The Neighborhood Gardener – April

A trio of big, bright red trumpet shaped amaryllis flowers with yellow centers

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Small Trees for Small Lots

Small fringetree covered in white flowersNot everyone has room in their yard for a large tree, especially gardeners in urban areas. Fortunately, there are still plenty of options that stay compact throughout their life cycle while still providing the benefits of a tree-filled landscape. Of course there are hollies, but what about a red buckeye or even an olive tree? This new Gardening Solutions article has several suggestions for smaller trees.

Dwarf Shrubs

A very small bottlebrush shrub with plenty of bright red bristly blossomsMaybe your space won't even accommodate your favorite shrub. Or perhaps you're tired of keeping an unruly ligustrum in check. Dwarf shrubs have been growing in popularity for their relatively low maintenance needs and ability to fit into the smallest of spaces. Read on to learn about several recommended dwarf shrubs that deliver big interest with a small plant.


Three small green guava fruits with one cut open to reveal pink fleshGuava is a popular fruit in Florida for both commercial and home growers. The fruit is very nutritious, rich in vitamins A and C, and the seeds contain omega-3 and omega-6. Guava can be trained to grow as a small tree and may be planted anywhere in Florida that doesn’t experience prolonged freezes or waterlogged soils. Learn more about Psidium guajava.

Wendy's Wanderings

Wendy WilberEarth Day, April 22nd, serves as a reminder of our collective dedication towards the environment. For gardeners, every day embodies this ethos as we engage in the nurturing of soil, plants, and trees. However, there's always room for improvement in adopting more environmentally friendly practices. Let's dig deeper into the some of the contributions of gardening to Earth Day.

Plant of the Month: Star Magnolia

Starbrite phlox have simple petals that are candy striped pink and whiteStar magnolia is slow growing, but the patient gardener is rewarded with excellent pest and disease resistance coupled with a spectacular show of spring blooms. Consider using it as a patio plant, a small specimen tree, or as an accent shrub. This magnolia prefers locations in full sun with rich, porous, and slightly acidic soil. Star magnolia can be planted in USDA Hardiness Zones 5A through 8B. Learn more about Magnolia stellata.

April in Your Garden

watermelonWarming temperatures and plants flush with new growth makes April a good time to monitor landscape plants for hungry pests like aphids on tender leaves. Plant heat-tolerant annuals like coleus and vinca, along with bulbs like canna; divide up clumps of perennials and add fresh mulch to conserve water. Gardeners can continue to plant some warm-season crops.

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 Volunteer program or Extension office is having an event, be sure to share it with us.