Timely tendings: Shop for winter, spring annuals now

Winter and spring annuals are available at 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 will survive frosts or freezes and keep on blooming. Others annuals that are a bit more sensitive to frost, but good to plant now, are impatiens, geraniums and begonias.

Growth of lawn grasses has slowed as the weather cools and the days become shorter. 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.

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; don't allow old flowers to fall to the ground. In addition, remove flowers as soon as they fade.

Information from Carol Suggs and Theresa Badurek of the Pinellas County Extension Service and from the Hillsborough County Extension Gardening Almanac. Go to the extension websites at pinellascountyextension.org and hillsborough.extension.ufl.edu.

Timely tendings: Shop for winter, spring annuals now 12/17/10 [Last modified: Friday, December 17, 2010 3:30am]

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