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Delray to North Palm Beach, and from Singer Island, Palm Beach and
South Palm Beach to Royal Palm Beach, in Condominium, Cooperative
and Home Owner Association Communities. For more information, or to
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write to: P.O. Box 15826, West Palm Beach, FL 33416. Tel:(561)
Gene Joyner, Horticultural Consultant,
Florida Since 1960
Tips For Condominiums
Your Own Produce
damage to most major suppliers of vegetables and fruits locally
have resulted in very high prices for some vegetables and fruits.
It will probably be 4-6 weeks before some replanted fields are
back in limited production and prices will then start to come
save money you can grow many vegetables and herbs on your porch or
screen room. Having fresh produce right in your yard is something
almost anyone can do. Seeds and small starter plants are available
from retail garden centers.
be successful make sure vegetables get lots of light and enough
fertilizer applied regularly to push optimum growth and fruiting.
Also make sure the container used for all vegetables or herbs is
large enough to allow the plant to get as big in your pot as it
would be if planted in the ground outside. Stunting a plant's size
or growth always results in less production.
vegetables which have smaller root systems can be grown in window
boxes or planters and hanging baskets.
you are inexperienced with growing your own vegetables or fruits
you can get some helpful advice from the Palm Beach County
Extension Service at 561-233-1750 or South County at 561-276-1260.
To see beautiful plants, visit Unbelievable
Acres Botanic Gardens in West Palm Beach. Call 561-242-1686 for
Plants for Cold Damage and Prepare Them for the Growing Season
about three weeks most chances of more severe cold weather should
be over and it will be time to welcome our warm spring growing
season. Plants that suffered damage from the January freeze should
be well on their way to recovery.
you havenít done so yet apply some fertilizer to get plants
growing back faster. Any remaining damaged leaves or flowers can
be pinched off and this will encourage plants to put out new
growth more quickly. If you lost any tender flowers or vegetables
earlier retail garden stores now are well stocked with
replacements and seeds so you can restock any lost plants.
good thing caused by the freeze was that the cold killed most
harmful insects and it will be well into the spring before you
should have any major pests to attack your plants.
sure all new plants are watered regularly now that we are getting
warmer temperatures and drier conditions. With container plants
most small pots dry out quickly and this may require watering
several times a week if they are outside rather than inside.
you have plant questions you can get free advice by calling The
Palm Beach County Extension Hotline at 561-233-1750 or South
County at 561-276-1260.
enjoy beautiful Botanical Gardens visit Unbelievable Acres in West
Palm Beach. Call 561-242-1286 for tour information.
baskets can be an attractive part of your landscape plants in
porches, patios or hung from ceilings. Any large garden center has
numerous choices of plant types, basket sizes and colors. If you
donít find what you want, you can create your own hanging
basket. Pick out the size, color and type of basket to use. Then
select a perfect plant for that container and buy some potting
soil or mix. Next carefully remove your plant from itís
container, place into your new hanging basket and add your potting
soil mix to fill up the space around the plant root ball. Once
packed water lightly to settle the soil and hang up in the
selected area to display your new addition. Some leaf loss or
flower loss may occur in the first 2-3 weeks due to the shock of
replanting until the plant gets used to its new home. After 4-6
weeks, start a regular fertilizing program to keep your hanging
you have plant problems or questions you can call the Palm Beach
County Extension Service free horticultural hotline at
561-233-1750 or the South County 561-276-1260. If you need ideas
for plants for hanging baskets visit Unbelievable Acres Botanical
Gardens in West Palm Beach. Call 561-242-1686 for directions and
Potted Plants from Freezing
part of the winter can be cold enough to cause some damage to
plants on outside terraces or screen porches but rarely do the
plants die. Another thing you find during cooler weather is an
increase in pests that might come in from the outdoors to keep
warm inside. You might find ants, millipedes, frogs, lizards and
other wildlife hiding in your potted plants, foliage or soil. Most
of these uninvited pests do no damage but most people would rather
not have to deal with them. Ants or millipedes can be discouraged
by applying insecticide to the soil surface. Frogs, lizards or
other bigger pests usually will go into other parts of the outside
landscape where they came from as soon as warmer weather returns.
It is a good idea to check for cracks or openings around doors,
windows or screen rooms that allow bigger pests like frogs and
lizards to gain easy entry inside. Fix any openings found and you
will have a lot less uninvited winter visitors.
you have problems or questions about winter care of your plants
you can call the Palm Beach County Extension Service at
561-233-1750 or South County at 561-276-1260. For plant ideas or
relaxation visit Unbelievable Acres Botanical Gardens in West Palm
Beach. Call 561-242-1686 for tour information and directions.
for Flowering Plants
plants are pretty as house plants but most do not flower all the
time. Many of us have used mums, azaleas or gardenias for a burst
of color and some stay in flower for several weeks. Orchids,
bromeliads, African violets and begonias also make good flowering
plants. For the best flowering, keep these plants in bright light
and do not allow them to get dried out. Some flowering plants need
the old spent blooms removed on a regular schedule. Plants that
bloom over a long period like African violets or begonias will
need regular fertilizing to encourage flower production.
the plant is outside this time of year, we can get temperatures
below 45 degrees which can injure some tropical plants or flowers.
Bring cold sensitive plants indoors on cold nights below 50
degrees or you could get chilling damage to leaves or flowers. As
soon as warm conditions return you can put plants back outside
again. If you forget to protect plants some leaf burn or
discoloration may occur. Badly damaged leaves will turn brown or
yellow and drop off within a short time after the damage occurs.
If you have any gardening problems, you can get free advice from
the Palm Beach County Extension Service horticulture hotline at
561-233-1750, or South County at 561-276-1260. To see many
beautiful flowering plants grown in south Florida visit
Unbelievable Acres Botanic Gardens. For tour information and
directions call 561-242-1686.
for Small Spaces
people have small houses or apartments and this limits the size
and number of plants one can have. If you visit any large garden
shop there should be something that will work in your situation.
Many people choose small plants like cactus, succulents, small
orchids or bromeliads or small foliage plants. Try to pick things
that donít require a lot of regular attention. If the plant
needs a lot of water, fertilizer or pest control it may not be the
right plant for you. Make sure too that the light levels are
adequate for your plant to flower properly. If the plant is
outside it will dry out faster and may attract pests more than a
plant kept indoors.
you travel a lot remember to get someone to check on your plants
if you are gone more than 2 or 3 days. If you canít get a plant
sitter you can put your plants in a shallow try of water to ensure
they donít dry out until you return. There are also self
watering pots available in large garden stores and these are great
for people that are gone frequently. If you have any questions you
can get free answers from by calling the Palm Beach County
Extension Service Horticulture Hotline at 561-233-1750 or South
County 561-276-1260. Visit Unbelievable Acres in West Palm Beach
to get ideas on the types of plants that grow best in our area.
Call 561-242-1686 for tour information and directions.
them After the Holidays
season is here and stores are stocking holiday plants like
Poinsettias. Poinsettias are praised for their large colored
leaves and although red or pink are the most common colors, you
can also get ones with yellow, white or mottled pink and red
leaves. Keep poinsettias in a well lighted area at home, otherwise
they quickly lose large numbers of leaves. They can take full sun
if you want to plant them as landscape plants. Water poinsettias
only 1-2 times a week, too much water will cause large numbers of
lower leaves to drop off leaving only a few leaves on the tip of
each stem. Donít make the mistake of leaving them sitting in
saucers of water either, since this will harm the roots and cause
poinsettias are kept outside after Christmas, temperatures may
drop low enough to cause cold injury. You can cover plants up to
protect them when temperatures fall below 40 degrees. Plants can
also be moved indoors for cold protection.
should be fertilized monthly with an indoor plant type fertilizer
to keep them growing well. Poinsettias grown outside may get
occasional insects or diseases. Caterpillars may chew leaves but
donít kill plants. Picking off pests is faster than applying
pesticides. If diseases cause spots on the leaves simply pick off
infected leaves. Try to avoid keeping leaves wet to slow up
diseases. If leaves get a dusty appearance and start to get light
green this could be spider mites. Use of water in a spray bottle
can rinse off these tiny pests off. If you have any question about
holiday plant care call the Palm Beach County Extension Service
Master Gardener line at: 561-233-1750 or 561-276-1260 in the South
County. If you enjoy seeing beautiful flowers and foliage plants
visit Gene Joynerís Unbelievable Acres Botancial Garden in West
Palm Beach. Call 561-686-6687 for tour information.
are a Showy Tropical Flower that can be grown inside homes,
outside on patios, screen rooms or hung from trees. Orchid
flowers can be almost any color so you can always find your
favorite shade. Some orchids have flowers that last only 2-3
days while others may last over a month. Different orchids have
different bloom seasons, but most of the more popular types
bloom in the late winter and spring.
you like fragrance there are some types of orchids that smell
like coconut, chocolate other familiar smells. Orchids can be
purchased at most large garden centers or orchid nurseries. Get
detailed instructions for your orchid plant when you buy it
since different plants may have slightly different water and
light requirements. Orchids are grown in a very different
growing mix than other plants. This material is well drained and
requires watering frequently. Frequent fertilizing also helps
make better growth and more flowers. Some people fertilize
weekly with special orchid fertilizer.
way to grow and display orchids is to grow them on a piece of
drift wood or piece of tree branch. Orchids in the wild usually
grow on trees or rocks, so this is a very easy way to grow them
at home. After a number of years, the wood will rot and the
orchid then has to be reattached to a new piece of wood. You can
also attach orchids to outside trees or palms and, once they are
rooted on, need little attention as they grow under natural
you like cut flowers, many orchids are grown commercially. You
can cut your own flowers and use them as you like in your home.
you want to attend free meetings of local orchid societies or to
learn more about growing orchids, call the Palm Beach County
Extension Service @561-233-1750 for times and dates of orchid
you want to see hundreds of orchids growing outdoors in a
tropical rain forest setting, visit Gene Joynerís Unbelievable
Acres Botanic Gardens in West Palm Beach. Call 561-242-1686 for
Herbs and Vegetables in Containers
you enjoy eating at home and growing some of your own vegetables
and herbs, you already know how great it is to be able to pick
fresh things for the table. Herbs in particular are easy to grow
and add flavor and nutrition to many types of meals. If you
havenít grown herbs before, it isnít that difficult. Most
people grow herbs in containers or hanging baskets and some
garden centers have beautiful plants in attractive containers.
that most herbs donít have to be in full sun to grow well and
most are OK in screen rooms or even inside the home if they get
enough light. Fertilize herbs with soluble or grandular dry
fertilizer every 2-4 weeks. Water herbs regularly enough that
they donít wilt or drop leaves. A 5-8 day watering schedule is
average, but overgown plants in small pots may need more
frequent watering. Herbs and vegetables can also be grown in
outside beds. Purchase seeds or plants and plant in well drained
soil. Water 2-3 times a week and apply fertilizer every 2-3
weeks. If weeds are a major threat, mulch can be used as a weed
barrier, and it will also slow water loss.
plants every day or two for pests or disease which can show up
any time. Picking off problem pests or removing diseased leaves
is better than spraying chemicals. If you do this regularly,
plants will still produce plenty for you to enjoy or share with
you have vegetable or herb growing questions, call the Palm
Beach County Extension Service Master Gardner Hotline @
561-233-1750 or 561-276-1260. To see herbs, tropical vegetables
and many beautiful plants visit: Gene Joynerís Unbelievable
Acres Botanic Garden in West Palm Beach. Call 561-242-1686 for
To Plant Fall Annuals
is the time fall annuals are readily available and flowers in
the home or on the patio are popular. Typically flowers planted
now will last until April and then are replaced with other more
heat tolerant types for summer season.
and bedding plants can be planted outside or kept in containers
or hanging baskets. Favorite flowers for this time of year are
impatiens, begonia, petunia, salvia, alyssum, celosia, marigold
and many others. Most garden centers have both seeds and young
plants of many of your favorites so its not hard to have color
in your home or patio. Flowers do best in bright light and need
a well drained soil.
every few weeks if outside or every 2 weeks if in a container.
Some slow release fertilizers are also available that only have
to be applied every 2-3 months and this saves labor. Some types
of flowers may get attacked by insects or disease so check
plants regularly for damage. If you need to spray most garden
centers have products to control most common problems. If you
donít like to use chemicals then pinch off insect or diseased
plant parts and throw them away.
flowers can be cut and used for cut flowers and that is a bonus.
Some fast growing flowers may get too big too quickly and
require regular pruning to limit plant size. Pruning can be done
at any time but will take several weeks for the plant to grow
back to flowering again after pruning. During the winter months
some flowers outside may experience cold damage and have
discolored leaves. These will usually drop of and be replaced
with the return of warmer temperatures. Bring tender potted
flowers inside on cold nights for protection. Most cold fronts
are gone after 2-3 days and you can return your potted plants
you need free advice on flowers or foliage plants call The Palm
Beach County Extension Service Master Gardener hotline at
561-233-1700 or 233-276-1260. To see flowers and plants suitable
for our area visit: Unbelievable Acres Botanic Gardens in West
Palm Beach. Call 561-242-1686 for tour information.
Gardens in Containers
is the best time many people like to put in a vegetable garden
and this a very nice way to save money on food. Many garden
centers already have a wide assortment of your favorite
vegetables, herbs and flower seeds.
can grow most vegetables in containers on a patio or terrace and
it doesnít take an expert. Pick a pot of an appropriate size
with drainage holes, some bagged potting mix or topsoil and your
favorite vegetable seeds. Plant the seeds barely under the soil
in the container for best results. Water slightly everyday until
seeds sprout. With few exceptions you will get more plants than
you need if you get high germination.
out plants to only 1-4 per pot depending on pot size. For best
results keep vegetables in a bright sunny location not deep
shade. Once sprouted, water every
few days as required to keep plants from wilting.
is also needed and most garden stores have several types for
vegetables. Some are liquid, some soluble powders and others are
dry pellets. All should be ok to use if label directions are
larger growing vegetables like tomato or pepper may need to be
staked to support the plant. Vines like squash or cucumber may
need a small trellis since they can grow many feet if left
alone. If you are growing leafy vegetables like lettuce, spinach
or mustard etc. these can be grown in smaller containers.
vegetables several times a week for insects or disease. Many
people simply break off infested plant parts rather than spray
but if you need to spray, garden centers have products for use
on vegetable plants.
garden season starts now and goes into May, so you have plenty
of time to get started. For advice on gardening, contact: The
Palm Beach County Extension Service. 561-233-1700 or
can also see vegetables grown in a tropical setting at:
Unbelievable Acres Botanic Gardens, West Palm Beach, FL. Call
561-6-242-1686 for tour information
plants can really brighten up the inside of a home or patio
area. Most large retail garden stores offer dozens of flowering
plants that can tempt you if you have enough room to enjoy many
of your favorite flowers.
that the plant you buy was probably grown by a large wholesale
nursery under very controlled light and water conditions for it
to reach its peak quality and sales appeal. When you buy the
plant and take it home, it will take several weeks to completely
adjust to its new environment in your home.
flowering plants during this adjustment period may lose some of
their older leaves, abort flowers or wilt frequently if not
watered enough. If their new location is not too heavily shaded,
newly purchased flowering plants will adjust to their new areas
in 2-4 weeks and be fine after that. If the plant continues to
decline after 2-4 weeks, you may have to place it in more light
or adjust the watering schedule.
you see insects injuring your plants, you can get safe
insecticides from most garden centers and spray them on your
plants. You can also use sprays of dish washing liquid and water
to help control many small pests like mites, aphids or scale. As
plants grow too big for their original pots or containers, they
should be repotted into slightly larger containers so they will
not become pot bound and stunted. Soil mixes can be purchased at
any garden center and used for the repotting of overgrown
plants. If plants need staking to keep them from leaning over,
you can buy small plant stakes at local garden centers and use a
soft tie or tape to secure the plant to the stake. This allows
plants to grow straight and maintain a better shape.
you have plant questions or problems, call the Palm Beach County
Extension Service for free plant advice. Their phone number is
561-233-1750, or in the South County area, call 561-276-1260.
see plants that do well in shaded areas, visit Unbelievable
Acres Botanic Gardens in West Palm Beach. Call 561-242-1686 for
people love plants and spend large amounts of money on them,
only to lose them because they are put in the wrong place or not
given correct watering, light or proper fertilizing. If you buy
a fantastic plant you aren't already familiar with, always ask
the nurseryman or salesperson how you should best care for it
when you get it home. To insure the best and proper care for
your newly purchased plant, here are some basic rules for
keeping house plants and patio plants happy and healthy.
Don't over water. Plants can decline or die by giving them too
much water causing root rot or leaf diseases. Once or twice a
week watering is all most plants need and cactus and succulents
might be happy watering only every 2-3 weeks.
Keep plants in areas that have enough light for normal growth.
Even shade loving plants need bright indirect light to grow
well. Plants placed in extremely shaded dark areas will soon
decline or die over time.
Plants in containers over time use up all the available
fertilizer in the soil. This requires you to apply fertilizer to
sustain normal growth and flowering. You can use liquid or dry
granular type fertilizer and always follow label directions
exactly to avoid burning your plants.
time you need expert help diagnosing plant problems. You can get
free advice from the Palm Beach County Extension Service at
561-233-1750 or in South County at 561-276-1260.
you would like to see examples of tropical plants that would
grow well for you, visit South Florida's only Tropical Rain
Forest/Botanical Garden, Unbelievable Acres with thousands of
beautiful plants from around the world. Unbelievable Acres is
open by appointment only. Please call 561-242-1686 for tour
Joyner conducts tours of his Unbelievable
Acres Botanic Gardens every 2nd Saturday.
to the tour path.
rain forest plants
the tour path.
Acres garden nursery.
Purple Shield and Variegated Coleus are among the
hundreds of plants grown at Unbelievable Acres and
available for purchase at their nursery.
tour information or directions to
Acres please call 561-242-1686.
Joyner is director of Unbelievable Acres Botanical Garden, the
only working rain forest in the U.S., in West Palm Beach. A
graduate of the University of Florida Gainesville, he represented
the Palm Beach County Extension Service as Extension Agent
Extraordinaire for 35 years and taught their Master Gardener
program before retiring in 2008. For information or directions to
Unbelievable Acres, please call 561-242-1686.
Acres Botanic Gardens, Inc. is a 501-C(3) not-for-profit
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