Now that we are at the end of summer our summer blooming perennials and annuals are starting to look worn out. What are some of the prettiest plants for fall and winter blooms? Native Muhly Grass will begin blooming with pink plumes by the end of the month. Cassia begins blooming in October with bright yellow flowers that persist through to Christmas. Sasanqua Camellias are in full bud now and will bloom in October through to about December while Japonica Camellias will bloom a little later in December to March. Drift Roses and Knock Out Roses (pictured) come out of their summer doldrums and shine in the fall and winter with an abundance of flowers. If you already have roses that are looking a little tired and leggy- trim them back to 12 inches above the ground and fertilize. They will respond beautifully.
Fall is a great time to plant trees such as Oaks, Crape Myrtles (pictured), Elms, Magnolias and Hollies. The heat isn’t as bad and rain fall is normally good this month for rooting and establishment. Even though top growth may not occur during the fall and winter months, roots will grow and when spring arrives, trees planted in the fall will already have a good head start and grow much faster and produce more flowers at bloom time.
Keep areas around trees and palms free of grass and weeds. Grass not only competes for moisture and nutrition but trimmers can cause damage.
Trees and palms need to be fertilized in the next month or so. This last fertilization of the year for in ground plants is one of the MOST IMPORTANT to get your plants strong and healthy as they go into the winter season. Plants need about 3 months to take up the fertilizer and harden off before the cold weather arrives. We recommend Nurserymen SureGro 8-4-12 for palms, trees and basic landscape shrubs. For our coastal customers look for 12-4-12 which is better suited for conditions beachside.
Some trees may be starting to defoliate right now. Trees like sweet gum or bald cypress will be starting to defoliate somewhat due to the time of the year-it is normal.
When it comes to pruning palms, less is better. You never want to over prune your palms by subjecting them to what is called “hurricane pruning”- where all but a few fronds are cut off. Palms are naturally able to withstand high winds so removing fronds isn’t necessary. (IFAS Solutions for Florida Friendly Gardening). With tropical weather season upon us, you may have businesses coming to your door-insisting you need to do this! Don’t!