May brings the onset of summer-like temperatures to Central Florida and your spring garden should be yielding an abundance of produce by now. Irrigation is critical for plants that are flowering or fruiting if sufficient rainfall doesn't occur in your area. Avoid getting the foliage wet if possible, or water early in the day so that foliage is dry by nightfall. Fungal diseases thrive in wet conditions.
Only the most heat-tolerant of flowers and vegetables should be planted this month. Annual flowers that survive summer temperatures include salvia, torenia, wax begonia, coleus and ornamental peppers.
Landscape plants in bloom this month include allamanda, brugmansia, gardenia, hibiscus, justicia, jatropha, magnolia, 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.
A few vegetables thrive in the summer heat and can still be planted now. These include arrowroot, cassava, chayote, jicama, longevity spinach, Malabar spinach, New Zealand spinach, Okinawa spinach, okra, southern peas, peanut, sunchokes, sweet potatoes and tropical yams.
Keep a watchful eye on the landscape and garden for signs of early insect or disease problems. Eradication is much easier if the infestation is caught at an early stage.
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