November Gardening Tips for North Florida
November is a great month to garden. You can choose to be very busy or you can just kick back and do little. The weather is cooler and dryer. Yeah! No need to fertilize the lawn (and trees). Yeah! Your plants' demands for water are less. Yeah! But, don’t forget, timely watering must still be done.
Here are a few things that should get attention this month. With the cooler weather, there are fewer bugs. The ones that are around may be ready and waiting to munch on your plants.. Take action to ecologically control them. There are suggestions at https://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/in197 Remember that fungicides and insecticides should not be used on or around food crops. If you choose to use chemical pesticides, herbicides, fungicides and fertilizers read the labels carefully before buying and applying any chemicals to your garden.
Migratory birds, who are heading southward to their winter homes may pass through our area. Like most travelers, many of these birds will stop along the way for food and water. So keep your bird feeders filled with a mix of feeds to entice them to stop in your yard for a meal. Be careful though, some of these visitors might be attracted to your vegetable garden.
Onion seed/sets, garlic and strawberries should be planted in the first half of November.. In addition, if, like many of us, you didn't finish your fall planting in October, don't wait any longer -- do it now.
Although we don’t have the brilliant fall leaf displays you see further north, there are many plants with colorful autumn blooms and foliage to brighten our landscapes. Mums, pansies and some kinds of lilies are good choices. Dogwoods add fall color as well as spring flowers. For best results, select dogwood varieties that are heat resistant and recommended for Florida. To add winter color, camellias are beautiful. Disbudding, that’s removing some buds now, will ensure larger blooms.
More plant suggestions are in the “Let’s Plant” section below.
Top Twelve Tips for November
O Adjust Irrigation: Your plants’ needs for water may drop in cooler weather. Mulching them can also reduce their water needs. Tailor your watering based on rainfall.
O Bring in plants you want to overwinter, but make sure they are free of insects. Give them a quick spray of insectacidal soap or neem. Cut back begonias by one third before the first frost. Plant in containers and bring inside for winter blooms.
O Continue to plant spring flowering bulbs. See the list in ‘Let’s Plant’ below. If you want to plant crocus and hyacinths, refrigerate them for 6 to 8 weeks before planting in December.
O Cut back chrysanthemums to 6-inch stems after they finish blooming. They will begin to grow again next March. Old clumps can be lifted and divided. Just cut the roots apart and discard woody centers. Then replant and fertilize. Prune them in June to form a mound and next fall, they’ll bloom again.
O Divide and replant perennials and bulbs that have grown too large or crowded. Add organic matter to new planting areas and water as needed during establishment.
O Feed your vegetables and annuals. Using a composted manure or balanced liquid fertilizer will boost your blooms and vegetables.
O Mow grass, possibly for the last time before it goes dormant. Recommended heights are:
~ St. Augustine & Bahia: 3-4”
~ Bermuda: 0.5-1.5”
~ Centipede: 1.5-2.0”
~ Dwarf St. Augustine 2.5”
~ Zoysia: 1.0-3.0”
O Overseed the lawn with cool season annual ryegrass for winter greenery. There are several varieties developed by the University of Florida that perform well in our area.
O Plant a tree. Try a fruit tree or a native Florida tree. Fall is the best time of the year to plant fruit trees. Be sure to check size, soil, water and light requirements when selecting your trees. For a good list, consult the University of Florida IFAS Extension database, https//edis.ifas.ufl.edu/ep007
O Protect tender plants from frost. Our earliest frost date may be in November. Plants survive cold temperatures better when their roots are plump with water. Cold damage to specific plants depends on many variables, such as the type of plant, its maturity, the temperature, the duration of a freeze, and other factors. To help tender plants survive cold spells, water them, if needed, and wrap them in frost cloth as temperatures reach 32 degrees F. Remove the cloth when temperatures rise.
O Start strawberries by November 15. Set them into prepare beds or large containers. Either way, water them daily until established, then every two to three days to keep the soil moist. Mulch will help. Fertilize with 6-6-6 and check for slugs, mites, trips, snails and caterpillars. Treat these pests with an insecticidal soap. Then wait and enjoy juicy, red berries in the spring!
O Watch for aphids, beetles, cutworms, cabbage worms, corn earworms, leaf miners, mole crickets, leaf hoppers, leaf rollers, squash bugs and others. Early detection and prompt treatment will yield better results.
Suggestions for varieties that do well in north Florida are listed below. Flowering plants will add color through the fall. Nasturiums are edible so may be classified as vegetables or flowers. Bulbs shown will flower in the spring.
Baby’s Breath Calendula
__Shrubs and trees__
Order from Amazon through FFGC website
TALLAHASSEE GARDEN CLUB (hosting Spring 2018 District meeting)
Resource Guide for District III Clubs
at this link