Growing Plants in the Florida Summer

05/16/2017

Luka Nursery and Butterfly Encounter

With the stifling heat and humidity, a Florida summer doesn’t seem like the most inviting season to plant and cultivate a flourishing garden. Fortunately, there are some species of plant that actually flourish in our climate and soil. Choose from some of these vegetables, herbs and flowers to create a beautiful summer garden you’re sure to love.

Annuals

Many flowers and other inedible plants can take the summer heat, allowing you to create a diverse, beautiful and fragrant garden. Some options include:

Bluewings/Wishbone Flower (Torenia fournieri):

This plant has blue, white or pink flowers with yellow markings and grows to 12 or 15 inches tall.

Wax Begonia (Begonia x semperflorens-cultorum):

Lukas Nursery and Butterfly Encounter, Wax Begonia, expert floral

These plants barely reach a foot tall, but are available in various shades of red, pink or white. The attractive leaves are green, variegated or bronze-colored.

Coleus (Coleus x hybridus):

Coleus is known for its brightly colored leaves. They grow best in sun to partial shade and require a lot of water.

Marigolds:

These bright flowers are easy to grow, even in Florida gardens, and bloom reliably all summer. The marigold plant naturally repels insects, making them the perfect addition to a vegetable garden or any other area you’d like to keep bugs away from.

Vegetables and Herbs

If an edible garden is more appealing to you, there are even more options for you to choose from. With a little hard work, you’ll be able to eat fresh produce of your very own!

Okra –

is well-suited for hot and humid summers. You can start harvesting about 60 days after planting, once pods reach about two to three inches in length.

Southern peas –

are actually part of the bean family. The hardy plant can survive through droughts, but adding mulch helps the soil retain moisture.

Sweet potatoes –

can be planted through the end of June. Though they require a long growing time, your efforts will be rewarded with a delicious tuber. You can even eat the leaves!

Basil –

This herb prefers direct sunlight and moist soil. The plant can be harvested as needed, with newer leaves having the best flavor.

Rosemary –

is a difficult plant to start from a seed or cutting, but can be purchased from your local nursery. The pungent plant is great for cooking in a variety of dishes.

Tomatoes –

They can only be planted in Florida during late winter or early spring. Be sure to select varieties that are hardy enough to resist diseases and pests. Some recommended options are “Better Boy,” “Celebrity” and “Green Zebra.”

Peppers –

come in a variety of flavors and spiciness, allowing you to choose your favorite. Like other vegetables, peppers should be planted in full sun and will thrive in well-drained, fertile soil.

Of course, your local nursery’s stock of plants and vegetables may vary depending on factors such as season and availability. Be sure to visit often so you can always find something new to add to your garden!

Indoor Options

If you’re still worried about trying to start a garden outside, there are a number of ways you test your green thumb indoors. While it becomes easier to control temperature and pests, an indoor garden has its own challenges and rewards. You’ll need seed trays, potting soil and seeds, all of which can be purchased from your local nursery. It’s also prudent to invest in small pots that you can transfer seedlings into when they get too big for trays.

Vegetables such as tomatoes, peppers, broccoli, cauliflower and cabbage all do well inside. Keep the seeds in a windowsill and keep them well-watered. When they begin to outgrow the trays, roughly two weeks later, you can transfer them to small pots before returning them to the sill. You can continue to grow the plants inside, though you will eventually need progressively larger pots and rooms to grow. Once they have a healthy start, it’s actually easier to transfer the plants to your garden outside.

Nursery Plants in Oviedo

Lukas Nursery is a fourth generation family-owned and -operated nursery business. We’re proud to offer exceptional quality plants and products to Florida residents. Contact us or visit today for the most up-to-date lawn and garden solutions!

http://gardeningsolutions.ifas.ufl.edu/plants/edibles/vegetables/

http://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/ep450

05/16/2017