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Gardening questions

By ANN BLOCK - Garden Club of Cape Coral | Apr 22, 2021

I turned to Chase Landre to answer some of the most asked gardening questions. First, let me give you a little information about her. Chase is a lifelong gardener. Her parents were musical so she became a professional songwriter, pianist and singer. When she married she became a jewelry designer. Now Chase and her husband live in Southwest Florida where she is a gardening author, photographer and webmaster with a fabulous website devoted to South Florida plants: www.southfloridaplantguide.com.

I found her website when googling information on South Florida plants. She was gracious enough to allow me to interview her. Of course, I had plenty of questions!

What is the best advice for folks who want to create a South Florida garden?

* Find a locally owned plant nursery that you love and get to know their plant folks.

* Before you plant anything, check your yard’s sunlight in the morning, mid-day and afternoon.

* Continually check your irrigation. If you are a snowbird, have a friend water in our traditionally driest months of May and October.

What doesn’t grow in Southwest Florida?

Don’t bother to plant lilacs, Clematis, Hostas, Dogwoods, Japanese Maples! Florida’s growing season is 12 months a year so many northern plants can’t tolerate the constant growth cycle.

What does full sun or part shade mean?

Full sun really does mean sun all day. Part shade/part sun means morning sun into early afternoon. To some degree, your plants can adapt to changes in light.

What zone am I in?

If you live in Cape Coral, you are in Zone 10A, which means our lowest temperatures can be 30-35 degrees. Most of South Florida is 9B (lows of 25-30) through 10B (lows of 35-40). It is important to choose plants that suit your zone.

What is the best plant for color but little maintenance?

Definitely crotons. So many varieties will give you texture and color. Plant in a mass planting choosing pink, red, and yellow for an amazing riot of color!

What are keys to successful gardening?

* Buy top quality plants from a local nursery.

* Plant with soil amendments and Horta-Sorb. Adding a mixture of cow manure and organic peat moss gives a plant a head start. The cow manure enriches the soil and the peat helps the plant’s roots retain water. Horta-Sorb is an additive, swelling up with water to keep your plant from going dry between watering.

* Plant correctly. Plant no deeper than the plant was in its original pot.

* Do not overplant. Usually 3 feet apart is best for larger shrubs, 2 1/2 for smaller or slow-growing scrubs and 2 for groundcovers and perennials.

* Don’t plant more than you can care for!

* Year-round irrigation.

* Be realistic! You will lose a plant now and then.

So many questions, and not enough space for all of them. To get more information from Chase Landre, please go to her website or enjoy her many ebooks which can also be found on her website. It was a fun interview and I hope you enjoyed reading Chase’s wonderful advice.

Ann Block is president of the Garden Club of Cape Coral