Gardening

Flowers that Beat the Heat (in Florida!)

Flowers Surviving in Florida's HeatTy and I balance each other pretty well when it comes to our yard. He mows and edges, I weed and trim. He plants vegetables, I plant flowers. He installs the sprinklers, I let Big Brother play in the hose…ok, you get the point.

I love my flowers. I want flowers everywhere. Unfortunately, our yard is made of sand (this is Florida) and getting the grass to grow has been a challenge, let alone some frail flowers. We bought the house at the height of Spring along with its gorgeous flower bed, climbing jasmine and established wildflowers along the hedge.

Then we had a winter freeze. Like any new homeowner, I heard it was going to be cold, turned on the heat and went to bed. When I woke up, I saw all my gorgeous flowers had been reduced to brown twigs. Ok, it wasn’t quite that dramatic, but it was painful to see.

Since then, I’ve faithfully purchased new flowers and planted seeds to regrow what we lost. I’m learning what time of year to trim our jasmine so it blooms and have dabbled in new flowers to see what will survive Florida’s unyielding heat. This has been our most successful planting yet. Here are a few that I’ll plant again, a couple I’ll try again and one I’ll never buy again.

These have grown so big and vibrant, I never would have expected such success from planting from seed!
These have grown so big and vibrant, I never would have expected such success from planting from seed!

Replant: Marigolds grew well in our yard over the fall, so we replanted using seeds this Spring. Amazingly, they have grown into gorgeous bush-like plants that have more personality than the Marigolds we purchased at the store. These on the right were planted in a flower bed and the Marigolds we purchased at the store were put in pots. They are all surviving the heat, but of course they need to be watered daily.

EsperanzaI planted an Esperanza and it also grew very well. It continues to blossom as though the high is not over 100 degrees each day. I keep it in the shade, so that’s where it will stay.

Dahlia

 

My favorite new flower is the Dahlia. I’ve never noticed this before but saw it on Pinterest and in Better Homes & Gardens and thought I’d give it a try. This flower is as gorgeous in real life as it is in print…and it’s blossoming! It not only has outlasted the Florida heat, but it continues to bloom. The petals look like actual velvet and it’s a nice deep color to add to my garden of orange, yellow and coral. And another thing…this flower can’t be tamed. I like to cut trimmings of my flowers to bring them inside adding a summer feel without the cost of purchasing flowers. After all, why should I buy flowers when they are growing right in my front yard? However, the Dahlia begins to turn the minute you cut it. Gardenias do the same thing, but since this is already a deep shade, it just gets more depressing with every passing minute once it has been trimmed. Do yourself a favor, enjoy this flower outside where nature intended it.

I lastly planted a Citronella mosquito plant since I’m basically a walking buffet for mosquito and I’d like to enjoy all my new flowers on our patio. This plant is doing pretty well considering I just left it on the deck for a week before planting it and then I put it in a too-small pot. It’s still alive and glad to be replanted in the pot the Celosias vacated.

No Idea
That’s right. I have no idea what this is called. But it’s gorgeous and has grown beautifully on my patio in nearly full sun. I’ll be buying this again!

Try again: On a whim, I purchased a few pink Celosias and they were quite pretty to begin with. However, these are the only flowers I purchased that have completely shriveled up. This is no exaggeration. It’s like they just gave up and succumbed to disintegrating into brown ash. If I buy these again, I’ll keep them on my screened porch with my Christmas Cactus. This area receives no water except the natural moisture the Florida air is thick with, but there’s also no sunlight which keeps them out of the suffocating heat.

I also bought a Dark Blue Moody Blues Speedwell. This is a perennial, so hopefully they’ll rebound. I believe a simple trim will bring around another bought of blossoms. However, right now, I have green leaves and brown stems.

And another thing…it’s taken me an embarrassingly long time to discover that “annuals” do not mean they regrow each year. Rather, you have to replant them each year. Perennials are the plants to buy if you only want to buy them once.

ranunculus-610131_1280
A gorgeous Ranunculus. Guess my ground ate it.

Never again: Ranunculus. I bought some bulbs and planted them in the ground and in pots. I watered them. I would like my money back.

And another thing…I could get my money back (well, not for the Ranunculus). Lowe’s has a one-year guarantee for plants, shrubs and perennials. If they don’t survive, they’ll replace them. Just bring in your receipt and the plant to get a new one!

Ty also did some companion planting this year with dill, nasturtium…and cucumbers maybe? I’ll tell y’all about that another time…once he has fully explained it to me 🙂

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