The Neighborhood Gardener – February

Pink hibiscus-like flower of the Hong Kong orchid tree

Happy gardening!

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Indoor Gardens

A white planter filled with at least three different foliage plants, mostly green but one has pink and green leavesFor green thumbs living in apartments, traditional gardening may be impossible. Thankfully, the houseplant trend is back! And for "plant parents" looking for something new, creating an indoor garden can be a fun challenge. An indoor garden is a contained, garden-like landscape created from houseplants. They thrive year-round in the climate-controlled environment inside your home. In this article, you will learn how to build your own indoor garden. But before you begin, carefully consider which plants belong together. No matter how beautiful they look, not all plants are compatible. More

2019 Award of Excellence Winners

Smiling blonde woman holding plaque surrounded by other peopleOn October 20-23, 2019, Master Gardener Volunteers from all over Florida gathered in Kissimmee for advanced training and networking at the 36th Florida Master Gardener Volunteer Continued Training Conference. A number of them left the conference with an Award of Excellence. These Master Gardener Volunteers have accomplished spectacular projects, from building a butterfly garden to leading landscape design classes. More

Vanilla in Florida? Yes!

A tubular orchid flower, a creamy pale green surrounded by five slim, long leaves almost the same color Vanilla is native to the Americas, but today the source of this familiar flavor is exotic. Today, Madagascar and Indonesia produce most of our planet's authentic vanilla. There, growers cut, cure, and ship the beans around the world. The cost of shipping is part of what makes this edible so expensive. This does not mean that vanilla must be left to the pros, however. South Florida's hot and humid weather is perfect for orchids. More
(Photo: the flower of Vanilla planifolia. Credit: Alan Chambers, UF/IFAS.)

Wendy's Wanderings

Wendy WilberIn February we think of love and passion when we see Valentine's Day on the calendar. When I think of valentines, I think about all the passionate gardeners I know. Passion can be thought of in two ways — harmonious passion is when people do something because they love it in a controllable and manageable way and it has a positive outcome. Obsessive passion is when people have an uncontrollable urge to participate in an activity and the outcome might not be favorable. Most of the gardeners I know walk this edge of harmonious passion and obsessive passion when it comes to the plants they favor. More

Plant of the Month: Bougainvillea

A mass of hot pink bougainvillea flowers, which are technically bractsThis tropical, vining shrub comes in a pallet of bright pinks, purples, oranges, and yellows. It thrives in arid, sunny climates; the more sun, the better! Bougainvillea can be trained into a stand-alone shrub or allowed to grow naturally as a vine. It will climb fences, stairs, and even small trees, adding a splash of color to your landscape. This article also answers the pressing question, "Why won't my bougainvillea bloom?" More

February in Your Garden

Deep pink rosesPrune roses this month to remove damaged canes and improve the overall form. After pruning, you can fertilize and apply a fresh layer of mulch. Blooming will begin 8–9 weeks after pruning. Now's the time to plant watermelon, plus many other edibles. Annuals to plant now in North and Central Florida gardens include dianthus and pansies, while South Florida gardeners can plant impatiens, verbena, strawflower, and lobelia.

For more month-by-month gardening tips, check out the Florida Gardening Calendar. Three different editions of the calendar provide specific tips for each of Florida's gardening regions—North, Central, and South.

What's Going On?

If your Master Gardener program or Extension office is having an event, be sure to share it with us.