It’s winter in Florida. No, we don’t get snow, or freezing temperatures for more than a few days, but the cold weather does affect the more colorful and tropical foliage of DeLand, Deltona, Mt Dora, Daytona, and other Central Florida areas. Here are some tips for how to keep your landscaping curb appeal ready.
1. Do not Prune in the Fall – Wait for Winter
As tempting as it may be to trim back trees and bushes after the last of their summer flowers have fallen, resist and allow the plant to keep limbs and branches until the winter. Trimming back too soon can encourage the plant to activate dormant buds that would not be protected from the cold weather. January is a great time to prune any non-flowering spring plants, deciduous fruit trees, or roses.
2. Make sure to completely remove any dead plants after the summer season
If you have a summer vegetable garden or have planted annual flowers,remove the entire plant, including deep roots, once the plant has stopped producing, i.e. no more blooms or vegetables. Removing the entire plant helps to reduce the chances of fungal issues or disease. If possible, rotate your garden beds to further help with prevention.
3. Winter is a great time to establish new plants for spring
Many plants can be planted in the early winter months to help them establish before the spring growing season. In addition to many herbs and vegetables that thrive in the winter, such as broccoli, cabbage, and carrots,winter is a great time to plant azaleas and camellias to add some bright colors to your garden beds. It is recommended to choose camellias in January, and azaleas in February to have a better sense of variety and color.
4. Plant annuals that bloom in the colder months
Now is also a great time to plant bulbs such as amaryllis or annual flowers such as snap dragons, petunias, or pansies.Wait until late February to plant anything from seed and keep an eye on them if there are any late winter freezes. Here is a great resource for winter annuals in Florida.
5. Mulch garden beds of your moderate zone plants
Even your cold weather tolerant plants may need some extra TLC during the winter months. Freshen up their mulch in late fall or early winter to help keep their roots warm and retain moisture. Most of the visible plant goes dormant during these months, but the roots still need to be cared for. For most plants,you do not need to run your irrigation more than 1-2 times a week during the dormant season.
6. Cover Tropical or cold sensitive plants
Be sure to keep tabs on the weather. Many of the Palm trees and tropical plants that thrive in the Florida summer, can be easily damaged or die in a freeze. If there is a cold front on the way, be sure to over any tropical plants with sheets or blankets while the cold temperature lingers. After the cold front has passed, check your plants for damage and trim away any damaged leaves or fronds. If you are not sure if a part of your plant is damaged, err on the side of caution and leave it till spring.
Now is a great time to enjoy Florida’s outdoors, so get outside and get growing.