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:
Of further interest to
- 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.
Garden in Sarasota
1825 4th Street N, St Pete.
County Extension Service calendar for lots more gardening
Beautiful Commission in St. Petersburg
Kopsick Palm Arboretum in St. Petersburg
Monthly meetings at Moccasin
2750 Park Trail Ln., Clearwater:
1st Monday, October – May, 7:00-9:00pm.
Chapter of the Florida Native Plant Society
First Wednesday of month, 7:30 - 9:30 p.m.
3rd Thursday, 7:30-9:30pm
will be on Sunday, April 15th at 1pm. We are very lucky that John has
offered to host our meeting this month, in Clearwater. We will be
in his very spacious park-like yard. He tells me "it isn't Selby
Gardens, but.." I think we will all be very happy to see his
pride and joy. No chairs are necessary this month as John has
enough for all. Bring your best goodies for the pot-luck, a plant for
the raffle, and we will see you there!
to Members page
If you plan to bring a guest, please email
Joe so he can make your guest a nametag. It's a much
more welcoming experience than having one of those "Hello, my name is"
of the month by jim
Not a hibiscus! This is the crepe ginger, Costus speciosus (unknown
variety – the 2nd photo shows the species). It sports the largest
flowers of any Costus, sometimes 2 or 3 open at the same time from a
single spike. The flowering spikes of red bracts continue to produce
flowers that last a single day over a period of many weeks. The
6’ – 10’ tall stalks quickly form a large clump.
Costus grows like a weed in Florida, and is very easy to propagate from
divisions or cuttings. Performs best in fertile soil with regular
water, and a few hours of direct sun each day.
Clerodendrum incisum ‘Musical Notes’
A bushy shrub 4’ tall by 3’ wide, with small leaves. The
white flowers form delicate shapes with their long tubular and rounded
structure. They appear in large masses. The unopened flowers resemble
musical notes in the bud stage - opening to showy flowers with red
stamens. Blooms on and off all year. Does best with fertile soil and