Large masses of colorful bracts surround three petite flowers of Bougainvillea, which grows well in Northeast Florida despite our rainfall. These Brazilian coastal natives do best in direct sunlight with numerous blooming cycles per year in sunny, dry conditions. They are available in bush, tree, and vine form. Growing Bougainvillea in Northeast Florida can be easy if planted in the right spot and protected from frost and freezing temperatures and soggy conditions as they don’t like wet feet.
“Bouganvillea is a fantastic plant if you have the right spot for it,” said Matthew Barlow, Earth Works garden center manager. “ The right spot is that place in the garden that’s hot, that’s sandy, that’s dry, get’s sun all day where nothing else wants to grow. That’s where the bougainvillea wants to be. It is a perfect solution for that place in the garden where it can be very difficult to grow other things especially if it’s getting blasted with the afternoon death rays come June, July, August, September, and sometimes October. Do not put these in a place that’s low-lying, shady, or stays wet for long periods of time. High, dry, hot, sunny, is what the bougainvillea loves.”
Growing Bougainvillea in Northeast Florida with unpredictable low temperatures can be tricky, with some years having few touches of frost and other years having numerous hard freezes. Jacksonville is designated at the lower end of zone 8(8b) and the upper region of 9 (9a). “They (bougainvillea) are a hardy perennial here, although if we have hard frosts, hard freezes they can be knocked back considerably,” said Barlow. “I have seen bougainvilleas come back from some very cold temperatures. After the first Winter or two, the maintenance on them in the Winter is much less. In the first season or two, you might want to cover and protect them, for the first couple of years to make sure their roots become established. Once the roots become established, they will bounce back very quickly in the Spring once the temperatures perk back up.”
“The best time to prune bougainvillea is in late winter or early spring after it flowers, or at the start of the rainy season,” according to the University of Florida. “If you wait until late summer or early fall, your plant may produce fewer flowers during the following winter.” There are numerous varieties of bougainvillea on the market that bloom best at different times of the year. Follow the grower’s recommendation for your specific variety.
“Also feeding is very important with the bougainvilleas,” said Barlow. “You want to keep them on a regular feeding schedule. For those of you who don’t like to use a water-soluble liquid fertilizer, which I recommend even a slow-release quarterly feed will encourage the blooming.” Avoid over-fertilization which can encourage too much foliage at the expense of blooms. And if kept in pots they like to be pot-bound to bloom best.
Bougainvillea is both salt and drought-tolerant, making them a hardy choice for southern coastal landscapes. Visit Earth Works garden center for a wide assortment of bougainvillea, soil amendments, and fertilizers. And talk to Matthew about any concerns you have about growing bougainvillea in your landscape. Plus, consider scheduling a design consultation to include bougainvillea and the many other plant choices we can make available for your landscape.
For comprehensive solutions to your specific lawn, garden and landscaping needs contact Earth Works of Jacksonville online and at 904-996-0712. Earth Works operates a retail Garden Center/Plant Nursery in Jacksonville and provides landscaping, hardscaping, water features, lawn care service, lawn spraying, and drainage solutions. Contact us with your questions and to book design consultations. Earth Works proudly serves clients in Northeast Florida, including Jacksonville, Ponte Vedra Beach, Atlantic Beach, Neptune Beach, Jacksonville Beach, Nocatee, St. Johns, Fleming Island, Orange Park, Middleburg, Green Cove Springs, Amelia Island, Fernandina, and St. Augustine.
We believe Earth Day is the perfect opportunity to share some ways we can all contribute to our remarkable planet’s continued health and beauty. Here is a list of easy things you can do at home and in your garden to celebrate.
1. Plant a tree – Trees remove carbon dioxide from the air, store carbon in the trees and soil, and release oxygen into the atmosphere—all essential factors in the fight to stop climate change.
2. Create a Pollinator Garden – They support and maintain pollinators by supplying food in the form of pollen and nectar to ensure that these crucial animals stay in the area to keep pollinating our crops for continued fruit and vegetable production.
3. Call a Beekeeper vs. an Exterminator – Bees are a critical part of food production worldwide, and their dwindling numbers should concern us all. Help save our struggling bees by allowing a beekeeper to capture the swarm alive.
4. Landscape with Native & Florida Friendly Plants – Plants whose needs meet your local climate will naturally grow better, requiring less additional water, fertilization, and pest control. All positives for the health of our local waterways.
5. Use Organic Fertilizers– Not only are they safe for the environment, your family, and your pets, they can enhance the soil. Plus, synthetic fertilizers require a significant amount of fossil fuels to produce. And their frequent runoff into our river is the cause of those harmful algae blooms.
6. Build a Water Garden –When done correctly, ponds provide shelter and water to native wildlife and support for native plants. Also, by reducing your lawn area, you will conserve water and reduce the use of fertilizers.
7. Consider Solar Panels – Solar power systems derive clean, pure energy from the sun. Installing solar panels on your home helps combat greenhouse gas emissions and reduces our collective dependence on fossil fuels.
8. Shop Local – The planet is perhaps the biggest beneficiary of consumers supporting locally owned small businesses. Shopping local reduces fossil fuel use by the suppliers and the shoppers, ultimately reducing your carbon footprint.
For more Earth Day tips on eco-friendly lawn and gardening practices in Northeast Florida stop into Earth Works garden center, contact us online and at 904-996-0712. Earth Works operates a retail Garden Center/Plant Nursery in Jacksonville and provides landscaping, hardscaping, water features, lawn care service, lawn spraying, and drainage solutions. Earth Works proudly serves clients in Northeast Florida, including Jacksonville, Ponte Vedra Beach, Atlantic Beach, Neptune Beach, Jacksonville Beach, Nocatee, St. Johns, Fleming Island, Orange Park, Middleburg, Green Cove Springs, Amelia Island, Fernandina, and St. Augustine.
Why should I do Soil Testing in Northeast Florida? Soil is a mixture of mostly minerals, organic matter, water, and air. Plants require specific nutrients to thrive. Identifying the soil’s specific composition helps in identifying soil deficiencies and necessary remedies that can aid in avoiding over-fertilization that can result in stormwater run off pollution. Soil testing will also measure pH levels that if too low for instance can cause minerals in the soil not to be available to some plants. Plant varieties prefer varied pH levels and amounts of specific nutrients. Azaleas prefer pH levels below 5.5 whereas pink hydrangeas prefer pH above 6. A soil analysis will provide you with knowledge of your soil composition and help you make decisions that can improve the soil for your lawn and garden.
The golden rule of gardening says, “If you treat your soil well, it will treat your plants well,” according to the United States Department of Agriculture. “Successful gardening depends on good soil. One of the best ways to improve soil fertility is to add organic matter. It helps soil hold important plant nutrients. By adding organic matter to sandy soil, you improve the ability of the soil to retain water. In a clay soil, humus will loosen the soil to make it more crumbly. You can increase the organic matter in your garden by adding compost or applying mulch.”
When should I test my soil? Soil testing in Northeast Florida can be done anytime of year whereas in northern states it should be done in warm months when the soil is not frozen. By having your soil testing done ahead of the growing season you are better prepared to treat with soil amendments if needed. For example, calcitic lime used to increase pH requires 2-3 months to work completely into the soil. Soil sampling can be done anytime and is often done to identify the cause of problems in the landscape such as plants that aren’t growing properly or dying.
Where can I get my soil analyzed? The University of Florida Extension Office in Duval County provides free soil pH analysis that takes typically 7-10 business days to get results. Samples should be dry which is best provided to them in paper bag whereas plastic holds moisture. Samples should be gathered from a few different areas of the landscape and dropped off in person at the extension office. Contact the University of Florida Extension Office in Duval County for more information at (904)255-7450.
Additionally, there are digital and reagent soil test kits available for purchase online from a variety of sources. The Luster Leaf 1880 Rapitest Electronic 4-Way Soil Analyzer is one inexpensive option that’s widely available. More accurate and sophisticated electronic test kits are available for hundreds, even thousands of dollars.
Many of the inexpensive digital and reagent soil test kits although providing a degree of accuracy also provide vague and inaccurate data as a Garden Fundamentals video points out in a comparison of a Rapitest reagent test kit against a laboratory analysis of the same soil sample.
For comprehensive solutions to your specific lawn, garden and landscaping need contact Earth Works of Jacksonville online and at 904-996-0712. Earth Works operates a retail Garden Center/Plant Nursery in Jacksonville and provides landscaping, hardscaping, water features, lawn care service, lawn spraying, and drainage solutions.
Earth Works proudly serves clients in Northeast Florida, including Jacksonville, Ponte Vedra Beach, Atlantic Beach, Neptune Beach, Jacksonville Beach, Nocatee, St. Johns, Fleming Island, Orange Park, Middleburg, Green Cove Springs, Amelia Island, Fernandina, and St. Augustine.