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Flourishing Fall: Why autumn is the best time to garden in Florida

Central Florida’s hot, humid summers can be tough on some of our favorite plants, especially fruits, vegetables and flowering annuals. But when November rolls around and we get to enjoy cool mornings, comfortable days, and chilly nights, that’s when gardens in Florida really come to life. Make the most of this season by following these tips for a flourishing fall garden.

Know your zone: Florida’s climate is actually more diverse than folks may think, with colder winters in the north and longer rainy seasons in the central and southern parts of the state. In Sunbridge, we’re in Zone 9B, where comfy autumn temperatures hover around the mid-60s to low 80s. While frost is rare, it can happen, so it’s a good idea to have a plan if some colder days make their way onto the forecast.

Live off the land: Leafy greens and lettuces do especially well in Florida’s autumn, as they’re normally too delicate to thrive under the summer sun. The same goes for herbs like basil, thyme, mint and parsley — ideal for flavoring holiday dishes. They’re perfectly suited for Zone 9B’s autumn, either in containers or directly in garden beds. With enough sunlight and well-draining soil, carrots and radishes will also thrive, as well as bell peppers and other chilies ready for hearty autumn meals! 🥕🫑

Plants for pollinators: The butterflies, bees and other pollinating insects haven’t quite punched out for the holidays yet, so offer them some colorful flowering plants this autumn. Marigolds, petunias and zinnias are excellent choices and grow well from seeds if you want to test out your green thumb. Bonus: They also make beautiful accents for a holiday centerpiece! 🌼

Autumn-specific adjustments: As the weather cools and daytime evaporation becomes less of a concern, adjust your watering schedule accordingly. Make sure the soil is consistently moist, but not waterlogged. As temperatures fluctuate, applying a layer of mulch provides insulation and helps regulate soil moisture. Pests can also remain an issue in the fall, but eco-friendly solutions like insecticidal soaps and neem oils work great to keep them at bay! 

Among all this, autumn is a wonderful time in Florida to be outside in the garden enjoying the fresh air. Roll up your sleeves, grab your gloves and make the most of Central Florida’s beautiful planting season!

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