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Tropical Zone Gardening: CT resident to FL native needs help!

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Forum: Tropical Zone GardeningReplies: 3, Views: 42
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Fort Myers Beach, FL

June 29, 2011
8:06 AM

Post #8661870

Hi! I am originally from CT. I had over 3000 bulbs and 7 different gardens, I moved to SW FL on the Gulf of Mexico. I have not been able (in 7 years) to keep anything growing except Mexican petunias (which are not liked by the naturalists because they are not a Native species) even my firecracker "bush" died. Oh.. I can grow Hibiscus, plumbago and a what I believe is called a "false cane", that's about it. And no matter how much I dig it up I evidently have a "green thumb" with the obnoxious elephant grass.

I have resorted to container Planting, I have two both with Dracinea spikes in the middle with magneta impatients.. looks beautiful.

So the question is.. after many hundreds of dollars spent on plants that all died despite my best efforts at soil cultivation and watering.. What should I try to grow now? It would have to be drought resistant, salt tolerant. I have full sun in the back (south),
and mostly shade or indirect light in the front, Where two huge mahagony trees reside.

Any information, links or suggestions would be appreciated.

New Port Richey, FL

November 17, 2011
3:13 PM

Post #8894610

Candace if you're still looking for info, ride or walk through some of the well established neighborhoods near you and see what works for them. We have so many variations of soil and micro climates within micro climates here that what thrives in one area won,t grow 5 miles away, and it seems the closer you get to the coast the more "unique" your conditions are. Even a quarter mile can make a big difference in soil type, nighttime temps and something most people don't consider on the coast is the winds that we get with summer storms and cold fronts. Some plants just don't like being blown around most of the time.

Santa Ana, CA
(Zone 10b)

November 18, 2011
6:45 PM

Post #8896271

flsusie, sounds like So. Cal.! I always chuckle when northerners think we can grow anything. Different seasons, different soil, different water, and many micro-climates make it a pure challenge. Out here in LaLa land we have Sunset Western Garden Book, which lists 28 climate zones (2 for Alaska, and 2 for Hawaii), that cover everything west of the Rockies. Within those zones there are many micro-climates. The major difference from Fl., is that we get no rain in all occurs between Oct and April, and not much then, so depending on what Mother Nature decides to give us, some years the perennials do well, and the tropicals suffer, and some years the tropicals thrive, and the perennials rot.
I second your advice to walk the neighborhood, and observe what is growing, and ask questions of those that have nice gardens. Also, accept the fact that those wonderful bulbs will be annuals in the south! LOL!

November 18, 2011
7:10 PM

Post #8896290

I'm in a subtropical climate with salty alkaline soil. Pomegranites grow well here, as do most citrus. 'Tis the season for poms; you could buy one and plant some of the seeds. Most of the commercial poms are the variety "Wonderful" which will usually come true from seed. Plumarias may also do well.

I second the advice to walk around and see what grows in your neighborhood.


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