Central Florida Gardening Calendar — July–September Planting Guide

Annuals

  • Few annuals can tolerate the summer heat and frequent rain showers. In July plant: Celosia, Coleus, Crossandra, Exacum, hollyhock, Impatiens, Kalanchoe, marigold, Nicotiana, ornamental pepper, periwinkle, Portulaca, and Salvia.
  • Refresh your garden with summer color in August by planting Coleus, Kalanchoe, marigolds, and Salvia.
  • If you desire cold hardy plants for winter, August is the time to sow seeds of the following in a germinating container: ornamental cabbage, alyssum, Calendula, pansy, statice, carnation, Petunia, snapdragon, and Shasta daisy. When sowing seeds in a germinating container, the growing medium should never be allowed to dry. The soil mix should be moist, but not excessively wet. Certain seeds require light in order to germinate. Transplant seedlings to small pots as soon as the first true leaves appear.
  • In September, plant alternanthera, blue daze, exacum (Persian violet), foxglove, Kalanchoe, and wax begonia. All are heat tolerant and will be colorful until first frost which may be late November.

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Perennials And Bulbs

  • Bulbs for July and August planting include: African iris, Aztec lily, butterfly lily, Crinum, Gladiolus, Iris, Kaffir lily, society garlic, spider lily, and walking iris.
  • Pentas, verbena and blue daze will bloom until frost, and usually resprout from the roots in the spring.
  • Additional bulbs for September planting include elephant ear, Amaryllis, calla, Watsonia, Lilium, shell ginger, zephyr lily, and pineapple lily.
  • Gladioli bloom 3 months after planting.

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Vegetables

  • July heat limits planting. Okra and southern peas are tolerant of summer conditions.
  • August is the beginning of our fall planting season. Plant pole beans, broccoli, celery, collards, okra, sweet corn, eggplant, onions, southern peas, peppers, pumpkin, summer squash, Swiss chard and watermelons.
  • Plant southern hybrid bulbing onions (Texas Grano, Granex, Excel) in September to have bulbs for spring harvest. Bulbing onions planted after December yield only green onion tops instead of bulbs.
  • In September, cool and warm season plantings overlap. Plant cold sensitive crops which mature before frost: beans, corn, cucumbers, eggplant, peppers, summer squash, and tomatoes. Cold hardy vegetables include broccoli, cabbage, celery, endive, escarole, lettuce, mustard, bulbing and bunching onions, peas, radishes, rutabaga, Swiss chard, strawberries, and turnip.
  • If roots show swelling from nematode damage, treat soil before fall planting. Vapam now has a "restricted use" label requiring a pesticide license for purchase and application. A chemical free alternative is to solarize using free solar energy to heat sunny gardens and bake soil pests. Cover moist, prepared soil with clear plastic for at least 6 weeks.
  • Test soil pH every 2-3 years and adjust if necessary. It is good to make adjustments when preparing the soil for the upcoming season.
  • Insects and disease can be major problems in the fall garden. Heavy rains and warm temperatures are ideal for disease and insects which build up over the summer. Remove old or dead plants. Throw them away so they are not a breeding ground for pests and disease.
  • Peanuts planted in the spring should be ready for harvest in September.

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Fruits

  • Fruits grown in containers can be planted year round.
  • Set out strawberry plants in the landscape, garden or containers for winter and spring crop.
  • Harvest any oranges from last year's crop which may still be on the tree. Holding fruit on the tree this long results in dry, tasteless fruit.
  • "Bearss" lemon, Persian lime and "Key" limes are harvested during the summer. All are very cold sensitive so take special precautions.
  • Summer fruit harvest includes avocado, figs, guava, mango, pears, persimmon, and pomegranate. Bunch grapes usually ripen in July, while muscadines are ready for harvest in August and September.
  • If citrus shows symptoms of greasy spot disease (black oily spots on yellowing leaves), rake fallen leaves and spray with a fungicide.
  • Keep grass and weeds away from citrus tree trunk. Check for flaking of the bard, near the soil line and yellow leaf veins indicating "foot rot" disease of citrus.
  • Do not fertilize new plants at planting time; wait at least a month.
  • In July, fertilize first year blackberries, peaches, pecans, chestnuts and persimmons.
  • Blueberries need only a small amount of fertilizer (2 oz. Per plant) such as for azaleas. Over-fertilizing will kill the plants, so limit application to February and July.
  • In August, fertilize established banana, avocado and guava. Apply the third and final fertilizer for the year on established peaches, pecans, persimmons, chestnuts, and blackberries.
  • September is the last month of the year to fertilize. Fertilize citrus, pineapples, guavas, loquats, and mango.

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Landscaping

  • Sow seeds or lay sod for Bahiagrass, Bermudagrass, and Centipedegrass. Plant St. Augustinegrass plugs, sprigs, or sod.
  • Balled and burlap or bare root field dug palms can be planted during our rainy season. Be sure to purchase form a reputable individual with experience moving palms.
  • Cold hardy landscape plants grown in containers can be planted any time of year. Hold off on planting tropicals which will need to be protected from frost and freezing temperatures.
  • Prune azaleas before July 4, or you will have few flowers next spring. Do last pruning of other shrubs in September so new growth matures before first frost.
  • Remove old flower blooms to extend flowering.
  • Do not fertilize new plants at planting time; wait at least a month.
  • Fertilize annuals and perennials during soil preparation and then monthly. In September, apply fall application of fertilizer to landscape plantings. Occasionally poinsettias need another application of fertilizer in July if the June application is followed by heavy rains.
  • Poinsettias set buds in mid-September so continue pruning poinsettias until Labor Day for best growth and flowering.
  • Check weekly for lacebugs, aphids (new growth), caterpillars, scale (variegated Ligustrum, camellias, pittosporum, holly, podocarpus and magnolia), spider mites and whitefly.
  • Check for powdery mildew (crape myrtle, roses, and Gerbera) and maintain frequent rose fungicide spray program during summer rains.
  • September is the time to root-prune plants to be moved in January or February.
  • Root cuttings of shrubs, chrysanthemums, holiday cactus, and poinsettias.

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Lawns

  • Keep mower blades sharp. Sharpen when leaves appear torn rather than cut.
  • Leave grass clippings on the lawn to recycle nutrients naturally.
  • Wait until September to apply the fall application of complete fertilizer to Bermudagrass, Bahiagrass, and St. Augustinegrass.
  • Obtain green-up without applying nitrogen fertilizer by using liquid iron. If fertilizer is deemed necessary earlier in the summer, apply fertilizer containing only natural organic or slow release nitrogen to prevent insect problems.
  • For most effective control of mole crickets, apply baits or sprays as soon as possible. Due to maturity, or the mole crickets later in the summer, control will be reduced.
  • Watch for brown thinning patches in the lawn which could indicate chinch bugs in St. Augustinegrass, or caterpillars or diseases.
  • Diseases can be severe due to frequent afternoon showers.

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Marigold

Marigold

Pansy

Pansy

Gladiolus

Gladiolus

Pumpkin

Pumpkin

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