Gardening Calendar For South Florida Area

GARDENING CALENDAR FOR THE SARASOTA, FL AREA

Compiled by Larry Rabinowitz, Horticulture Consultant, & Mike McLaughlin, Director of Horticulture

Temperature: Average Daily High: 85, Low: 66; Record High: 96, Low: 40

Rainfall: Average: 3”, High: 13”, Low: Trace

Flowers to Plant

Ageratum, Alyssum, Baby’s Breath, Bachelor’s Button, Calendula, Dusty Miller, Geranium, Impatiens, Marigold, Nasturtium, Nicotiana, Ornamental Cabbage and Kale, Periwinkle, Petunia, Phlox, Pinks, Salvia, Scabiosa, Snapdragon, Statice, Stock, Verbena.

Vegetables to Plant

Beets, Broccoli, Cabbage, Carrots, Cauliflower, Chinese Cabbage, Collards, Endive, Kohlrabi, Lettuce, Mustard, Onions, Peas, Radish, Spinach, Turnips.

Bulbs to Plant

Amaryllis, Calla, Easter Lily, Gladiolus, Zephyr Lily.

October Bloomers

Allamanda, Bird-of-Paradise, Bottlebrush, Bougainvillea, Cape Honeysuckle, Coral-Vine, Dwarf Poinciana, Floss-Silk Tree, Golden Rain Tree, Hibiscus, Ixora, Oleander, Periwinkle, Plumbago, Roses, Thryallis, Thunbergia, Turk’s Cap, Spathoglottis, Bulbophyllum.

Orchid Care

Start reducing fertilizers to once a month.  Watch the weather forecast for occasional cool nights, protect cane Dendrobiums and Phalaenopsis.  Water thoroughly before cool weather.

Fruits in Season

Avocado, Banana, Carambola, Citrus, Fig, Papaya.

What to Do

  • Fertilization: Follow all city, county, or state fertilizer codes. In Sarasota County, you may now apply fertilizers.  Nitrogen fertilizer must contain at least 50% slow-release nitrogen.  No more that 4 pounds of nitrogen per 1,000 sq.ft. may be applied to turf or landscape plants each year, and no more that 1 pound of total nitrogen per 1,000 sq.ft. may be applied at any one time.  No more that 0.5 pounds of phosphorus per 1,000 sq.ft. may be applied to turf or landscape plants each year, and no more that 0.25 pounds of total phosphorus per 1,000 sq.ft. may be applied at any one time.  Other nutrients may be applied at recommended rates, but stay at least 10’ away from water bodies or wetlands.  Choose organic or controlled-release fertilizers whenever possible.
  • Irrigation: irrigate as needed unless it rains. Apply ½” to ¾” of water once or twice a week.  Established drought-tolerant species may not need irrigation.  Be sure to follow any current city, county, or Water Management District watering restrictions. To calibrate your irrigation system: http://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/LH026.
  • Visually inspect each irrigation head monthly while the irrigation system is running.  Make sure heads are reaching their intended target plants, rotors are turning, clean any clogged nozzles, and repair any leaks.  Check mandatory rain shut-off devices to ensure they are operating properly. 
  • Plant flowering annuals this month or next for winter color, but first prepare the soil by weeding, adding organic material, and tilling.
  • Plant hardy herbs and vegetables.
  • Plant strawberries in raised beds or containers. Be sure to select a variety that does well in Florida.
  • Dig, divide, and replant amaryllis bulbs if crowded.
  • Oleanders may be pruned after they finish flowering.
  • Continue to watch for chinch bug damage on St. Augustine lawns and caterpillar damage on all lawns.  You may reduce the frequency of mowing after mid-October.
  • Watch for caterpillars on oleanders and poinsettias and treat with Bt (Bacillus thuringiensis) if necessary. To control spider mites on ornamentals spray twice 5 to 6 days apart with a miticide such as Insecticidal Soap.
  • Proper irrigation for citrus may help to reduce fruit splitting, but some splitting is normal and may be expected this time of year.

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Temperature: Average Daily High: 77, Low: 57; Record High: 91, Low: 30

Rainfall: Average: 3”, High: 12”, Low: Trace

Flowers to Plant

Ageratum, Alyssum, Amaranth, Arctotis, Begonia, Candytuft, Celosia, Cleome, Coleus, Cosmos, Dahlia, Dusty Miller, Gaillardia, Gazania, Geranium, Impatiens, Marigold, Morning Glory, Nasturtium, Nemesia, Nicotiana, Ornamental Cabbage and Kale, Periwinkle, Phlox, Portulaca, Rudbeckia, Salvia, Sunflower, Sweet William, Torenia, Verbena, Zinnia.

Vegetables to Plant

Beans, Cantaloupes, Collards, Corn, Cucumbers, Eggplant, Leaf Lettuce, Mustard, New Zealand Spinach, Okra, Pepper, Radish, Southern Peas, Squash, Sweet Potatoes, Tomatoes, Turnips.

Bulbs to Plant

Blood Lily, Calladium, Canna, Crinum, Eucharis, Gladiolus, Gloriosa Lily, Society Garlic, Spider Lily, Rain Lily.

March Bloomers

Amaryllis, Azalea, Bottlebrush, Bougainvillea, Cape Honeysuckle, Citrus, Confederate Jasmine, Geranium, Gerbera, India Hawthorn, Jasmine, Lantana, Orchid Tree, Roses, Viburnum, Wildflowers, Cattleya, Dendrobium nobile types, Dendrochilum, Oncidium.

Fruits in Season

Citrus, Loquat, Strawberry

Orchid Care

Many orchids flush out new growth this time of year, start increasing fertilizer and monitor for thrips outbreaks. Continue spring repotting.

What to Do

  • Fertilization: Follow all city, county, or state fertilizer codes. Nitrogen fertilizer must contain at least 50% slow-release nitrogen.  No more that 4 pounds of nitrogen per 1,000 sq.ft. may be applied to turf or landscape plants each year, and no more that 1 pound of total nitrogen per 1,000 sq.ft. may be applied at any one time.  No more that 0.5 pounds of phosphorus per 1,000 sq.ft. may be applied to turf or landscape plants each year, and no more that 0.25 pounds of total phosphorus per 1,000 sq.ft. may be applied at any one time.  Other nutrients may be applied at recommended rates, but stay at least 10’ away from water bodies or wetlands.  Choose organic or controlled-release fertilizers whenever possible.
  • Irrigation: irrigate as needed unless it rains. Apply ½” to ¾” of water once or twice a week. Established drought-tolerant species may not need irrigation.   Be sure to follow any current city, county, or Water Management District watering restrictions. To calibrate your irrigation system: http://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/LH026.
  • Visually inspect each irrigation head monthly while the irrigation system is running.  Make sure heads are reaching their intended target plants, rotors are turning, clean any clogged nozzles, and repair any leaks.  Check mandatory rain shut-off devices to ensure they are operating properly. 
  • Plant summer annuals such as gazanias, portulaca, verbena, and zinnias.
  • Prune poinsettias and tropical shrubs such as hibiscus and ixoras, if needed. Do not prune azaleas, jasmines or gardenias until they finish blooming.
  • Fertilize all ornamental plants and lawns unless done in February.
  • To increase their chance of survival when you transplant trees or large shrubs, root-prune them now and wait 2/3 months to move them. Keep irrigated. Remove some foliage if plant begins to wilt.
  • Pinch growing tips of annuals to encourage branching; remove faded flowers.
  • Watch for aphids and other insects, especially on new growth. Watch for spider mites on junipers, Italian cypress and other susceptible plants.  Use IPM (Integrated Pest Management) strategies to correct problems.
  • Apply a minor element nutritional spray to gardenias, Hibiscus, ixoras, and other “acid-loving” plants, including citrus.
  • Air-layer trees and shrubs to propagate new plants.
  • Use fallen oak leaves for mulch or put them in a compost pile.

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