Here in the Tampa Bay area, preparing for winter requires a very different approach than in more northern regions. South Florida enjoys mild winters, very few hard frosts, and does not experience snow.
In fact, with just a few adjustments, we can easily grow plants throughout the winter months!
Whether you are letting your landscaping rest for the season, or are looking to cultivate winter plants – here are some fast tips to ensure your gardening success!
Winter Florida Garden Tips
- Lawn Preparation: Most drought-tolerant sods used in the Tampa and Sarasota regions require fertilization in November (and again in early spring). If you have not yet fertilized your lawn, this is an excellent time to do so. Keep an eye open for brown spots which may indicate either fungus or pests, and treat accordingly. You may also wish to consider using a mulching lawn mower to shred any leaves which may have fallen from oak trees; this material makes for great organic nutrients for your lawn. Make sure that your sprinkler system is fully functional and ready for the dry winter months.
- Swap Out Garden Beds: If you have flowers and plants growing in your garden beds which may be susceptible to frost, you may wish to choose hardier varieties to keep your landscaping looking bright and colorful through the seasonal cooler weather. Impatiens are a Florida winter garden favorite, and showcase flowers in a wide variety of colors. They do best in partial shade, and do not need strong sunlight. A camellia bush thrives in a similar climate, and also will add vibrant color to your flower beds. Keep in mind that if we experience an especially hard overnight freeze, even winter plants should be covered at night to avoid exposure.
- Don’t Forget Your Vegetables: Winter in Florida provides an excellent opportunity to grow fruits and vegetables in raised beds or containers. Kale, lettuce, radishes, and strawberries are just a few of the seasonal favorites which will grow throughout the winter months and yield delicious, fresh produce in early to mid spring. You may also wish to begin an herb garden at this time, keeping in mind that some varieties of herbs may have different temperature requirements.
- Prepare the Soil: Winter is also a good time to rest and replenish your soil if need be. There is also a possibility that plants which flourish throughout the year may struggle with less rain and cooler temperatures. Give them the best possible chance at surviving the season by adding nutrient rich food, compost, or mulch to the soil. This will be beneficial in a number of ways: these nutrients will help to restore proper pH balance, to retain moisture and to prevent against weed growth. These organic, carbon rich additives will also result in a lighter, fluffier soil for spring plantings. You can make your own mulch and compost, or choose from a variety of quality nutritional products, including earthworm castings.
Floridians enjoy year-round sunshine and beauty, and winter doesn’t mean that our lawns and gardens have to lose their luster. By making a few simple changes to compensate for less rain and cooler climes, you can ensure that your landscaping is lush and green until spring.
If you need professional gardening advice regarding fertilizers – or any other product to ensure winter gardening success – the experts at Big Earth Landscape Supply are here to help.
Browse our comprehensive product inventory today, and remember- spring is right around the corner!