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Winter Can Be Planting Season In Florida

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Springtime is planting time, generally speaking. And winter is a time to plan to plant. But Selby Gardens' Chief Horticulturist Mike McLaughlin says there are some exceptions to that.

Vegetables are a good example --lettuce, eggplant, kale, corn and tomatoes. And while McLaughlin's not a tomato expert, he says, "cherry tomatoes are almost foolproof."  In his words, "they're very easy to grow and don't have a lot of disease problems."

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Florida is such a great place to grow things, he said there are many options as a New Year starts, especially if you're looking for something low maintenance. 

McLaughlin said one option is xeriscaping, which mean you're using less water, less fertilizer and have less work to do. Succulents are great for this, as are bromeliads and Florida native plants.

He rattles off plants such as dune sunflower, blanket flower, yaupon holly, wax myrtles, and trees like sand live oak, palmetto palm and saw palmetto.

"Just doing a little research into plants that grow in the drier, sandier soils of Florida would do really well without much irrigation," he said.

When it comes to flowering plants, he points to some beautiful and easy-to-grow annuals used at Selby Gardens, such as Madagascar periwinkle, salvias, New Guinea impatiens and Sun impatiens. Gaillardia flower or blanket flower is also a great hearty winter flower, as is, fan flower, he said.