It’s always a good idea to maximize the value of your home, even if you’ve just moved in! One little-known way to boost your property’s worth is by investing in a landscaping project like a garden. In this post, we’re sharing some of our real estate agents’ favorite homeowner tips for planting a garden at your central Florida home, including what to grow and the best times of the year to dig in.
Basic Garden Planting Tips
Thanks to our pleasant climate, it’s possible to plant all year round in Florida. However, you’ll see more and faster growth in the spring and summer and slower growth if you plant in the late fall or winter.
Let’s get started with some Central Florida gardening basics.
- The weather. Our summers are hot and wet, and the winters are cool and mild. The rainy season is from May through October.
- USDA zone. The official USDA Hardiness Zones for the central part of the state are 8b, 9a, and 9b. Knowing your zone helps identify which plants are most likely to thrive and grow well.
- Last frost dates. The “last frost date” is when your area could experience a frost that kills anything not in your USDA zone. For instance, Daytona Beach’s last frost date is February 21 to 29, and North DeLand’s is March 1.
- The soil. Florida’s official state soil, “Myakka,” varies in texture but is primarily sand, which doesn’t hold moisture well and has fewer nutrients than other soils. You’ll either need to amend the soil with organic material or install much of your garden in raised beds or containers.
Month-by-Month Homeowner Tips for Planting a Garden
This monthly guide can help you determine your ideal planting times for many common blooms and crops in Central Florida.
Start the year by planting cool-weather annuals like viola, petunia, and flowering kales. If you’re also planning a vegetable garden, now’s the time to plant cold crops like lettuce, carrots, and broccoli.
Create beds and containers filled with snapdragon, pansy, and dianthus, which can all handle cool snaps. It’s also the right time to plant agapanthus and crinum bulbs, and rose-lovers should prune, fertilize, and mulch their plants.
Use showy annual flowers like violas and dusty miller to bring brilliance to plant window boxes and containers. If your property has palms, dig in a slow-release fertilizer around the bases and keep them well-watered. March is the month to plant warm-weather veggies like peppers, corn, tomatoes, and squash, as well as summer-blooming dahlia and lily bulbs.
Time to add warm-weather annuals to your gardening mix! Replace cool-weather annuals with ones that stand up to heat, like petunia, marigold, and coleus. You might also want to plant something tropical, that will look stunning around your entryways. April’s also the month for planting perennial grasses that love sandy soil. Want to brighten up your back deck or patio? Fill patio containers with tropical vines like Mandevilla.
May is typically when garden pests like mites, thrips, caterpillars, and tomato hornworms start to arrive. Inspect plants for these interlopers and treat them with the appropriate remedy. Don’t forget, though, that not all insects are destructive, and many are beneficial. For herb lovers, now’s the time to plant basil, dill, and cilantro.
Sun-loving perennials like black-eyed Susan and grasses add long-term color to your yard. Add bright annuals such as flame-colored celosia and pink portulaca in beds and borders. And put the brakes on fertilizing, as many cities and towns prohibit its use during the rainy season.
Believe it or not, it’s time to prepare for fall plantings! Solarize garden beds with clear plastic to eliminate weeds, remove spent blooms from annuals and perennials, and prune azaleas. If you want to grow your own jack-o-lanterns this year, start the seeds now.
Add heat-tolerant annuals to window containers for a late summer pick-me-up. Clean-up duties include a nip and tuck in the garden, including deadheading and trimming back overgrowth.
Add annuals like zinnia and begonia to beds and borders to add fresh color. September is also strawberry-planting time, and it’s time to launch your fall veggie garden with more radishes, carrots, and greens.
Want to attract migrating butterflies? Plant lantana, pentas, and plumbago. Plant herb seeds in your garden like cilantro and basil to add to cool weather soups.
Brighten up your entryway with cool weather annuals like pansies and violas, which will last all winter. Add mums with flower kale and little pumpkins to containers to start getting ready for Thanksgiving. And if you want amaryllis blooms for the winter holidays, plant them now.
There’s little planting to be done in December, but you can add live greenery to your porches to greet your holiday guests!
One final tip: Did you know Florida is home to more than 300 species of native, wild bees? To keep your local bees happy, aim to have at least three flowering plants in your garden at any given time of the year.
For more homeowner tips on starting a garden or improving your Central Florida home, contact the agents at Bee Realty Corp today!