Flowers in winter are one of the joys of living in Florida. They can provide a needed splash of color to areas where there is only green. During our winter, nights are cool with an occasional frost and maybe a rare freeze accompanied by warm days and fairly low humidity. If you are accustomed to growing things like petunias, snapdragons, and foxglove in early spring to north of Florida, then you will be surprised to know that you can plant them during winter here in Pinellas County.
When planting your flowers, spade up the area and mix some organic material like compost along with a balanced slow release fertilizer in the amount specified on the label. You are now ready to plant. Always dig a hole a little wider than and just as deep as the root ball. Add water to the planting hole then put the plant in at the same depth it was growing in the container. Firm the soil around the plant’s roots and water lightly again. Once the whole area is planted, add a thin layer of mulch, keeping the mulch away from the base of each plant. Water the whole planting once again and keep the soil moist for about two weeks until the plants are established. We have less rain during winter, but plants need less water due to the cooler temperatures, so water only when the soil feels dry.
Some popular annuals that can be planted now that will give you color through the winter months include: Ageratum, Alyssum, Calendula, Geranium, Marigold, Nasturtium (you might want to try planting seeds of this annual), Nicotiana, Ornamental Pepper, Petunia, Pansy, Snapdragon, Sweet Peas (another to try with seeds), Viola, and Wax Begonia.
Check out our short video for more tips on planting flowers for winter color.
For additional information, access the University of Florida/IFAS publication Annual Flowers for Florida at: http://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/MG018.