Sunny Florida Garden - Knowledgebase Question

Jacksonville, FL
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Question by ferrellt
March 24, 1998
I have a garden in my back yard that gets the full afternoon sun and has a dry and somewhat sandy soil. It sits up against the house and I have not been able to grow any flowers in it. The only plant that seems to be fine is aloe. Can you recommend any flowers that might tolerate the location and soil and yet are pleasant to look at and easy to maintain? They also have to survive the Florida heat.

Answer from NGA
March 24, 1998
The first thing to do is to take a sample of your soil to the Extension Office at the corner of McDuff and Commenwealth. The address is 1010 N McDuff, telephone #387-8850. They will check the pH of your soil and advise you as to what amendments your soil needs. To collect the sample, go to several places in your plot, and with
a trowel scoop up about 5 inches of soil and place it in a bucket. After you have collected all of your samples, mix the soil well. Take about a pint of the mixed soil to theExtension Office. I use a clean plastic bag for the soil sample.

Work 3 or 4 inches of organic matter into your soil with the amendments recommended by the Extension Office. The organic matter can consist of well-rotted animal manure, compost, leaves, etc.

Here are some annuals that might do well for you:
Baby's Beath
Begonia (nonstop)
Impatiens (plant in most shaded area)

Some perennials:
African Iris (Dietes spp)
Daylilly (Hemerocallis spp.)
False Dragon Head (Physostegia viriginiana)
Firespike (Odontonema strictum)

I hope this information will help you have a nice garden. If there are annuals or perennials that you especially like, try them. Many plants can adapt to different situations. The most important thing is to get your soil right. Keep adding organic matter to your soil. If you have plenty of leaves work them into the soil in the fall and by spring they will have rotted. With the constant adding of organic matter, you will see your soil get better and better.

I live in Jacksonville and I am particularly interested in a fellow Jaxon having a good garden. With the hot afternoon sun you should pay attention to the ground moisture and give your plants plenty of water, but not too wet.

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