Culture of annuals in Florida is different from that in most states. Florida has three climatic regions. During the winter, nights are cool with an occasional freeze in central and south Florida and frequent freezes in north Florida. In early spring and late fall, nights are cool, whereas high night temperatures, heavy rains, and high relative humidity are typical during summer and early fall. Careful attention must be given to climate in order to be successful in Florida.
Choosing the Correct Location –
Selection of annuals should be greatly influenced by the available light in the area. Some annuals, such as marigold and ageratum, perform best in full sun. Others, such as impatiens and dahlia, grow best in semi shade or limited hours of sun. There are no flowering annuals that will perform well under heavy shade. For light shade try crossandra or tuberous begonia.
Site Preparation –
Annual plantings sites should be spaded or tilled at least 6-8 inches deep several weeks before planting. Organic material should be incorporated in the soil or planting soil, designed for annuals, installed on top of existing soil at a depth of 6-8 inches.
Planting Properly –
Annuals purchased in plastic containers usually have a root-bound root system. If planted intact, the root system will be slow to establish and will suffer. The preferred method is to loosen and untangle the root with out breaking the soil ball. Tall and spindly plants should be pruned to half their size. Spacing is based on the size of maturity of the plant.
Pests and Diseases –
The best method of reducing insects and/or disease problems is to keep the plants growing vigorously and free from stress. Cultural practices that should help are:
Proper Plant Site
Avoid low light and minimal air circulation
Keeps plants growing vigorously
Avoid frequent wilting
Remove spent flowers if necessary
Keep water off of plants as much as possible to limit fungus
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