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September garden calendar for Central Florida

Pomegranates are ready to pick this month!
Pomegranates are ready to pick this month!
Jim Ford

September is one of the peak gardening months in Florida. Most warm-season annual vegetables have to be planted now if you want a beautiful and productive garden this fall. If you wait too long you run the risk of crop loss from early frosts in December. Although it still feels like summer, the day length is becoming noticeably shorter and the heat should start to moderate somewhat as the sun sinks lower in the southern sky.

Replace declining annuals with fresh transplants of warm-season flowers like ageratum, coleus, celosia, zinnia and wax begonia. Remove dried flower stalks from summer-blooming perennials to improve their appearance.

Now is also a good time to selectively prune trees and shrubs that have put out summer growth that was a little too vigorous. Trim back low branches that encroach on walks and driveways, and trim back wayward branches of small trees to improve their shape.

Outstanding displays of color in the landscape can be seen now on firespike, podranea, callicarpa, dichorisandra, cassia alata, sunchoke and caesalpinia. As you travel around the area, keep an eye out for some of these beauties.

Many varieties of fruit will be ripening this month. You can be harvesting avocado, carambola, limes, bananas, papayas, pomegranate, passionfruit and guavas. If you don't already have these plants in your landscape, think about adding some for next year. Tropical fruits are best planted in the spring or protected through the winter, but temperate trees and shrubs benefit from fall planting.

Most warm-season vegetables and a few cool-season crops can be started now. Here are the vegetables to plant in the garden in September: beans (bush, pole, lima), broccoli, cabbage, celery, collards, corn, cucumbers, eggplant (transplants), endive/escarole, kale, lettuce, longevity spinach, Okinawa spinach, onions, English peas, southern peas, peppers (transplants), radish, summer squash, tomatoes (transplants), turnips and most herbs.

The earlier you plant the warm-season varieties, the more production you'll get from your garden before frost. So don't delay, plant today!

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