Friday, February 1, 2013

Dry Dry Season

The month of February has begun with cooler temperatures providing a  welcome respite, however much needed rain preceding these cool fronts has been scant. A simple walk around your yard will reveal we are experiencing  drier than normal conditions.  Drier conditions combined with warmer than usual temperatures  in January and December have some landscape plants occasionally showing a bit of stress. Changing weather patterns have made it more important than ever to select plants for your home landscape that are suitable for our conditions to create a Florida-Friendly Landscape that can be sustained thru our dry season (with only the occasional need for irrigation).

Taking that simple walk around your yard at least weekly is recommended to monitor for problems as well as to enjoy what is blooming! Amaryllis, red cloak, magenta firespike, lacy white blooms of  begonia Odorata Alba, and an older cultivar of a rhizomatous pink begonia are all in glorious bloom in my yard. Also a clump of common yellow Oncidium sphacelatum planted in a decaying royal palm trunk is beginning to send out long stalks that will soon be full of flowers.
If you do find a plant maybe not looking too well, call us and we will help you identify the problem be it pest, disease or cultural care and advise how best to resolve.

Only a few plants in my garden have shown signs of stress, one in particular, an Australian Trailing Violet  needs a moist environment and is easily tended for with rain water from my rain barrel. Coleus are also occasionally showing wilt at the end of a warm, dry day and may need a sip from the watering can as well.

Why do you need less water in the winter dry season? Shorter days= less sunlight = slower growth combined with normally cooler temperatures = less stress. Less sunlight, cooler temperatures and normal amounts of dry season rainfall are usually just right for South Florida Low Maintenance Landscape Plants. 

Weather events of the past year have many folks taking a closer look at the science supporting climate change. Visit EPA's website  for information and a basic look at issues and possible solutions. We may need to further adjust our plant palette as conditions change-we will be here to help!