Cool Season Annuals for South Florida Gardens
The cool season offers many opportunities to fill our gardens with beautiful annuals, these flowering plants can provide our January gardens with an abundance of beautiful flower blooms. Cool season annuals will not only paint our garden beds and landscape with colorful flowers but this decorative addition will provide much-needed nectar for pollinators in early spring.
I have worked on garden projects with many of these annuals and have seen the array of vibrant colors that are provided, what I also love about cool season annuals is the ease of care taking the hassle out of managing a beautiful garden.
Below we will be taking a closer look at 7 cool-season annuals that will add much color and beauty to your garden, if you desire to have a beautiful and colorful garden during the cooler months then look no further these 7 cool-season annuals will provide bright colors for your garden oasis.
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7 Cool Season Annuals that Will Add Beauty to Your South Florida Gardens
1. How to Care for Pentas
Pentas can tolerate partial shade but the ideal location for Pentas is to locate them in an area that receives full sunlight. This garden beauty can grow in just about any soil type but prefer soil that’s well-drain or soil that doesn’t remain soggy after heavy rainfall. It’s best to give Pentas a good soaking and then allow the soil to dry before giving them another drink of water. Pentas can be fertilized during the growing season with a slow-release fertilizer such as Osmocote. Read and follow the manufacturer label for directions that will give good results.
Keep an eye out for these garden insect pests and treat them to bring control. Aphids are tiny pared shape insects that cause damage by sucking the plant’s fluids causing yellowing of the leaves followed by leaf drop. Aphids are among the easiest garden insect pests to kill. A strong spray of water from a garden hose will knock them off your Pentas eliminating them however this strong spray of water can also knock the leaves and the flowers off your Pentas. The use of insecticidal soap will bring control.
Thrips can also cause server damage, I have had many challenging experiences with them. The adult thrips are tiny and slender, with colors of black, brown, or yellow. The babies resemble the parents and are yellow to light green.
The damage of thrips includes white patches on the plant’s leaves along with streaks and slivery speckling this damage is caused because the fluid is being extracted from. A serious infestation may also cause leaf drop, the use of insecticidal soap will offer some help. Whiteflies are tiny white-winged insects that feed by sucking the plant’s fluids which can lead to yellowing of the leaves followed by leaf drop. To identify whiteflies gently shake your Pentas, if a bunch of insects dislodges from your plant and then quickly re-attaches they are whiteflies. The use of insecticidal soaps will bring these garden insect pests under control.
2. How to Care for Pansies
The planting location for pansies should be in an area that gets the full sun although these garden beauties will perform best in partial shade. Pansies love the sun but too much can have an adverse effect, the morning sun and the late cool of the evening will work wonders. The soil type should be organic-rich well-drained and slightly acidic. Giving your pansies the right amount of water is so important, insufficient water will cause pansies to fall back and too much water will lead to root rot. To ensure that your pansies are getting the right amount of water the soil should be somewhat moist. The use of a 10-10-10 balance fertilizer will keep your pansies in full bloom, simply sprinkle the fertilizer around your plants.
Snails and Slugs will do damage to pansies by feeding on the flower petals, this feeding will destroy the beauty of your pansy, therefore, quick action should be taken to bring these garden pests under control. The use of snail bait can be used or if you prefer handpicking which is known as mechanical control will help, the use of eggshells will not only get rid of snails and slugs but will add nutrients to the soil as it breaks down.
Aphids are tiny pear-shaped insects, these garden pests can cause much damage by piercing the plant’s tissues with their piercing-sucking mouthparts feeding on the plant’s fluids. To bring aphids under control a strong spray of water from your garden hose will eliminate them but this stream of water can break the tender petals of your pansies so another alternative is the use of insecticidal soap. Before applying soap sprays read and follow the manufacturer’s directions for the best results.
3. How to Care for Petunias
Install your petunias in a location that gets full sun, the soil type for these garden beauties can be from clay, sandy to well-drained soil. When watering petunias give them a good soaking and allow the soil to dry out somewhat between irrigation. To keep your petunias looking great through spring and summer provide a balanced fertilizer such as 12-12-12 or 10-10-10 will work wonders. Before applying fertilizers read and follow the manufacturer’s directions
Aphids cause damage by sucking the plant’s fluids, to bring these garden insect pets under control the use of insecticidal soap will offer help. Read and follow the manufacturer label before applying. Budworm caterpillars cause damage by eating the plant parts because these petunias are delicate the destruction can be server. The use of Bt will bring them under control.
4. How to Care for Marigolds
When installing marigolds look for an area that gets lots of sunlight even though these plants can survive in partial shade. The soil should be well-drained but able to retain moisture. Adding organics to the soil will improve water absorption, the soil should be somewhat moist and not waterlogged, using diluted liquid feed or quick-release. The application of osmocote can help to encourage the marigolds to bloom. Keep an eye out for aphids and mites, and take action by using insecticidal soap to bring control.
5. How to Care for Dianthus
When planting dianthus, installed in a garden area that gets full sunlight, these garden beauties will perform their best under these conditions. The soil type should be well-drained with a pH that is slightly alkaline to neutral. When watering your dianthus, especially during the summertime ensure that the soil is somewhat moist and not waterlogged. Allow the soil to dry out a bit before giving your dianthus another drink.
A slow-release fertilizer such as 5-10-5 or 5-10-10 will keep your dianthus flowering beautifully. Aphids and spider mites are tiny insects that can cause huge damage. These garden insect pests will suck the plant’s fluids causing yellowing of the leaves followed by leaf drop. To bring aphids and spider mites under control apply insecticidal soap. Before applying read and follow the manufacturer’s label for best results. Because dianthus is a soft luscious plant slugs will eat the plant parts. The use of snail bait or handpicking them and throwing them into a bucket of soapy water will bring them under control. As a bonus scatter dried broken-up eggshells throughout the plant bed.
6. How to Care for Geraniums
Installing geraniums in full sunlight will help them perform their best, geraniums don’t like wet feet, so sandy soils will keep them growing their best. When irrigating give them a good soaking then allow the soil to dry thoroughly before another application. After the new growth emerges feed your geraniums with a liquid fertilizer every 3 weeks throughout the growing season.
Keep an eye out for these garden insect pests, aphids katydid, fungus gnat, bud worm, spittle bug froth, and whitefly. These garden insect pests can cause severe damage, the use of bonide insect pest control will offer help. Before applying pesticides read and follow the manufacturer’s directions for the best results.
7. How to Care for Coleus
Coleus grows their best in partial shade although some varieties perform well in the full sun, The soil type for these garden beauties is well-drained soil. When watering your coleus give them a good soaking, especially during summertime, and allow the soil to dry out before giving them another drink of water. The use of a balanced fertilizer such as triple ten or 10-10-10 will keep your coleus in tip-top shape. Read the manufacturer’s label before applying.
Keep a watch out for these garden insect pests that can do much damage, aphids, spider mites, mealybugs, and whiteflies can be controlled with the help of insecticidal soap. Before applying insecticidal soap read and follow the manufacturer label. Snails present another problem by eating the plant parts, the use of snail baits or handpicking and dumping them into a bucket of soapy water will eliminate them. Fungus Gants are flies that are black and tiny they love moisture and can be found hovering over moist soils, to control fungus gnats create an environment where your coleus is getting proper air circulation, monitor the amount of water you are giving your plant, applying a thin layer of gravel around coleus will prevent fungus gnats from laying their eggs.
The final word on Cool Season annuals for South Florida
Why limit filling your gardens with beautiful flower blooms during the warmer months, the cool season provides just as many opportunities to have an array of colors in your gardens and landscapes. These listed cool season plants are just a few among many that will bring that wow. I have worked with many cool season plants on garden projects and have never been disappointed. Their ease of care will not only provide amazing colors but will provide nectar for pollinators. Why not consider making these annuals a part of your South Florida garden? You will not be disappointed as these garden beauties go to work for you.
About the author
Norman loves being in the garden, both at home and for his job....
he is 'Natures Little helper' being outdoors, growing his vegetables and flowers from an early age.
Now having spent over 22 years in the profession he want to give some of his knowledge to others...
his vast array of hints and tips you will find scattered over this site will help you no end growing plants in your garden.