Foundation or ‘Core’ Plants
There are many varieties of plants that are cold hardy that can provide the foundation of your landscape. These plants will look good whether it is January or June. Make use of shrubbery with different color foliage, variegated foliage or texture to create interest in your garden. Some suggestions are Viburnum Suspensum, Dwarf Burfordi Holly, Compacta Holly, Schillings Holly, Walters Viburnum , Loropetatlum, Jack Frost Ligustrum, Nandina Domestica, Nandina Firepower, and Indian Hawthorn.
Add in cold hardy palms such as Sabal palms, Sylvesters, Pindos, European fan palms, Chinese Fan Palms, Ribbon Palms, Windmill palms, and trees to provide height and in some cases, screening. Some flowering plants that are perfectly happy in cool temperatures include Drift roses and Knock Out roses in addition to the Camellias and Azaleas.
January doesn’t have to be a wasteland for Flowering!
January will bring in the gorgeous flowering display that Camellia Japonicas put on. These beautiful plants start blooming in December and continue until March or early April. There are many colors and types to choose from with flowers that are large with many petals. Some Camellia Sasanqua will also still be blooming in January however; most will be close to being done.
Some Azaleas may start blooming in January, depending on the temperatures. The family of Formosa azaleas will begin their “spring preview” blooming by the end of January into February. These spectacular plants provide us with our flower “fix” right up to March and April at which time spring bloomers will start.
Carolina Jasmine is also considered to be a precursor of spring. It usually starts blooming in January with masses of bright cheery yellow flowers. Hollies will also provide us with color and interest in January with the brilliant red berries they produce. Most hollies will be completely laden in January creating some interesting squabbles among visiting winter birds for the best pickins’!
Winter Annuals are a way to add in temporary color and hide some of the tired perennials that are taking a break. Some examples would be petunias, pansies, violas, flowering cabbage, dianthus, snapdragons, and dusty miller can all be planted. Winter vegetables to plant include beet, cabbage, mustard greens, lettuce, carrots, cauliflower, onions and broccoli, to name a few.
Deciduous Fruit Trees
Deciduous fruit trees can be planted in February. By the end of February we hopefully will have some deciduous fruit for this part of Florida, such as Florida varieties of peach, nectarine, figs, and blueberries. Now is a good time to spray any deciduous fruit you may have as well.
Here is a spraying guideline for those trees:
• Green Tip Stage: when branch tips show green tissue- spray tree.
• Pre-Bloom: when blossoms are present but NOT open- spray
• Full Bloom: DO NOT APPLY ANY PRODUCTS
• Petal Fall Stage: When last petals have fallen off blossoms-spray
• 1st Cover: 7-10 days after petal fall-spray
• 2nd Cover: Spray as needed to within 14 days of harvest- never spray within those 14 days prior to harvest.