Our weather can get pretty extreme during the summer months! Soon, we’ll be dealing with a whole lotta heat, and a whole lotta rain. These conditions end up affecting our soil and our plants quite a bit, but it also allows us to grow different kinds of plants during that window of time.
To keep your garden is looking better than ever all through the summer season, there are a few steps you should take to get everything prepared. Here are four gardening projects to undertake this spring, to help transition your Florida garden into summer:
Plant Heat-Tolerant Annuals
Annual plants and flowers are pretty aggressive growers—they explode with color and lush foliage quickly, soaking up all of that hot summer sun and generous rainfall. To really add some drama and color to your landscape and give it a temporary makeover for the season, adding some colorful annual flowers will be well worth the effort! Here are some of our favorite summer annuals, which you can plant directly in the garden bed, or add to containers and hanging baskets to decorate your patio:
- Gerbera daisies
- Wax begonias
Scout For Diseases And Pests
You want to make sure your plants are as strong and resilient as possible when heading into a season with such extreme conditions. Thoroughly checking your plants for any signs of disease or pest infestation. Treating these conditions promptly will save you a lot of trouble in the long run. Common signs of infestation include:
- Yellowing leaves
- Sticky residue all over your plant leaves
- Holes chewed into plant foliage
- Black speckles
- Curling leaves
- Fine webbing coating leaves and stems
Take note of the symptoms you see on your plants, and try to troubleshoot which condition your plant is afflicted by, either by searching the internet or calling us in-store and consulting with one of our experts. If you’re dealing with pests, we have plenty of products in-store, including organic solutions, which can get the bugs out fast. If it’s a plant disease that you’re dealing with, remove all affected branches with a sterilized pair of pruning shears, and sanitize the blades after each cut. Safely dispose of all diseased plant material to prevent the risk of further spread.
Do Some Pre-Hurricane Season Pruning
All that wind and rain can put your shrubs and trees through a lot of stress, and if they’ve got old, spindly branches that are left unpruned, you’ll end up with a lot of debris strewn across your lawn. To avoid having to clean up all that mess, in addition to having to tidy up your plants later in the season, give your shrubs and trees a thorough pruning this spring. This will be especially helpful for your summer-blooming shrubs—it will help their flowers to grow bigger and lusher because they’ll be blooming on healthy wood.
Prepare Soil For The Rainy Season
If your soil is super compacted and doesn’t drain well, you could end up with some messy, water-logged soil and a flooded yard after a few days of heavy rainfall. Aerating your lawn with a mechanical aerator will help to keep your grass growing healthy—you can rent these if you don’t feel like purchasing your own. In your garden, you’ll want to loosen up the soil with a trowel and add some compost to deliver some extra nutrients to the soil. If your soil is slow-draining, adding extra sand can help improve drainage in heavy rains, but most South Florida soil is already very sandy as it is. It also doesn’t hurt to add a layer of mulch across the soil surface around your plants. This will prevent soil erosion from heavy rain, and will help to slow down the leaching of nutrients and good bacteria that your plants need to thrive.
Have any questions about your upcoming summer gardening projects? Give us a call at Living Color, or visit us in-store, and we’ll guide you through it. If there are any plants or tools you’d like to purchase, we’re happy to arrange for curbside pickup or home delivery.