Citrus are blooming, fragrant Confederate Jasmine vine, Nikko Blue Hydrangeas, with their large, mop head flowers of blue or pink depending on the soil’s pH, Orange Bird of Paradise with their colorful orange and blue bird like flower, Coral Honeysuckle vine that will attract lots of hummingbirds. Hibiscus with their large, bold flowers, Blue Plumbago is one of our favorite with sky blue flowers( or white) that just don’t quit, Thyrallis with clusters of golden yellow flowers and Duranta Saphire Showers are in bloom and will continue blooming through fall with beautiful clusters of purple flowers edged with white that attract an abundance of honey bees and butterflies making it an outstanding plant to place near fruit and vegetable gardens where pollination is essential for a good harvest. There’s just too many to list them all!
Perennial Flowers are flowing into the garden center now. Perennials last several growing seasons to years in the garden. Most perennials will die back in winter and emerge quickly in spring while a few, like the bush daisy, will continue blooming right through the coldest of winters. Some like it hot and some like it in the shade so make sure you keep this in mind when selecting your perennials. Flowers require a richer soil than shrubs so make sure you incorporate some good potting soil and amendments like mushroom compost or black kow prior to planting.
One of the easiest, most durable of the perennials is the Lantana.
This is because of its heat tolerance, disease and pest resistance and deer won’t eat it! About the only thing Lantana doesn’t like is shade and wet, poorly drained soil. Lantana comes in a variety of colors and growth habits making it easy to select the right type for your application in the garden. Low, spreading varieties, compact varieties that only grow 18-24” and the taller growing varieties. Butterflies LOVE Lantana and will always seek them out in the garden.
Verbena, Impatience, Geraniums, Perennial Salvia, Angelonia, Dragonwing Begonia, Osteospermum, Pentas, Helitrophe, Milkweed, Heather, Mona Lavender, Lavendula, Coreopsis, Cigar Plant, Batface Cupia, Gaillardia, Dune Sunflower, Blue My Mind, Gazania and more are all great perennials as well. Potted poinsettias can be plants now outdoors, if desired. They get 3 to 4 feet high and wide so allow space. Do not plant too close to artificial light sources to allow the red bracts to form next fall.
Deadheading! What is it you ask and why should I do it? Deadheading is the removal of dead flowers or seed pods from plants and flowers. For plants that bloom constantly or repeatedly, removing flowers that have peaked will result in more and quicker new flowers. Deadheading is an easy task that will improve the beauty of your garden by keeping the flowers blooming! For roses always deadhead back to just above a five-leaflet leaf and you will get more blooms quicker. Some flowers like Pentas and Impatiens drop their flowers and don’t need deadheading. Some, like torenia, zinnias, cosmos and portulaca bloom so prolifically, it is often easier to trim them back every several weeks to remove masses of seed pods.
Fertilize Azaleas after they have bloomed this month with a slow release acid fertilizer. Remember, any trimming or pruning on azaleas should be done by the end of July to ensure flowers for next spring. Fertilize your Crape Myrtles with 6-8-10 slow release bloomer and you’ll be rewarded with more flowers and a longer bloom time. Magnolias, Bottlebrush and Oleanders should also be fertilized for optimum flowering with the 6-8-10 bloomer. Also apply to Bougainvillea, Plumbago, Roses, perennials and any other planted flowering shrubs in the garden.
If you didn’t fertilize your palm trees last month make sure you do so this month. Palms that don’t receive the proper nutrients will yellow, get frizzle on the end tips, will lack fullness and become thin, and be more susceptible to disease and insects. The 8-4-12 Palm fertilizer is the best palm fertilizer on the market, is slow release continually feeding the palm for 3 months and can also be used on your basic landscape shrubs. If you live closer to the coast, use the 12-4-12 Palm Fertilizer for your palms and shrubs. This blend works well for soils with a higher pH (which ties up essential micro nutrients). Palms should be fertilized spring, summer and fall with the exception of the Sabal palm. This Florida Native (and our state tree) requires no fertilization.
Fertilize your shrubs at least twice per year during spring and fall with the palm fertilizer – it works well! Along with the nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium the palm blends have a great micro nutrient package in the blend. Florida’s sandy soils has very little nutrient holding capacity so the only way your plants can get the essential nutrients needed for healthy growth is through fertilization or lots of organics amended into the soil. Healthy plants will ALWAYS tolerate extreme weather conditions and insects diseases much better than a weak, nutrient deficient plant! Read the directions carefully and never over fertilize.