by Jeremy Lepper, ArtisTree Account Executive
Q: I’m eager to begin planting new fall and winter annuals now that we’re finally out of summer! When can I start, and what types will do best here in Southwest Florida?
A: No wonder you’re in the mood for new seasonal color -- our hot, humid and rainy days are coming to an end which makes it the perfect time to grow plants that appreciate the chillier temperatures. Local garden centers are packed with all kinds, but our favorites are based on appearance as well as hardiness: begonias, geraniums, dusty miller, penta, salvia, petunia and New Guinea impatiens (we recommend steering clear of your typical impatiens, impatiens walleriana, as they are currently very susceptible to downy mildew). Alyssum, margiolds and pansies are also good choices.
Be sure to treat your annuals as accents, not the main feature of your landscape. And for the greatest impact, less is more. Stick with a few types instead of planting a bunch of different colors. A mass of purple or yellow, for instance, is much more pleasing to the eye than a hodgepodge of purple, yellow, pink, orange and red. You didn’t ask, but also be sure your soil is well prepared and that you space your plants for optimal air circulation.
Now’s the time to plant annuals for our cooler winter season, so start thinking about colors, sizes and textures, and where you’ll place your beds as well. Early to bed, early to rise!