The heat is on in Central Florida and you can expect it to stick around for the next several months. Daytime temperatures for June are typically in the low to mid-90s and nights are usually around 72° Fahrenheit.
Even sun-loving plants appreciate a little shade this time of year, and container-grown plants need to be monitored daily for moisture levels. If we're lucky, summer rains will drench our lawns and gardens every few days, allowing irrigation systems to be turned off for the duration of the rainy season.
Now is an excellent time to plant or transplant palms. Many of our Florida palms make most of their annual root growth this month, so they'll establish quickly in their new location. Watch for nutrient deficiencies on old or new growth and treat accordingly.
Landscape plants in bloom this month include allamanda, aristolochia, brugmansia, hibiscus, justicia, jatropha, tipuana, tecoma, tecomaria and thevetia, as well as many different species of ornamental ginger, cestrum, iris, jasmine, passiflora, and porterweed. Add some of these to your landscape for great summer color. Click on the links for additional reading and photos. Many of these are also good butterfly and hummingbird plants.
The intense heat limits what can successfully be planted this time of year, but there are still a few things that thrive when planted now. Annual flowers for summer include celosia, coleus, portulaca, purslane and vinca.
In the vegetable garden, direct seed okra and southern peas. Put in transplants of arrowroot, cassava, chayote, Malabar spinach, Okinawa spinach, sunchokes and sweet potato. Summer herbs include basil, Mexican tarragon, Greek oregano, Cuban oregano, quilquina and rosemary. Click on the links for additional information.
Don't let the summer heat stop you from gardening, just get up early and get the strenuous work done before the sun gets high in the sky. Take breaks and drink plenty of water to keep yourself hydrated. Your body needs water as much as your plants do!
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