Teresa's What to do in December

What to do in December

Average temperatures High 73  Low 53 

Rainfall 2.31 inches

Winter arrives December 21st.

Average Central Florida date of first frost is December 18th.

What to plant

Flowers:  Alyssum, baby's breath, bacopa, begonia, bush daisy, calendula, California poppy, candytuft, carnation, chrysanthemums, delphinium, dianthus, dusty miller, foxglove, geranium, godetia, hollyhock, Iceland poppy, licorice plant, lobelia, million bells, ornamental cabbage & kale, pansy, petunia, salvia, Shasta daisy, snapdragon, statice, stock, sweet pea, verbena and viola.

Vegetables: Beets, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, carrots, cauliflower, collards, horseradish, lettuce, mustard, onions, peas, radicchio, radishes, spinach, Swiss chard. and turnips.

Herbs:     Anise, arugula, basil, bay, chives, cilantro, coriander, dill, fennel, garlic, lavender, mint, oregano, parsley, rosemary, sage, sweet marjoram, thyme and watercress.

Bulbs: African iris, amaryllis, anemones, bulbine, crinum, day lily, paper white narcissus, ranunculus, society garlic, spider lilies, rain lilies; refrigerate for future planting - Dutch iris, tulips, daffodils and hyacinths.

Lawn care

·Water lawns 1x a week through Spring.

·Feeding time is over but iron or minor nutrients can be applied to keep the lawn green.

·Brown or large patch is affecting St. Augustine & zoysia lawns, control with a fungicide.

·Many lawns have large weedy areas; remove and add new sod or plugs.

·Use spot weed control techniques for small patches of weeds also making good growth.

·Mowing can be reduced to every other week in most landscapes.

·Mow the lawn at the normal height to continue a uniform look and control weeds.

·Lawn insects are less active at this time, make sure to check if insect is still there.

·Zoysia lawns often turn brown with frost.

·Create a temporary green lawn by seeding damaged or bare spots with ryegrass.

·Rake fallen leaves from lawns and add to the compost pile.

Landscape plantings

·Pansy and other viola planting time has finally arrived; add these favorites for winter.

·Save money; give flowers the proper spacing and they will fill in and last longer.

·Consider color combinations like pink petunias, dusty miller & snapdragons.

·Avoid planting the same flowers each year in the same spot to reduce pest problems.

·Incorporate organic matter with older annual beds and sandy soils to encourage plant vigor.

·Add holiday poinsettias to the landscape in their pots to easily remove during extreme cold.

·Fertilize annual flowers monthly or use a slow-release fertilizer as labeled.

·Apply a slow-release fertilizer to container plantings for a winter feeding.

·Winter is a stress-free time to add hardy trees, shrubs and ground covers to the landscape.

·Select trees and shrubs for their drought tolerance and pest resistance.

·Camellias bloom throughout winter; select and plant your favorite colors

·Pruning time is over for most plants; out of bounds shoots can be removed as needed.

·Feeding time is over for all trees, shrubs and vines.

·Water new plantings plus annuals and perennials frequently to keep the soil moist.

·Established trees and shrubs can often go several weeks without irrigation.

·Cool weather causes cold sensitive foliage plants to yellow; move them indoors.

·Renew mulch layers to conserve water, control weeds and provide cold protection.

·Hurry to plant wildflower gardens to have blooms for spring.

·Use the cooler weather to transplant trees and shrubs, delay transplanting palms until spring.

·Check and adjust supports holding trees and palms in an upright position as needed.

·Remove old soil from container gardens to give new plantings a fresh start.

·Old soil from containers can be tilled into established gardens

·Add wood chips from tree removal to compost piles or use them as a light mulch.

·Turn compost piles at least monthly to speed the process.

·Divide and replant perennials.

·Add a bird feeder and bird bath to the landscape.

·Repair and repaint bird houses, landscape furniture and fences.

·Frosts or freeze could arrive at anytime; be ready to protect your cold sensitive plants.

Fruit and vegetable gardening

·Late summer and fall rains caused early decline of many crops; remove and replant.

·Warm season planting time is over; replant with cool season vegetables.

·Small but successive plantings guarantee continual harvests.

·It is too late for new tomatoes, peppers & eggplants, replant in March.

·Continue herb plantings in ground or in containers; they love the cool weather.

·Harvest herbs frequently to encourage fresh growth; preserve or share extras.

·Caterpillars and mites have been heavy feeders; control with natural sprays.

·Start seeds of the cool season crops as needed to have transplants available.

·Select vining crops to trellis and obtain the most from garden plots.

·Gardeners with limited space can grow their favorite vegetables in large containers.

·Use clean containers and fresh potting soil to reduce pests and encourage growth. 

·Feed vegetable gardens every 3 to 4 weeks with composted manure or a general fertilizer.

·Feed container plantings every other week or use a slow-release fertilizer as labeled.

·Feeding time is over for all fruiting trees, shrubs and vines; feed again in March.

·Observe watering rules; micro-sprinklers can often be used at any time in gardens.

·Plantings need less water during the cool weather; water when the surface soil begins to dry.

·Add new cold tolerant fruits to the landscape; delay tropical fruit plantings until spring.

·Delay deciduous fruit tree prunings until next month, citrus pruning until mid-February.

·Peach trees may start flowering but don’t worry there are plenty of buds for normal fruit set.

·Keep covers handy to protect cold sensitive crops from frosts and freezes 

Foliage & house plant care

·Obtain your poinsettias early to enjoy a full season of color.

·Give holiday plants a cool bright location away from air vents.

·Don’t be surprised if new Christmas cactus drop their buds; they will bloom better next year.

·Over watering Christmas & holiday cactus can cause them to rot; wait until the surface dries.

·Start paper white narcissus and amaryllis bulbs for gifts and winter blooms

·Replace declining foliage plants with new greenery.

·Move cold sensitive plants to a warm location.

·Remove yellow leaves from plants affected by cold and give a warm location.

·Check for water needs frequently; thoroughly moisten when the surface soil begins to dry.

·Wash foliage with a mild soap solution to remove dust and control pests.

Fresh organic aromatic and culinary herbs

Photo: istetiana / Moment / Getty Images

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