In Southern Florida, we enjoy a tropical climate that is truly the envy of most of the country—we have balmy warm and dry winters starting in October and are now getting into the full swing of our summer rainy season. Our weather affords us the opportunity to grow what most other American gardeners can only dream about, but learning more about how to truly take advantage of the weather is how we can take our gardens to the next level.
Seasonal Gardening in Florida
We don’t have the deep freeze that decimates our northern neighbors’ gardens, but just because we have consistent tropical warmth doesn’t mean that our seasons are boring or nonexistent.
Winter is the perfect time to be planting lots of vegetables and the milder fall and spring weather is excellent for enjoying our time outside. The summer rainy season, though, is when our tropical plants shine, with the heat giving the warm-weather plants and flowers a great base for growth. Think of choosing garden vegetables that are designed for the hottest days, like okra, sweet potatoes, or peppers. You might also choose this time to plant tropical heat lovers, like palms or bromeliads, to take advantage of the season.
Summer Rainy Season Ideas for your Garden
The temperatures outside can sometimes be a little prohibitive of enjoying our gardens, as its way more tempting to stay indoors in our air conditioning than to wander out into the heat and sun. However, there are lots of ways to take advantage of the weather, and knowing the best fitting choices for the season will have you making the most of your outside time:
Flower beds: The intense heat is exactly what some of our favorite flowers need to shine. While many flowers can’t take the heat, local favorites, like coleus, pentas, blue daze, or crossandra, are sure to shine even when the heat hits record highs. Flowers are a lot of reward for your effort, with dazzling displays of color for how few hours that you need to spend maintaining them.
Vegetable gardens: Many vegetables grow better in the cooler weather of the dry season, but there are still plenty of southern favorites that you can grow when it gets hot. Peppers are one of the best examples of this, as the more intense the heat is while they are growing, the more intense their flavor will be when they make it to your plate. Keep in mind that starting from seed is often too harsh for plants to succeed, but many heat-tolerant plants do great when they are transplanted into the garden.
Consider adding pollinator favorites to your garden: Attracting favorites, like bees, butterflies, and hummingbirds, not only adds interest and fun to your landscape, but it can also help to drastically cut down on the amount of work, materials, and time that you need to put towards fertilizing. Pollinator-friendly plants are a beautiful addition to your landscape that are also great for your neighbourhood and environment!
Our Favorite Rainy Season Plants
Consider planting some of these beautiful plants in your garden this year:
Gardenias: Fragrant blooms that bring a lot to your landscape. They last for months, giving you lots of time to enjoy them, and they are incredibly easy to maintain!
Palms: Tropical icons that are simply irresistible. Fertilize as needed and mulch these beautiful specimens to keep them looking amazing all summer.
Azaleas: These flowering rhododendrons are stunning in the garden, with delicate and flowy blooms that are just begging to be adored. Appreciate their blooms in the spring at the beginning of the warm season.
Blue Daze: This ground cover plant offers a unique shade of true blue that is hard to find anywhere else. Growing Blue Daze in your garden is like having a rare gem all to yourself.
Coleus: These plants don’t offer much for blooms but their bright foliage more than compensates. With gorgeous patterns and colors, you’ll love how they thrive in our warm weather, spilling over the boundaries of their containers and gardens.
Caladiums: These warm weather bulbs can be planted in the beginnings of spring and then enjoyed when they grow in the hot days of the summer. Enjoy their multi-colored foliage as it brightens up your landscape in an unexpected but welcoming way.
The hot weather brings the opportunity to enjoy a new side of our gardens and landscapes. With the right plants and care, your garden can be a celebration of the tropical weather that is so unique to our area!