Skip to Content

Preparing Your Florida Garden for Fall

Sharing is caring!

While still hot and steamy in our Florida gardens, we begin to notice the subtle changes as we move from summer in to fall. And there are plenty of gardening chores to be done as there is still plenty of time for another crop of cut flowers, planting of perennials, and fall veggies to be had!

Now is the time to clear out the tired cut flower garden and sow another crop. It can be hard to pull them all out when there may still be a few buds but you will be grateful you did when the fresh, hearty flowers are waving their pretty heads! Once the bed is cleared, give it a light raking, add a layer of compost, sow your favorite seeds and gently water them, keeping them moist but not saturated until germination, after which time water as normal.

You can never go wrong in growing zinnias. There are numerous colors and sizes, they love the sun, and they attract pollinators of all kinds. Mrs Burns’ Lemon basil is an absolute delight for the senses and makes a wonderfully fragrant addition to bouquets. Sunflowers, daisies, asters, ipomea, coleus, black-eyed susan, geraniums, angelonia, hollyhocks, and verbena, along with many others, can all be grown in the Florida fall garden. Add a layer of mulch, water well, and enjoy fresh from your garden bouquets for the next few months!

In the vegetable garden, many things that are planted in spring can also be planted again in the fall, and the preparation is much the same. Clean out the summer growing bed, give it a light raking, pull any remaining weeds, add a layer of compost, and plant your favorites. Veggies such as bush and pole beans, cucumbers, eggplant, peppers, squash, strawberries, onions, and tomatoes are great to plant in September. Herbs such as basil, rosemary, and mint will tolerate the heat in early fall. See UF/IFAS Florida Gardening Calendars for a comprehensive list.

Fall is also a time to start planning for the next years growing seasons. As the weather eventually cools a bit, at least in the morning and evening, it becomes a great time to tackle a project or two. Build a new raised bed or a trellis for climbing vines and vegetables, start a compost pile, or create a pathway with some hardscaping leading to your favorite corner of the garden. Setup that plan you have had in mind for succession planting now so you are prepared to implement it next year.

Create a new planting area now by preparing the soil for next year. A raised bed doesn’t always require buying wood and using power tools! For a no dig method, simply select an area by laying out a garden hose or spray painting an outline. Use cardboard (think, all of those boxes from home deliveries!), to lay on top of the area, overlapping as you go. Cover entire cardboard area by mounding on a mixture of garden soil, compost, shredded leaves, and mulch, watering each layer as added. This will all break down over the next several months and by next spring you will have a new garden bed ready for planting.

Gardening Tip: Best time to prune a flowering shrub or tree…

If it blooms in spring the best time to prune is after it’s done blooming. That gives it plenty of time to grow new buds for the following spring.

If it blooms in summer the best time to prune is in the late winter or early spring because it blooms on the new growth.