Plant now for a colorful winter and spring
Winter and spring annuals are available at local garden centers. Pansies, calendulas, petunias, sweet alyssum, snapdragons and pinks are a few nice ones to use as bedding plants or in baskets and containers. All of these will survive frosts or freezes and keep on blooming. Other annuals that are a bit more sensitive to frost, but good to plant now are impatiens, geranium and begonias.
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The growth of lawn grasses has slowed as the weather cools and days become short. Mowing and watering can be reduced to about every two weeks until the weather warms in the spring. Lawns do not need to be fertilized during the winter months.
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Petal blight and bud blast are problems when growing camellias in our area. Now is the time to combat these problems by clearing off old mulch and any debris under the plants and spraying the plants with a fungicide labeled for use on camellias. Put down a fresh layer of mulch about 2 inches deep. When flowers start to open, pick off any that look diseased and don't allow old flowers to fall to the ground. In addition, remove flowers as soon as they fade.
Compiled by Theresa Badurek, urban horticulture extension agent, UF/IFAS Pinellas County Extension Service. For additional landscape and garden information, visit pinellascountyextension.org. For regular tips and information about what's growing in Pinellas, go to facebook.com/growpinellas.