Now that I live in Florida, my yard must contain the normal Florida perennials. Hibiscus is at the top of that list, and therefore I recently purchased a shrub and recently planted it along the side of the house.
I know that hibiscus will tolerate lots of sun and heat. Although the tag on this one said it was protected from mites and aphids, I notice there are some on the buds. I mixed up a solution of dish detergent and water to spray on the plant, and picked off the buds that were full of bugs. I’ve had to do this for a few days not. It’s irritating that I bought it with the bugs on it. Should have checked closer.
Next to it, I added a rose bush and on the other side a small Desert Rose. In my photo below the plumeria hasn’t been planted yet, but you can see the red poinsettia I bought this past Christmas … the flowers are still red! That one also needs to go in the ground.
I need to get these gardens planted before the weather becomes too hot. I can’t work outside like I used to, and I dislike working in the heat. Digging up this St. Augustine grass is a real chore, and then I must lug the dirt to mix into the dug hole. The Florida “dirt” is mostly sand, so it must be amended with quality dirt and fertilizer. After it was planted I added black mulch.
One plant that every Florida yard should have is the fantastic hibiscus.
A hibiscus will bloom constantly for much of the year in Florida. It loves the sun and does extremely well in the hot and humid climate.
Hibiscus plants come in a wide variety of colors and types. Some can grow in northern climates, but the ones I refer to here are tropical. They will not die over the winter. It’s not really necessary to know your types (unless you are searching for something specific, or mail ordering) because local stores will sell the types that work in your area of the country, or world.
One problem I remember having is aphids that get on the flowers and plant, but this new hibiscus contained a tag that said it was protected from aphids, white flies, and some other bugs. So we’ll see.
They are easy to plant. Remove any grass in the area and dig a big wide hole. Mix together some kind of fertilizer, bone meal, and or garden soil and add that back into the hole with some of the dirt that was removed. Push the dirt down around the edge of the root ball and then water thoroughly… that means a lot. If the plant still looks great the next day, then you did a good job. Water again, and continue to water well until it gets established.
My new hibiscus has a double orange bloom, which looks like a ruffle compared to the flat types of flower. It was the prettiest flower I saw among the bunches of plants at the local Home Depot. I planted it in a spot that should get a lot of sun year round. Once I buy some mulch, I’ll put that all around the bottom to help keep the soil moist. Then I can water it less often.
Although I have mainly been shopping for plants at Home Depot, I prefer to support a privately owned nursery. I am not very familiar with any around here. I’ve already been to Lindleys, and wasn’t all that impressed. One that I plan to visit is Garden Arts and is located on Flagler Ave. Generally I only go to the very touristy Flagler Ave. to eat at Breakers Restaurant. I will brave the crowds to eat a yummy fish sandwich while looking out at the ocean.
Some friends just told me about the Garden Arts nursery and suggested I visit. I have a free parking pass for the beachside lot (yes, they charge to park now!), so I may do just that. Then I will write a review about the place, and visit often … if I like it.
Now that I have a hibiscus growing in my yard, it’s a reminder that I’m settling into my new lifestyle which is a throwback to a very old life. When I see my photos of the huge piles of snow, and remember suffering without power for days during ice storms, I really don’t miss dealing with those problems. Walking out the door, without a coat on, day or night, is quite a sweet change of pace for me.
Buy your potted hydrangea plants soon. The nursery will have a large selection of hydrangeas, along with other plants, as Mother’s Day is on the horizon. Many people forego the gift of expensive cut flowers for something that will last much longer. Moms who garden may appreciate a new perennial for the yard. (Offer to plant it for her too!)
Flower shops will have blooming plants or cut flowers, but nurseries will have shrubs to be planted with flowers appearing later on this summer. Planting them now will get them ready to bloom soon. Even small plants usually will have blooms the year they are planted.
We’ve had such a cold April that it’s been a little difficult to believe it really is Spring. Of course it’s still too cold to plant most things outdoors, but I’m almost ready to buy seedlings and set up my little deck green house. I won’t be purchasing anything big to add to the yard this year. The deer have eaten all my rhododendrons, and any new hydrangeas I put it will be propagated from the old ones. I will be concentrating on growing as many vegetables as I can. I bought a new raised bed made of black fabric and can’t wait to get some dirt to put into it. Then the soil can warm up and be ready for planting by the end of the month.
The hydrangeas in the picture above were some I bought in Spring of 2012. Last year they looked wonderful – the flowers in the bouquet below all came from my yard last year (2013). And I hope that this year they will be even bigger and better.
I shop for annuals once a year, usually at the end of May or beginning of June – like most other people who live in New England. If we shop too early, the plants have to wait somewhere until all chance of frost has passed. OR, they can go into the cold ground and take their chances. All plants cost too much to risk dying in a freeze, and I can’t be bothered to go out and cover my plants. I just wait and try to get them into the ground at the correct time. And slowly but surely I am learning how to garden in the north.