Which Plants Can I Grow In Jacksonville?
The largest city in Florida as well as the largest in the United States in terms of an overall area, Jacksonville has a lot to offer both visitors and residents! You can't get enough of the pleasant weather, and what's better on a beautiful day than a visit to the zoo or one of the amazing outdoor sports venues? What's more, gardens and parks are everywhere in Jacksonville. If you're an aspiring gardener, these locations are loaded with ideas and insights that you can take with you on your own. Fruits, veggies, and a wealth of lovely flowers are all ready to impress with bountiful growth! Here is a closer look at why Jacksonville is ideal for anyone with a green thumb:
Which Plants Grow Well in Jacksonville?
With its tropical and warmer climate, many fruit trees and flowering plants truly flourish in Jacksonville! A long, warm season gives gardeners a robust selection of plants requiring little to no maintenance beyond watering and overwintering as needed. Take a look at any number of local parks or gardens to see which plants are already thriving in the area. If you need more inspiration, here are a few you can try yourself:
Canna Lily (Canna indica): With a wealth of different varieties, you're all but guaranteed to find the perfect version for your garden! With no need for overwintering, they're minimal maintenance beauties that will bring pop and color to your garden in abundance. Plant in partial shade for best results, and be sure to give Bengal Tiger (Pretoria), Exquisite Cleopatra, and the Golden Speckled Tenerife a look!
Amaryllis (Hippeastrum): Another plant with wonderful variety that doesn't need overwintering, these vibrant, tropical flowers also do well indoors with bright, indirect sunlight. Be sure to plant in early spring after the last frost and keep them in partial shade if planting outdoors, then let them do their thing!
Roses: Who doesn't love roses? Able to bloom year round in Jacksonville, almost any variety is viable here as well! As always, be sure to check which variety will thrive best in your specific area, as rain levels and moisture content will be prominent factors. After that, plant, and enjoy!
If you're hoping for more green than blooms in your garden, you have nothing to worry about! Lots of options are waiting for you, including some of these beautiful plants:
Croton Petra (Codiaeum variegatum 'Petra'): With full leaves and a wealth of colors from red and pink to yellow, this tropical plant is a beautiful option to lend character to your home. Thriving in brighter indoor rooms where it can best develop its colors, it can also do quite well outside in bright, morning sun. Just be sure to mind that it doesn't get too much, as its leaves can burn in prolonged sun exposure. If things get below 60°F, bring it inside, and no matter where it's growing, keep things humid for best results!
Sago Palm (Cycas revoluta): You'll find this plant in rainforests, swamps, deserts, and of course, the lovely city of Jacksonville! Easy to care for with lush, tropical vibes and dark green leaves, it thrives in both indoor and outdoor settings. Be sure to bring it inside if temperatures drop below 45°F.
If you're hoping for vegetables in your Jacksonville garden, just be sure to do your homework on which will work best in your area. You'll need to be sure your choices love the heat! Research which are heat and drought tolerant, but know that there are many wonderful options for you! Here are some excellent choices to get you started:
- Sweet Potatoes
- Black Eyed Peas
Best Landscaping Plants in Jacksonville?
If your growing season is centered around landscaping, you couldn't ask for better conditions than what Jacksonville provides! All you need to do is make sure they're resistant to drought and heat. After that, plant and get ready to enjoy! Consider some native plants to make life easier, but also give some of these a look for your garden:
- Kiwi Trees
- Pecan Trees
- Guava Trees
- Passion Fruit Trees
- Banana Trees
- Black Walnut Trees
There are just as many flowers and shrubs that will add beauty and flair to your lawn and garden. Many of these plants are ready to tackle the elements with ease. With a little help from you by way of watering, here are some that will make your garden come alive:
Westringia Costal Rosemary (Westringia fruticosa): Lovely, blue-purple flowers bloom from this plant in season, contributing to the plant's other name of Blue Gem Rosemary. Hardy and pretty, this plant does best as long as temperatures don't get below 10-15°F. Great for cooking, this plant has many applications for your home and garden!
Caladium: Coming in many varieties, this one is great to plant in March! With thick, heart-shaped leaves that come in a wealth of colors, you're sure to find the variant that fits your home. Consider Mount Everest Rare White Ombre, the Carolyn Whorton Lipstick Pink variety, and the Crimson Red Flash Caladium. Be sure to pre-chill for 10-14 weeks starting in mid-October, then plant! Mulching helps a lot, and make sure they get 4 to 6 hours of midday sun for best results!
Which Plants Are Native to Jacksonville?
Not only are native plants a great way to guarantee success for your growing season with their uniquely suited adaptations to the environment, but they're crucial to the local ecosystem, making them essential sources of reliable food and habitat for a number of animals. Birds and many pollinating insects will thrive and maintain the balance of the local biodiversity, all with the help of your garden! See if there are any endangered plant species in your area that you could plant to help their numbers. Local nurseries are your best resources for learning more about your native plant population, but if you're looking for some more inspiration, consider some of these:
Beautyberry (Callicarpa americana): Also called the American Beautyberry, this plant has large branches and green foliage, but you would most notice it for its clusters of striking purple berries. The glossy fruit stays throughout the fall and winter, adding color to your space regardless of the season. These berries are well-loved by local wildlife, especially native birds! This perennial doesn't need too much water and prefers partial shade.
Blanket Flower (Gaillardia): Looking for a gorgeous native perennial? The Blanket Flower is the perfect option as they are fast growers with beautiful shade of yellows and reds popping from their greenery. These flowers prefer full sun and well-draining soil to stay happy and spread!
Other Plants That Grow Best in Jacksonville
Mini Schefflera Umbrella Tree (Schefflera arboricola): This plant gets its name due to the unique shape of its leaves! This species remains on the smaller side, under 2 feet in height, making a great indoor plant. For best results, keep it in bright, indirect light on an east, west, or south window, and let the top third of its soil dry between waterings. Low maintenance and beautiful!
ZZ Plant (Zamioculcas zamiifolia): Another low-maintenance option, this one also does well indoors and is quite resilient! Keep it anywhere but give it a little light every now and then and it will add bright and lush vibes wherever you place it! Capable of going weeks without water, it also serves as a natural air purifier, making this a beneficial addition to your home!
Garden Tips For Jacksonville?
With year-round planting and a peak growing season of 9 months, your biggest concern when growing in Jacksonville will be heat. Frosts, while rare, can vary and should also be considered, so be mindful of the timing of heat and cold waves, watering, and bringing plants inside as needed. Succession planting is also perfect for this region, as you'll be able to maintain a continued harvest by doing so! Consider short-season crops for such applications. With all of your plants, consider mulching to protect them from the soil getting too hot and also to maintain moisture. Drip irrigation and shade cloths will save your plants from the most extreme heat.
When Should I Plant My Garden in Jacksonville?
With a prolonged growing season and the ability to grow plants year round, it's all about minding your timing in Jacksonville. Be sure to keep your Farmer's Almanac or similar resource handy to stay on top of weather variations. Always be sure to check your specific area for the most exact reports to be safe. With that said, the first frost for Jacksonville is usually around mid-December, and the last is sometime near the end of February, so plan accordingly. Also, be sure to start your vegetables indoors 6-8 weeks before the last frost to give them the best shot at healthy maturation for your growing season!
Planting in Zone 8b & 9a
Zone 8 and 9 are split into two subzones like all others on the USDA Hardiness Scale, such as 9a and 9b. Both are categorized by their average winter temperature ranges. 8b has a range of 15°F to 20°F, and 9a a range of 20°F to 25°F. With the warmer weather comes a lovely, prolonged growing season for you to enjoy! However, do your due diligence and be sure to care for your plants accordingly, as things do tend to get on the hotter side in this area. For this reason, mulching, drip irrigation, and shade cloth are advised when temperatures get too hot and dry.