Florida-Friendly Landscaping: Tips for the home gardener;
FIREBUSH: Flowering informal hedge, accent or specimen plant with red tinted pale green leaves and showy tubular flowers that attract hummingbirds and butterflies for nectar. Berries attract birds. Typical height is 3 to 10 feet. LIGHT: Full Sun, WATER NEEDS: Low, GROWTH RATE: Fast;
BEACH SUNFLOWER: Showy flowers, extreme drought and salt tolerance. Although annual, profuse seeding causes colonies to persist well. Excellent groundcover needing no maintenance or irrigation. LIGHT: Full Sun, WATER NEEDS: Low, GROWTH RATE: Fast;
CORAL BEAN: Flowering accent or barrier plant with elongated spikes of tubular flowers that attract hummingbirds. Colorful fruits split open in the fall to expose poisonous seeds. Typical height is 15 feet. LIGHT: Full Sun, WATER NEEDS: Low, GROWTH RATE: Medium;
JACARANDA: Large flowering shade tree with an irregularly vase-shaped canopy and very finely textured foliage. Produces showy, fragrant, lavender-blue flowers in spring and summer. Mature size is 40 to 50 feet. LIGHT: Full Sun, WATER NEEDS: Low, GROWTH RATE: Fast;
PEREGRINA, JATROPHA: Flowering multi-trunk specimen or accent plant with a semi-compact shape and irregularly lobed leaves. Tolerant of most planting conditions. Poisonous. Typical height is 8 feet. LIGHT: Full Sun, WATER NEEDS: Low, GROWTH RATE: Medium;
CROSS VINE: Climbs by tendrils bearing small, adhesive disks. Large, long-throated flowers attract hummingbirds. Blooms best in full sun. Cross sections of stems are cross-shaped. LIGHT: Full Sun, WATER NEEDS: Low, GROWTH RATE: Fast;
BEAUTYBERRY: Commonly used as an understory plant for added color. Brilliant display of bright purple berries that will attract birds year round. Flowers also attract butterflies. Typical height is 4 to 6 feet. LIGHT: Full Sun, WATER NEEDS: Low, GROWTH RATE: Fast;
April is Water Conservation Month
The South Florida Water Management District is again joining the State of Florida in recognizing Water Conservation Month during April, the height of the dry season. While especially important now, water conservation is essential year-round for addressing the impacts of regional weather extremes and growing demands on South Florida's limited water resources – shared by 8.1 million residents, our economy and our environment.
Florida-Friendly Landscaping Conserves Water Landscaping the Florida-Friendly way means using low maintenance plants and environmentally sustainable practices. Learn how you can have a beautiful landscape that could save you time, energy and money while protecting our future. Find out more from your county's Florida Yards & Neighborhoods (FYN) program or from fyn.ifas.ufl.edu.
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1. Water infrequently, deeply and thoroughly Most lawns need about 3/4 to 1 inch of water once per week, or once every two weeks when the weather cools. Water can come from rain, or from irrigation. Infrequent but deep watering encourages deep rooting, as well as healthier and hardier plants with a greater tolerance for drought.
2. Water at the right time of day Water early in the day, especially in warmer weather, when evaporation rates are lowest.
3. Watch your lawn instead of a schedule or calendar Your lawn needs watering when:
Grass blades are folded in half
Grass blades are blue-gray
Your footprint remains on the lawn
In the region, year-round conservation measures limiting landscape irrigation are in effect. Some local communities have additional local water restrictions. You should adapt your watering to fit these limits on landscape irrigation.
4. Too much water can hurt plants Over-watering creates shallow roots, making plants more vulnerable to disease and pests, as well as to drought.
5. Drip or micro-irrigation systems save water These systems deliver water to the root of plants, so much less is lost to the atmosphere.
6. Mulching Adding mulch helps to keep water in the soil around plants. At least two inches is suggested around shrubs, trees, annuals and vegetable and flower gardens.
7. Remove Weeds; Add Native Plants Weeds or other unwanted plants use water. Removing them means more water for the plants you want. Native plants are adapted to our rainy and dry seasons, and offer habitat to area wildlife.
8. Install a rain sensor This recognizes when nature brings the water your lawn needs, and shuts off automatic sprinklers.
9. Adjust your lawnmower blades Most lawns are healthiest when blades are 2 1/2 to 3 1/2 inches long. Longer blades shade the soil, and keep in water.
10. Keep lawnmower blades sharp Clean, sharp cuts cause less trauma to grass blades, making the grass more resistant to disease.
Improving Water Quality – Tips on using fertilizers, pesticides and managing water within your landscape or neighborhood.
“What's a nice plant for a shady spot?”
“What's a ‘safe’ plant for South Florida's environment?”
“How can I landscape and save water at the same time?”
If these and other landscaping questions are on your mind, just download WaterWise: South Florida Landscapes
This is the South Florida Water Management District's plant and landscape practices guide – designed to help property owners landscape in ways that conserve both water and our environment, and often also save time and money!