shrub in check for years. This is true in every season. If you are shopping at nursery, ask questions if you are unsure about the requirements of the plants you are picking out. Check out this blog for more info on right plant, right place.
- Selecting Plants Based on Flowers. When you are picking out plants, don’t purchase the shrubs with lots of blooming flowers. Instead, buy the plants with lots of buds so that you don’t spend your money on plants that have already peaked for the season. Also, remember to buy plants that bloom at different times. If you buy only plants that are in bloom now, then you might have very little color at the end of spring and through the summer.
- General Pruning. This is a great time of year to prune because plants are just starting to grow again. However, be careful not to prune off this season’s blooms. Many plants, like azaleas, form buds on old growth, not their spring growth, so if you prune an azalea now, you probably will not have many flowers this season. Check out the last page of this pruning guide for a list of plants that bloom on old growth and should not be pruned now. Crape, myrtles on the other hand, bloom on new growth and do well when pruned this time of year. Be sure your don’t commit ‘Crape Murder’ when pruning! We have seen this happening all over Orlando. You should be pruning to see through your tree, not necessarily over it. Read more about Crape Murder here.
- Spring vs. Summer Heat. Keep in mind that spring heat is not the same as summer heat. Just because a plant survives to the summer, does not mean it isn’t going to shrivel up once the weather gets hotter. When you are planting plants, keep this in mind. If the directions say part shade, be sure that your plant spending at least 2-3 hours not in direct sunlight, especially in the afternoon. It may not need it now but in a few months when the weather is consistently in the upper 90s, your plants will thank you.
- Protect Yourself! Not only do your plants suffer in the summer heat, but so do you. Be sure to apply sunscreen and wear loose, long clothes and a hat to prevent sun burns. Stay hydrated as well.
If you have any questions, or you are interested in a free estimate, please contact us or call our office at 407-935-9151.