Snowbirds are those residents who spend the winter months here in South Florida, but return to a permanent home up north in the spring and summer months. Snowbirds are an important part of the Tampa Bay economy, and most are expected to arrive back in paradise in November.
Because of our perpetually temperate weather, snowbirds who love to garden and take care of landscaping can do so to their heart’s content when they return to Florida.
But if you are one of our part-time residents, you may wonder about the best plants and flowers to cultivate, seeing as you will likely be leaving in four to six months.
Here are some easy ways to make your yard beautiful for the time you are here.
Best Plants for Snowbird Gardening
- Potted Flowers: Cyclamen (shown above) are one of our most beautiful cool weather potted plants – but there are many more! Beautiful flowers in shades of white, pink, rose resemble shooting stars or butterflies, and sit on top of lush green leaf clusters.Give them partial shade and plenty of water and you can keep them all winter – but bring them inside during a hard frost.You can even easily leave them with friends when you go home. Potted bulb flowers such as amaryllis and plumeria will bloom year after year – just leave them outside in partial shade. Ensure your flowers are healthy and beautiful with high quality gardening fertilizer products.
- Strawberries: The popular berry is grown as an annual in this area. Shop at a local nursery for healthy, disease-free strawberry plants in the early fall.When planted in the fall, they should begin to blossom in the cooler, shorter days of winter. You will be harvesting berries from late winter until May. It is best to start over with new plants each year rather than trying to revive plants each season, making this a perfect snowbird crop. These can easily be grown in planters, raised garden beds, or troughs in order to keep from having to dig in the ground.You may wish to add some lettuce or radishes, which both do exceptionally well in this climate and are delicious when home-grown!
- Lawn Care: If you have returned to your home to find the lawn needs some attention due to scorching, insect damage, or rot from excessive rain, you may need to re-seed or re-sod. Even if your lawn doesn’t need maintenance work, all Florida lawns do need to be fertilized in the fall season, as well as again in the early spring.The Lawnifi fertilization program will give your lawn what it needs to be healthy year round, using less fertilizer – which is good for your lawn and the environment.This is safe to use on all Florida grass types including St. Augustine, Bermuda, Zoysia, Bluegrass, and Fescue. You can easily apply using a garden hose to disperse. Remember to add another treatment before leaving again in the spring. (Check out other lawn care products.)
These snowbird gardening tips represent just a few of the hundreds of options you have to make your Florida winter landscape lush and beautiful.
For the best advice regarding preparing soil, choosing food and fertilizer, and cultivating hardy Florida plants, shop Big Earth Landscape Supply. We have everything snowbirds need to get started with their fall and winter lawn and garden.