September Garden Tips

We are in the height of hurricane season right now. The tropics have heated up and so should your pruning. Check the trees and shrubs in your yard one final time. Cut away dead wood and remove crossing limbs and branches that overhang the house 
· Weeds continue to proliferate. Evenings are starting to cool, so it is more comfortable working in the garden. Continue to mulch but keep it 1-2 inches from the stems of all plants. 

· Continue to patrol the garden , checking for pests. Mealybugs and scale have been abundant the past few years. Check lawns for chinch bug, armyworm and sod webworm. A garden with many kinds of plants has fewer pests than gardens with lots of mass plantings. Avoid insect magnets like oleander, which require constant spraying. 

· You can still take cuttings and divide perennials but do it as soon as possible. Days are getting shorter and less sunlight signals the plants to slow down their growth. Cuttings will not root as quickly. 

· If you do not have sprinklers, plant by Sept. 15 so the new plantings will have time to settle in before the dry season resumes around October 15. 

· Check irrigation systems for broken heads and pipes.

· Consider starting vegetables and annuals from seed. Try salvia, verbena, ageratum, celosia, nasturtium and wax begonia along with vegetable varieties of lettuce, lima beans, tomato, onion, cabbage and broccoli. Protect tender seedlings from heavy September rains 

· Winter annuals will be available at about the end of this month. Continue planting all trees and shrubs, but be sure to water them if no irrigation is available. 

Green Thoughts: If you have windows vulnerable to break-ins, install security plantings with nasty thorns. Some of the big landscape bromeliads are spiny and do well in sun or shade. Pereskia, crown of thorns, and various agaves and dwarf yuccas have spiny or pointed leaves and stems and like full sun. Carissa and silverthorn make good hedge plantings and do well in sun or shade. 

Begonia odorata `Alba'
Begonia odorata `Alba'

This begonia has been around the Florida landscape for a number of years. It was used mostly in hanging baskets in the past. It is an amazingly good high ground cover for part shade locations. This begonia will reach about 3 feet in height and is easy to propagate from cuttings. It is in bloom year round compared to many begonias which bloom only in late winter or spring. The flowers produce a nice cascading informal display of white through the year and are lightly fragrant. It can be used under windows or in front of taller shrubbery. I think this is one of the best perennials around. 

  • Origin Jamaica 
  • Foliage Rounded glossy coarse foliage
  • Growth rate Fast 
  • Nutritional requirements Medium 
  • Soil requirements Not fussy except for overly wet or dry conditions. 
  • Salt tolerance Low 
  • Drought tolerance Low 
  • Light requirements Part shade 
  • Propagation Cuttings 
  • Major problems Root rot 
  • Environmental problems None 


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