Guest Column

Kathy’s Gardening Guide: Brown But Not Dead!

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Many of us are frustrated with the appearance of our beautiful flowers and trees. The freeze over the holidays and cold temperatures last weekend have been quite challenging for our favorite heat-loving plants! But do not despair. Many of the flowers and trees that look so sad at the moment are not dead! Do not pull them up or cut off the brown leaves. These brown areas can help protect the plants against future cold temperatures. It is best to wait until frost season is over before pruning.

Bush daisies are a perfect example of plants that are currently brown and cold but will return beautifully in the spring. You can help your bush daisies stay warm by piling three inches of new mulch on the plant’s root zone (begin at the main stem of the plant and cover the ground outward under the canopy of the leaves). Once warmer temperatures are here to stay, cut down the brown stems and leaves to make room for new growth.

This will also be a good time to apply an all-purpose fertilizer to help the plant begin to grow.

Once spring and summer arrive, bush daisies will thrive and produce yellow flowers all season long. These plants are native to Africa but quite happy here in our North Florida climate. They are recommended as a Florida-friendly landscaping plant, because they are low-maintenance and can withstand our cooler temperatures. Bush daisies prefer areas of full sun and are moderately drought-tolerant once established. They need well-drained but moist soil; be sure to water newly installed plants regularly and then as needed long term.

Bush daisies feature dark green, lacy leaves and bright yellow blooms. They are beautiful when planted in large groups but also bold enough to stand alone. Bush daisies are sometimes considered a ground cover as they can grow two-to-three feet wide and may self-propagate from seeds that drop around the primary plant. Use them to add color to rock gardens, highlight the border of a garden bed or foundation, or fill in containers with other flowers. Bush daisies brighten any spot you choose and may attract butterflies to your landscape.

Be patient. Spring is coming soon!

Flower of the Week: Bush Daisy

Please email Kathy at kcg.pvr@gmail.com for any questions or gardening tips you would like to see in the future. For more information & ideas, visit Kathy’s Creative Gardens & Nursery, 196 N. Roscoe Blvd. The phone number is 904-655-7373.

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