I have lived in Naples, FL for 8 years and tropical gardening is a whole new ball game! Not much survives the summer here. I have seeds for Everglades cherry tomatoes that I am going to try and I have learned what to plant at different times of the year here. I have grown dwarf yellow poincienna trees from seeds and they are about 8 ft. tall now. I have planted 4 of them and also one red poincienna that I grew from a seed. The flowering trees are amazing. When I lived in Orange County, CA, I loved the Jacuranda trees........so gorgeous. In CA I could grow Calla lilies and even fragrant bulbs, but not in FL! We have tomatoes and peppers and squash growing in a raised bed along with herbs. The soil is bad and the weather is a challenge, but I have to have gardens!

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Comment by Roberta on May 1, 2009 at 10:18am
Carol, container gardening is the way to go! I am from IL and I missed my annual flowers so much, I decided to try them here. I have grown HUGE Impatients in containers and geraniums do well, too.....roughly from November until May-June, I keep them out of the hot sun after April and water every day. To my surprise and delight, I can grow nastursums and morning glories in the ground here. I grow the nastursums under a tree and they get huge, too......hundreds of flowers. They are still blooming now. My morning glories dried up because they were in the sun, but I think if I tried them under a tree I could get longer life out of them. My challenge down here is roses. I had three that did fairly well for years and then they all turned black. I just replanted three that are bred for hot climates and supposedly can survive zone 10. They are leafing out, but I will have to vigilant to spray them and deep water them until it starts raining. We are so dry right now, it is like the desert here.
Comment by Carol Self on May 1, 2009 at 8:27am
Your trees from seeds sound fascinating. Jacaranda trees do grow in Fla -- check with a local nursery. I'm going to be facing some of the same challenges one day soon. I grew up in south Fla 50 years ago when we rarely saw anything but tropicals in the landscape. I recall my mother's saying how she missed the temperate zone annuals she was accustomed to growing in New Jersey when we first moved south. I've been gardening in Ohio for over 30 years now, and never have gotten on the tropical plant kick that's become so popular the last few years. For one reason -- they're throw-aways unless you have an indoor place to winter over. It's amazing, though, how many "northern" annuals you now see in Fla. especially in the winter -- impatiens, geraniums, etc. We never saw them in south Fla in the 50s and 60s! Once my husband retires in a couple of years we'll be renovating a piece of Fla property we own in Venice and spending winters there, so I've begun paying close attention to plants I see blooming in winter when we vacation there, making lists, and studying up on them in anticipation of landscaping a tropical yard one day soon. I know I will be doing a lot with seasonal containers -- probably filled with any of my "northern" favorites that will grow there.
Comment by Roberta on May 1, 2009 at 12:06am
You can grow calla lilies? Did you plant them from a bulb? I have these kind of amazing things that come up in the summer called fire cracker lilies. They are a bright red poof on a stalk about 8 inches tall. I will take a photo of them when they come up this year.
Comment by ukdiva on April 30, 2009 at 10:45pm
Roberta, I hear you loud & clear. When I first started my gardening journey, everything seemed to be a challenge for me & I often saw my efforts go down the drain. The key to gardening here in FL is location, & finding flowers/plants that will fit your garden's needs. I live in So. Fla where the heat can be so unbearable that you can see the heatwaves on the pavements & you end up taking another shower due to the stickiness/humidity.

I love exotic gardening, so my choice/tastes in flowers/plants works out fine for me. I tend to lean towards the unusual & rare choices as I live in a townhome development where the gardens can easily end up looking the same. I have Calla Lilies (Pot of Gold) growing under a Pony Tail Palm Tree, along w/ Plumbago. It's getting 'filitered' sun at this time, but they can still be seen by passers by. Vegetables have not been 'my thing' I grow very large tomatoes, but if I don't pick them while semi-red these grubs will destroy them. I've grown them in trovel looking planters w/tall legs, but they still get to them. Tonight I purchased a topsy turvey to try 'one last' time.

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