Florida Gardening forum: Moving to Punta Gorda

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Name: Susan
Zone 10a (Zone 10a)

Charter ATP Member I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Hibiscus Hummingbirder Butterflies Region: Florida
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gardenersdetective
Mar 11, 2017 9:57 AM CST
We are moving from St Louis, MO to Punta Gorda, FL this summer. Looking forward to checking these boards and learning what SWFL has to offer and the tropical plants I can finally leave outdoors. Lots to learn about my new growing zone. I would really like a silver palm, date palm & fan palm in our landscape. Are they easy care or messy plants? The builder planted an oak tree in the back yard. I would like to replace it with a tropical anchor plant that's easy care that won't block my view of the lake. Any recommendations? Feel free to share any favorite nurseries, garden shops, gardens, & pottery shops in the area.
Name: Melanie
Lutz, Florida (Zone 9b)
Butterflies Enjoys or suffers hot summers Hummingbirder Birds Bee Lover Bookworm
Region: Florida Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Bromeliad Native Plants and Wildflowers Plant Identifier Salvias
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mellielong
Mar 11, 2017 10:10 AM CST
I'd advise you to be careful about removing any trees. Most have to have permits to be removed, especially if they are natives.
Name: Alice
Saint Helena Island, SC (Zone 9a)
Charter ATP Member Orchids Fruit Growers Tropicals Hummingbirder Garden Photography
Container Gardener Butterflies Bromeliad Birds Ponds Region: South Carolina
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ardesia
Mar 11, 2017 11:09 AM CST
Sounds like it is a newly planted tree. Perhaps, if there is a problem removing it, it could be relocated on the property . Oak trees do grow quickly and provide shade which is IMO essential.
Minds are like parachutes; they work better when they are open.
Name: pam
gainesville fl (Zone 8b)
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gardenglory
Apr 23, 2017 7:41 AM CST
I agree that I would check out the sun shade/sun situation. Cant sit out under a palm tree to enjoy the view, not and get any shade.
Name: Susan
Zone 10a (Zone 10a)

Charter ATP Member I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Hibiscus Hummingbirder Butterflies Region: Florida
Tropicals Birds Dog Lover
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gardenersdetective
May 6, 2017 5:12 PM CST
Thanks not allowed to replace unless they die. So much for the tropical paradise I have been longing for. We will not be adding to our maintenance free yard just wanted a couple of Palm trees not oaks & magnolia provided by builder which we could not decline. As for sitting outside we already have a gator so we will looking outside, ha!


Name: Elaine
Sarasota, Fl
The one constant in life is change
Cat Lover Master Gardener: Florida Tropicals Multi-Region Gardener Vegetable Grower Region: Florida
Herbs Orchids Birds Garden Ideas: Level 2 Garden Sages Celebrating Gardening: 2015
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dyzzypyxxy
May 6, 2017 5:39 PM CST
I'm sure you'll have plenty of room for creating a tropical paradise, Susan. Don't despair. There are so many wonderful plants you can try out here, I'm sure you're going to have a ball.

Palm trees are easy care, don't take up much room and do give a pretty effect but, as Pam said, they don't offer much in the way of shade. You'll thank your builder for planting that oak tree in years to come for the cooling and shade it gives your yard. You can limb it up as it gets taller so it won't impede your view of the lake.

If you already have a gator, you can call and have it removed by wildlife control. That's a normal part of life here. It's also the reason many people have screened patios and cages around their swimming pools. Critters and bugs - there's just SO much more life here all year round than up north and you do have to get used to it.
Elaine

"Success is stumbling from failure to failure with no loss of enthusiasm." –Winston Churchill
Name: Susan
Zone 10a (Zone 10a)

Charter ATP Member I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Hibiscus Hummingbirder Butterflies Region: Florida
Tropicals Birds Dog Lover
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gardenersdetective
Nov 4, 2017 7:01 PM CST
We are fully moved in & are year round residents. I love it here in paradise. Can anyone tell me when is the growing season?

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Name: Elaine
Sarasota, Fl
The one constant in life is change
Cat Lover Master Gardener: Florida Tropicals Multi-Region Gardener Vegetable Grower Region: Florida
Herbs Orchids Birds Garden Ideas: Level 2 Garden Sages Celebrating Gardening: 2015
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dyzzypyxxy
Nov 4, 2017 9:12 PM CST
Hi Susan, what do you want to grow? In winter we are considered "subtropical" since we do get some cold nights in the fall/winter/spring. I'm just north of you in Sarasota, and already last week we got down to 50deg.

So the short answer to "when is the growing season" is "All year" because there are things that will grow here all year. But if you want to grow things that like cool nights, then NOW is the time to plant because they will do great until about April when it starts to get warm enough that you have your a/c running day and night. i.e. the nights lows are above 70 or so. Annual flowers from seed such as marigolds, nasturtiums, pansies etc. will give you lots of nice color through the cool weather. Cool season veggies like salad greens, broccoli (and other cabbage-y things) carrots, beets etc. also need cool nights. Plant them now, now now! (there are good transplants available at the garden centers, generally)

Starting in late February, you will be able to plant everything you'd normally plant "up north" in May to grow through the summer. If you want certain varieties of tomatoes or peppers, though, buy the seeds now, and start them from seed in late December or January so they'll be big, lusty transplants by late Feb. Btw, tomatoes generally do not like the hot weather here in summer, that is most varieties simply won't set fruit after the night temperatures get above 75deg. The plants get really sad, flowers fall off, etc. Peppers, eggplant, basil and the like do love our hot humid summers though. But plan on your tomatoes failing in late May or early June.

If you're ambitious you can grow the warm season things through the winter, just plan on covering the plants with frost cloth on any nights that get below 50 or so. Make a tent, to trap the warmth rising from the ground for them. Oh, and don't use plastic! It does more harm than good. I harvested tomatoes and peppers from December all the way through May last year and only had to cover them maybe 5 nights.

One more thing, if you are planning to plant in the ground, our soil is generally just grey sand so it needs a TON of amendments to support growing vegetables. Other plants not nearly so critical, but you won't get much production from your vegetables if you don't add tons of organic material. The landfills here make excellent compost and it's free for the taking (but you have to load and transport it yourself).
Elaine

"Success is stumbling from failure to failure with no loss of enthusiasm." –Winston Churchill
Name: Susan
Zone 10a (Zone 10a)

Charter ATP Member I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Hibiscus Hummingbirder Butterflies Region: Florida
Tropicals Birds Dog Lover
Image
gardenersdetective
Nov 5, 2017 5:21 AM CST
Thanks Elaine, our yard is maintained by an hoa but a CDD maintains the perimeter around the lake. The weeds were 5' - 6' in some areas. When residents complained the CDD wacked the very tallest weeds and said they would clean up the rest when we were out of growing season. Baffled I'm thinking plants grow here 12 months out of the year. Just an excuse to put off the clean up. We have been getting nice fresh veggies from the local farmers market. My gardening passion in MO was container gardening with tropicals & annuals. Sadly I decided I am not willing to take care of containers in the Florida heat. Right now every day is like vacation and I still need to GPS every where I go. I did bring a few of my very favorite talavera containers just in case I change my mind.
Name: Alice
Saint Helena Island, SC (Zone 9a)
Charter ATP Member Orchids Fruit Growers Tropicals Hummingbirder Garden Photography
Container Gardener Butterflies Bromeliad Birds Ponds Region: South Carolina
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ardesia
Nov 5, 2017 5:27 AM CST
Think drip system on a timer, Lowe's has a very simple to understand system, everything is in one box. Works wonderfully for containers on your patio. Drop in some timed release fertilizer pellets and your work is done - except for the occasional dead heading and grooming. Get that Talavera out and visit a garden center for some winter bloomers that coordinate with the colorful pots.
Minds are like parachutes; they work better when they are open.
Name: Elaine
Sarasota, Fl
The one constant in life is change
Cat Lover Master Gardener: Florida Tropicals Multi-Region Gardener Vegetable Grower Region: Florida
Herbs Orchids Birds Garden Ideas: Level 2 Garden Sages Celebrating Gardening: 2015
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dyzzypyxxy
Nov 5, 2017 8:01 AM CST
Ok, tropical weeds like what you're seeing will virtually stop growing around now, and not start up until maybe March. All the tropical stuff are "divas" and like it warm day and night, so as soon as the nights are cool, I like to say "the weeds slow down and the gardeners speed up".

The opposite happens in summer, so my weeds get totally out of hand "the gardeners slow down and the weeds speed up" in the heat of summer. I can manage maybe 10 minutes a few times a day outside, as long as I stay in the shade, or work early morning or evenings when the breeze comes in. Then jump in the pool to cool down.

For tropical look containers, try some Elephant Ears. They'll give you gorgeous foliage all year round (although they do slow down in winter) and they come in some absolutely amazing colors and variegations.

For containers in spring, get some gingers - the Hedychiums have lovely fragrant flowers and some have beautiful colored foliage as well. Both these are easy care, and don't have a lot of pests but do need lots of water in warm weather. They both like shade in the afternoons, so east side of a structure or tree is a good place.
Elaine

"Success is stumbling from failure to failure with no loss of enthusiasm." –Winston Churchill
Name: Susan
Zone 10a (Zone 10a)

Charter ATP Member I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Hibiscus Hummingbirder Butterflies Region: Florida
Tropicals Birds Dog Lover
Image
gardenersdetective
Nov 11, 2017 10:32 AM CST
ardesia said:Think drip system on a timer, Lowe's has a very simple to understand system, everything is in one box. Works wonderfully for containers on your patio. Drop in some timed release fertilizer pellets and your work is done - except for the occasional dead heading and grooming. Get that Talavera out and visit a garden center for some winter bloomers that coordinate with the colorful pots.


Thanks for the inspiration.
Name: Susan
Zone 10a (Zone 10a)

Charter ATP Member I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Hibiscus Hummingbirder Butterflies Region: Florida
Tropicals Birds Dog Lover
Image
gardenersdetective
Nov 11, 2017 10:39 AM CST
dyzzypyxxy said:Ok, tropical weeds like what you're seeing will virtually stop growing around now, and not start up until maybe March. All the tropical stuff are "divas" and like it warm day and night, so as soon as the nights are cool, I like to say "the weeds slow down and the gardeners speed up".

The opposite happens in summer, so my weeds get totally out of hand "the gardeners slow down and the weeds speed up" in the heat of summer. I can manage maybe 10 minutes a few times a day outside, as long as I stay in the shade, or work early morning or evenings when the breeze comes in. Then jump in the pool to cool down.

For tropical look containers, try some Elephant Ears. They'll give you gorgeous foliage all year round (although they do slow down in winter) and they come in some absolutely amazing colors and variegations.

For containers in spring, get some gingers - the Hedychiums have lovely fragrant flowers and some have beautiful colored foliage as well. Both these are easy care, and don't have a lot of pests but do need lots of water in warm weather. They both like shade in the afternoons, so east side of a structure or tree is a good place.


Thanks for the suggestions. We have early morning sun and afternoon shade on our lanai. I had over 100 containers including many head planters. My favorites too were alocasia and colocasia I had a nice collection in MO. Love em. I also like ixora, shrimp plant, tropicana canna, sun impatience.

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