Florida gardener's almanac
monthly timetable of gardening chores:
in like a lion
10-5-15, 12-6-18 fertilizer labeled as a “Palm Special” or
similar fertilizer containing 1% magnesium, 1 to 2 % iron and
and trace amounts of zinc, copper and boron. Fertilizers
that provide slow release of
their nitrogen, potassium and
magnesium are best. Applications of
these fertilizers should be made 4 times per year at the rate of 1.5
100 square feet (10 foot by 10 foot) or 1 pound to 5 pounds per
Recommended months to fertilize are March, June, August and October. Fertilizer should be applied to the entire
ornamental planting area or at least
the entire palm canopy area and watered in lightly.
Cold-Damaged Growth from Plants: Frost or freeze-damaged growth
on plants should be removed now. To
determine how much of the plant you need to cut back, gently scrape the
bark to see if the cambium layer is green (living) or brown (dead). Prune all dead material.
Plants that Require
Shaping and Size Reduction:
Cut each branch separately with hand
to maintain a neat, naturally shaped shrub. Note:
Azaleas and Gardenias should not
be pruned until after they bloom. Remove
dead foliage from ornamental grasses
and cut stems to 4 – 12 inches above the ground depending on the
size of the
Watch for Pests: Lubber
grasshoppers hatch this month. They are
black with a yellow to orange
line down their sides. Young lubbers
should be hand-picked or
treated with a pesticide. Aphids feed on
the underside of new growth and cause cupped and distorted leaves. Mites thrive in the dry weather of Florida’s springtime,
sucking plant juices from
the underside of leaves. Forceful sprays
of water will dislodge both insects. Lady
Beetles and several other beneficial insects are effective predators
suppress aphids. Insecticidal soap
sprays and other pesticides will also control these critters if their
enemies do not.
Use Oak Leaves
as Mulch or in a Compost
Pile: A mulch of oak leaves around ornamental
plants will suppress weeds, conserve soil moisture and add organic
the soil. The yearly addition of leaves
may gradually acidify soils. Have your soil pH tested to see if lime is
needed. If you choose to compost leaves,
be sure to thinly layer them with manure or grass clippings to
decay process. Moisten, but don't
saturate each layer. Turning the pile
occasionally will also speed up decomposition.
Air-Layer to Propagate Plants: Select
pencil-thick branches and remove
a ring of bark about 1 to 2
inches wide, about 12 to 18 inches from branch tip.
Gently scrape the girdled area to remove
green tissue and dust it with a rooting hormone. Cover
the area with a handful of moist
sphagnum moss and enclose with a small sheet of plastic tied at both
ends. Then cover with tin foil. Peel back the foil and check for roots in 4
to 6 weeks. When sufficient roots have
been formed in the moss, cut the branch below the rooted area and plant
and Old Blooms of Annuals:
To increase branching and flowering,
1/2 to 1 inch of tip growth from each stem. Flowering
annuals produce blooms on the
new growth. The more branching that you
lovelier the flowering display.
bets for starting a garden this month are:
- Vegetables: Cantaloupe,
Collards, Cowpeas, Mustard,
Okra, Papaya, Peanuts, Pole
Beans, Pumpkins, New Zealand Spinach, Sweet Potatoes, Turnips (for
Parsnips (for bottoms) and Watermelons.
- Tropical Vegetables: Boniato, Calabaza, Malanga,
- Herbs: Dill,
Fennel, Garlic Chives, Marjoram,
Mint, Rosemary, Sage, Landica and
- Flowers: Achimines,
Amaryllis, Balsam, Cosmos,
Gaillardias, Gladiolas, Gloxinias, Lilies, Petunias, Portulacas,
Scabiosa, Strawflowers, Zephyranthes, and Zinnias.
will be on Sunday, March 19th at 3pm at the home of Alfred and Albert
in St. Petersburg. There is plenty of parking on the street.
Please don't park on sprinkler heads. Bring your best
goodies for the pot-luck, a plant for
the raffle, and we will see you there!
to Members page
This is our house (March Meeting) in the Harshaw Lakes
neighborhood of Disston Heights.
If you plan to bring a guest, please
email Bob so he can
make your guest a nametag. It's a much
welcoming experience than having one of those "Hello,
my name is"
Those who have not paid their dues of $20 per person
should do so at the March meeting. Please see our
treasurer Gary R. or email Membership Director Bob
W. for more information.
There will be a short Board of Directors meeting an hour
prior to the April meeting. Officers and directors should
please plan to attend.
The tall plants provide shade during hot St. Petersburg summers.
PLANT OF THE MONTH
Cannas are among the most colorful bulbs -- as
flamboyant as their tropical ancestry -- with ruffled spikes tapering
to refine buds.
Face the camera!
We're always happy to see Bob C. & Joe K!
The gentleman with the hat is our treasurer Gary R.