We have made it through the worst month for water use and usually the worst month for sun and heat stress on our plants and us. Even though we will probably have some more 100-degree-plus days, the sun will not be as strong, and the days are shorter. I am sure most of you have heard the news they are expecting this to be the hottest year on record from a global standpoint. How about 100-degree water temps in Florida? Shade trees are a necessity and will keep the surrounding areas around your house much cooler and keep the sun from baking the soil. The shaded area at the nursery stays so much cooler than the full sun areas. When we first bought the property the house is on, we had no shade in the backyard. Now thanks to 2 Pistache trees, one Chitalpa, one Crape Myrtle, 3 Redwoods, one Maple, and one wild plum, hardly a spot gets all-day sun. What we save on cooling helps offset the summer water bill.
A few people coming in have asked what are the best annuals for sun and heat. We did get in the annual vinca in July, and this has always been a maintenance-free, heat-tolerant, and deer-resistant winner here. Scaveola, also called fan flower, is another good one. The foliage is fleshy like a succulent, and they bloom well into fall. There is also Portulaca. Another colorful choice is Lantana. There are a lot of different sizes and colors out there now due to plant breeding, from ones that grow 1 ft x 1 ft to the full-size 5 ft growers. I treat this as an annual here, but if you have the right microclimate, it can survive the winter.
Every year is different when it comes to what sells here. We are still adjusting to the Covid era demand. I have mentioned that we have tons of berries still after selling out early three years in a row. Here I thought coming out of drought conditions would increase the desire for these somewhat thirsty food sources, but as water prices keep going up, that could be a factor. I guess it is possible we have saturated the market. We have quite a few roses since I upped our order this year, and the demand dropped off. Lantana has not been as popular this year as in the past, perhaps due to people turning more and more to reliable perennials with a long life. This all makes ordering a crap shoot as the 2024 rose and fruit order deadlines have already arrived. This month I will have to put in my plug orders too.
Now that you know what we have been up to (getting orders done and watering, watering, watering), what should you be thinking about this month? This is a good month to feed everything to give it a boost after the worst days of summer. Roses, Citrus, Fruit Trees, Vegetables, and flowers could all benefit. Keep deadheading (the removal of spent flowers) to discourage seed production and keep those plants blooming. We just placed a seed order for fall/winter vegetables and flowers for those of you planning on growing from seed. This is the month to start them for transplanting outdoors next month. We are also starting to see fall vegetable starts showing up on the availabilities from our suppliers. The transition from summer into fall is starting to happen.
Our Crape Myrtles are starting to bloom, and the Rose of Sharons are looking good too. Other large blooming summer shrubs include the full-size Buddlejas and Vitex. Check out the Hydrangea paniculatas, my favorites, along with the oak leaf type. So much easier to grow in our hot climate. We have a good selection of salvias (aka sage), and these often look their best in fall. We also have white sage in right now for a limited time. Other late-blooming perennials include Japanese Anemones, Liriope, Mums, and Goldenrod. Of course, there are always the annual Petunias, Vinca, Marigolds, and Zinnias that go till frost.
Pottery is another product where sales have dropped off, and we would like to sell this year’s pots so we can get different ones next year. We will continue to have our glazed pots on sale this month. We have lots of trellis,’ and other plant supports, so look for them to be on sale this month also.
I get a lot of horticulture news and admittedly do not get around to reading half of it. There is constant work being done to breed plants that are more disease and pest-tolerant, more heat-tolerant, more water conscious, able to withstand harsher conditions, etc. Most of this is for the commercial farming industry but also for the horticulture industry. Most of you have probably figured out that technology is not my strong suit by choice. However, future farmers and growers of America are going to have to be pretty tech-savvy to keep us in flowers and food. Maybe we will not have to specialize in cactus if breeders can find a way to develop more and more drought and heat-resistant varieties of our favorite flowers and shrubs.
- Buy 3 Roses, 4th Free
- Hostas and Daylilies-20% Off
- Plant Supports – 20% Off
all trellis’, cages, and plant stands
- Berries and olive liner pots – 20% Off
- Glazed pottery – 20% Off
- Summer bulbs half Off
- 2023 Warm season seeds $1.00