In the Garden
WHAT TO PLANT Flowers - Celosia, Coleus, calliopsis, Crossandra, dusty miller, Exacum, Gaillardia, Gazania, hollyhock, Impatiens, Lobelia, Marguerite daisy, marigold, Nicotiana, ornamental pepper, Pentas, periwinkle, Phlox, Portulaca, Rudbeckia, Salvia, Streptocarpus, sweet William, Thunbergia alata, Torenia, Verbena and Zinnia. Perennials And Bulbs -
Bulbs to plant in April: Achimenes, African iris, Amazon lily, Aztec lily, tuberous Begonia, blood lily, Caladium, Canna, Crinum, Gladiolus, gloriosa lily, kaffir lily, shell ginger, society garlic, spider lily, tiger flower, walking iris and Watsonia.
Vegetables In April, plant beans, cantaloupe, collards, okra, sweet potatoes, southern peas, New Zealand Summer Spinach, and peanuts for summer harvest. Through June plant sweet potatoes, southern peas, peanuts, okra and Swiss chard. F
ruits - Plant bananas and other tropical fruits such as guava, papaya and pineapple to take advantage of the frost-free growing season. Containerized fruit plants can be planted throughout the year. See below for details of April plant sales.
Trees - Delay planting balled and burlap palms until the summer rains begin. Keep the bud tied until it forces new growth. This keeps the young leaves from drying out until the new roots get established.
WHAT TO DO
• Use plugs or sod to fill in bare lawn areas. Chinch bugs are causing yellow spots in St. Augustine lawns; treat if needed.
• Trim spent flowers stalks from amaryllis, Amazon lilies and other spring flowering plants.
• Feed palms with a slow release fertilizer as instructed on the label.
• Add holiday poinsettias to the landscape and give them a spring trimming.
• Complete herb plantings before hot weather; many grow best in containers, which can be moved into shadier areas as needed.
• Feed vegetable plantings lightly every 3 to 4 weeks.
• Finish spring feedings of fruit trees.
• Wash away dust and insects from leaves and stems.
• Give foliage plants a spring feeding if you haven’t already.
• Apply wonder-worker MAXICROP on both sides of leaves of fruit trees and stressed, ailing plants. As with all sprays the best time to use is late afternoon; second best is early morning.
• Water only when soil begins to dry or plants show signs of stress.
• Mark Peters, local croton breeder says feed crotons in April, June, and August.
• Fertilize trees and shrubs, which have not been fertilized yet this spring. Fertilize again late June and late September. Fertilize roses each time the plants produce a flush of bloom (about every 6-8 weeks). • Several light prunings with hand pruners over the summer will keep fast-growing shrubs such as Ligustrum, viburnum and Photinia looking neat. “Pinch” tips for compact growth. Prune poinsettias several times from May through August.
• Root 4” to 6” long softwood cuttings for potting after about 6-8 weeks.
• Check weekly for powdery mildew (crape myrtles, roses), black spot on roses, scale, aphids, and lace bugs on azaleas, thrips on roses, spider mites on daylilies, chewing caterpillars on cannas and oleander and grasshoppers on lilies.
• Spider mites, aphids, soft scales and other soft-bodied insects can be curtailed with a foliar spray of 21⁄2 tablespoons each of baby shampoo and vegetable oil per gallon of water. Repeat in 5 days for mite control, as needed for others.
• Psocids (tree cattle) cause harmless webs on tree trunks. Wash off with a squirt of water hose or whisk off with a broom.
• Apply magnesium sulfate (Epsom salts) to poinsettias, gardenias, fruits and palms showing yellowing deficiency symptoms on oldest leaves.
• Replenish mulch around all plantings (except annuals & citrus) to a depth of 3 inches.
Lately I’ve noticed monarch caterpillars happily munching on milkweed in the early mornings; however, later in the day they have disappeared. I looked up monarch predators and learned there are quite a few. Wasps feed on the eggs and caterpillars. This is disturbing because wasps, including teeny tiny ones also feast on aphids and other garden pests and they are pollinators, so they can be beneficial. Nature is so complex! Thirteen monarch predators: