South Florida Annuals - Care and Preparation
With every plant planted, there is a level of maintenance and care needed in order to ensure the successful development of your plants. Here are three primary things necessary in caring for South Florida Annuals.
Florida is a mercurial, unpredictable weather state. As a result of this, there are two types of annuals in Florida which are Summer (Hot) and Winter (Cool) Seasons.
When selecting your plants, for optimal performance, you must understand when your plant should be planted in what season, how much sun is required be it full sun or shade, and what sort of soil is needed.
For example, the Florida Petunia is a cool season annual that can be planted either in October or November growing best in full sun and well drained, moist, soil.
This is where the work begins. To create a nutrient heavy foundation for your annuals, establish a 3 inch thick layer of organic matter, be it compost or potting soil. We recommend FoxFarm’s Ocean Forest® Potting Soil or Espoma Company’s Organic Potting Mix if container gardening.
If you are directly transplanting your annual and really want to ensure growth, include controlled release fertilizer or similar fertilizer beads with your organic soil.. A recommended fertilizer is Happy Frog® All-Purpose Fertilizer blend, which contains premium ingredients like feather meal, fish meal, bat guano, and naturally occurring micronutrients.
To ensure that the roots catch, water daily if in direct sunlight to ensure moisture is kept in the soil. If the site area is in a shady spot, less watering may be required.
To prevent weed growth, the use of mulch is an effective method to prevent weeds from overtaking your newly planted annuals.
Watering, although simple after roots are established, can actually damage your plants if you are not careful. For example, too much watering, to the point of flooding, may drown your roots, promote disease, or generally suffocate the growth of your plants.
Furthermore, if using a hose on Full, Jet, or Shower settings where the water flow is heavy, the turbulent flow of water may damage the delicate petals of your flowers. To ensure a moist, safe environment for your annuals, water semi-frequently under Mist settings or similar.
For some South Florida annuals, pruning is necessary to keep the plant blooming and improve your garden vibrancy. Petunias, for example, require deadheading (removal of dead flower heads) to continue promoting flower growth in the plant.